This page is a compilation of life-affirming personal stories of rape survivors who became pregnant out of rape and they are either parenting the child, placed their child for adoption, regret aborting their child, or miscarried their child, including the following:
Heather Gemmen from Michigan,
Kaylee Swanson from Pennsylvania,
Liz Carl from Kentucky,
Irene van der Wende from the Netherlands,
Heather Peterson-Grech from New Mexico,
Jennifer McCoy from Kansas,
Julie Savagefrom the United Kingdom,
Angelina Steenstrafrom Ontario, Canada,
Kay Golden, Samantha Renee,
Lizzy Brewfrom Australia,
Sister Lucy Vertrusc from Bosnia,
Kellie Sonnierfrom Indiana,
Ashley Boyerfrom Michigan,
Mary Gilliamfrom Florida, and
Analyn Megisonfrom Florida.
"Except in Cases of Rape? 12 Stories of Survival"
$14.99 -- 65 Minutes Get the DVD
"Except in cases of rape?" These 12 survivors put faces, voices and stories to this issue and challenge the rape exception in a way only a survivor can. READ MORE HERE
65 minutes of video -- Includes an 11 minute Conceived in Rape group video, an 8 minute Pregnant by Rape group video, and 45 minutes of individual testimonies.
Pregnant by Rape: Liz Carl - Kentucky Shauna Prewitt - Illinois Ashley Boyer - Michigan Conceived in Rape: Rebecca Kiessling - Michigan Pam Stenzel - Minnesota Laura Tedder - Michigan Tony Kiessling- Pennsylvania James Sable - Illinois Carole Roy - Ontario Mark Taylor - Texas Kristi Hofferber - Illinois Shawn Spry - Michigan
Liz Carl’s story – a 19 year old birthmom from Kentucky who became pregnant out of rape
I was raped when I was 17, in my senior year of high school – a little over two years ago. I was visited friends in Lexington, KY, about 100 miles from where I live for a Halloween party. After the party, we were all naive enough to have people from the party come back and visit the house where I was staying. In the middle of the night, I was drugged and raped. Only recently have I remembered anything from that night. I met the rapist the night it happened. He gave me a different name than his real name (as I later found out when I went to the police), so I didn't really know him at all. As much as I convinced myself that nothing happened to me that night in Lexington, I know my body. I was sore, the signs were there, and I felt gross. I attempted to pretend it was a dream. I don't remember any of the actual rape. However, I do remember crawling to the bathroom at some point and being really messed up. I guess I didn't know for sure I was raped until I missed my period. I wasn't sexually active, so it didn’t take much to connect the dots and figure out what I already knew inside. I knew something was up, but I denied the rape to myself for a very long time. In this denial, I obviously didn't even think I was pregnant, even though I knew very well that I was. I never thought anything like that would happen to me in the first place, much less getting pregnant from such a disgusting, violent act.
It was not only ridiculous attempting to tell my mom and family, who believed me and helped me, but it was almost funny how many people I told who told other people I was lying, "because I got caught." I can't even explain how awful everything was for me. I wanted to die -- I just couldn't find the strength to do it. My parents were not the people I went to first. My parents are great, but that was not news for them to take lightly, at all! But once I did tell them, they were in just about as much of denial as I was, there really wasn’t advice. They more wanted to take care of the legal things -- dealing with the detectives and the court proceedings -- and to get me to a doctor.
Before all of this happened, I was always “pro-life.” I was raised in a Catholic family and attended Catholic schools my whole life. However, when I finally took the pregnancy test that was very clearly positive, all my values and morals went out the window and I absolutely wanted the easy fix. I was for sure getting an abortion for maybe a week before I realized what the hell I was doing. I was vulnerable and miserable and scared and I felt that was my only option. Seeing everything now, I hate myself for ever even considering it.
Out of the friends who knew about me being pregnant in the very beginning, two of them supported the abortion and two did not. One from each side was proactive about it. My one friend who was supporting my decision to abort told me that she would help pay for it, drive me, etc.. She was also looking into getting a doctor friend of her sister’s to prescribe the abortion pill for me. She was just a 17 year old girl who was scared along with me. She wanted to help me get better and didn't know what else to do. I was scared and I wanted an abortion, so she stood behind me. She's told me since that she never wanted me to choose abortion, but that she just saw that it was what I wanted. She felt she was helping as a loyal friend. My pro-life friend sat me down with her mother who had several friends who had abortions in high school and several friends who gave their babies up for adoption, and she told me how that affected each one of them. She didn't persuade me, but just told me some facts.
When I was still in shock and decision mode, my cousin Erin, who happens to be one of my very good friends, looked me in the eye and said, “Liz, you're smart and you know that's a baby, and you know yourself, you can't kill a baby. “ She was right. I was smart and I couldn't see the obvious through the thick layer of fog that seemed to never leave my eyes.
I obviously went through with the pregnancy, mostly denying my baby’s existence, but I got through it. My pregnancy was a mess. Medically it was a perfect pregnancy, but I just couldn't seem to believe that I was pregnant. I didn't start showing at all for probably seven months, so this was easy to do. Being pregnant in school is not fun, but it’s not the worst thing ever. Finishing school was not easy, especially at an all-girl atholic high school, but it was doable. It was not pleasant, but I survived.
My mom took me to Catholic Social Services and I started counseling with them. That absolutely helped me through my pregnancy. If nothing else, my counselor made me think about it, which helped when I actually did start showing and couldn't ignore it anymore. The agency worked with pregnant mothers for parenting and adopting. They introduced me to the idea of open adoption and it seemed so perfect. It's obviously not perfect, but it’s the next-best thing.
I ended up talking to a teacher at school who I was close to. She called a friend who called a friend and the next thing I knew, I was at Brian and Jen’s house talking with them. I had interviewed another couple before them, but when I met Brian and Jen, I just knew that they were the ones. They were perfect for me! They agreed on an open adoption. They had tried for many years to have a family and they had many false hopes. Brian and Jen are a part of my family now. (As I write this, I just got back from their house for a dinner and play time with Brayden.)
I delivered my birth son a month before I left for college. My delivery was cake compared to some. When I actually felt like I was in labor, it was time to push and when I did, three pushes later he was here. I think I was in more shock that a human being came out of me than anything else. When I saw him, I didn't think about how he got here. I didn't think about his long lost biological father who would never ever be in his life. I only thought how perfect he was. When I first held him, it was more perfect than ever. I think I denied his existence probably up until the moment I held him. It was hard though -- the whole situation. Everything about it was hard. But the hardships just didn't seem like anything compared to the love for that little boy.
Brayden is almost a year and half now and he is the love of my life! He does not remind me of the violence that happened to conceive him like many pro-choicers say. He means the world to me. Now, I am truly 100% pro-life. I have experienced many aspects of the pro-choice argument and I know that life is not only the best choice – it should be the only choice. Brayden, my birth son, is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me and to so many other people -- especially his two thrilled new parents! This is why I would do anything in the world to save every baby in this world!
I was raped. Yes. But he deserves to live!
It's easy to ignore something that you cannot see. But I can see him now and he deserves everything in this world. I no longer care who is biological father is, he is nothing. He is long gone. But look who came because of him. I don't care who you are, this beautiful little boy SHOULD be alive! Women should not have to face a choice that they will regret. It seems as though America is running into a dark hole, where morality is gone and foggy vision encompasses all of our known beliefs. Stand up as an American and turn you back on that black hole. Regain your vision and see the light at the end. Abortion will be illegal someday. We just have to keep fighting. Sorry if anyone thinks this is weird, but I feel like I have to keep fighting, to make people understand. And that cute face sure does get attention!!
My son is bi-racial. I'm white. The rapist was black. I am a very open person, so the bi-racial thing didn't even phase me. And as far as Brayden being a boy, I know people say they would only see the rapist, but honestly anyone who is a mother would know that all you see is this perfect little baby. I think Brayden looks like me in a lot of ways, but he has brown eyes and his skin is darker than mine. But when I look at him, I see a beautiful baby boy, who I love so much. I do not see his brown eyes or tan skin, or even his nose that does not fit with mine. I see a precious gift that I am so thankful for. I guess something like that is hard to explain to someone, but I can guarantee that no mother should look at their baby and see the awful person who violated them. A mother sees her child, who she unconditionally loves.
Eventually, Brayden will know that he was conceived in rape, and I don't know how that will affect him. But my thought is, that just because he was not conceived in an act of love -- or a wanted act at all -- he is still a precious human being who is deserving of life and everything in it. In fact, I can say that ultimately one thing has saved me from severe, severe depression, and that is my baby. And as to anyone who has been conceived in rape -- you should never consider them less of people. I felt like less of a person for a long time until I saw the beauty in the darkness. Precious babies that come from something as awful as rape should be considered a saving grace, a blessing in disguise. I would be nowhere without that awful pregnancy.
I am not one to want to be involved in everything, but I do like to be a part of something. Honestly I had no idea that the University of Louisville had a pro-life group until one day I got a Facebook message from a girl in the group inviting me to a meeting. I seriously felt like God Facebooked me! I was obviously very pro-life after I saw how easy it was to make a decision you don't mean to make. I love the Cards for LIFE! I love the events. I love the people. I'm probably a little less conservative than them in some issues, but they don't care. They accept me for who I am, and we share a very special bond because they agree with me on the one thing that I would absolutely fight the rest of my life for, and that’s the unborn.
I think that most pro-lifers are very taken back when they find out I am a birthmom from rape. I've had people cry, people I hardly knew hug me (which I never mind a hug) and I have had people who have been really awkward about it. The awkward ones are a lot of people who think that it would have been okay for me to have an abortion. It’s like they don’t know what to do with me.
Most of the pro-choice people who find out I’m a birthmom “from rape” always try to dismiss me by saying I have it better than others. They try to tell me that my family was supportive and not all people have that, or they would say, “Just because you're strong doesn't mean everyone is.” To be honest, it's degrading to me as a woman when people make excuses of women’s lack of strength. I know a lot of women and every single one of them is strong. Every woman is strong enough to love her baby enough not to kill it. That last sentence may sound sort of harsh, but I am not a judging person -- I know the vulnerability of a crisis situation, but the truth is the truth, and every woman has the strength to love her baby.
And Rebecca, I think the world of you, not only because you speak out and make a difference to so make people, but because I relate you to Brayden, someone who saved my life, and that's beautiful. It's so awesome that you are here in this world touching so many people. I hope to do the same.
Heather Gemmen Wilson's Story -- rape survivor who is raising her daughter who was conceived out of rape.
She's the author of Startling Beauty: My Journey from Rape to Restoration and speaks internationally on the subject of hope and forgiveness. Visit her website at www.heathergemmen.com.
My husband had gone to a meeting at church and my children were asleep down the hall when a stranger entered my bedroom, waking me from a deep sleep. Through the dim light reflecting from the hallway, I saw his silhouette—and vaguely understood that a tall, black man with thick arms stood a few feet away.
I didn’t scream. For a few seconds, I didn’t really understand what was happening. “Who are you?” I asked.
I might have rolled over and disappeared back into my dreams, but the ugliness of his laugh shocked me into wakefulness. I sat up quickly, and he yanked a knife out of his
“Oh, no,” I whispered, holding my hands up toward him as if sheer willpower would keep him away. “No. Don’t do this.”
