Helping the Hurt

Posted: November 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

by Hanna Munin

    This Monday, I saw an article on msn that got my attention. It was about how people who faced involuntary sterilization in North Carolina during the 20th century. Before this week, I had no idea what eugenics was or the movements it led to in America. For those of you who don’t know, from the 1940s to the 1980s, there was a social movement in America in which in 31 states it was legal to sterilize a person who seemed ill-fit to be a parent whether it was because they had a mental handicap, were promiscuous, or were an alcoholic. These individuals had no idea that they were being sterilized. In the 1960s, tens of thousands of individuals were sterilized without a say and without knowledge of that happening to them. The article focused on one woman named Elaine Riddick  from North Carolina who had a child at the age of thirteen after being raped. It wasn’t until later in life when she was happily married and trying to have kids that she found out that she had been part of this movement and she was sterilized. This was a choice made by a panel of five that said she was mentally retarded and promiscuous.

Over the past couple of years, lawmakers in North Carolina have been trying to make it up to these people that faced force sterilization. Involuntary sterilization in North Carolina was not repealed officially until 2003. Recently, a bunch of people who had situations similar to Elaine’s came and spoke out as a group to show how hurtful it was that they had seemed to be ill-fit to have children.
    I wanted to share this story with you all because it shows how society feels about people who have hit rocky points in their life. The scars of abuse and rape don’t need to be silenced. It’s important to be like Elaine and speak up about what has happened in the past that’s hurt us, and bring it up so that it won’t happen again. Speaking about what’s happened in the past can heal the hurt and prevent that from happening to other people in the future.

If you want to see the article yourself, click here:


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