Kateri, Post-abortive Rape Survivor
Kateri — Twice pregnant by incestuous rape
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.