Someone once told me that after she was raped she felt like she joined a secret club she never wanted to be part of. I cried when she said it, because it was true for me too. Suddenly I knew things in a profound way I didn’t want to know at all — things like shame, and doubt, and fear. And I knew how much ugliness there was
in this world.
It has been over a decade since the rape, and I’ve experienced many life changes since then. I gave birth to a precious baby girl, conceived that fateful night, and she is now my daily reminder of God’s restorative love. We adopted a little boy we knew from our inner-city neighborhood where we lived—and he now towers over me, a godly young man who brings much laughter to our family. Eight years after the rape, my husband, who had joined me in joyously welcoming our daughter and who still loves her today, suddenly abandoned the marriage—and I am now building a new home and blended family. I’ve moved from Michigan to Colorado to Indiana. I’ve experienced the death of loved ones and the birth of a grandchild. Yet through all those changes, one thing has remained constant in my life: God’s faithful love. And I see now how much more beauty exists in this world than ugliness, even when life is hard.
I don’t know what secret club you have joined, but I am confident that God is in it with you, loving you and drawing you to him. I pray that you too will be startled by beauty.
Shauna R. Prewitt is an author, attorney, advocate, and public speaker. While a student at the University of Chicago, Shauna had a bright future ahead of her until events in her final year of college changed the course of her life forever. Finding herself the victim of sexual assault, Shauna soon thereafter learned that she was pregnant from her attack. Deciding to continue the pregnancy and raise her child, Shauna was shocked when, after her child's birth, her attacker sought custody of the baby girl. Trapped in her own personal hell, Shauna was even more astonished when she learned that few legal protections exist to protect the women who mother through rape. Without such laws, men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody rights over their rape-conceived children as other fathers enjoy.
Spurred by these events, Shauna made a commitment to do what she could to change the custody laws around the United States. In August 2006, Shauna enrolled at Georgetown Law School and began the tedious and often frustrating task of examining the custody rights of men who father through rape. Astonished to learn that only a handful of states had legal protections in place that restrict the parental rights of men who father through rape, Shauna set out to answer the question, "Why?" The results of Shauna's years-long analysis culminated in the publication of the first and only scholarly piece examining the legal protections afforded to women who mother through rape and providing insight into why these protections are so limited. Since its publication in March 2010, Shauna's piece has received much attention from legal scholars, state legislators, family court judges, attorneys, and advocacy groups.
Giving Birth to a “Rapist’s Child”: A Discussion and Analysis of the Limited Legal Protections
His strong arms gripping tightly around my neck, strangling me, choking me, left me gasping for breath. I realized death was imminent, so in a split second I chose to let him have his way with my body, so that I could stay alive. Afterwards, I clutched my coat tightly against me, so no one would see my ripped clothing underneath. . . .
Although my body started to change, and needing larger clothes, I believed I was not pregnant, as the initial pregnancy test came up negative (not enough hormones yet.) But after a 6-week roadshow, a visit to my family doctor informed me I was pregnant. “Oh no!” Shock, disbelief, fear and turmoil gripped me. London advised me to go a clinic halfway north in England for an abortion, mentioning that it had to be done quickly, as it was on the verge of the time it was allowed to be done legally. Numb, and only focusing on all the fears, I went ahead.
My abortion took place in a cold, sinister, old mansion. I felt very uncomfortable, waiting in the hall with black-white checkered tiles, watching the minutes on the clock tick by. It was as if death hung as a cloud in the air above me. I did my best to stuff my emotions, signed a paper, received my number, and joined some 8 women lying on beds in a room, waiting a long time after inserting something and changing into an operation garment that was to remain open. As they spoke of their pregnancies, morning sickness, and why they were killing their babies, I began to think. In the lift (elevator) later, when I was going upstairs, I placed a hand over my tummy, finally realizing I had a child inside of me, and said “I’m a mother. I have a baby inside of me!” The nurse accompanying me reassured me, saying “It’s okay – other women have that thought too at the last minute. You’re doing the right thing,” after which the doors opened, and I walked into a brightly lit operating room, where I was told to lie down, and place my legs up high in the stirrups. But I felt terrible and vulnerable due to the privacy, and even more so as the abortionist became very angry and agitated when the nurse discussed something with him, and he started to yell at me, saying I had already signed a consent form, hadn’t I? And that I was holding up the flow of things. He roughly grabbed my arms, which they strapped down, and forced a needle into my arm, after which I don´t remember much . . . . I passed out.
When I came to, I was loudly told to stand. In agony, I gripped my tummy with one hand, doubled with pain, while with the other, I fumbled my way along the dark corridor wall, back to my bed in the other room. The other women were now silent and groaning with pain. My stomach felt as if every inch had been scraped open with a sharp razor blade. We were left alone, and after a long time -- I believe the next day -- I was allowed to go home, but the pain was unbearable. They offered a wheelchair, but I grit my teeth, saying to myself: “I wanted this, so grin and bear it.” I bled profusely on the drive home, having to stop every now and then, dizzy, and was in absolute agony. The bleeding lasted half a year.
Looking back, I regret my abortion, and the morning after pills I took. If I had realized then, what I now know, I would never have been able to ask to have my baby killed. I came to this awareness after seeing videos of an abortion, seeing a 12 week old baby react to the instruments inside the womb, and seeing the aweful pictures of these little humans, where we pull off their arms, break their legs and pull them off, squash their skull, suction out (parts of their) bodies, brains, decapitate them, etc. How can we look at these pictures, with intestines, ribs, brains, heart, backbone, etc., and not call them a human being? Life starts at conception – all the genes, and sex are in the first cell, hair colour, skin colour, etc. which keeps on expanding to 2, 4, 8, 16 cells etc., on till adolescence, when our children are fully grown. I had immense guilt and remorse, after realizing what I had done. I also cut myself off from my emotions, as the guilt was too much to bear, causing problems in relationships later. Later, I read that of women like me, who abort after sexual abuse (=less that 1% of all abortions) that 80% of us regret our abortions. Whereas of the 70% who chose to let their baby live, none had regrets. I wish I hadn’t killed her.
Every mother’s day afterwards, I had to stand still at the fact that I was a mother, even though I had no living child – mother of a dead baby, through my own doing. Emotional trauma -- I carried this in silence, not talking about it. I froze when shortly afterwards someone placed their little baby in my arms – who was I to still hold a baby after killing mine? I joined the statistics of having a miscarriage later. I learned that scar tissue from the abortion can cause problems in later pregnancies, and premature births from the damage of the abortion, along with 50% more chance of breast cancer if you don’t carry your first baby to full term, but abruptly stop the milk production process developing by aborting. When my daughter was born later via c-section, my arms were strapped again, just like during the abortion, and all the fear and anxiety came flooding back, at what should have been just a joyous moment. I also find it heart-wrenching to not be able to say to my oldest living child, that she is my first born. And when one day she came home from school, asking if I had ever lost a baby, I was stuck for words – how do you tell a little girl that you ordered her (half-) sister to be killed? How emotionally traumatic for the family of the woman who chose to kill. How unsafe the brother/sister feel -- “Why them, and not me?”
When I was around 35, I found out I, myself, was conceived in rape. My whole family had known all along, except for me. My father and mother were married, but it was brutal rape. He was totally drunk at the time, and had violently slapped her, all around the room, threw her on the bed, and raped her at force. I was conceived. But my mother tried to commit suicide. When I had been growing in her womb about 6 months, she got on her bike, having premeditated to throw both her and me in front of a train at the railroad tracks a few miles away. She went there, and stood at the side of the rail, but just as the train was approaching, she couldn’t go through with it. I am so grateful she didn’t! Life growing up wasn’t always as nice as it could have been when you hear how some were raised in nice, warm, loving, friendly homes. But . . . , life is not about how we were conceived, or our upbringing, but about what we make of it. There is healing, and I am so glad my mother didn’t have me killed through suicide, when she had the chance. I am so glad that she gave birth to me, and raised me, despite how I was conceived, and that I am alive, and able to now do something for humanity. My value and right to life does not depend on how I was conceived.
I have had to come to terms with what I, myself, did. I chose to have someone paid to kill my innocent baby. There was a father (the rapist), a mother (me) and a baby. But I hired a murderer (the abortionist) to kill my baby. I stuffed it away as much as I could for 25 years, but like psychology says, eventually the cesspool of life needs to be opened, and become honest about things we have done in our life. I have named my babies, made a grave for them at the cemetery, and I have found healing with YHWH (God), and His son Yahshua (Jesus), whereby I am now able to testify of what I have done, and the effects it has brought me, my family and loved ones, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I deeply regret having put my innocent little baby through such torture and painful mutilation, letting her be cut up into pieces while still alive with a beating heart. Killing an innocent baby is never right, even after rape. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The father harmed me, but I harmed the baby. The baby didn’t do anything wrong. The baby is a 3rd person. I could have grown to love her, or have her adopted in a loving family. A baby should not carry the burden of the sin of the parent and be killed for it. In law, if a man kills a pregnant woman, he is punished for the death of two people. What are we doing killing our own children?
I wish people would have told me about the beautiful development of my little one (= foetus in Latin). That before we as mothers even know we are pregnant, 4 days missed cycle, that the baby already has a beating heart at 18-21 days. That at 18 days, their brains start developing, at 20 days with mid-, fore- and hindbrain, and that their brainwaves can be measured at 40 days. That they are sensitive to touch, heat, light, and noise. Pain receptors begin to grow with 4-5 weeks. At 6 weeks, they respond to touch. They have their own DNA, sex, blood type, and fingerprint, making them unique individuals. Beautiful little hands and feet, ribs, mouth, tongue. Sometimes the baby doesn’t die straight away when the killing starts, and the arms and legs are pulled off. An abortionist has testified that the babies heart then still throbs sometimes. Or that they are still alive as they are suctioned out, going through the tube, to die later in the jar. These are human beings, who are not brain dead, or without feeling.
If a woman is pregnant, she needs support, not abortion. Many of us (64%) are coerced into abortion (e.g. by boyfriend, mother, father, schoolteacher, doctor, nurse, girlfriend, social worker) whereby we can feel regret and shame and guilt later, when we fully realize the full extent of what we have done. A baby says: let me live. Take my hand, instead of my life. Love me, instead of kill me. Abortion kills a beating heart. With embryoselection for diseases, we are saying to brothers/sisters “you are only wanted and loved, because you don’t have a handicap.” To the handicapped people, we are actually saying “you are only tolerated, because the technology wasn’t there to eliminate you when you were an embryo” -- genocide inside our laboratories. Remember: God loves you, but also your baby. With abortion, one heart stops beating, but another heart breaks. We either become numb, like I did at first, or the remorse and guilt and shame hovers over us, till we come clean, and find healing. Like Mother Theresa said, “Abortion is the death of two: the baby, and the mother’s conscience.” Please don’t kill your baby. Your baby needs to be allowed to live. Find someone to help you.
