Perhaps I Should Have Been Aborted…

To begin with, I wrote this article some time ago when the abortion debate seemed to be at a peak, when the conversation seemed to be led by men and women seemed to be considered little when discussing legislation. This Thursday I am to attend an Amnesty International briefing on “My Body My Rights: Barriers to abortion in Northern Ireland” and how wonderful it is when I look at the speakers for the event… not a solitary testicle between them. How great it is for a discussion about this to be led by the gender that it matters most to, hosted by Grainne Teggart. What a shame however that the forum is the Mac Theatre and it is an Amnesty International event, not that there is anything wrong with that whatsoever, but perhaps this style of discussion deserves a bigger stage with a bigger audience, whilst grey haired men in suits with religious texts sewn into their suit jackets could step away from the microphone and bear witness to the true state of affairs…hopefully that day is not too far away. Until then, I offer this account of my view on abortion, yes I have testicles, but I think (and hope) I am objective enough to see that the discussion should be steered by those internal reproductive organs, in a respectable manner, and not how some organisations have attempted to “discuss” the issue, by “christening dead babies” and abusing law-abiding citizens.


First let me say this, men exert too much control over the female reproductive system… We are entitled to an opinion, of course. But ultimately, nobody knows what is best for the health, well being and future of a pregnant woman, except the woman herself. I have a specific viewpoint, because I was nearly aborted, and to be honest, I am completely ok with that.

It seems of late there have been too-many poster women in Ireland for the Pro-Choice lobby. Unfortunately, you don’t become a poster woman by standing in the Dàil or Stormont and speaking in favour of women’s rights… It is a position attained only through oppression & subjugation. Women like Savita Halappanavar….Women like the unnamed victim of the state who we have learned of in recent days, who have had their rights cast aside by the patriarchal society that I live in and that woman live through.

According to the British Pregnany Advisory Service, last year almost 4,500 women travelled to England from Ireland & Northern Ireland for abortion treatment. This current situation benefits no-one. Actually that is incorrect, it benefits the tourism industry…. That local women must travel from their home, stay in a hotel alone, or if they are lucky, perhaps with a friend or their partner, whilst enduring an incredibly traumatic personal medical procedure… All because this island does not consider human rights to extend to both parties in a pregnancy.

My mother was 20 when she became pregnant. She was raped at a party and tried to hide that it had happened to her from her family out of shame. She didn’t go to the police, she didn’t go to hospital, she got on with her life. She did not know she was pregnant until about half way through, and when she did it became a massive issue for her and her (our) family. She wanted an abortion. She was in the UDR as a Greenfinch at the time, where women were quite clearly seen as inferior to men in an operational role, so for her to have to professionally come to terms with being overpowered by a man and have him force himself upon her just wasn’t something she could consider. She told her family she wanted an abortion, and by all accounts from my family members who have discussed this with me, she was pretty damn vehement about the issue. Her parents, my grandparents, were not overly Christian folk, no more than your average “Protestant” (in name and politics if not in gospel) but they were not budging on the issue.

So she was faced with a choice; keep the child (me) and admit to command what had happened and deal with the concequences… raise a child who was a constant reminder of the terrible ordeal she endured as well as the reason her UDR career would come to a swift end. Or ruin her relationship with her family. My grandparents assured her that they would help raise me, that she and I would want for nothing (didn’t quite work out that way, but best intentions and all that Jazz). She was also going through a separate medical issue, a problem with her kidneys… She needed surgery to repair one of her kidneys and this couldn’t go ahead whilst she was pregnant, so it really was a case of my life or potentially, hers. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I’m writing this….so she probably didn’t have that abortion…and one of her kidneys is now useless. I’ve always joked about this by saying “I was that annoyed at the whole birthing process that I grabbed hold of a kidney and wouldn’t let go”.

Had she taken the other path, of self preservation, of careerism, of putting what was best for her first…I would not be here, and I would be ok with that. Of course I literally would not be ok with it because I wouldn’t know either way, having never have had any self awareness….but in hindsight, it would be grand. She would have had her reasons. I have little to no relationship nowadays with her, and it goes without saying that I have never had any contact with my “father”….or “sperm donor” as my mother would refer to him when we (rarely) discussed the issue. I have caused her many problems through life, I have held her back…I have even opted at one point to stay in Northern Ireland with my grandparents for a couple of years whilst she emigrated to Canada (I wasn’t yet 10, but it truly was my choice to make) all in all, I’m sure her life could have been much different and arguably better if I had not come to be….but that’s not the way it panned out. Ethereal me would hold no Ill will against her had she chosen a trip to England and a termination.

“But how can you say that, it never happened” I hear someone mumble in the back…. You are right, it is only a perception, an opinion based on inference and supposition. But if we go back to my time spent in the womb, my perception and opinions were none. My ability to come up with a point of view were non existent. Even though she and I have…grown far, far apart as people. I would still do almost anything to protect her from harm, for all our differences, there is still, somewhere in my psyche, a maternal connection there… Unconditional love of a child for a parent and vice versa is stretched, but not absent. I trust that 20year old mother of mine that what ever decision she makes is in the best interests of her. It was her decision to make, not mine. Had I been aborted, there would have been mourning, but they would not be mourning me as a person, they would have mourned me as a concept, as an idea of what I could have become and the interactions and relationships I could have had with my family…as the old saying goes “you don’t miss what you’ve never had.” Tribesmen in the amazon do not feel they are missing out on the smartphon… in-utero I would not feel I was missing out on the world outside. I simply would not be.

And that’s ok with me.

I have an opinion on abortion because I have a viewpoint that I feel contributed to the discussion. I am not running up to indecisive pregnant women and telling them “fire away, abort!, get rid of it, honestly, it’ll be ok with it!” Because it is the woman’s choice. The womb belongs to the mother.

