Author Topic: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality  (Read 10014 times)

Offline davidrotts63

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2019, 07:51:21 AM »
@JTZ
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Offline skyguy918

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2019, 11:45:00 AM »
Perhaps I don't follow you fully. Are you saying that without Torah there is no innate good or bad?
That is clearly wrong because before the giving of the Torah there was the Mabul which was a punishment for wrong.
Check out R. Nissam Goan's introduction to Shas printed in any Vilna Edition where he discusses this. See also Chovos Halvavos in his introduction.
This topic relates so I wouldn't consider it hijacking the thread.

 R' Nissam Goan writes that man was responsible for logical actions from the time he was placed on earth. Even before the giving of the Torah and before the 7 mitzvos bnei noach, man had a logical brain that he was expected to consult with. 

Take the case of Kayin who was held responsible for killing his brother Hevel. That was before Torah and before the 7 noahide laws. He should have known that murder is wrong.
You appear to be confusing the giving of the Torah to klal yisroel on har sinai with the creation/existence of the Torah. Since we know histakel b'oraysa ubara alma, the fact that pre-matan Torah there was a responsibility not to kill still has to come from the Torah. Ie the mechayev may not be the Torah, but the logic still stems from the Torah.

Offline Shkop

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2019, 02:03:18 PM »
You appear to be confusing the giving of the Torah to klal yisroel on har sinai with the creation/existence of the Torah. Since we know histakel b'oraysa ubara alma, the fact that pre-matan Torah there was a responsibility not to kill still has to come from the Torah. Ie the mechayev may not be the Torah, but the logic still stems from the Torah.
Actually we can say both things and it still wouldn't change anything. Logic preceded Torah for man. Torah preceded the universe in the sense that Hashem first created it and then used it as a blueprint for the universe.

As you indicated, if Hashem chose a different set of laws then there might have been a different set of ethics. So be it. You can also argue that 1+1=2 isn't innately true because if G-d wanted He could have created the universe with another type of mathematics.

But since He chose to create the world the way He did, there exists certain fundamental truths that a logical mind can perceive, one of which is that if you slay your neighbor or your unborn child you are an evil person. 
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Offline Yonah

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2019, 02:07:17 PM »
I am a frum man - blessed with children. I clearly don't have a womb, so whatever I say should be taken with a grain of salt.

I've been thinking a lot about abortion and what's going in the news lately.
Me too
I'm a frum woman, mother of 2, and being pro-life seemed almost instinctual to me. But beyond my personal beliefs, debating the legality or illegality of abortion requires understanding the (euphemistically named) pro-choice position.

So the defense agains the common pro-abortion arguments are as follows:

1. "My body, my choice": This argument (which often gets intertwined with the viability argument) imagines that since the fetus is inside the mother's womb and cannot survive on its own, it's considered part of the mother. This would be the equivalent of assuming that a car parked inside a garage is part of the house. Or that a cake baking in the oven is part of the oven. The viability argument isn't too sure-footed either. A 3-month-old baby would also die if they were left alone. A toddler would also die if no one would feed them. Some adult husbands would die if they weren't fed ;) . The fact that someone requires care doesn't mean that they don't have the right to exist.
You analogy is false. That three month old baby can live if someone else were to feed it. If a 3-month old fetus was pulled out of the uterus - there is literally no way it can survive. (Yes we can fertilize embryos in a lab and implant them, but we can't move an already growing fetus to another womb).


2. "A fetus isn't a baby": Well, that's right, a fetus isn't a baby. Just the same way a baby isn't a child and a child isn't a teenager and a teenager isn't an adult. They're all at different developmental stages. But ultimately, they are all human. It's a human fetus. In fact, if you can handle it- take a look at these first trimester images and tell me that this isn't a human.
What it looks like is irrelevant. The bottom line is that it isn't a viable human being.
3. The rape/incest case: As horrible and as tragic as these cases are, getting an abortion doesn't take away the rape. Furthermore, the unborn child isn't guilty of the crimes of his father. How can we justify taking someone's innocent life for a crime he didn't commit?

What about the victim of the rape? This person was attacked and violated. She will probably have physical and psychological trauma for the rest of her life. As you have b"h been obligated twice in your life so far to say birchas hagomel because you survived childbirth, I imagine you understand that pregnancy brings both financial requirements and medical risks - we're going to victimize the victim of a crime even further?  We're going to make her risk her own life for a fetus that isn't even a 'ben kayama'?