Jennifer McCoy's Story -- Jennifer became pregnant out of statutory rape and had an abortion forced on her. She's from Wichita, Kansas and is available for speaking -- contact her at email@example.com
I am writing this on the 21st anniversary of my abortion. It is hard to believe that it's been that long. Thanks to Project Rachel and some long chats with God, I am much better and have dealt with most parts. When I was 15, in Michigan, I found myself involved with a high school teacher of mine who was more than twice my age and married. He had children my age and taught catechism at church -- a retired marine. At that age, I thought I was in love. By the time I was 16, I got pregnant.
My mom found out when the doctor's office called and gave her the results. She set out to find out who it was by following me around. When she discovered who he was, she threatened him with the loss of his job, his family, and his freedom. She then informed me that I was getting an abortion. I said "No!" and moved up the street to a family's house where I helped take care of their four kids and continued attending school.
My mother apparently put the pressure on the father of my child, and they set up my first OB/Gyn appointment at Dr. Hodari's clinic in Southgate. Thinking I was going to a pre-natal appointment, I went and I filled out some papers -- not a consent form though, because I knew I didn't want an abortion. I talked to a counselor there and told her the same thing. She gave me information about birth control and nothing else. Then I was told I needed an ultrasound. The screen was kept turned away from me and I was told I was 8 or 10 weeks pregnant.
The next part was supposed to be the exam -- which was routine -- I was told. When this foreign man came into the room and I said I was ready for just an exam he grunted in acknowledgment. All of a sudden, I was in excruciating pain and I heard a noise like a vacuum. I tried to get up and he pushed me down.
I was crying, and he said, "It will be over in five minutes and you can go on with your life. If you move, you could die". I was terrified and all I could do at that point was cry. I was afraid and alone that room. I felt the very life of my soul being torn from inside me and there was nothing I could do. The man who got me pregnant was in the waiting room.
I was so angry that no one had stopped this! They knew in the clinic that this older man was responsible for getting me pregnant, but no one said a word. There was no one on the sidewalk -- no pro-lifers praying outside -- for in my heart, I know that had there been one person to alert me to the fact that this was an abortuary and not just an OB/Gyn's office, then I never would have gone inside.
I took this man to court some weeks later and his attorney produced paperwork claiming my mother had signed necessary documents so he could obtain the abortion without my consent. I felt completely betrayed by everyone, and the baby who I wanted so badly was torn form me. I know it was a boy, so years later -- after years of not being able to function or even get out of bed -- I attended a Project Rachel retreat and named him Austin Christopher.
My mom still lives in Michigan and today our relationship is okay. After the abortion, I had wanted to die. I joined the service so I could get away from home. Then in 1994, I went to project Rachel and it was the first time I'd really dealt with my abortion, and how it held the broken relationships that I had -- my mom included. Although we have completely different beliefs, she maintains she made the right decisions. We have agreed to disagree out of respect for my mother. She feels we have a good relationship, and I agree. But it took years and project Rachel to get to it.
I started to go out to the abortion clinics in 1991. Since then, I have felt that God called me to be on the front lines where the girls need to be told that there is help -- people who care -- and that they don't have to have the abortions. It's nothing that you want to live with.
My children -- 10 of them -- attend Catholic school here. I found out that in the Catholic high school, one of the morality classes entailed three stories of girls who had abortions that were on the internet. The students were to pick one and decide what to do to try to talk them out of it -- what would they want to say to the girl? When the assignment was over, my daughter said that one was my story. She is in the 10th grade. We have gone out to the abortion clinics together for years. When one of my daughters was eight years old, she went and talked a young woman out of an abortion
and that young woman named her baby after my daughter. I'm so glad that my children "get it" and that they'll be spared the pain I endured.
I thank you for the opportunity to share this with you. God bless and keep you.
My story ultimately spans many years, but here I present some of the main points. I was
twenty-four years old. I was happy, in a relationship, healthy and confident. It was what today would be called an ‘acquaintance rape’. The man was old enough to be my father, a friend/employer of my own partner and father to a friend at work. He was somewhat of the ‘big man’ of the village I lived in, the one who owned most land and whose family had dominated the place for generations. But he was friendly enough and we had got on well over the two years that I had known him. He was, however, a drinker and regularly got into fights with non locals due to his Welsh nationalist fervent beliefs. He was a 'ladies man', but always with those of his own age and we had all heard the rumours of his use of prostitutes since his marriage had ended. But he wasn’t alone in this. Others in the community were similar -- it just seemed part of the way of life amongst this small insular village. I thought he was alright. He was always kind to me and my partner and accepted me, despite my ‘Englishness’, because my partner, also Welsh, had accepted me as part of the community.
A group of us went out one night, not a group of drunken youngsters, but a group of people from the same village, including this man and a dear seventy year old. We had a lot to drink and it resulted in my having a massive argument with my partner. I walked out and began to walk back to the village with him threatening to take the lamb that I had hand-reared to the slaughter house with the rest of his flock the following day. Later that evening, I visited this man who had always told both my partner and I that he would always help us out -- he had even offered to pay for the wedding if we ‘just got on with it and got married.’ And so, I went to see him. He was kind and understanding. He promised to sort things out with my partner and, if necessary, to buy the lamb and keep it at his farm until my partner had ‘calmed down.’ I had a cup of coffee and some soup. I lost the next three days.
The passage of time and place over those days is completely distorted, even to this day. I remember times of joking and feeling fine and times of fear and physical pain; which came when I couldn’t say. I can recall him raping me at least four times and seemingly passing out throughout since I can still not recall the ‘end’ as it were. I remember sometimes putting up a fight and getting hit and other times freezing with fear and just wanting it to end. The first time I became truly lucid, I was sitting on a couch in front of a television and the news was on. I felt sick, dizzy, and shocked. But still, at that time, not really sure what had happened. I didn’t even know what day it was. He just looked over at me and said it was the best sex he had ever had. My first thought was that he must be playing a joke, and so I just said, "Well I hope you took precautions." No, he assumed I would be on the pill because of my being in a relationship. I simply stood up and went home.
When I got home, I went into the shower and only then did I see the state of my body, the cuts, bruises and massive bite marks -- one of which left a scar which took over five years to disappear -- and it was only then that the internal pain hit me. Flashbacks occurred over a period of a year. He admitted what he had done to some. but said that it didn’t matter because ‘she was out of it.’ My partner still blamed me for going up there in the first place, and despite numerous attempts to restore our relationship, I eventually returned to live in the town I was brought up in as a child.
When I found out I was pregnant, my partner immediately suspected that it wasn’t his and so did I. A scan at the hospital originally suggested that it could be my partner's. So despite having moments when I felt I not only wanted, but needed an abortion, I decided not to abort. However, when I became seriously ill with pre-eclampsia, which left me in a critical condition, a scan changed the original date making the baby very likely to be the man who raped me. After three months in the hospital with a sick baby who I couldn't bond with, and after the trauma of a HIV test because of his past with prostitutes, I suffered from what they called a psychotic episode brought on by severe reactive depression. I was considered a suicide risk and a threat to the life of my baby. I was sectioned and locked up away from my baby.
Eventually released, I was determined to crawl my way back. Fourteen years on, I love my daughter and have recently sought a DNA test from the man who raped me who is now in his late 60's. He refused. I had thought of police action, but then I remembered the response of people. Some didn’t believe. Some thought little of it. I wasn’t a virgin. This wasn’t rape in a dark alley by a stranger. Somehow it didn’t ‘fit the picture’ of the typical rape and yet, having had sexual partners, I was very aware of the difference between consent and rape. The marks on my body testified to what my mind and heart knew and what my memory -- though distorted in many ways -- recalled.
I spent eight years angry, struggling to bring up my child, and seeking the bloodiest of revenge, but ultimately always being too scared. I spent eight years feeling ashamed and also so angry that I was not believed and that I was blamed in some way for what had happened. I worked hard to get my life back, and whilst on the outside I seemed to do so successfully, inside the trauma of the rape, my serious pregnancy illness, baby’s birth, and being sectioned away, haunted me.
It was my anger with what the Bible seemed to say about rape that was the means God used to open my eyes to the fact of His existence through Jesus Christ. The story of my conversion is below, but for now I want to share that only He has helped me to understand and to be at peace. He has taken my anger and grief and used it to show me things about who I am and about who He is. I can still get upset to this day, though never as deep as before. I can still get angry, but never as deep as before. The deepness hasn’t dissipated with the passage of time, since after eight years, it was still as raw as that first lucid day. The deepness has dissipated since He has begun the healing process.
I will never have justice in this world. But I know that my God will avenge. I also know, however, that He could save that man and forgive him. I initially found solace in the former, but now am beginning to accept the latter.
If you are a sexual abuse victim, then I’m sure that will make you angry. I cannot convince you of the reality of Christ and how peace and hope are possible. I can only tell my story and pray that Christ uses it as a means through which to whisper to you, ‘I am here and with me there is peace with God and hope and healing.’
Before I became a Christian, I would have been offended at being associated with what I had considered to be a human construction, sold as some ‘truth,’ taken up by those gutless enough not to live according to their own sense of morality. I was polite to Christians, but inside, they made me angry. They promoted an absolute: God. I didn’t believe in absolutes. I equated that with the denial of true human freedom. Christianity was simply an oppressive system of thought. and the sooner the world was free from its ‘taint,’ the better. If my criticism of Christianity had once been rooted in primarily academic thought, it also soon became one emotionally motivated by the personal experience of rape. If I could find, or create, opportunities in my teaching position to undermine some of its basic tenets, I would. I took witchcraft as a symbolic contestation of the patriarchal content of Christianity; lesbianism in the same way. I believed the personal to be political -- so I took the latter into my personal life. I wanted to show Christianity as both ‘mad,’ but more importantly ‘bad,’ and to be rightfully challenged. My Will, (despite having had occasion to confront my mortality and that of my daughters’), stated the absolute need for me to have a humanist burial. I wanted to take my challenge even to the point of my death.
What began as a range of hostile e-mails to various Christian anti-abortion groups, led to my participating on Christian discussion forums. I enjoyed the challenge of this, often boasting to my students of my ‘victories’ in arguments. I read the Bible in order to challenge it. After some months, I began to be more than intellectually curious, and found I was battling against a heart which wanted to ask, ‘Are you there God?’ I was angry with myself for wanting to even ask this question. As the curiosity grew, so did the conflict. Partly in response to a challenge, and partly as an attempt to just end a journey that I had never imagined finding myself on, I decided to go to a church. Apart from a couple of marriages and funerals, I had never been to a church service. I sat for three weeks outside Grace. I watched. My pride hurt. When I finally made it through the doors, on the way in and out ensuring that nobody I knew would see me, it was less with a truly seeking heart and more with the hope of confirming my original criticism. Then life would return to normal.
For months I listened, and the conflict and frustration grew. For some reason, I couldn’t just quit and ‘walk.’ I could only walk with the ammunition needed to justify my original position. So I decided to create a situation (an argument) which could justify my leaving in a self-righteous manner. The problem was that those involved were not playing the game the way I had hoped. Not enough ammunition. I tried to engage the visiting pastor. He wasn’t having any of it either. I was left very angry and frustrated -- and still needing an excuse to quit and walk. Whilst in the car driving home, God became a reality. I knew He was there. It was a simple knowingness -- as I know the reality of the air I breathe. For over thirty hours, I struggled with God -- no sleep and no work. I tried to ignore Him by desperately convincing myself that His reality was in fact just some psychological phenomenon. If I ignored Him, stopped going to church, and stopped reading the Bible, I would soon recover.