I have plenty of opinions about low-budget hotels such as Travelodge….a plethora of things I would change about their company…and I might fill in a comment card and let them know my thoughts on the matter…. I won’t force the changes on them. Because the room I stay in at travelodge, much like my mothers womb….was just some temporary accommodation. It’s for them…and her, to run it how they see best.

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  • Kate Nicholl

    This is wonderfully brave and personal, thank you for sharing it.

  • Clanky

    A fantastic point and a very well writtwn post. One which everyone on both sides of the debate should read and consider.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Belfast Barman,
    Although I am completely opposed to much of your politics I can only say how much I respect you as a person for that extremely brave and thought provoking post. I do think that you should not feel that you held your mother back in anyway, all mothers and some fathers have careers that are impacted upon after the birth of a child, you are no exception here. I also sincerely hope that in the not too distant future that you and your mother can reconcile.

    Abortion is a topic that is not being properly debated here, I am very much pro choice, the choice of the parents and primarily but not exclusively the choice of the mother. Why do I say “not exclusively”? This is because I feel that the father should always be consulted as he is an important part of the decision making process. This differs however, in cases such as rape etc where the term “sperm donor” than “father” is a more apt description.

    Overall we need a sensible debate on this subject, too many young girls are getting pregnant and having abortions rather than being properly educated about taking precautions. It is also a crime that 4500 people leave our shores every year to have abortions, this needs to be addressed immediately!!!

  • notimetoshine

    Another really thought provoking post. There are too few balanced and sensible approaches to the abortion debate. As was said below everyone involved in the argument should read this.

  • Guest

    A very personal perspective but adds nother beyond that to the debate

  • Croiteir

    A personal perspective but there again so is mine. But what novelty has been added to the debate?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Erm, a liberal/progressive/whatever is posting a ‘hold yer latte drinking horses!’ view as opposed to the perceived norm of ‘liberals’ which is steadfastly ‘pro-choice’ i.e. ‘don’t question the abortion!”.

    Normally the debate (like many things in NI) is broken down to a binary level, this mixes things up a bit ergo adds a bit of novelty.

  • Guest


    It is an interesting and almost unique perspective and contribution but then again almost all perspectives are unique – I know personally of children whose conception was similar to yours and whose mother’s were against abortion and whose relationship has overcome the difficult start yours had and those involved (again not including the father) have thrived individually and as a family so have a somewhat happier ending than your story.
    What I am interested in to hear from your point of view and no doubt from others here is the standard of proof required for abortion in the case of rape. There is no time for a conviction in the courts especially not with our legal system and I am somewhat jaundiced by my professional experience of rape allegations. All 4 police interviews where I have represented someone accused of rape have all turned out to be to a greater or lesser extent fabricated accusations and therefore how does someone who has sympathy with a genuine victim of rape ensure that this exception does not become abortion / after the event contraception on demand in the way that the GB 1967 Act has undeniably become despite it (and the amendment here) having been originally envisaged as something akin to our proposed amendment?

  • Guest


    It is an interesting and almost unique perspective and contribution but then again almost all perspectives are unique – I know personally of children whose conception was similar to yours and whose mother’s were against abortion and whose relationship has overcome the difficult start yours had and those involved (again not including the father) have thrived individually and as a family so have a somewhat happier ending than your story.
    What I am interested in to hear from your point of view and no doubt from others here is the standard of proof required for abortion in the case of rape. There is no time for a conviction in the courts especially not with our legal system and I am somewhat jaundiced by my professional experience of rape allegations. All 4 police interviews where I have represented someone accused of rape have all turned out to be to a greater or lesser extent fabricated accusations and therefore how does someone who has sympathy with a genuine victim of rape ensure that this exception does not become abortion / after the event contraception on demand in the way that the GB 1967 Act has undeniably become despite it having been originally envisaged as something with limitations akin to our proposed amendment?

  • Croiteir

    Erm – it is presented differently – but take away the wrapping and it is just the same old

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Same old what? Pro-choicers telling people to be weary of pro-choice? How’s that the same old?

  • Korhomme

    Thank you, BB, for this.

    Curious, isn’t it, that so many men feel that they have the ‘right’ to control women’s reproduction, even though only men can get women into ‘trouble’; yet so often when it comes to facing responsibilities they aren’t to be found.

    Meanwhile, the Guardian reports on running the gauntlet in Belfast:

  • Croiteir

    Some one pro choice saying they are pro choice – same old to me

  • kalista63

    Nice piece, fella.

    I wouldn’t even begin to touch what a woman whose pregnant out of rape should or shouldn’t do, save to say that there is obviously many opinions on this within the females in our society.

    I did hear a girl, for she was quite Young, on Talkback a few weeks ago and she elected to have an abortion because she wanted to travel and shit. Well, I’ve travelled and shit and I’ve seen many people, mostly Northern Europeans, with wee babies in some Asia and Africa. Life happens and I know no end of women that had unplanned pregnancies, no father onboard and they’ve raised their children magnificently and have the greatest relationship with those very children.

    Sorry to go a bit off topic but yesterday, we had Richard Dawkins on TB and he seemed quite keen on aborting babies with Down’s Syndrome……….what in the name of good f**k? Back when I was a kid, in the 70’s, the attitude to and treatment of ‘mongols’ was national sin. I remember a guy around the corner from me, in his 40’s that got tortured by every dickhead in the area, including this effin one.

    Thankfully, times have great,y changed, with attitude, services and understanding increasing beyond recognition, thankfully. Only thing is, Richard seems to be 1970’s me.

    Again, sorry about that off topic bit BB.