For the offensive play, pro-lifers point out the brutality of abortion.
Many people don't even know that most surgical abortions involve at the very least the dismemberment of the fetus. While rare, late term saline abortions have the baby undergo chemical burns from the inside out. If you have the stomach for it, you can google other late term abortion horrors.
You can learn about the actual details of an abortion procedure here, it's not the same as having a cancerous, clump of tissue removed.

There is evidence that suggest that the fetus can feel pain from 16weeks and on:

On the scientific front things seem clear. A fetus is it's own human being, with it's own distinct set of DNA.
According to the CDC - which is probably the most accurate and unbiased source - 91% of all abortions happen before 13 weeks, and about 65% happen before 8 weeks. Generally speaking, the later term abortions are situations where the mother is at risk.

But things get murkier- what do we say to those babies being born into poverty, into immature and even neglectful families, those born with conditions that will make their life a struggle? What about those babies who are simply unwanted? Are they better off dead?

What if in the future we will have guaranteed pain-free abortions? What if scientists could find incontrovertible truth that babies are not conscious prior to birth? Would that change things?


Pro-life proponents would still argue "no". And that brings us to the heart of the matter: the sanctity of life. And this is the underlying answer to all of the pro-life arguments. This is why it doesn't matter what Life is, or when exactly it starts. Life is precious. Life is the most. precious. thing. Even the life of an unwanted, inconvenient baby. Even the life of a rapist's child. Even the life of a baby with Down Syndrome. Even the life of a baby who will grow up to live a poor, hard, obstacle-ridden, mostly miserable life.

At least that's how I see it.
While I can't be one to argue with your feelings. It's clear you value the life of the unborn more than the life and/or wellbeing of the mother!

 If g-d forbid a woman in pregnancy has a medical issue - and only she or the baby could survive - would you still feel that way? Would you be inclined to tell that woman to keep her pregnancy and die in order to preserve the life of the baby?

Can you imagine for a second, a 20-year-old girl, about to hit the shidduch circuit who gets raped by a non-jew on her way home from seminary? Are you advocating that she keep the baby of the criminal that impregnated her. I'm sure her shidduch prospects would be impressed that she preserved the sanctity of life by keeping this baby with the shaygitz father that impregnated her.  I am sure that will go over great when that baby becomes bar mitzvah and gets called to the torah without his true father's name. I'm sure he'll have no issue fitting in in the jewish world (because let's face it, giving up a frum baby for adoption to a non-jewish or non-frum family is probably just as bad as getting an abortion).

But this is no longer a cold-hard, logical, scientific truth. The sanctity of life is a uniquely religious idea. Because we are made in the image of G-d, that is why human life is precious. If we remove G-d from the picture- is life precious from an evolutionary standpoint? Is the 80-90 year lifespan of one (statistically prone to be) unremarkable human important among the millions of years, millions of species that precede and succeed it? Not much. Should this clump of molecules, this group of atoms matter more than this amoeba, that bacteria, this asteroid shooting, hurtling around in galaxy? And if this particular life will be difficult and often unhappy, then maybe it's even a kindness to kill it.


So for me, ultimately it's an issue of morality. And morality is inherently a religious constructs. Again, if nature is king and evolution dictates the progression of the world- why does social justice matter? In fact, in today's parlance, evolution is 'racist'! According to natural selection, it's only inevitable that 'the fittest' end up on top. That the smartest and strongest dominate and exploit the weaker isn't evil or unjust- it's only the way nature is designed!

and yet in the torah/mishna/gemara we see that:
- the punishment for damages that end a pregnancy isn't equivalent to murder.
- A child isn't considered a viable human being until 30 days out of the womb.



So now, does immoral = illegal?
Should it?


As a frum jew, from a Torah perspective, something is illegal precisely because it is immoral. But is that something we should pursue in a secular government? What about separation of church and state?
I remember frum Jews posting somewhat celebratory messages when gay marriage was legalized in 2015. The government shouldn't dictate the terms of morality, they wrote.


But where is the line drawn? And what kind of arguments can be made when God is removed from the picture?
The only reason something is illegal is because the society that we live in have deemed it as such.  I think most people in this world - regardless of religion - would think that Adultery is immoral. While adultery is grounds for divorce, and a reason to sink a political campaign, it isn't illegal.