I went to bed early, quite at peace with this. I had a strategy to deal with His seeming reality. In fact, I was quite chuffed with myself. I had a story to share: how Christianity had even half-indoctrinated me! At one o’clock in the morning, I found myself wide awake. I walked downstairs. I just sat there. Through what seemed like an eternity, a sense of nothingness just grew and grew -- beyond a mere negative emotion -- beyond depression. Absolute nothingness. And then I was made aware of the presence of Christ. I did not see or hear anything, but my very being knew His reality and His presence. And I knew what He was saying: "That’s enough now." He was right. It was enough. During the moments that followed, I did not decide to adopt some man-made principles. I did not reach out in human desperation to some therapeutic humanly constructed knowledge form. I did not even become ‘all religious.’ I entered into a relationship with my God who had hung on a cross for me so that, at that moment, I could finally be made right with Him -- so that I could finally know Him. On reflection, I believe that the nothingness I experienced during those early hours of the morning was but a tiny glimpse of what it is to be separated from God. It is only due to His grace that I will not face such a thing for eternity after my death. That happened October 30th, 2002. I was baptised seven months later. Today, I remain convinced of the reality of Christ. Through the many physical, spiritual and emotional trials that followed my conversion, I have known more than ever that October 30, 2002, was indeed no illusion. With trials have come great blessings, the greatest one being the constant affirmation of Christ as indeed real, alive today, still calling people to know Him, and still remaining the closest and wisest friend I will ever know who guides me daily through this life and eventually into eternity. I know I remain far from what I should be. But I know with absolute certainty that I am no longer what I was. That is the power of the God that I had once declared ‘dead.’
"Grace Hope"'s Story -- a rape victim who declined the Morning After Pill
In September 2009 I was raped. It wasn’t at all how I expected to spend that weekend -- first in urgent care, and then at the hospital to have the rape kit performed. I couldn't believe this was happening to me! -- that I was lying on the hospital bed in the SART room as the SART nurse performed the rape kit on me. How did I get here? I was terrified and an emotional wreck. I couldn't help but sob! I felt so alone!
I've been Pro-Life all my life,but as the rape kit was performed on me the only thing that went through my mind was that I finally understood why some rape victims would decide to have an abortion! And that thought saddened me . . .because there was no way I would want to be pregnant with the child of my rapist. Just the SART nurse asking me the question, "Do you think you could be pregnant?" made me want to scream!! I hated my rapist and wished he could experience the same pain I was going through, because the rape kit is very painful.
But I realized how wrong I was to even think about abortion when every life is a gift . . . no matter how that life comes packaged to us! I was embarrassed for thinking about destroying an innocent life just because my pain was too difficult for me to endure. How selfish of me to think my needs were more important than the "Life” of another human being! I immediately repented to God and asked His forgiveness for even thinking of murdering another by thinking of aborting my unborn baby. And no unborn child deserves capital punishment for the sins of his/her father.
So I knew as I sobbed and as they took the most graphic pictures of my injuries that I could never take a life that wasn't mine to take! Only GOD is the Author and Creator of Life, and Life should be revered as a gift from conception until natural death. So when I was presented with the Morning After Pill I told the SART nurse, “No," that I wouldn’t take it "because I’m pro-Life!”
I knew the purpose of the pill is to “terminate a pregnancy” to ultimately “destroy" the "life of another human being.” There are three ways the Morning After Pill operates: 1) If you have not yet ovulated, it prevents ovulation. 2) If you have ovulated, but have not yet conceived, it prevents conception. 3) If you have conceived a child, it prevents the unborn child from implanting in the uterine wall (referred to as "blastocyst" by the time the unborn child would be ready to implant), by creating a hostile environment, thereby killing that unborn child because you've cut off his or her ability to receive the nutrients he or she needs to continue developing. The SART team will tell you that the pill won't "terminate a pregnancy." But the SART team would be deceiving you because the "Morning After Pill" does "terminate a pregnancy."
Fortunately, I wasn't pregnant, but if I had been, I know I can say without any reservations that I would have chosen "LIFE" for my baby! Because that child would have been my baby ~ my gift from GOD!
Since my rape, I have forgiven my rapist and have recently started a Facebook page:
This is a poem called "You" by Heather Peterson-Grech who was attacked and raped by a stranger, and then became pregnant and chose life for her daughter -- a decision she does not regret.
You… how dare you… Who do you think I am? Not a person? I do not have feelings? Yes I feel, I feel anger, Hate and long to see you hurt I want to push your face into the ground I want to make you feel fear so strong That you cannot make a sound I want you to cry and plead, and then tell you to shut-up! I want you to feel even the smallest amount of pain I feel To push, and pull, to make you throw up… On the ground, I will watch you lie, helpless and afraid I want to say to you all of the things you said to me To make you fear the night and hate the day I want to walk away with a laugh, feeling oh so proud of myself While you lie naked, cold, and helpless on the ground Pleading, screaming, with no sound… For help that never comes around… I want you to feel dirty, so dirty no water Can ever make you clean, scrub and scrub No matter what, the filth you leave is mean I want you to know that you did not win, I will never let this take me For what came to be from that night, you will never see You will never see her smile, or hold her in your arms You will never watch her take a step, or protect her from any harm You will never hear the words “I love you", you will never hold her on your lap You will never see a paper with a gold star; you will never see that graduation cap You will never hear wedding bells, or the cry of her newborn babe, You are not her father, out of love this child was made For this little girl is a gift from God, oh how blessed am I That he chose me to be her Mother, while on that cold dark ground I did lie He saw that she would need me and I her, and you were just a vessel Get on your knees, pray very hard, while on your way to meet the Devil I cannot forgive you yet for the pain, you caused me on that freezing night, One day it will come, one day soon enough, Until then, I hope I will be all right………
Angelina Steenstra's Story -- rape survivor who regrets aborting her child conceived by rape. Angelina is the President and Co-founder of Second Chance Post Abortion Healing, and is also the National Coordinator of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign Canada. She is from the Toronto area and is available for speaking -- Asteenstra@sympatico.ca 905-430-7990, 647-330-9749 (cell)
I had an abortion to erase a date rape and I regret it to this day!
I was driven by fear. I was told abortion was no big deal -- that it would solve my problem. Finally, I caved into my fears and made the phone call that would end the life of my child and begin a lifetime of suffering and regret.
The saleswoman on the other end of the phone skillfully confirmed all my fears -- the fear of being ridiculed, rejected, a bad example to my siblings, of losing the love of my immediate and extended family, of being a single mother, of my inability to care for another, of not finishing school. She told me to find some friends to lend me $250 and to drive me to the abortuary.
Deeply conflicted, I went to Buffalo NY and underwent a surgical abortion. I was awake for the procedure. During the abortion, I felt panic, disbelief, and shame as I placed my feet in the metal stirrups. I felt the icy cold instruments enter my body. I felt the intense physical pain of the baby being scraped from the wall of my womb. I heard the sound of a high pitched vacuum cleaner that vacuumed out her remains. I saw the bottle next to my right foot fill up with the bloody remains of my child. I felt the horror of “What have I done?”I was filled with helplessness, shock and instant regret before it was even over. I began to cry uncontrollably -- it all happened so fast. There was no turning back, no reversing the contents of the bottle. It was such a horrible reality -- so very final!
Instantly, I knew what I had done was wrong. I knew it deep inside. I had been an accomplice in death. I had broken the law to not kill another human person. I knew that I could never again be the person I was before going into the abortion centre! I was changed forever! The realization was so devastating -- I wanted to die. I remember thinking, "I hate you. You will never be able to fix this!"
I was given a sedative to make me sleep. I hoped I would never wake up.On the way home while crying, I lied to the women next to me when asked if I was okay.
As time went on I changed my name, my job, my address, friends and behavior all in an effort to start over. But I could not get away from myself, and the all pervading sense of guilt and shame. The secret was always there. I lived in a prison of self-rejection, self-hatred, and self-condemnation. It didn’t matter what anyone said to justify abortion -- it could not undo the truth of what I saw, heard and felt on the day of the abortion.
I turned to alcohol, drugs and sexual affairs to numb the pain. I fell away from friends and family. My life spun out of control and I became suicidal.I went to a therapist for help hoping he would tell me what I knew deep down -- that the abortion was wrong and that it was at the root of my depression and self-destructive behavior. But I found no help, only denial.
I turned away from suicide when a help line validated the truth that I knew deep inside -- abortion is wrong because it took the life of another human person. I experienced so much relief that I thought the abortion was behind me.
Shortly thereafter, I married. The abortion again took front and centre while standing at the altar on my wedding day. As I said "yes" to accepting children, I found myself saying secretly to myself, "in five years." Fear was driving me. Pregnancy, babies, doctors all made me afraid. It wasn’t long before I found myself becoming a workaholic to avoid going home, to avoid the marital embrace, to avoid pregnancy. I could not let myself think about having a baby, about being a mother.
I starved myself as punishment for the abortion. I smoked two packages of cigarettes a day all in an effort to swallow the pain. By the third year of marriage, I had a physical and emotional breakdown, which led to a leave of absence from my job. I could not cope.
I was in a "catch 22" -- I wanted to want to have children, but I was so afraid. And not being able to conceive only added to my distress. Was I being punished for the abortion? My mental anguish was acute. Abortion connectors were everywhere. The sound of vacuum cleaners could drive me to extreme anger. I avoided the dentist because of the sound of the drill. I remembered every
Anniversary date of the abortion.
Finally, another side effect of abortion -- ectopic pregnancy -- broke down the walls of lies and deceit that had kept me a prisoner. Rushed to Emergency with internal bleeding that had gone on for three days, I was told that I was 9 to 10 weeks pregnant. The baby was growing in the fallopian tube which had ruptured. I was in danger of losing my life.
After much resistance, I agreed to the surgery to save my life and remove the baby. How was this different from abortion?
And thus began my healing from the abortion of 14 years earlier. As I accepted the death of our son Joseph Michael Steenstra, I grieved his loss, as did those around me. As I grieved Joseph, I questioned myself -- was not the abortion also a loss that needed to be grieved? And what did I need to grieve?
One day, I found the courage to face the truth of abortion by looking at an image of a developing child who died through abortion. I faced the ugliness of abortion. I wept for what I had allowed to happen to my first child. I wept for the loss of her life, for the loss of her geneology. The truth brought tears of healing and freedom. I researched the topic of post abortion aftermath. I read about other people’s experiences, which helped me to name and own my experience.
I personalized my child, and named her Sarah Elizabeth. I acknowledged that I needed to be forgiven for saying "yes" to her death. The hardest thing to do was to imagine her in front of me, looking me in the eye while I asked, ”Would you please forgive Mommy for allowing you to be killed by abortion?” As hard as that was, it was the most liberating step I ever took. I know I am forgiven by my children. I have forgiven myself and have been forgiven by those around me who were also affected by my decision. I have integrated the experience into my life and through it, have helped many others to pick up the pieces of their lives after abortion.