  • Mister_Joe

    I didn’t rape her yer honour. She was wearing a mini skirt and when she leaned over, you could see her knickers. She was asking for it.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Great Post Barman. It’s a pity all the major political parties in NI could not grow a set of testicles and resolve a long over due equality right which effects the majority of our population (women). Also agree with JH post, would hope that your mother and you could establish a better relationship together again.

  • carl marks

    A very interesting post, a lot to think about.

  • Reader

    Kalista63: Only thing is, Richard seems to be 1970’s me.
    On the contrary, Richard seems to be trying to prevent the creation of victims to be “tortured by every dickhead in the area”

  • PeterBrown

    The same coin MJ but the other side – you have talked about the mirror image of my point but not my actual point – in all the cases I refer to (I posted the first time but for some reason came up as Guest!) the alleged lack of consent and in some the actual incidents alleged were all total fabrications

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    It strikes me that you haven’t really picked up the nuances therein. Simplifying things so reductively does lead to cut & dried, dilemma free certainty but choice (along with options) is rarely so straightforward.
    I also wish to commend Belfast Barman on imparting such a personal subject with such humanity and understanding. You’re right, there’s a lot of old balls spoken AND speaking on this subject.

  • Paddy Reilly

    There is a Latin legal tag which I am very fond of, called audi alteram partem. Basically it means when a story has been told by one party concerning a second, the second party must also be given a chance to tell his side of events. It is also my practice, when recounting a complicated chain of events for legal or genealogical purposes, to make sure that every part of the story has been researched and can be proven.

    This is not the case with the hearsay story you are recounting to us.

    The first allegation is that there has been a rape. But at the time no rape was reported and none has been established by law. Secondly, it is alleged that this rape took place at a party. Have you ever tried committing a rape at a party? Would the other party-goers not spoil the fun by intervening?

    So a more likely chain of events is that an act of intercourse has taken place at a party, which the female participant has not resisted with the force that she might have employed, because she had drink taken. Maybe though she was a willing participant, but just wished to deny her responsibility.

    Another allegation is that she became pregnant through this single act of intercourse. This is indeed possible, with extreme bad luck, but I would say that it is at least as likely that there was more than one such encounter.

    So what the story really comes to is that a woman found herself pregnant by a man that she didn’t want to see again. It is a very, very common syndrome: what woman has not, for a few moments at least, felt that about the man who impregnated her?

    Pte Barman wanted a second chance. She felt that she could do better without Mr Donor or his offspring. By abortion she felt she could put the whole sorry affair behind her. Dissuaded from this, she nevertheless is taking no chances about Mr Donor. In order to ensure that she does not have spend the rest of her life waking up to his face on the other side of the pillow or at the very least shunting her offspring back and forth every weekend to him, she decides to exclude him from contact with her and her offspring by not informing him of the pregnancy, and by putting the very worst construction on his relations with her.

    As a result, she creates the worst possible environment for parenting. Every child needs at least 7 parents; Master Belfast has barely one. Nothing is so conducive to poverty as a concealed paternity. It’s like denying half the world.

    Mr Donor’s attitude has never been solicited. Even if the facts are much as represented, a casual fling at a party, he might still have a conscience, he might at some future time have the means to be of use. Even if he is in every way a useless, irresponsible cad, what about his parents, his sister? It may be that at the very moment of your greatest need, your closest relations, ignorant of your existence but close at hand, were wondering how to donate their time and money. The fact that you have had this story repeated to you since time began means that you have never challenged it. Do so now. Audi alteram partem.

  • Mister_Joe

    I hope you’re not trying to suggest that most allegations of rape are fabrications.

  • PeterBrown

    I did explain that my position my jaundiced but it is a fact that in relation to all 4 rape allegations I have ever dealt with only one involved an actual rape and that was statutory given the age of the female and the age of consent but was consensual when she had initial reported it as common law rape. I do not believe that my limited experience can be extrapolated to all rape allegations (although interestingly none of the complainants faced any consequences for making false allegations). Equally though I assume that you do not believe that every rape allegation is true and especially if it were in future being one not for the purposes of prosecuting the alleged perpetrator but as a means of procuring a legal abortion any more than either of us believe that all current GB abortions are carried out for the reasons set out in the 1967 when in fact “to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman” has effectively become abortion on demand. The rape exception potentially creates the same problem without the criminal prosecution consequences of those who made false allegations against my client unless there is some safeguard.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    THAT’s what you took from this article? All of a sudden your posts on slugger make sense…

  • Paddy Reilly

    Nothing so encourages the formulation of false rape allegations as the adoption of the philosophy, beloved of feminists, that “women don’t lie about rape.”

    Many women consent to sexual intercourse and then find that the man they have slept with fails, in some way, to live up to their expectations. He has lied about his income, identity or status; he forgets their name, he is rude and proposes to abandon them after one night. They feel raped: but legally, they have not been raped. Sorting out this grey area between legal rape and perceived rape is quite difficult. There are the cases of R. v. Morgan (1975) and R v Collins
    where the female could swear she had been raped but the defendant had a different understanding.

  • Gerry Lynch

    A powerful and brave article, thank you.

  • Randy McDonald

    “Even if the facts are much as represented”

    The facts aren’t represented that way by anyone but yourself.

  • MerryWeather

    A woman wouldn’t even be tempted to fabricate anything if she can just make a choice without being judged and interrogated. Also, please revisit your logic that because all 4 of your interviews appeared to be fraught with fabrications, that every accusation must be suspect. Read some statistics and you’ll see that false accusations occur very rarely, but will occur more often in a society that denies women a choice. Educate yourself about victim-blaming too. This story was actually about women’s choice and not about whether the rape actually happened, or if people who get pregnant from rape can be happy or not. If you are going to engage in conversation as emotionally charged as this, please do your due diligence.