There are those that suggest making permanent changes to your children's bodies is immoral as well, after all if we're arguing for the rights to save the unborn from their parents, why not fight for the rights of the unaware - there are movements now to not only ban ear piercings for young children, but bris mila as well. While you and I do not, some people think that circumcizing a baby is immoral as well, and it soon might in fact be legal.

Where do I draw the line? that's a good question, and a hard one - the laws that protect me as a member of a religion, should not only protect members of other religions, but also those not bound by religion.

I will leave you with a little story. Someone close to me had a situation many years ago where late into the wife's pregnancy (about 18 weeks) a medical condition that put her in serious danger was discovered. The couple consulted with several rabonim and after some discussion were given a heter to terminate the pregnancy. B"H this couple were blessed with healthy children after this (in addition to the ones they had prior).

I imagine that there are other such situations where this type of abortion is warranted, and I hope that you will agree with me. The problem is, under a lot of the new laws being introduced, these logical exemptions - at the very least Rape, Incest, or Medical Danger to the mother - are not exempt.

Which means that even in these cases, where there is a clear - Mother's life or Baby's life - situation, a doctor wouldn't be allowed to perform those abortions, at the very least, I find this reprehensible.

Offline avromie7

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2019, 02:26:16 PM »
I imagine that there are other such situations where this type of abortion is warranted, and I hope that you will agree with me. The problem is, under a lot of the new laws being introduced, these logical exemptions - at the very least Rape, Incest, or Medical Danger to the mother - are not exempt.

Which means that even in these cases, where there is a clear - Mother's life or Baby's life - situation, a doctor wouldn't be allowed to perform those abortions, at the very least, I find this reprehensible.
Of course in a case where the mothers life is in danger it should be allowed, please don't equate that with rape or incest. While rape is terrible, the child did nothing wrong to deserve to be murdered because it's father is a rapist.

I just did a quick google search, the first result was from buzzfeed
Quote
On Tuesday, Alabama passed the strictest abortion law in the United States, banning all abortions except in cases where the mother’s health is at “serious” risk.
Also keep in mind that rape, incest, and mother's life constitute less than 1% of all abortions.
I wonder what people who type "u" instead of "you" do with all their free time.

Offline Shkop

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2019, 02:30:45 PM »

Which means that even in these cases, where there is a clear - Mother's life or Baby's life - situation, a doctor wouldn't be allowed to perform those abortions, at the very least, I find this reprehensible.

It seems that you misunderstood some of what she was saying. That said, which ban wouldn't allow it to save the life of the mother? The Alabama law actually does allow for it.

By the way, reading through the The Alabama Human Life Protection Act, I came across this fascinating piece:

(i) It is estimated that 6,000,000 Jewish people were murdered in German concentration camps during World War II; 3,000,000 people were executed by Joseph Stalin's regime in Soviet gulags; 2,500,000 people were murdered during the Chinese "Great Leap Forward" in 1958; 1,500,000 to 3,000,000 people were murdered by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during the 1970s; and approximately 1,000,000 people were murdered during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. All of these are widely acknowledged to have been crimes against humanity. By comparison, more than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin's gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined.
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Online shwarmabob

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2019, 04:00:16 PM »
It seems that you misunderstood some of what she was saying. That said, which ban wouldn't allow it to save the life of the mother? The Alabama law actually does allow for it.

By the way, reading through the The Alabama Human Life Protection Act, I came across this fascinating piece:

(i) It is estimated that 6,000,000 Jewish people were murdered in German concentration camps during World War II; 3,000,000 people were executed by Joseph Stalin's regime in Soviet gulags; 2,500,000 people were murdered during the Chinese "Great Leap Forward" in 1958; 1,500,000 to 3,000,000 people were murdered by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during the 1970s; and approximately 1,000,000 people were murdered during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. All of these are widely acknowledged to have been crimes against humanity. By comparison, more than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin's gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined.
These numbers are totally incorrect. During Mao at least 50 million people died

Offline Yonah

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2019, 05:06:31 PM »
Of course in a case where the mothers life is in danger it should be allowed, please don't equate that with rape or incest.

I was treating them as two different cases - both of which, IMHO, should warrant someone being allowed to have an abortion, at least we agree on one thing.

While rape is terrible, the child did nothing wrong to deserve to be murdered because it's father is a rapist.

But it's okay to abort a fetus that was the result of incest?

When someone is assaulted, they pay the physical and psychological price of the attack. Hopefully their attacker gets justice, and hopefully the assault isn't so bad that they miss too much work and/or have too long to heal.