I will be silent no more because abortion took the lives of my children -- Sarah through surgical abortion, and Joseph through an ectopic pregnancy caused by an STD contracted in the years while acting out my self-hatred. Abortion did not erase the date rape, and it did not liberate me. Abortion impoverished me and those around me by eliminating many lives. To this day, I regret my abortion!
Lizzy Brew's Story -- Lizzy became pregnant out of rape and had her child removed from her and placed for adoption without her consent. Her website is gift-not-choice.tripod.com. She is from Australia and is available for speaking -- firstname.lastname@example.org
As a fifteen-year-old virgin in 1975, my life changed forever when I was raped after entering the vehicle of a man from whom I had innocently accepted a lift home. After he was finished with me, I started on my journey in the darkness of that three-kilometer walk – alone with my trauma. I had trusted him and he had shattered that trust, much as I had trusted those who assured me that adoption would be an option for the son I had thereby conceived.
The removal of my son was a foregone conclusion as I was funneled into Saint Anthony's Home for Unmarried Mothers –
a place from where the healthy unborn children of unmarried mothers were systematically marked for removal at birth on behalf of childless married couples. All within the space of nine months, I had lost my sense of innocence as well as the son who had helped to restore it.
The trauma and aftermath of the rape of my virginity paled into insignificance beside the trauma and aftermath of the rape of my womb. My memories of his day of birth do not include giving him birth but having him removed from my body for the benefit of strangers.
My Social record notes my response to the question, "Relationship with the natural father?" as "holiday romance". Though those words were the only ones directly quoted as mine, they were among those suggested to me by the Social worker herself as I struggled for words to answer that question. It was no doubt expedient for her to concur with my affirmative nod, as she maintained that my child needed a father and, as we both knew, my son's was not going to qualify.
Subsequently, in encountering those 'moderate' words: "I am opposed to abortion except in cases of rape," a stark contradiction lived side-by-side with the healing I had received through my baby son conceived in rape. The six hourly periods I was permitted to hold him in fact gave purpose to the pain of the violation that had brought him into existence.
In a day and age when abortion is so readily available, it must be no small recompense for a child conceived through rape, to know the purity of a love that far exceeds the conditional whim of an imaginary choice. A heart open to the possibility of the given child is the exposition of human value and a bastion against ubiquitous, pro-choice rape propaganda.
My name is Lori Vance and I was a part of the team working to ban partial birth abortions with my dear friend, Senator Rick Santorum. I also married my rapist......more on that later....I had four daughters and one of them was born with several fatal brain abnormalities and the so called experts deemed her "completely incompatible with life". She had hydrocephalus, holoprosencephaly, polymicrogyria, Arnold-Chiari syndrome, and an occipital meningeal encephalocele (which means part of her brain was actually outside of the skull), as well as agenesis of the corpus callosum. it was devastating news, but God had a plan for her life....and for mine. She would live and thrive and even though they said she may even be born without a face, her face was angelic indeed and she became known as the poster child to end all partial abortions and stood proudly nearby at the white House when president Bush signed her bill into law! As the nation and the world came to know us, they saw a picture perfect family supporting a very special child with big blue eyes and long brown hair and a beautiful smile which the nation had grown to love...but there was more, the story behind the story was that our life was a living Hell on Earth as I was living in virtual captivity. The man I was married to was not who he had pretended to be and sadly, I found this out before we were married the night he came to my parents home three months before the wedding and forced me to have sex with him against my will. He told me we would have to marry now and out of fear and shame, I agreed. Our life together only got worse after that night with daily rapes and with beatings which only worsened after the children came who were all girls and who later, became his victims as well. After 20 years, after years of believing that because he was in law enforcement and that I was too well known to hide anywhere, I found a safe place to go and people in the pro-life community who would help me get there. In the end, after years of struggling with nightmares and PTSD and custody issues and fear of the unknown, we are all safe and happy and moving on with our lives. We are also helping others do the same by speaking out and teaching women the signs of an abusive man which were all there for me, but I did not know them. I am living a real happily ever after with my new wonderful husband, Mark, who has gone with me to speak and to minister to those caught in the web of sexual and domestic violence...Mark was my very first love and high school sweetheart and he is my hero! If you'd like to hear the rest of our story, please contact Ambassador Speakers! Thanks, and God Bless!
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!
Sister Lucy Vertrusc's Story, told in a letter written to her mother superior. Sister Vertrusc became pregnant after she was raped in 1995 during the war in the former Yugoslavia. The letter appeared in an Italian newspaper at the behest of her Mother Superior.
"I am Lucy, one of the young nuns raped by the Serbian soldiers. I am writing to you, Mother, after what happened to my sisters Tatiana, Sandria, and me.
Allow me not to go into the details of the act. There are some experiences in life so atrocious that you cannot tell them to anyone but God, in whose service I had consecrated my life nearly a year ago.
My drama is not so much the humiliation that I suffered as a woman, not the incurable offense committed against my vocation as a religious, but the difficulty of having to incorporate into my faith an event that certainly forms part of the mysterious will of Him whom I have always considered my Divine Spouse.
Only a few days before, I had read "Dialogues of Carmelites" and spontaneously I asked our Lord to grant me the grace of joining the ranks of those who died a martyr of Him. God took me at my word, but in such a horrid way! Now I find myself lost in the anguish of internal darkness. He has destroyed the plans of my life, which I considered definitive and uplifting for me, and He has set me all of a sudden in this design of His that I feel incapable of grasping.
When I was a teenager, I wrote in my Diary: Nothing is mine, I belong to no one, and no one belongs to me. Someone, instead grabbed me one night, a night I wish never to remember, tore me off from myself, and tried to make me his own.
It was already daytime when I awoke and my first thought was the agony of Christ in the Garden. Inside of me a terrible battle unleashed. I asked myself why God had permitted me to be rent, destroyed precisely in what had been the meaning of my life, but also I asked to what new vocation He was calling me.
I strained to get up, and helped by Sister Josefina, I managed to straighten myself out. Then the sound of the bell of the Augustinian convent, which was right next to ours, reached my ears. It was time for nine o'clock matins.
I made the sign of the cross and began reciting in my head the liturgical hymn. At this hour upon Golgotha's heights,/ Christ, the true Pascal Lamb,/ paid the price of our salvation.
What is my suffering, Mother, and the offense I received compared to the suffering and the offense of the One for whom I had a thousand times sworn to give my life. I spoke these words slowly, very slowly: May your will be done, above all now that 1 have no where to go and that I can only be sure of one thing: You are with me.
Mother, I am writing not in search of consolation, but so that you can help me give thanks to God for having associated me with the thousands of my fellow compatriots whose honor has been violated, and who are compelled to accept a maternity not wanted. My humiliation is added to theirs, and since I have nothing else to offer in expiation for the sin committed by those unnamed violators and for the reconciliation of the two embittered peoples, I accept this dishonor that I suffered and I entrust it to the mercy of God.
Do not be surprised, Mother, when I ask you to share with me my "thank you" that can seem absurd.
In these last months I have been crying a sea of tears for my two brothers who were assassinated by the same aggressors who go around terrorizing our towns, and I was thinking that it was not possible for me to suffer anything worse, so far from my imagination had been what was about to take place.
Every day hundreds of hungering creatures used to knock at the doors of our convent, shivering from the cold, with despair in their eyes. Some weeks ago, a young boy about eighteen years old said to me: How lucky you are to have chosen a refuge where no evil can reach you. The boy carried in his hands a rosary of praises for the Prophet. Then he added: You will never know what it means to be dishonored.
I pondered his words at length and convinced myself that there had been a hidden element to the sufferings of my people that had escaped me as I was almost ashamed to be so excluded. Now I am one of them, one of the many unknown women of my people, whose bodies have been devastated and hearts seared. The Lord had admitted me into his mystery of shame. What is more, for me, a religious, He has accorded me the privilege of being acquainted with evil in the depths of its diabolical force.
I know that from now on the words of encouragement and consolation that I can offer from my poor heart will be all the more credible, because my story is their story, and my resignation, sustained in faith, at least a reference, if not example for their moral and emotional responses.
All it takes is a sign, a little voice, a fraternal gesture to set in motion the hopes of so many undiscovered creatures.
God has chosen me-may He forgive my presumption-to guide the most humble of my people towards the dawn of redemption and freedom. They can no longer doubt the sincerity of my words, because I come, as they do, from the outskirts of revilement and profanation.
I remember the time when I used to attend the university at Rome in order to get my masters in Literature, an ancient Slavic woman, the professor of Literature, used to recite to me these verses from the poet Alexej Mislovic: You must not die/because you have been chosen/ to be a part of the day.
That night, in which I was terrorized by the Serbs for hours and hours, I repeated to myself these verses, which I felt as balm for my soul, nearly mad with despair.
And now, with everything having passed and looking back, I get the impression of having been made to swallow a terrible pill.
Everything has passed, Mother, but everything begins. In your telephone call, after your words of encouragement, for which I am grateful with all my life, you posed me a very direct question: What will you do with the life that has been forced into your womb? I heard your voice tremble as you asked me the question, a question I felt needed no immediate response; not because I had not yet considered the road I would have to follow, but so as not to disturb the plans you would eventually have to unveil before me. I had already decided. I will be a mother. The child will be mine and no one else's. I know that I could entrust him to other people, but he-though I neither asked for him nor expected him-he has a right to my love as his mother. A plant should never be torn from its roots. The grain of wheat fallen in the furrow has to grow there, where the mysterious, though iniquitous sower threw it.
I will fulfill my religious vocation in another way. I will ask nothing of my congregation, which has already given me everything. I am very grateful for the fraternal solidarity of the Sisters, who in these times have treated me with the utmost delicacy and kindness, especially for never having asked any uncareful questions.
I will go with my child. I do not know where, but God, who broke all of a sudden my greatest joy, will indicate the path I must tread in order to do His will.
I will be poor again, I will return to the old aprons and the wooden shoes that the women in the country use for working, and I will accompany my mother into the forest to collect the resin from the slits in the trees.
Someone has to begin to break the chain of hatred that has always destroyed our countries. And so, I will teach my child only one thing: love. This child, born of violence, will be a witness along with me that the only greatness that gives honor to a human being is forgiveness.
Through the Kingdom of Christ for the Glory of God."
Well it all started with me making some poor decisions in my life, and I basically became homeless with nowhere to go. So in a effort to better myself, I reached out to an old friend in New York who agreed to help me, and off to New York I went. At first,everything was great. I was working every day and things were going great. Then my friend and I started to not get along so great. Since I had a job, I decided to rent a room -- something I had done in the past living in New York, and it was through someone I knew and who I’d met when I’d lived out there before. So I moved in and was there for about three days when things started to change and I knew something wasn’t right.
Though my childhood was abusive, I knownow that I was pretty sheltered in that small community from much of the horrors of this world. Of course I’d heard of such a thing as sex trafficking, but had no idea that it was a part of America, and could not fathom that I’d ever be targeted. So I was utterly confused when I was attacked while heading to a subway in Manhattan, abducted, and taken to a place only to find that the abductors already had all of my belongings there. I was then told that I’d been “sold” to this man who called himself a pimp. I’d never heard of such a form of slavery in the modern U.S., but it’s real and I lived through it – beaten and threatened with death for refusing to submit to his sinister plan. On one occasion, in order to try to prove to me that my situation was hopeless, he took me into the city during the day and cut me with a razor in front of people in a busy train station. No one stopped – no one said a thing! He laughed and said, "Don't you get it? No one cares about you! No one cares what happens to you.”