  • MerryWeather

    Paddy. Gosh. I’m trying so hard not to use the word ignorant….ah sorry!
    Reporting. Huge issue. Educate yourself. Rape happens at parties
    ALL the time. Educate yourself. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the assumptions and misinformation and just plain backwoods values you have about sexual relations. The statistics tell the story. Again, just make a commitment to learn something new. Challenge yourself to be different or better than the rest of the guys who think that intercourse just occurs. Humans are intended to be more than mere animals.

  • carl marks

    Audi alteram partem, means you tell us, hearing the other persons side, not making the whole bloody thing up to suit a argument!
    since you brought up legal process try to imagine how that little post of yours would go down in a court.
    Judge, where is your proof of this!
    PR, No proof your honour but sure that’s how those people do things!
    Judge, someone get this Buffoon out of my court!
    you cant demand to hear the other side and then make one up to suit your argument.

  • Paddy Reilly

    We have a disagreement based on the definition of the word rape.

    Sexual intercourse occurs at parties all the time. Quite often the female regrets it. Females are genetically programmed to feel diminished by promiscuity, males to feel empowered by it.

    Much less often complaint is made to the police. Usually the potential complainant realises that she consented at the time, and so hasn’t a leg to stand on. Quite often though she will go on to regale her friends with her victim status. This we would call the Ulrike Jonsson syndrome. UJ wrote a book alleging that she had been raped. The idiot police took this up, not realising that it was a FMO (for memoirs only) accusation, otherwise she would have reported it at the time. UJ refused to co-operate with them.

    Sometimes though the complaint will be brought to court, as the case of R v Donnellan, though this was dismissed because the complainant had apparently consented at the time, under the impression that it was someone else, as in R v Collins.

    And there is even the possibility that someone was raped at a party, that a complaint was made, and someone convicted. I can’t think of one, but that is probably because it wouldn’t attract much publicity.

    For you, the terms ‘rape’ is to be applied to all these cases; for me, it is only in the last (wholly imaginary) case, a complaint and a conviction, that the word is applicable. I should warn that the law takes the same view as me, and so the term ‘rapist’, if applied to any but the perpetrator of the last of these cases, will lead to a suit for libel.

  • Paddy Reilly

    Unfortunately the adversarial system does allow the defence to present a string of hypotheses, without proof, if it chooses to.

    However in the instant case, I am not in court.

    BB accuses a man, actually his father, of rape. I point out that there has been no conviction, no complaint and no interrogation, even years after the fact, of the alleged complainant. The legal definition of evidence is oral testimony, given in court, which is subject to cross-examination. So from a legal point of view there is no evidence.

    Thus from a legal standpoint there is no rape, and my description of the likely events is as valid as his is. The only way either could be improved is by seeking out the accused party and getting his version of events: audi alteram partem. Your contribution to this enquiry is to invent an imaginary judge who tells me I am a buffoon. I invent a Monty Python foot that descends and squelches you.

  • Paddy Reilly

    Indeed, I am a little confused as to how Mr Guest managed to sit in on four consecutive false rape accusations, when statistics have educated me into believing that such things are very, very rare. It is like being struck by four consecutive meteorites on four consecutive July 4ths.

    The answer was provided by Mr Twain over a hundred years ago: lies, damn lies…

    So what I proposes actually happens is this. The police are besieged by a lot of fatuous rape claims by women from the lower end of the IQ spectrum, or recently discharged from mental hospitals. They listen politely, serve them coffee, point out the absurdities and contradictions in their testimony and their ignorance of the law, and remind them of how often they have brought similar accusations in the last month. They then ask them if they wish to continue with their complaint, advising them to drop it: in most cases they are happy to do so; in some the DPP refuses to proceed.

    Only if they pass through this initial stage do they count as complainants for official purposes, and appear on the statistics. That is why there are such different perceptions.

  • Mirrorballman

    10 years ago an ex-girl friend of mine (she was 16 I was 17) went to England for an abortion. She didn’t tell me until 7 years later having first told me she miscarried. I was very angry/hurt at what I took as her and her Mothers deception at not even discussing with me the possibility of abortion never mind deceiving me after it happened.
    It took many months before the anger cooled enough for me to see beyond my own biased and totally selfish emotions on the issue and start to place myself in her shoes. I thought about this 16 year old girl who suddenly found herself in the position of becoming a parent. Of having to give up a promising education, a promising acting career. Of a young girl having to lie to most of her family and friends. Of not being able to share the greatest stress she had suffered to date in her life with those she cared and trusted the most. I thought of her having to sneak off to England with her mother to have a life-changing, heartbreaking procedure, while only a child herself. I thought of her coming home from the worst weekend of her life and having no-one at all to talk to about it. When I think back no I still get angry but now its towards me.
    It’s time to break the taboo of abortion in Ireland once and for all. Irish women are being brutalised on a daily basis due to the selfish views of many Irish men. No woman should be forced to leave the ones she loves during potentially the most difficult period of their lives. It’s not right and I for one won’t support it anymore.

  • carl marks

    of course the court allows you to present a string of hypotheses without proof, you have as much right to make a fool of yourself in a court as anywhere else.
    and I am sorry about making up a imaginary judge to call you a buffoon, I realise it was not needed.
    You do not know BB, you do not know his mother, you have no idea about the facts at all, what you did do was make up a pile on nonsense and tried to claim that is what happened.
    you are right no Judge needed. you done it very well yourself!
    By the way you know that “Monty python boot’s” are about as close to reality as your first post!

  • MerryWeather

    When you say “quite often” or “Usually”, you are implying that you know what every single person has done or will do and that you somehow know that things usually happen a certain way. Quite often, this is naive. I like what Morpheus said. This argument gets the f off prize.