When a woman chooses to engage in relations with a man, and she gets pregnant as a result, she understands that the pregnancy is an act of a voluntary action on her part. As much as you and I would argue what her rights are, we'd definitely agree that she got pregnant because of the risks associated with an action she chose to do.

Now we get to rape. A woman was randomly attacked and discovers she's pregnant with the child of the attacker - who literally FORCED HIMSELF ON HER!!!! She had no desire for this or any of its consequences. I'm sure she wants to move on. I'm sure she wants to start healing.

Now, she is being forced to carry this child to term - even if she gives it up for adoption:

- Every day she is reminded that this evil man's dirty act is growing inside her
- Every day she is reminded how she was violated
- Every time someone congratulates her she would cringe inside
- She now has to miss work for doctors appointments (assuming she can afford them)
- She now may have other health conditions - however temporary - arise because of this. (swollen feet, gestational diabetes, etc.)
- If she is on bedrest, she potentially loses wages and work
- She's limited in her ability to travel

So because of the 'rights' of this unborn fetus. You are forcing her to be victimized 10 times over.


I just did a quick google search, the first result was from buzzfeed Also keep in mind that rape, incest, and mother's life constitute less than 1% of all abortions.

The frequency is irrelevant, my point is that these are legitimate cases which need to have exemptions.



Offline zh cohen

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2019, 05:40:09 PM »

But it's okay to abort a fetus that was the result of incest?


What does singling out incest, in a separate category from rape, add to this conversation? I'm assuming you are referring to a specific category of rape, namely rape, statutory or otherwise, by a relative. So why mention that category explicitly?

To the heart of the question, no-one is rejecting the idea that a woman carrying her rapist's baby brings unimaginable pain to the woman. Pro-life people just as much sympathy for the woman who is going through that. We just believe that two wrongs don't make a right and that abortion is wrong.

Offline Yonah

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2019, 09:38:31 AM »
What does singling out incest, in a separate category from rape, add to this conversation? I'm assuming you are referring to a specific category of rape, namely rape, statutory or otherwise, by a relative. So why mention that category explicitly?
Two reasons I did that - 1) the OP (Avromie7) put them together earlier is his post, and then only mentioned rape later on - I imagine he meant to include them together, but I was curious in case he didn't. 2) I imagine that many people arguing with me here are (at least in part) religiously motivated. If that's the case, I am curious if their opinion would differ in the pregnancy in question resulted from one of the relationships that one is liable for Kares in the torah (i.e. most incestuous relationships) vs one that is merely treated as a lav (i.e. a rapist raping a single woman).

To the heart of the question, no-one is rejecting the idea that a woman carrying her rapist's baby brings unimaginable pain to the woman. Pro-life people just as much sympathy for the woman who is going through that. We just believe that two wrongs don't make a right and that abortion is wrong.

While I understand the pro-life point of view, and agree with many aspects of it, this is one piece that I cannot comprehend people supporting. Just like you,  I believe that there are two wrongs here - the first is the rape itself, and the second forcing the woman to bear the fruit of this evil attack. It's bad enough that this woman needs to bear the scars of the attack itself - why do we doubly punish her by forcing the illegal fruits of the attack on her?

I would hope than many rabbonim, if presented this situation, would find an opportunity to provide such a victim with a heter to have an abortion.

I was very tempted to go down the route of asking all of you who support rape victims being forced to bear their rapists babies to imagine it was your wife/sister/daughter - but I will go one step further - talk to a rape victim. I'm sure if you did, you'd see it from a different perspective.

Offline Shkop

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2019, 10:19:53 AM »

While I understand the pro-life point of view, and agree with many aspects of it, this is one piece that I cannot comprehend people supporting. Just like you,  I believe that there are two wrongs here - the first is the rape itself, and the second forcing the woman to bear the fruit of this evil attack. It's bad enough that this woman needs to bear the scars of the attack itself - why do we doubly punish her by forcing the illegal fruits of the attack on her?
It boggles my mind that someone would advocate for abortion the way you do. And some of your other arguments up-thread are even more ludicrous. For example:

- She now has to miss work for doctors appointments (assuming she can afford them)
- If she is on bedrest, she potentially loses wages and work
- She's limited in her ability to travel

Are you serious? What in the world does this have to do with slaying a baby? And why not extend your arguments to their logical conclusion? Say the mother gives birth. According to your twisted logic, we should kill that baby. Because, like you keep on saying, we must factor in the pain this child will bring the mother.