Eventually I escaped with the help of a bus driver who did care, only to be found at a train station by a friend of his who held me captive as well, saying he would hurt me in ways I could never prove because he wouldn’t leave marks. And then he raped me. Later that night, I got a hold of his phone and called a friend who was able to get help for me to be rescued. I remember being told, “Don't worry, you’re safe now.”
Immediately, I went to a hospital to get tested. I waited for my results and was so relieved when they said I was clean -- I thought, “I can move on with my life” and I left New York. Experiencing some pain, and wanting to be absolutely
certain I was clean, I returned to a hospital a month later to make sure AIDS or other STDs that don't show up right away had not surfaced. I was clean, but the doctor said she believed the trauma caused some other issues which were causing some of my pain, and that I was infertile. At that point, I was happy to be safe and STD-free, so I just tried to move on with my life from there.
A month later, I became really depressed and thought the random crying spells were just delayed emotions from the traumatic events that had just happened. But then I grew nauseous, among other things. I explained to my cousin how I felt and what the doctor had said and she insisted that I get a second opinion since she suspected I was pregnant. Hearing her suggest this, I couldn't wait for a doctor’s appointment, and so I went to the dollar store and bought a test. I was so scared! I went in the bathroom and my cousin stood there with me. Even before I was done, it turned positive and it was quite clear then why I had had the physical symptoms of pregnancy -- I was indeed pregnant. I went to the hospital that night to be sure and to see how far along I was. They told me I was 12 weeks and 6 days -- quite far along. I was in shock and enraged: “How did this happen?! How was this missed? Why me?! How?! No -- this can't be!” I had tried to have a child with a previous boyfriend for two years which resulted in our break up. “How could I be pregnant from this one time by this disgusting person? This must be a dream -- this cannot be real!”
As soon as they let my cousin back in, I told her, “This is not a option -- I cannot, I CANNOT have this baby! No! I want it out!” But once I calmed down, I realized that I was blessed with a life after I’d been told I would never have children. This was a sign from God and I never really believed in abortion. Abortion is murder and I'm not a murderer! At that point, I chose to keep my baby. Adoption was not a option for me either. I could not just give him away and I’ve always known that he was given to me for a purpose.
Today, I'm happy to say I have a healthy baby boy! He is the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I truly believe that God gave me this child to save my life. If I wouldn't have had him, I know I would have continued on a destructive path of poor choices, and would most likely be dead right now. Now that it’s no longer just me, but I have this awesome child to look after, I’m making much better decisions in my life – who I’m friends with, where I live, and what I do with my time. I struggle everyday knowing how he came in this world, but I don't love him any less or plan to treat him any type of way because of it. It is not his fault how he was created, nor did he ask to be created, but he was created for a reason and he has changed my life in the most positive way! Now I take my son to pray outside of abortion clinics with me so that we can save his little baby friends together!
Kellie Sonnier's Story -- Kellie is raising her daughter who was
conceived out of a date-rape. Her story also appears on her blog
and is reposted here with permission.
I made a promise to tell this story. If it helps someone, then it will be worth the potential fall out that may come from posting it. If it offends you, then that's okay too.
More than a few years ago, after my divorce, I had a one night stand that I don't even remember really. Some may call it date rape. I prefer to think that I had too much to drink and literally blacked out. I was in the wrong place, trying to find love in the wrong ways, looking to the wrong people to provide it.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was in shock and denial. When it finally sank in, fear encapsulated me. I was 35 years old. I had kids already. I was divorced, and on my own. My kids meant everything to me, but I could not dream of having one more. It felt like I was in mortal combat with a force greater than myself, despite my reasoning and rationale. The inevitable circles of my mind were on endless replay.
How would I take care of another baby alone? How would I give him/her all that they would need? How would I tell my kids? What would I tell my kids? I cannot do this! I don't want to do this!!
Fear and pride won, and I pulled the short straw for an abortion. Making the appointment was easy. Driving to the clinic was a numbing experience. Walking in and sitting down to fill out paper work felt cold. Following through was a bitch though and I couldn't do it. I left the clinic that afternoon still pregnant, tears streaming with a combo punch of feeling humiliated yet relieved. Believe it or not, this same scene happened two more times.
By the third time I entered that clinic, they were prepared for me. Every worker seemed so nice; the atmosphere less cold. A woman actually put her arm around me this time and assured me I was doing the right thing. For the circumstance in which the pregnancy occurred, I could hardly disagree. I did not want to be pregnant. Hell, I didn't even remember the act of sex that brought this nightmare to reality. I had talked myself into believing that I was indeed making the right choice. I was scared before, but a new determination rose up within me. I covered my emotions, and marched forward to end the misery I was in. Then came the dreaded ultrasound.
I got dressed and left that clinic, taking my emotional baggage with me instead of leaving it there as I had planned. I was still depressed, weighted, and clueless how to proceed. The choice I made that day will play itself out for the rest of my life . . . and hers.
This is Rachael. We will be celebrating her 4th birthday in just a few weeks.
Was she a choice? In today's world people will say letting her survive was my right...my right to choose. So I guess you can say she was a choice. While I sit here and watch her play though, I don't know how I could've reasonably assumed that I had any choice. She is a force of being that says "I have a right to live" without ever saying the words.
Although I was scared to death, I have never regretted leaving that clinic.
When she was invisible to the world in the form of a tiny person known only to me and a handful of clinicians, she was still a person. She was still her. There are moments that grip my heart with despair knowing that I was one step away from taking her life in order to restore mine to it's prior stability. Other moments are joy unexplained when I look back, knowing that I was one step away from extinguishing this little girl from existence...but I made the choice for her. Do I still face hardship? Yes and I still do it alone.
The crisis of pregnancy I faced was minuscule compared to this beauty of life named Rachael. She's a gift no matter how she was conceived; no matter how bad the timing; Her life is priceless.
It's 2009, and we all talk about abortion, we argue over abortion, we petition, and we debate. The one thing it rarely carries in the heat of
battle is a face. On this page you will find two. Rachael and I survived an unwanted pregnancy, and neither of us will ever regret choosing life.
Analyn Megison -- a rape survivor who is raising her child who was conceived
I am a law school graduate. After earning my juris doctorate degree, I had the honor of being appointed by the Governor of Louisiana as Special Assistant to the Governor on Women's Policy. What a blessing and unique opportunity to serve this pro-life governor and the people of the great state of Louisiana! I was appointed at the sunset of the governor's administration, and had a tremendous amount of research to do, along with numerous public speaking engagements.
I continued to attend and participate at Mass, as well as attend the weekly prayer breakfasts at the governor's mansion. As it became abundantly clear to those citizens in the state who were opposed to my stance in support of unborn children, and that I did not waiver in my conviction that abortion was a violence against women -- often forced upon them as a way of covering the evidence of abuse and violence that specifically targeted women, I developed new friends and certain enemies.
My Catholic faith teaches that life begins at conception. I am grateful that this foundation was not something I doubted, and I had also seen much concrete scientific research and evidence on this subject since my youth. Thus, I had continued to question the varied ambiguities and conflicts in the laws of Louisiana and other jurisdictions, including international treaties of which I learned while a visiting law student at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.. I disagreed with rape and other exceptions for abortion, and implored lawmakers in both the state and federal realms to consider being in line with the Church teachings that life begins at conception across the board, and to nurture and value that life. With my strong convictions, I was a horror to many degreed women, particularly others I encountered from a legal education environment. But I was blessed to have good professors beside me who were Catholic priests and, of course, many others who considered life and the legal rights of a human to be paramount.
When challenged as to whether I would have a child if I became pregnant due to rape, I said “Yes.” This foundation is a blessing because abortion was not something I would have considered for myself. Where is the logic in doing further violence to a woman who has been violated by rape? The consequences for a female victim are just not going to be the same for a male victim of sexual assault because of biology: men just do not get pregnant. Then, the insult to me was "would I impose a rape baby on some other rape victim?" A high ranking woman attorney in Louisiana asked me that! Women can be very vicious toward one another, unfortunately.
Then, I became that victim -- I was raped. I thought that I had fought off my rapist successfully, though there was so much blood and I was in pain. Afterward, I learned that I was pregnant from this attack. I could not believe it! I had a baby growing inside of me and I was going to be a mother from rape. Still in a lot of pain and very physically sick from this pregnancy, I endeavored to pray with my unborn baby, who I knew with certainty had a soul. My rapist learned that I was pregnant and attacked me again, pointing a gun at my belly, threatening to "kill it too" if I did not drop the cases against him with the District Attorney. I would pray, “Please, Jesus, spare my child's life!”
Many people pressured me to have an abortion because I was raped. And many of them called themselves pro-life and attended churches! There was a lot to suffer as an unwed mother in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was told not to follow my doctor's orders or to fall down some stairs because “a miscarriage will get rid of it, which is not a sin!" I’d pray even more: “Lord Jesus Christ, God our Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank you for this precious life. Please knock these Pharisees down with a lightning bolt, and protect us, and make these fools stop calling my child ‘it’!”
God has walked with me and my child since conception, and continues to carry us in His arms. Throughout this experience, my fellow Vincentians from our Society of St. Vincent de Paul defended and walked beside me and my child who was yet to be born. So did my parish priest and nuns in Baton Rouge. The Missionaries of Charity -- Mother Theresa's nuns, were there and prayed for me and my child, even allowing us to join with them in prayer for adoration.
The rapist violated the injunction for protection, and continued to assault me -- I even had to climb out onto the roof of my home through a window one time when he burglarized my home while I was pregnant with my child. Nevertheless, I continued to refuse to seek an abortion, nor did I want to give my child up for adoption. I wanted to raise my child and love my child. I consecrated my unborn child to the Infant Jesus of Prague, whose shrine I visited while studying international law in the Czech Republic. I had to be on bed-rest in my pregnancy so that I would not lose my child, which was scoffed at by many because I was trying to protect and nurture my unborn child conceived when I was brutally raped. “Why not just stop taking the progesterone?” -- which helped nurture my pregnancy -- “and call it ‘God's will’?” How sick is this, Lord Jesus?! At least people I knew who called themselves pro-choice supported my decision to continue my pregnancy and raise this child as a single mother. My parish priest did not abandon me, and even when a well-meaning lay person wanted me to marry a gay man she knew so that I would not be "unwed." Some people were not only misguided, but also downright cruel.
“Lord Jesus -- God, you are a father to the fatherless. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit carry my child and me through this!” I had to fight so hard with other allegedly pro-life people about how this is not my child's crime, that my child is not a rapist or inhuman "product" and that I was clear that I was going to raise my child. I had called maternity homes and was horrified that they would only help if you were a pregnant minor child, or often they were unable to help provide lodging for a pregnant woman who already had other children. Or, they would only help the pregnant mother if she signed an adoption contract. It seemed cruel on so many levels. I grew concerned about forced adoption contracts in a situation of duress and/or if the mother who was pregnant was herself a minor child, because it was clear to me that this is taking place, along with forced abortions. I was not going to be bullied into giving my baby up for adoption, nor starved into submission.