  • MerryWeather

    You have offered a string of hypotheses as well. Legal standpoints are not based on truth, only law. I imagine I am on my merry way. Cheerio!

  • Paddy Reilly

    You do not know BB, you do not know his mother, you have no idea about the facts at all, what you did do was make up a pile on nonsense and tried to claim that is what happened.

    You do not know BB, you do not know his father, you have no idea about the facts at all. You seem to think that the first party to get her excuses in has a monopoly of the truth. I have indicated what could have happened, and indicated what is
    the best way to establish what really did. Listen to the other party. That is the only way.

  • Paddy Reilly

    But also, I must give you back your own advice: Educate yourself. How does a woman who has been raped behave? Typically, she showers 50 times, scrubs herself with wire wool, and undertakes a number of tests to see if she has been impregnated or infected with a variety of unpleasant diseases. Often she withdraws from society and becomes a semi-hermit. This psychological damage is why we assign such importance to the crime, punishing it with substantial sentences.

    The events we are talking about took place, as far as I can tell, around the end of the Herpes flap and beginning of the AIDS panic. Anyone raped in that time would have certainly wanted confirmation that she had not been infected with something nasty and visited a sexual diseases clinic, where she would have discovered she was pregnant. Yet Pte Barman just soldiered on regardless. To me that is more indicative of a less traumatic impregnation. This would, I believe, also have occurred to any policeman she had reported the alleged crime to.

    But the answer is not just to throw out accusations: the matter needs to be investigated: audi alteram partem. Pte Barman only produced her account for the benefit of her family as a justification of her desired abortion, she did not report it to the police. Maybe it is a true account: but we will only find this out when we listen to the other party.

  • carl marks

    I think Morph said it all.

  • carl marks

    think you have been watching to much telly.

  • Paddy Reilly

    I don’t have a tv; but I can watch some on my computer. But I have read a lot of law reports.

  • carl marks

    that’s nice!

  • Paddy Reilly

    I have never interviewed a rape complainant, but I did a lot of interviews with asylum seekers, some of whom had been raped, some of whom were alleging rape.

    I have also dealt with the victim of a false rape accusation. The complainant had found out how much compensation is paid to rape victims, and decided to adopt this as her career. The fatuous charges of this would-be serial rapee were dismissed, but not before the accused had gone grey and been admitted to a mental hospital.

  • Mister_Joe

    Absolutely. Misogyny is alive and well in some heads, it would appear.

  • Paddy Reilly

    In America there is a reality tv programme called Maury, which enables men and women with paternity issues to resolve their dispute by appearing on the show. The women say, “I’ve got a bun in the oven from you” and the men say “No, you haven’t, you were at it with half the street”.

    Maury pays for the DNA testing, the results come through. If the man is proven responsible, he sits there with clenched teeth, kissing goodbye to half his income for the next 18 years. If he is exonerated, he punches the air and the woman runs out crying. It’s great reality tv.

    What does one conclude from this? That men lie, that women lie. I didn’t notice any statistical bias one way or the other. The way to find out which is the case in a particular instance is to carry out further investigation. You cannot assume that all women are telling the truth.

    You however are happy to accept the uncorroborated and
    unexamined testimony of a woman as necessarily true. Anything else is misogyny. On this basis we are invited to conclude that abortion is a good thing. But as 50% of abortions involve female foetuses, is it not straining the definition of
    misogyny to include those who might argue against its necessity?

  • Paddy Reilly

    “When you say “quite often” or “Usually”, you are implying that you know what every single person has done or will do”

    What is this rubbish? Usually, when entering a Church,
    Catholics will make the sign of the cross. When entering puberty, young people will quite often have the desire to have sexual intercourse. I do not lay claim to know what every single person has done or will do, but I can draw conclusions about quite a number of them.

  • PeterBrown

    A woman would not have be tempted to fabricate anything if she was not in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy either and I have accepted that it is not logical to extrapolate that all rape allegations be treated as suspect from my own limited professional experience and have referred to rapes and resulting pregnancies in my post so to state that i said this is in fact a non sequitur. Where are the statistics that false allegations occur very rarely as none of my allegations will have been recorded as such as in each case when confronted with the evidence of their fabrication the “victim” withdrew their complaint in order to avoid being prosecuted themselves so it will not have been recorded as a false allegation thereby reducing the usefulness of the statistics (and leaving a serious criminal offence – the false allegation – go unpunished while my client in each case had spent time in custody being interviewed and forensically examined and with an arrest blemish on their character which is not warranted). My due diligence is in order (hence why unlike others I have not cast aspersions on the authors mother’s specific case) perhaps you should take a look at the log in your own eye (and address the fundamental point at the end of my post that this is not unlocking the door to abortion in Northern Ireland it is in fact removing the door altogether unless there are some checks and balances at the door)…

  • Paddy Reilly

    Nice to have my suspicions regarding the statistics confirmed. However I do not cast aspersions on the author’s mother’s specific case, I merely feel that her uncorroborated retrospective allegations should not be taken as the only possible truth: audi alteram partem.

    And this is obviously not from any legal standpoint: for the emotional development of any individual, it is a mistake to take at face value your mother’s description of the horribleness of your father, without having met and interviewed the man yourself.

    Otherwise you could end up having your entire world view, based on the wickedness of one individual and one of the sexes, and the innocence and purity of the other, suddenly taken away from you.

