Heather Gemmen Wilson, Rape Survivor Mother Raising Her Child


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.

Heather_Gemmen_Wilson-207x324I 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.

~ Heather Gemmen Wilson