Finally, I called the Diocese of Baton Rouge, and was free to enter their home for pregnant mothers that did not require an adoption contract. As the abused women's shelter was often full to capacity and could not accommodate my medical issues that arose due to the pregnancy and the stress of repeated retaliation stalking and violence from my rapist, this option worked best. This was only the beginning of the sacrifices to be made. Yet, I can declare that my child is so worth every moment of these things which I have shared. My child makes none of the ugliness or ignorance matter! I have walked through fire gladly, and will continue to do so, whenever and wherever in life.
I am a rape survivor. I am a mother.
I am a beloved daughter of the King of Kings. I am blessed!
Samantha Renee -- a rape survivor who mourns the loss of her baby due to miscarriage.
While staying with extended family, I was raped December 28, 2009, four days after my seventeenth birthday by a guy I’d met that evening. I’d left my home in July of '09 until January 2010 because of my home situation -- being emotionally/verbally abused by my mother, with some past physical abuse in the home as well. I was never allowed to do anything or go anywhere - not even to church. I’d also taken on the responsibility of raising my sister since my mom was a meth addict for the better part of my life. Childhood for me was rough with different guys in and out of my life -- a particular one was very abusive in almost every way. It was all just too much for me to handle.
I’d told the guy who raped me that I didn't want to have sex because I was waiting until marriage. In fact, I hadn’t even kissed my boyfriend yet because I was saving myself. I’m pretty sure he may have drugged me too. The rest is kind of blocked out. I remember being in pain and looking at the ceiling. The whole time "this" was going on I couldn't do anything to stop him as if I were paralyzed, I was terrified and in shock. After it was over he held my hand, walked me to my door, and kissed me goodnight. He said, "I'll look forward to coming to see you." Thankfully, I never saw him again after that.
As soon as I got inside and shut the door I started bawling uncontrollably. I thought that it was my fault, that I said or did something that made him think that's what I wanted. I totally was in denial of what had just happened to me. After hours of crying and going over what had happened in my head, I finally admitted to myself that I was raped. I felt so gross and immediately went and washed myself off. I felt disgusted with myself for letting it happen and went over all the what ifs -- What if I hadn't ran away? What if I hadn't talked to him?, etc.
The following day, I tried to hide the way I was feeling, but my boyfriend knew that something was up. I finally cracked and told him. After much contemplation, I decided to tell the people I was staying with what had happened. They were very pushy and persistent with me taking the "Morning After Pill", but I knew in my heart that I wouldn't be able to live with myself knowing that I might have killed my baby!! I chose not to report my rape because going to the police would have meant being sent home to my mother. Nevertheless, I decided to go home 16 days after this happened because I wasn't getting any support and things weren't going well.
Then when I didn't have my period for 3 months, I thought for sure I was pregnant. I have always been pro-life and I am very educated on the subject. But as it turns out, I am not pregnant. When I found out I wasn't pregnant, I was devastated! It makes me very sad to think about the miscarriage. I wanted to be SOO much because I knew that having a baby would give me something to live for and would bring good out of a horrible thing. It would've also helped me to heal. I literally only hung on for the first few months after my rape because I thought I was pregnant or I know I would have killed myself!
It took me 6 months to report my rape. When I landed myself in the hospital for an overdose, I knew I had to tell someone. Now that I have reported it and told my mom about this, I feel so much better! It was a HUGE burden to carry without any support!
Please, learn from my mistakes. Always be aware of your surroundings and really think about what you are doing. Never be alone with a guy you don't know even if he seems "cool". If you have been raped, you need to report it right away so that they can catch the guy who hurt you! Waiting just makes things way harder! I wish that I would have reported mine that night. Know that you can overcome this -- it WILL get easier. Hang in there. You are a survivor!!
I am a Mom. Being someone who has held life in my own body makes me different. It's the hardest thing for me to admit. Very few people know, and I often have to deny that part of myself to get by in ordinary conversation. The thing about evil is that it has a powerful way of hiding sin in the unseen.
As a young child, I had a good life. I was dyslexic, but so smart that teachers put me in advanced classes. I absorbed everything in the world around me, eager to listen to even adult conversation. One of the ones that drew me in was the most polarizing: my pro-choice grandparents and my pro-life ones. I remember listening to both sides and thinking that each must hold some truth. But life has moved me unabashedly to one side.
When I was still in elementary school, my parents decided to stop sending me to school. What unfolded was years of chaos, abuse and neglect. This included sexual abuse from both my parents, mostly my dad. I was pretty isolated, though I lived in a tiny, city house. I occasionally saw neighbors and got to go to church every week, but I rarely got to speak to anyone. I had chances to go to the library, but my contact with the outside world dimmed. I didn't know what to make of the outside, and it's own brutality kept me fearful of it. I decided early on that it was better to know your enemy. They were fantistic manipulators, -- no one believed me, and no one from the outside helped me.
The first time I got pregnant because of being abused I had just turned 14. However, because I was young and enduring all the other abuses I did the conceived baby did not live long, not even three months in utero. Things stayed quiet for a while.
Just over a year later I worked up my courage to run away and was attacked and raped by a neighborhood group of boys, fleeing this outside attack I returned to my home and accepted all it entailed. After three months, maybe a bit more, it was becoming obvious my body was changing. By the time I was four months along I was being physically abused in order, my parents hoped, I'd miscarry. But still the child grew. One day I got sick, whether it was a stomach bug or intentional, I don't know. My mom spoke to her friend, a nurse, who was able to attain for her an arsenal of drugs. All of which would solve the “problem” and if not, I could be sent to my pro-choice grandparents who were sure to have connections.
That night, my daughter died. I did not have a choice in the matter. I did not understand at the time what was going on, but I wrote it all down. Years later, when I read it, the “strange things” all added up. The things they said, and even a call to a pro-life pharmacist family member to check the “safety” of the drugs. That person thought they were protecting me, but my parents were wanting to make sure their ill affects would hold. They intended for my little girl to die, and it happened.
After that, I changed. I worked hard, I studied any book I could get my hands on, and I escaped. With the help of a loving, wonderful family who took me in -- the people I now call Mom and Dad -- I got an education, and not only high school, but college. Now, I have an idyllic life in the country. I have everything I could ever want, and life gets better by the day.
But I will not forget my children. I love them with my whole heart! They are real people who lived and died. They deserved life just as much as I did or anyone else does. It is my sincerest wish that they could be in a family right now, being light and joy and love. But they're not, because people see the cover-up of rape and incest as getting rid of the pregnancy. The truth is that it doesn't change a thing! The current response keeps girls and young women locked in abusive relationships, as the medical professionals are convinced that killing the product of conception will fix the problem. It never has and it never will.
Being pro-life to me means that I can value the life of my children. They were fearfully and wonderfully made -- just like me. I don't deserve death, no more than they did.
“Why have a baby born into a family who does not want ‘it’?”
“What about school/career?”
“Should we really force a woman to bear a child against her will?”
“What if the baby is deformed or not mentally ‘normal’?”
“Maybe the woman just can’t afford a child right now!”
“It’s not my place to make such an intimate decision for someone else.”
“I’m personally opposed to abortion, but…”
I’ve heard them all. As someone who was in high school when the infamous Roe vs. Wade
and Doe vs. Bolton decisions were being discussed and then handed down, I have been transfixed by the topic for years. The research that was required for my first Social Studies debate on the topic, caught fire in my heart and soul and has been a burning flame of conviction ever since. An otherwise timid public speaker, I could rattle off facts and arguments with fluid ease when pro-life issues were involved. Some of the rationalizations were very simple to dispute with developmental charts and biological facts.
Others would tweak at the heart and seem difficult to counter – but were they?
“What about the rape/incest exception?”
Yep, that one makes folks a bit more squeamish. Would you really expect a woman to carry her attacker’s child? Well, in a word, ‘yes’! After all, why punish a child for his father’s crime? Wouldn’t that just create another victim? That child has committed no crime, has been convicted by no jury, and is given a death sentence through no fault of his own. But, but, but…
“Wouldn’t the woman’s life come to a screeching halt,
with no chance of a future?”
In a nutshell, no! What makes me so sure about my answer? Well, my ‘ace in the hole’ response comes from a very personal story…
Sometime in the 70’s I found myself the recipient of unwanted advances by a neighborhood boy – I was barely 14 years old. Weeks later I would reluctantly tell my mother the facts of that encounter and she would surmise that my persistent bout of nausea wasn’t the flu after all. She would fall to the floor with the shock of it all and I would be forced to let go of the denial that had kept me halfway sane. The ensuing months were a blur and yet time stood still. My early high school career came to a screeching halt and was substituted with a ‘homebound’ teacher and an algebra tutor. Time, however, marched on and adjustments were made. This wasn’t an era of ‘baby mommas’ and ‘baby daddies’, this was a more sheltered time and after a while we began to attend Mass in a neighboring town.
Then early summer hit and with it ‘the time’. I remember the kind-faced nurse with the gold watch who held my hand – no visitors in the labor/delivery area were allowed then. She kept me somewhat calm by talking about mundane things – like my nice tan. The hours ticked by and the pain increased. There was a recurring little stream of tears at the corner of my eyes but I never called out. I just looked at that gold watch on the nurse’s arm.
Then there he was – a blue eyed bundle of around 7 pounds. They laid him in my lap and I timidly poked at him – counted the fingers and toes, because that’s what I’d heard you did, and then quickly bundled him up again. I felt more fear than joy – more spent than at peace. I don’t remember much more of the hospital stay but I do remember the early days of being back at home. My jeans fit again quickly and I hesitantly went outside for a walk on the sidewalk in front of our house. I looked ‘normal’ again but couldn’t quite get the idea of what had happened to make sense in my 14-year-old brain. The sun was still shining but somehow it didn’t sink its warmth into my skin.
Inside the house were my sisters and that little wooden cradle with ‘him’ in it. My parents had stepped up in support of us and decided to adopt the child and raise him as my brother. We were a family of firm Catholic faith and there could be no other option. They would add this child of mine to their brood even though my mother was 4 months pregnant at the time of his birth. He would soon have a little brother! The adoption papers were drawn up and there was no fuss or disagreement – after all I was still a minor. This plan was for the best – for all of us. Sacrifices were made in families every day – for the good of all – especially the smallest, weakest members. This was our Catholic faith in action!
The blue-eyed angel grew a full head of blonde hair and five months later his dark-eyed, black-haired ‘twin’ would become his sidekick. He always knew that I was ‘special’ and that he was adopted, even before he knew what that meant, because my parents wanted him to know the truth from the beginning. ‘The Boys’, as we called them, would grow up together as brothers with a bond that grew stronger and matured with adulthood. Our little family of 7 lived an idyllic life in our small town and acceptance was regained from most. The whispers would always be there but we all grew accustomed to them and we circled the wagons around our family and our Catholic faith.
I returned to high school and met a young man during the summer of my sixteenth year. He was someone my mother trusted and the first one I dated. We became quite the pair and were soon ‘going’ steady. Another reminder of that time would come when we parked in a quiet meadow and I told him my story. He had heard the murmurs but I needed to tell him myself – that it wasn’t quite the way it was portrayed in some circles. To my surprise and joy he accepted my tale with a loving calm! He was not in tune with the naysayers, his heart was his own – and mine!
