Mary Gilliam, Post-abortive Rape Survivor
Mary Gilliam’s Story — A rape survivor who regrets aborting her child who was conceived in rape. She was born in France, grew up in Africa, lived in Switzerland for 19 years and is now in Florida, and is available for speaking. Contact her at email@example.com
I was 20 when it happened. My parents were missionaries in Congo at this time (a communist country) and there was a revolution. One night, I came back home, got in and went for a shower. When I came back in my room, there was a soldier standing there. He grabbed my towel, threw me on my bed, and put his gun in my ribs saying “If you make a noise, I’ll kill you.” My little brother was sleeping in the next room and I was afraid for his life, so I didn’t make a noise!
The soldier raped me and when he was done, he just laughed. Today, I can still hear this laugh. Once he left, I went back to the shower and scrubbed my skin until it was red. I went to bed, and even though it was a hot African night, I was cold.
When my father came back home that night, he came in my room as usual to say goodnight, but I made him think that I was asleep. I just couldn’t talk about it. I felt like I was frozen! A few days later, I went back to Europe and didn’t say a word to anybody. My whole body seemed to be like it was in a cast — that I couldn’t move anymore.
Unfortunately, I became pregnant! When I told this to my parents, their reaction was very different. My Mom said: “How could you do that to us?!” My father gave me the choices of keeping the baby, placing him for adoption, or having an abortion. I was 20 and I just wanted to be normal and have a normal life, so I chose the last option. Since I was 3-1/2 months pregnant, France didn’t want to me to abort, so I had to go to Holland. These few days were the worst in my life! I remember my Mom saying, “You don’t know how much you disgust me!” I remember the line of women waiting for abortions, knitting and talking about how many abortions they had, and laughing like if they were at a party. I was in shock. I didn’t
Once everything was over, my Dad sat my Mom and I down and said: “Now tell me everything” and I did. Then he said, “We’ll never talk about this again,” and he never did, though my Mom kept asking me if I really was raped.
I got married to the first man who asked me to marry him, just to feel normal and to go on with my life, but he was a violent man. I became pregnant with my first son, and I left him because he was trying to kill the baby by kicking my belly. I left that man after five months of marriage and went back to my parents. Then I got married to a guy who cheated on me. He left me after 19 years of marriage. During this time, I had two beautiful sons, a pretty good life, I was involved in the church, but the hate that I had in my heart for the rapist, and the guilt about the abortion was very vivid! I was shy, very insecure, my skin just didn’t fit me!
One day, I finally talked about it to a woman who I trusted, and told her about the rape and the abortion. She said: “You hate him a lot, don’t you?” . . . Duh! Of course I hated the rapist and I had all the good reasons to do so — he deserved my hate! She told me that with this hate, the only person I was hurting was me. Every time I would give a thought to this man, I gave him power over me! Once I understood this, I started to fight within myself. Every time I was having this hate feeling, every time I would think about him, I would pray and refuse it, and slowly, it went away.
Then, years later, I realized that I was a murderer — this one hit hard! I killed my baby because I was hurt and I wanted the hurt to go away! I didn’t give him a chance to live. This was another fight within myself. Once I recognized what I really did and asked God to forgive me, I had to fight with the guilt like I did with the hate. And slowly, it went away.
Today, I’m married for the third time, but this time, I found not only a husband, but also a friend, a confidant, a soul mate and I am finally happy! This time, it’s not the fear or the guilt that lead my choice, but my heart and my brain!
I am 53 and it took me about 30 years to understand this. I am sharing my story with the hope that women who went through the same thing that I did can find peace of mind and live a happy life. Let me tell you that it is possible! God is an awesome God, a loving and forgiving God! He wants us free and happy. To all women out there who made the same mistake I did, there is hope, so don’t give up!