But we wouldn't murder the infant because the mother's horrific experience has nothing to do with the life of the child. Imaging that it was your relative is totally irrelevant.

You keep on saying we need to focus on the mother's experience. Actually it is exactly the other way around. While we recognize that she underwent a horrific, life-altering experience, we need to ignore that right now so that we don't destroy in innocent life.
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Offline zh cohen

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2019, 10:42:36 AM »

Just like you,  I believe that there are two wrongs here - the first is the rape itself, and the second forcing the woman to bear the fruit of this evil attack. It's bad enough that this woman needs to bear the scars of the attack itself - why do we doubly punish her by forcing the illegal fruits of the attack on her?

I would hope than many rabbonim, if presented this situation, would find an opportunity to provide such a victim with a heter to have an abortion.

It is not us forcing this baby on her, its the rapist (and G-d). I don't think you "fix" a horrible situation by doing another horrible thing to an innocent baby.

Offline mmgfarb

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2019, 12:40:40 PM »
Regardless I don't like the idea of analysing laws based on logic. Laws never were logic it's always feelings. If someone feels that it's wrong it doesn't have to make sense and it doesn't have to be based on a religious idea. Same goes for the other side.
This makes absolutely no sense at all.
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Offline Yonah

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2019, 12:55:48 PM »
It boggles my mind that someone would advocate for abortion the way you do. And some of your other arguments up-thread are even more ludicrous. For example:

- She now has to miss work for doctors appointments (assuming she can afford them)
- If she is on bedrest, she potentially loses wages and work
- She's limited in her ability to travel

Are you serious? What in the world does this have to do with slaying a baby?
I am very serious. A woman gets raped, a few weeks later she realizes that she is pregnant, she wants to have an abortion. The government says she can't. Let's say she's an hourly worker at Walmart - every missed shift, is missed $$$ for her. Maybe she is working hourly and doesn't have healthcare - who's paying for her doctor visits? Maternity clothes? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that this law allows you to sue the rapist for that (even if we assume he can pay it). So she had the consequence of being a random victim of a moron who couldn't control his urges, and now shes forced to continually pay? Seriously? You are one cruel and unusual person.

And why not extend your arguments to their logical conclusion? Say the mother gives birth. According to your twisted logic, we should kill that baby. Because, like you keep on saying, we must factor in the pain this child will bring the mother.
If she opts to keep the baby until birth - one of two things would happen - a) She's decided that despite all of the trauma, she wants to keep the child b) She decides that she doesn't believe in abortion, but gives the child up. Either way, if she carries the baby to term - that was her choice. We're not talking about killing a baby. We're talking about killing a fetus that isn't viable outside the womb, because the pregnancy is the result of a crime.


But we wouldn't murder the infant because the mother's horrific experience has nothing to do with the life of the child.
It has everything to do with the life of the fetus (that isn't yet a child). The child is the fruit of the woman's horrific experience, and a constant reminder of it.

Imaging that it was your relative is totally irrelevant.
It is only relevant to help put it into perspective. G-d forbid it was your mother, sister, wife, or daughter - and she decided to have an abortion - would you ostracize her? Would you throw her out of your house? Would you excommunicate her? Would you condemn her to a life of having to explain why her one child looks nothing like her or her husband?

You keep on saying we need to focus on the mother's experience. Actually it is exactly the other way around. While we recognize that she underwent a horrific, life-altering experience, we need to ignore that right now so that we don't destroy in innocent life.
So by this logic, if a doctor tells a pregnant woman that she her pregnancy needs to be terminate because there is a chance that she might die, you'd would ignore her horrific situation and not destroy innocent life, even if it means she might die?





Offline Yonah

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Re: Thoughts on abortion, religion, and morality
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2019, 01:06:42 PM »
It is not us forcing this baby on her, its the rapist (and G-d). I don't think you "fix" a horrible situation by doing another horrible thing to an innocent baby.


Yes - hashem wants her to be raped. I'm sure she deserves it. In as much as the rapist forced the baby on her, he had no right to do so, and she didn't choose to have "relations" with him. We're now putting her in a situation where she will incur (as I have laid out) monetary loss, physical and emotional pain, and potentially endanger her life - none of which she wants to do.

By not allowing her to have an exemption for Rape, it is, in fact "us" who are forcing this baby on her - beyond her attackers intentions.