We married the Thanksgiving weekend of my senior year, with the blessing of our parish priest. Our high school courtship had remained a chaste one – by our mutual agreement. After our wedding we approached my parents and asked if we could adopt the little one – now three years old – ourselves. My mother’s answer was an unequivocal ‘NO’! She explained that he was now her baby and she simply could not give him up. We did, however, have ‘The Boys’ over quite a bit. They were our ‘practice kids’ in those early years.
That fall, after having graduated from high school, I began my college life. Although my scholarships were rescinded when I married, I gained 24 credit hours by taking the CLEP test. I remained on track to graduate on time. In what seemed like no time at all I found myself in my senior year of college – and I was also pregnant with our first child! Our son was born before I walked the stage to receive my diploma.
Since that time many things have happened. After graduation with a BA in Art my various jobs have included Art Teacher, Office Manager and Catholic Book Store Manager as well as a Field Representative for a pro-life US Congressman. In the pro-life realm I have been an Executive Director of Right to Life of Owensboro (twice), served as Newsletter Editor and Board Member of several pro-life groups,. My life has been full and fulfilling. I tell you these things, not to brag about my credentials, but to enforce the point that your life is never over – no matter what cards you are dealt.
During our 36 years of marriage, my husband and I have had three children and married off two of them. We have welcomed 5 grandchildren – gifts from their happy marriages. The two children born to my ‘special brother’ and his wife, round out our total of seven grandchildren. They are all 7 years old and younger. I am Godmother to all seven of these angels and we are quite the tight-knit bunch. Life prevailed and has come full circle. Contrary to being ‘ruined’, I can honestly say that my
54 years on this earth have truly been blessed!
NOTE: When he was sixteen years old, I went for a drive with my ‘special’ brother. As we sat in an empty church parking lot, I filled him in on the grim details of his origin. I had, of course, gotten ‘our’
mother’s blessing. He had a right to know but it needed to be the right time for him. We talked and exchanged thoughts of Our Story. Our relationship had remained strong throughout the years and that would never change. We just needed to ebb and flow in our own time. + + + Fast-forward to a few days ago we discussed my idea of publicly telling Our Story . Of course the folks in our hometown know some version or another of the story and a few people currently in our lives know the details as well. I’ve also shared Our Story with frightened, pregnant girls and their mothers. I’ve shared it with intimate friends and fellow pro-life warriors. But it’s not mine alone to publicly tell. However, we are comfortable with each other and I knew he would honestly tell me how he felt. His answer was as straightforward as he, himself, is. He said, ‘’it’s Our Story and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Tell it like it is.’’ ~ We are quite the pair – praise God!
When I was little I was molested for eight years by my stepfather. He was an accomplished liar and fooled everyone, even my mom. No one knew. I was afraid to tell anyone; when you grow up hearing that bad things will happen if anyone finds out, you believe it.
I got pregnant the first time when I was 12. I was scared, and I told him. He hurt me and then loaded me up on drugs, telling my mom that I had been injured while out playing with some other kids. He killed my baby. Of all the things that happened to me, this is what haunts me the most. I will never know who my child might have become. My only hope is in the promise I will get to see him or her in Heaven when I get there, and Jesus will take care of my baby until then.
When I was 13, I became pregnant again. This time I did not say anything to him. My mom noticed that my body was changing, even though I was only about two months along at the time, and asked me about it. I finally got the courage and told her everything. She immediately packed up my brother, sister, and me and took us to our aunt's house. From there, she called the police. They arrested him and took us to the hospital for some tests, and then we had to go in for questioning ourselves. In the end, he was sentenced to ten years in prison for molesting not only me, but my sister.
I was told by therapists, friends, teachers, family, and even strangers, that it would probably be best if I had an abortion, but I couldn't. Earlier that year, I had learned in my science class that a child's DNA comes from both parents, and that meant that this child was also half mine. I also figured that since I was the one who would carry her in my body for the next several months, that made her mine, not his. I knew from my first pregnancy that he didn't want me to have the baby. I knew that if I had an abortion, I would be doing just what he wanted, and he would win again. He would not have only killed all of my innocence, he would have killed my daughter.
It might have been easier to choose an abortion. There are many things that I would not have had to go through if I had. It was harder than I have words to describe. But there are some things in life that are worth fighting for, and she was one of them.
I'm not a very big person: 5' 0" and 95 lbs. I wasn't big then either. So, due to my size and my age, I was deemed a high-risk pregnancy. I had my first ultrasound at around three months, where I got to see her heart beat, and I fell in love. That was when I decided that I couldn't give her up for adoption either.
The next several months were hard. The looks and comments that I received from people everywhere were difficult to deal with, to say the least. I lost all but two of my friends. But knowing that I would have that little girl soon kept me going. I decided to name her Josey Ann, after a character in a book I had read.
On Friday, July 28, 1995, roughly six weeks before my due date, I went into labor. I was flown from Vernal, Utah to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City. They gave me some drugs to slow down the labor (my water had not broken yet), and steroids to help develop my daughter a little faster so she would have a better chance of surviving. She was born the following Monday, July 31. She weighed 4 lb. 2 oz., and was 18" long.
Because she was so premature and needed much medical help, they kept her in the NICU. They kept her there until the end of August. Words cannot express the joy I felt when we got to bring her home the day before I started the 7th grade.
I still had nightmares, but I would wake up and have that little smiling face to greet me. When I would get nasty looks and comments, I would go home and hear her giggle. She truly was a light in one of the darkest times of my life. I shudder to think of what that time would have been like had I aborted her.
My mom was amazing; she watched my daughter so that I could finish school. I did graduate, and was my class Historian. I met a wonderful man who loves both me and my daughter, and we now have four children.
At the time I had Josey, I believed in God, but I didn't like Him very much. I couldn't understand why a loving God would allow me to go through all that I did. It wasn't until I was 26 that I truly found a relationship with Jesus Christ. A wonderful neighbor of ours showed me how much Jesus loves me. Because He loves us, He gave us free will. My stepfather abused that gift when he abused me. But like Romans 8:28 says, God used something horrible to bring me one of the greatest blessings in my life. Knowing her now, I would go back and do it all again.
Josey is 17 now, and is a beautiful young woman, inside and out. She loves writing, drawing, and music. She is learning to play the guitar and skateboard. She volunteers in the nursery at our church, and helps the worship team at one of our local ministries. She plans on going to college after she graduates to study computer animation.
She is one of the many reasons why I know that abortion is wrong. She is a person, and has been since she was conceived. Had I aborted her, this world would have lost an amazing person. My heart breaks for each child that is killed before he or she has a chance to bring someone the same joy that my daughter has brought me.
Seeing her does not remind me of the horror of my childhood. She reminds me of God's love, and how He can bring beauty from the ashes. To anyone who is where I was, please hold on. You can make it, and your child will bring you more joy than you can imagine. It will be hard, but it is worth it.
Shortly after I graduated from High School, I found myself in the company of some people I didn't really know. My friend and I had gone to hang out with them at a friends apartment. I was 18 and shouldn't have been where I was and shouldn't have been drinking, since I wasn't old enough. But often at this age, we make impulsive choices we can't take back.
I was still a virgin and despite it being 1970 and the free love movement, I had decided to wait for marriage, a few years earlier. Despite the plans I made, drinking with strangers derailed them.
After we got there an older guy poured me a glass of wine. I had dabbled in under age drinking a few times, my Senior year of high school, so having a glass of wine didn't seem like a big deal. It was a good way to numb my mind from some things that were going on at home, besides it was "fun." I never thought about someone slipping something into my drink.
When a battery powered radio didn't produce the tunes we wanted to hear, the older guy sent my friend and another guy to walk to the store for a new battery, leaving me alone with him. While they were gone, I apparently passed out. My friend returned to find me naked on the bathroom floor. I had been raped and didn't really know what had happened. He tried to make it appear I was a willing participant although I could barely stand and my speech was slurred.
Several months went by and I had missed a few periods. However, there was a bigger problem, my dad, who had heart problems was scheduled to have open heart surgery so I kept silent. My mother, who was diabetic and father with a bad heart knew nothing of the fear and shame I was dealing with. I went to visit my grandmother and cousins out of state shortly after the rape. My grandmother was very loving and kind....my cousin was very supportive, too. I told both of them what had happened. My grandmother would have let me stay with her, but with my father's upcoming surgery, I decided to go home.
Shortly after I came home, I celebrated my 19th birthday. I had enrolled in Jr. College with my dad's help and lived my life as if nothing had changed. Four days after my birthday, my dad had the surgery and by the next day he was dead.
Another friend had offered to take me to Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test the week after my dad was buried. Needless to say, the pregnancy test came back positive. The first thing PP offered me was a way to "solve my problem." They told me if I had the money, they could send me to California for an abortion. They never asked if the rape was reported. Although I didn't know much about abortion, it didn't sound right.
My brother was with me when I told my mom. It was a huge shock to her. She never left my side. Her love and support helped me through a very hard time in my life.
The only option I thought available was to go the County Hospital for prenatal care. They turned me down, I didn't qualify because of my age and being a student, they said my parents were responsible. I cried and felt like I wanted to die...why wasn't it me, instead of my father?
My mother, knew a woman from church who was on the board of directors or worked for St. Elizabeth of Hungary clinic. She talked to her about my situation. I think her name was Helen...she was an answer to prayer. St. Elizabeth offered health care for those who didn't qualify for county assistance, didn't have insurance or didn't have the money. That would be me.
At St. Elizabeth Clinic, they offered pre-natal care and counseling. REAL counseling, which helped me to realize it wasn't my fault and that even if I couldn't care for a baby, someone else could and would love the baby with all their heart. For less than it would have cost to get the abortion, I had the best care and delivered the baby girl at a local Catholic Hospital. It was my plan to give my baby girl up for adoption, just as many other young girls did at that time. I had been counseled and felt comfortable about giving up my baby to a loving couple.
The day after she came into the world, I was supposed to sign the adoption papers, but first I asked to see her. After I held her in my arms and talked to my mom, I changed my mind. The decision to keep her was based on the fact that I had enough "loss" and didnt' think I could handle any more. My mother was very supportive and said she would accept whatever I decided. I looked into my baby girls eyes and said, I don't know how we're going to do it, but we're going to do it together.
42 years have passed. Because of that little girl, I was able to get into a nursing program that was set up for single mothers and became an LPN. I worked at the same County Hospital that couldn't help me, where I eventually met my now husband. My little girl was 10, when we met and he has been her father ever since.
Planting a seed, doesn't make someone a father. A man who loves and cares for a child...sits up with her when sick, goes to every baseball game and helps her buy her first car, the man who nurtures and grows the child, that would be the father.
My little girl now has 2 children of her own. She has made a difference in this world, in her career in public service. I cannot imagine life without her or our grandchildren. I have never regretted my decision to keep my baby, conceived in rape. Every life is precious. Each person has a God given potential, unique to only them. Choosing life is never the wrong decision.
Sixteen years after I had my first baby, I had another little girl. I love them both the same, just as my husband loves them both the same. There is not difference in our love for them.
“You must remember to love people and use things, rather than to love things and use people.” ― Fulton J. Sheen