  • PeterBrown


    What I have omitted are the rapes that go unreported which do not feature in the statistics either – which is why I am as sceptical about the statistics as I am about the allegations and the protestations of innocence until I see the evidence. But in the context of an abortion i suspect no-one will be asking to see any evidence and therefore there will be no control (that is why I posted – it was about abortion not about rape)

  • Paddy Reilly

    I was visiting a male person in his fifties in a mental ward and he assured me that he was gang-raped every night by the other patients. I mentioned this to a friend of mine and he said his mother, during her last illness, believed she was being raped by a black man in the hospital. This was somewhere remote like Limavady; they searched through the hospital and there was no black man there at all. We couldn’t work out why they should tell these stories; were they memories from the distant past, or just a kind of filling of a void with made up beings?

    On the other hand, Jimmy Savile committed many of his crimes in mental hospitals. I didn’t believe the gang-rape story because the other patients were too drugged up, and my informant went on to tell me he was the Pope, Ann Frank, Bill Gates and Madeleine McCann, and that he was going to be executed by lethal injection that afternoon. I think this just meant he wanted sympathy: the injection perhaps referred to the anti-psychotics.

    But obviously, there are a lot of things which could be interpreted as rape complaints which are just ignored because they are so ridiculous. A dedicated feminist M.C.P.finder general could turn them into a serious scandal. What I object to is them being incorporated into a narrative of alleged negligence by the prosecuting authorities, which is then used to sway the judicial process.

  • Mister_Joe

    Are you absolutely sure that you weren’t visiting yourself.

  • Paddy Reilly

    I’m not sure what to make of this. It seems to me that what you, and Ms Meriweather, are displaying is a dismal failure to achieve abstract thought. There is a whole spectrum of rape complaints, ranging from the obviously true to the blatantly false, with an enormous grey area in between. You are concentrating merely on a particular instance, known to yourself, which is true: therefore you think all complaints are true.

    The most suspect rape complaint is the one that was never made. Both patients I mentioned above never actually complained to someone in authority, not even a ward sister; their narratives were solely for the benefit of their long suffering visitors. Ms Ulrika Jonsson was raped in her memoirs but refused to lodge a complaint with the police, even when pressed to do so: her narrative was presumably designed to compete with 50 Shades. Belfast Barman’s mother said she was raped at a party, but never went to the police over it.

    All allegations require investigation: audi alteram partem. That there are so many objectors to this fundamental principle of justice is very worrying. It isn’t just in the legal system, it is in your private life as well. You are about on the mental level of the crowd in Cardiff who set fire to their neighbour’s house, because they had heard it housed a paedophile. It turned out she was a paediatrician. If someone makes an allegation about an absent party, do not give it your full credence until it has been investigated.

  • Croiteir

    The nuance does not affect the outcome of having a pro abortion outlook

  • Croiteir

    Why – what else is there when you boil it down.

  • Paddy Reilly

    It’s you that are making things up.

    There was no conviction for rape.
    There was no application for compensation for rape.
    There was no prosecution for rape.
    There was no complaint of rape.

    The evidence shows that there must have been an act of coition and it appears very much that the female party regrets that it happened.
    All I can do is speculate that there might not have been, in the strict legal sense, an actual rape. It is your hearsay evidence that any sensible judge would exclude.

  • carl marks

    I’m making things up! it’s not me who is trying to form theories about a subject of which he is ignorant of the facts.
    I have seen better evidence in a episode of Mr’s Marple.
    laughingly you say that BB evidence (I believe it was a statement not evidence) would be excluded by a judge and at the same time seem to believe that your fantasy is somehow truth based, amusing!

  • Paddy Reilly

    It’s not me who is trying to form theories about a subject of which he is ignorant of the facts

    No? Is that not what Belfast Barman is doing? Surely no man can know the facts of his own conception, nine months before he was born, at least not when he doesn’t know who his father is. And you are just theorising that BB has the correct version. My contribution is to say that he could have a more balanced and reliable version of the facts if he listened to what the other party has to say.

    If a woman goes to the police and says she has been raped, then she probably has been raped.

    If however a woman does not go to the police but later alleges to other people that she was raped, the chances that the allegation is true (in a legal sense at least) are much, much smaller.

    What this often means is that she does not wish to be classed as promiscuous, and so wishes to deflect any blame on the male party. This would particularly be the case if there were any negative consequences of her act(s), such as her becoming pregnant. Tell your parents you’re pregnant, and their response may be terrible: tell them you were raped, and you’ll get tea and sympathy.

    In countries where the only grounds for abortion is a pregnancy arising from rape, then obviously all women desiring an abortion will allege that they have been raped.

    Your invention of an imaginary judge using language no judge would ever use is exactly wrong. In asylum applications, where the other parties (3rd World dictators and their henchmen) obviously cannot be summonsed to appear as witnesses, the only grounds for allowing or refusing an application is whether or not their story stacks up. (Believe me: I have judges ringing me up asking about obscure words in foreign languages to determine whether or not their applicant is lying.) So presented with a story like Belfast Barman’s mother’s, I can only examine it to see if it stacks up. (We only have the story: we don’t even know if BB is a 60 year old woman of legitimate birth, and made the whole thing up.) I don’t think it does. The unreported party rape and the failure to seek maintenance are a big hole.

    Now Mr Donor may or may not be guilty of raping Pte Barman in the strict legal sense, but he is undeniably 100% guilty of impregnating her. A complaint of rape may or may not succeed; but a paternity suit definitely will, in these days of DNA. Given that she has limited resources available to raise her child with, her failure to avail herself of this opportunity is mysterious. Suspicious even.

    Two obvious explanations spring to mind: one is that she loves him and wants to shield him from financial burden, another that she hates him and doesn’t want him even to know that he has a son. Yes, anything beyond this is speculation: I can only recommend it as worthy of investigation. The facts are merely this: a fatherless birth, and a failure to complain of rape or seek maintenance.

    All I can say (to BB) is this: your application to be retrospectively aborted on the grounds of rape fails, because of doubts whether this rape actually occurred.

