When I was in my mid twenties I was raped. It was an acquaintance rape. This is the first time that I am “going public” with the accounts. I was married with children. The rape happened at a time when I was just beginning to develop confidence in my personal appearance. I was just beginning to develop confidence period. It was not long before I became ill. I knew intuitively that I was pregnant. A trip to the clinic (and the only place where I found true kindness at the time) confirmed my suspicions.
I not only had to worry about the long three to six month wait to find out if my rape would result in a death sentence by H.I.V/A.I.D’s; but I also had to go through the traumatic experience of revealing my pregnancy to my husband and deciding if I would keep it or not. I was in shock. Not just from the rape, but from the pregnancy. I was so sick I felt like I would die. I wanted to die. I wanted to disappear.
Rape does not just take away your sense of security. It also scars the relationships you have with others. My husband and I were already going through a rocky time. I felt so ashamed whenever I looked at him. I felt like I had betrayed him by being raped. I was no longer “his” wife.
I had been touched by other men and that meant I was no longer of “value” to him in my mind. I felt unclean. I took a million showers it seemed, but even to this day-I never feel clean.
I contemplated suicide. I almost attempted to take my life twice. Every time I looked at my children I questioned how I would protect them. I became distant from them. I think I can say with all honestly that I went insane. I could not concentrate. The rapes replayed themselves over and over again in my mind like a horror film with no end.
I walked into traffic during times when the light was green and did not even know it until an angry driver screamed me back into reality. I was extremely defensive. I was quick tempered and ready to fight at a moment’s notice. I would burst into tears easily and without good reason. I slept very little and could not eat much at all.
My body was not my own. But then again it had never been. You see I was not only a rape victim pregnant with a child conceived by a rape — I was a child conceived by a rape. I will never forget the day I found out the disturbing facts of my conception. I was fifteen. I had always felt that there was something different about me. Whatever it was — it was something that separated me from being truly connected to my family.
When my mother told me that she had been raped by a serial rapist — and that I could find out information about him at the library — I felt like trash. I was certain I was no longer human. The way I had been treated all my life seemed to make sense. I was an abomination. I was the devil’s spawn. I was a parasite who had — along with the person who sired me –forced my way into existence at another human being’s expense.
I will never forget the day I made the long walk from my home to the local library in the small town I spent my teen years in. It was a rotten walk. I did not believe I would really find information about a rapist with the name my mother had given me. I could not allow myself to believe it. I believed her. I just did not believe a newspaper clipping from the early 70’s would be still filed away — waiting to give backing to my mother’s nightmare.
And yet, it was there. That was how I was introduced to the first picture of the man who raped my mother and impregnated her with me. He was, in fact, a serial rapist. What do you tell the world when you are a child of rape? How do you justify your existence? Why would you choose to be born from such an evil act? Those were the questions that plagued my mind that long ago day. Childhood was over for me. Being human was also over. I was a monster in my own eyes. From that moment — until I was in my thirties — I wanted to die.
I tried to commit suicide several times. I survived. God was merciful. I attracted friends who I could not trust, but clung to them anyway. I had boyfriends who mistreated me verbally, physically and emotionally, but I felt they were justified because my “biological male parent” was/is a rapist.
I had survived so many things in my short life. I was sexually abused several times as a kid. I was physically abused, all the times as a kid. In fact, by the time I was fourteen years old, I had already endured two “breakdowns.”
What gets me is how women who are raped and conceive children by rapists are treated. The weight of the world is on their shoulders. They must not only prove they were raped, but they are also persecuted for not wanting to have children by rapist. Don’t get me wrong — I am anti-abortion. I don’t believe a baby should ever be punished for something his or her “biological male parent” did.
But why is there not more effort put into creating a world where mothers and children can bond with one another in these kinds of circumstances, without ever having to worry about the “rapist” having access to harm their lives further? Rapists, in my opinion, are the worst kind of criminal. They should be locked behind bars forever with no possibility of ever harming society again.
Yet you want to know what? My “biological male parent” only spent eight years in prison. He got married in prison (on a conjugal visit no less). Still had contact with family. Now, I know we should forgive. My mother has always told me that. I agree. Forgiveness is a cleansing power that frees us from negative energy and brings us closer to God.
But forgiveness has nothing to do with pardoning behavior. When we allow rapists/molesters to walk free after they have been convicted of their crimes, we are not forgiving — we are sanctioning their behavior and leaving their victims to eternally live in fear of these monsters among men.
As for me, I lost my baby. It was a mercy for me and the little one. One of the men who raped me swore that he would fight to take my child if I kept it. Rape is a nightmare, even after it’s over. I was lucky not to be H.I.V positive either. My marriage ended. My life was threatened. I spent years living away from my children because I did not feel “sane” enough to care for them. I am still recovering. I will always be.
But the sun shines on us eventually. I have my children with me. I have remarried. I am editing a novel on rape and pregnancy. That is my story. It continues. Thank God. I have my dear mother to thank for that. She, like all mothers who give birth to rape conceived children are the unsung heroes of the world. May God bless them all forever. They deserve nothing but the best.
Rebecca asked me to talk about my faith. What can I say? God is my best friend. God is my father. God is my light. Every step of the way, I was carried by God. God was not the cause of me being raped. God was not the cause of my mother being raped either. That evil was in the heart and mind of that person already. We always have a choice to choose the wicked side or the good side. Rapists make a choice to separate themselves from humanity by choosing the bad side.
This story would not be complete if I did not mention my grandparents. The first few years of my life were spent with them. Everyone says that my grandmother doted on me. All I remember is that she was gentle, yet firm; sweet, yet wise. My grandfather was a quiet man who worked tirelessly alongside my grandmother to raise ten children and then to co-raise a host of grandchildren and greatgrand’s. Grandmama and Granddaddy are both gone now. But what I remember the most about them was a big leather-back bible and family prayer. I think I became a writer during those moments. I would sit and weave my own made-up stories — complete with moral — and my poor grandparents, Uncles and Aunts would listen patiently. Occasionally, they would be unable to resist a round of contagious laughter as I added song to my little sermons, using whatever I could see in front of me to create the chorus.
It was God’s love and my grandparent’s influence on my upbringing that helped me find my way back to the right path when I was lost. Even now, when some sadness tugs at me and makes me want to give up and give in, I see my grandmother in my mind. rocking slowly in her old wooden rocking chair. “Get up gal!” Grandmama says, “When you sit down too long. it’s time to die. God’s not finished with you yet!”
Those words are my advice to women and girls who must endure after being raped by men of savage minds and wicked hearts. Only God can judge your actions. No human being has the right to. Still, remember this, that little person you are carrying is (as my mother recently told me) YOUR spiritual baby. That child is the rainbow after the storm and a gift from God. You did nothing wrong by being raped. You are a hero. A real hero. If you choose to keep and raise your baby — which I hope you will –know that you are raising your greatest ally and dearest friend. It is not a spawn of the Devil. He or she does not belong to their father. And it is not a child of bad memories.
That child will be the second hero in the story if you allow it to be.
That child will be your testament to the devil that you God brings us power,
even in the midst of demons.