Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Infanticide as a Routine

"I never gave first names to the babies. The first one, I saw he was a baby boy. The others, I didn’t look, I didn’t want to."
"But when they were in the garage, when it was cold, I went there and covered them with a blanket."
Dominique Cottrez, 51, Douai, France
AP Photo / Michel Spingler
AP Photo / Michel Spingler  The worst infanticide case in modern French history stunned the country when the babies were discovered in the family garden in 2010.

What a horror story of a life. A woman who lives with the knowledge that the life she was forced to live was imposed brutally upon her by the very man whom young girls are enraptured by, look up to for guidance and love, entrust  themselves wholly to without any reservations, and whose characteristics they look hopefully to in other men when they become adults in the aspiration of finding as a husband a man as kind and concerned, caring and devoted as their own fathers.

In Dominique Cottrez's case it is doubtful she found such a man. She had no actual need to, since her own father was always around in her life and by that time as an adult she had long grown accustomed to the incestuous relations he had imposed upon her since the age of eight. By that time in her life as an adult, while she was a married woman and the mother of two growing girls, she had succumbed to a victim's syndrome of dependency, renewed trust and willingness to continue that relationship.

Her moral compass had been permanently skewed. Little wonder, when a young girl experiences her own father feeling free to rob her of the innocence of childhood, forcing himself intimately and repeatedly on her. If it is her father how can it be wrong? If her mother does nothing to intervene and to protect her daughter then nothing can be wrong, just ... odd. If from the age of 8 she is raped, then taking the lives of newborns cannot be too wrong, can it?

By that time she had conceived repeatedly, as her father impregnated her time and again. Not that he had no knowledge he was doing this on top of sexually molesting his own child, but he seemed disinterested in his daughter's plight, having to carry through pregnancies to bear a child of incest.
Since he died before it was ever discovered by outside sources that all of these babies, eight in number, were killed and disposed of, he will never be brought to account.

Instead, his daughter, her own two girls now in their 20s, and her husband who presumably knew nothing of the deadly acts his wife used to dispose of these unwanted babies of tainted genetic inheritance, has stood by her. It cannot be a simple thing to absorb the knowledge that someone you have lived with intimately for decades harboured such a shameful secret, lived with such desperation of a moral vacuum.

And to have to anticipate the burden of knowing that the woman you love despite all these revelations may be sentenced to a prison term for these murders  that will never see her emerge a free woman must be beyond discouraging. She has already spent two years in detention. In 2010 a man digging in his garden in northern France discovered a buried trash bag; within the skeletal remains of an infant.

When police responded to his summons they found six additional tiny corpses. The explanation soon emerged, along with the realization that in all, eight babies had been smothered to death at birth and buried by their mother. As an obese woman, the pregnancies ha gone unnoticed; even doctors had no idea. Dominique worked as a nurse's aide.

The constant rapes she was subjected to from age eight forward must have destroyed an inner core of self-respect and independence to the point where she eventually willingly joined the conspiracy of a long incestuous relationship with her father that persisted into her mature years until his death in 2007. She herself, once the first two infants were unearthed in the garden, led investigators to where the others would be discovered.

The disposal of the babies had been a "means of contraception" for she admitted to never having used contraceptives, and never considered abortions due to her phobia of the medical profession; a supreme irony given her work as a nurse's aide, or perhaps even explicable as a result of her line of work.

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