  • carl marks

    Oh dear, you see the difference is that BB was given his information by a person who was there, you on the other hand have made up a set of circumstances (with no knowledge of what happened) and you are arrogant enough to think that if you think it, it is true.
    that would suggest either a massive ego or a clumsy attempt to push a narrative to suit some agenda you wish to get out there.

  • Paddy Reilly

    Pte Barman was indeed there: but she was not the only person who was. In order to have a full and balanced account of what happened we need the testimony of the other person present: audi alteram partem. The circumstances I detail are imaginary, there merely to illustrate what the truth could be, not what it is. The facts are that there is a fatherless recorded birth and no attempt to complain of rape or seek maintenance. That is all. Explain this as we will: I find Pte Barman’s explanation a little suspect.

    Throughout my life, when working with asylum seekers and ‘liable relatives’, I have been told lies. I have no grounds for complaint, because part of my role with the asylum seekers was to redact, embellish and present these lies. The UK is particularly vulnerable to penetration by this army of mendacity; the Irish Republic much less so.

    ‘Liable Relatives’ is the department set up to locate and extract payment from that band of men who have removed women from the workforce by impregnating them without offering to support them. As you can imagine, the prime enemy is men. Their excuses are predictable and unimaginative. Sometimes they even tell the truth. One man complained that while both he and his long estranged wife were of wholly Irish origin, the child we were asking him to maintain had the cranial features and pigmentation of an African. This turned out to be true.

    However, as you can tell from the above, there are also certain women who attempt to frustrate the workings of the dept and conceal the paternity of their child. I think the reasoning is that the Buroo will have to pay and the father can top up this income, leading to a net gain. Sometimes there are women who want to exclude all men from their lives and bring up their wean as if conceived by parthenogenesis; sometimes they only wish to exclude the father of their offspring, with whom they have fallen out in a big way; others, more generously inclined, inform multiple men of their paternity; very often they wish to father them on their latest boyfriend, rather than the now discarded biological father. Here the state is happy to collude with them: if you marry a woman with children, you become liable for them, even if you subsequently divorce.

    Unmarried mothers with an aversion to naming the father come up with a variety of excuses: I was drunk when I conceived him, so I called him Carling, I didn’t notice whose it was; he was a Martian/Marshallese/from one of those ‘M’ places and I’ve lost contact; he is a high ranking mafioso and has sent his heavies round to threaten me with death if I name him.

    Now I don’t hold with the usual blame culture that stresses the fecklessness of the unemployed: in election years their numbers diminish amazingly, suggesting that the government can create work for them, when it wants to. But I do believe strongly in paternity. I think that if a man goes round, without condoms or vasectomy, impregnating unsuspecting women in drunken ruts, then he should be held liable for the upbringing of the children he engenders. So does the state. A paternity summons is the quickest way to cause him to practice safe sex.

    Strangely, Pte Barman does not seem to have sought help for the maintenance of her offspring from his father. This causes me to place her in my system of reference as (probably) a woman who desires a total rupture with the father of her child and possibly, in pursuit of this goal, has been a little vague with the truth.

    Equally the sad story of the party rape, unfortunately not dignified by a criminal conviction, does in my universe of discourse seem to be a notational variant of the Carling excuse.

    One excuse I have never heard, from men at least, is the deployment of rape as an antidote to financial liability. “Your honour, I should not have to pay for this woman’s child, the fact is I raped her.” Yeah, right.

    So from a sociological standpoint I would say that the account here indicates impoverishment through paternity denial. The problem is the denial of ordinary father/son relations. I would be interested to hear what Belfast Barman makes of this. While it might appear to diminish his mother, obviously it slightly exonerates his father.

    It is not good for the psyche to regard yourself as an unworthy refugee from the abortion bucket. (People with that background have sometimes gone on to commit terrible crimes.) Nor does it help to regard one’s self as the offspring of pure male evil on total female innocence, like Adrian the Spawn of Satan in Rosemary’s Baby. (Who was, admittedly, the Anti-Christ.)

    “Long Lost Family” leads us to believe that even lifetime deadbeat dads dissolve into cringe-worthy lachrymosity when offered the chance to meet their sins in person. There was also the case of the millionaire in America who had terminal cancer and suddenly regretted the son he had abandoned in the womb in England decades previously, determining to leave his fortune to him. The lad was sought out and found to be in prison, a common destination for those who have inadequate parenting.

    “Honour thy father and mother: that is all
    From whom preferment may befall.”

    So I suppose the agenda I wish to get out is this: knowledge of paternity is a force for order, perhaps even for enrichment. Do not accept your mother’s account of your father’s black character without having first investigated it.

  • carl marks

    listen you are making a fool of yourself, to assume you know about events that you could not possibly know about and to call the only available witness a liar, along with your true-movies opinion of how rape victims behave is not only ridiculous but offensive.
    Now excuse me I am in the middle of inventing the story of how you were conceived.
    Please don’t worry, I will throw in some insulting stereotypes, base my analysis of the behaviour of your mother on Hollywood stereotype’s (the naughty girl an imagine she lied to you for a reason), I of course expect you to accept all my conclusions as that’s how it happened because that’s how I think it happened.

  • Paddy Reilly

    you are arrogant …….you assume you know about events that you could not possibly know about and call the only available witness a liar

    There is a story you may have already heard which concerns a young Dubliner who presents himself to a recruitment board of the British Army around 1910. His interview goes as follows:-

    Officer: Name of father.

    Recruit: I never had a father.

    Officer: Name of mother, so.

    Recruit: I never had a mother either.

    Officer: Well would you mind explaining to me how in the world you came to be?

    Recruit: A man took advantage of me auntie.

    So you are right. I arrogantly think I understand this young man’s genealogy better than he did himself, even though it involves knowing about events I could not possibly know about and calling the only available witness a liar.

    But as regards BB’s family, I do not call his mother a liar. I just think she has a different definition of the word ‘rape’ to me. My definition is more or less the same as the legal one, (mens rea + actus reus) whereas she is probably extending it to signify any act of sexual intercourse which the female party subsequently came to regret. There are rows and rows of books written by feminists in the British Library proving that very point. All Sex is rape. Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men’s contempt for women. If you feel like you have been raped, then you have been raped.

    It is a matter for endless debate. The feminists’ definition of rape is as elastic as a whore’s knickers. Our aim is to strike a balance between what women say they want, what they actually want and the pressing need of the human race to survive through procreation.

    No, I don’t think my proposed scenarios are the only possible version of events. There is a whole range of possibilities. It’s just that the authorised version would stack up better if it were linked to some official or notarised statements by its author, by DNA or by listening to the other party.

    As regards my own origins, while convinced I have the details of my paternity and maternity correct, in general I know as little about their sexual activities as (I hope) they knew about mine, and all statements made by them to me about the past I keep in a kind of suspended animation, ready to be overturned if necessary. Revisions to the family tree have occurred, and I was generally the last to find out. The life they led was not very Hollywood, but I am sometimes reminded of William Trevor. That is what growing up involves: realising that not every statement made to you by your parents is necessarily true. I’d recommend “Nowhere Boy”

    for a film on this theme.

  • carl marks

    well your little story about the soldier convinced me that everything you said was true! (heavy sarcasm there), I have a great idea, before you comment on anybody’s life, make sure you have facts about their life because not everybody is a episode of the Jeremy Kyle show.

  • Croiteir

    Not half as brutalised as the dead child was

  • Paddy Reilly

    The 5th Earl Russell (Conrad) was educated by his mother (née Peter Spence) in the belief that his father was the devil incarnate. She warned him never to contact the man: if he did, she would never speak to him again.

    He kept this up for 16 years, but eventually the desire to meet one of the most interesting characters of the 20th Century (Bertrand Russell, 3rd Earl) who was also his father got the better of him; possibly by then, he had begun to find his mother’s vagaries a little tedious. She kept her promise and never spoke to him again.

    Bertie Russell was a great man, an important philosopher, a good neighbour and quite a good father: only as a husband did he fail to shine. Peter Spence apparently thought that by marrying a man nearly 40 years older than her she would be set up for life, only to be dumped, surprisingly, for an older model. She was justifiably embittered, (except of course that she had stolen him from his previous wife) but she had no right to take this out on her son. It is this story, rather than any episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show (which I have never seen) that Belfast Barman’s sad story reminds me of.

    There is no greater cruelty than forcing a child to choose between his two parents, as the Lennons do to their son John in “Nowhere boy”. However, from the child’s point of view, it does make sense to cleave to the party that raises you, accepting her version of events as gospel. She will not pass on a fair and balanced view of the other partner. No man is a hero to his valet, much less to his ex-wife, ex-lover or ex-anything. However, when the party with custody turns out to be remote and ineffective, you are justified in exploring the alternate universe in which your inseminator is not the Prince of Darkness.

    Now, the facts as I know them are this. Every child has a father. I might ask BB, why his father does not help him out?

    Answer: I don’t have a father.

    Question: How did you come to be?

    Answer: My mother was raped at a party.

    Question: Why did your mother not scream the house down?

    Why did your mother not make a complaint to the police?

    Why did your mother not make an application for maintenance?

    The answer to the first two questions is probably that her conduct at the party was too compliant for a complaint of rape to succeed.

    The answer to the third I do not know, but I suspect that she wishes to prevent contact between father and son. What her motives are: malice, revenge, fear, I do not know.

    I suspect too that Belfast Barman has never asked these questions and is beginning to realise that it might be worth doing so.

  • Paddy Reilly

    I think I should clarify. We are dealing with two proposed parallel universes. In the universe proposed by BB, Pte Barman has an abortion, and is free to continue with her valuable social work performing intimate body searches on Fenian women. Belfast Barman is never born, and everyone lives happily ever after. Except for the Fenian women.

    In my proposed parallel universe, Pte Barman announces her pregnancy to the person responsible for it. He probably does not agree to marry her, but accepts financial responsibility as the lesser of two evils. Perhaps he refuses, and needs to be brought into line by DNA and the Courts.

    After that, a pattern of paternal access on alternate weekends emerges. Young Belfast is taken up to Cavehill so often he can name every single animal in the Zoo. Sometimes the slanging matches between mother and father on return becomes an embarrassment, but fortunately the moments of contact are brief. Much better, when Pte Barman and Master Belfast fall into need, Captain Donor is able to help them out. Actually by now he has become an officer in another regiment and has been posted abroad (to the relief of nearly everyone), and it is his mother and sister who help out. No-one is ecstatically happy, but they all enjoy a reasonable standard of living. Young Belfast grows up regarding himself as quite normal (most other families in the area operate on these principles) and not the spawn of Satan after all. He never goes to a conference on Abortion, a topic which never enters his mind.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    Left it a week to comment, think it’s safe now…

    Firstly, thanks to those showing support, even those who are normally at opposing poles to my worldview 😉 I ask only that minds remain open.

    Secondly, to those questioning my conception, or at least the legal surroundings…how long is the average rape case from event or even legal accusation through to conviction (or acquittal)?? So that’s how long a woman pregnant from rape has to wait before she’s allowed to have an abortion in this situation? On the other hand, the stress of a rape trial and meeting her accuser in public court might just cause enough stress to trigger a miscarriage….every cloud and all that jazz,

    Finally, to Paddy Reilly….dad, would you ever leave off? I told you to stop following me around the internet.