Rape, Incest & Abortion

Rape, Incest & Abortion

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A Survivor Speaks Up

 

By Maria Albers

It’s a conversation-stopper. What happens, your pro-choice friend says, when a girl becomes pregnant because of rape or sexual abuse? Why should she be ‘forced’ to bear that child?

 

It’s a question most of us have never had to face. Statistically, such situations are rare.

 

But what does a woman say who has had this happen to her – when she was twelve, because she was victimized be a pedophile ring, which included her own father?

 

Isabel (not her real name) recently sat down with REGINA’s Maria Albers and agreed to share her experience, and her point of view. Be forewarned; it’s not a view you will hear very often.

 

REGINA: What compelled you to share your story?

ISABEL: I want to help prove to the world that abortion is not the answer. If I can become pro-life, anyone can. Pro-choice people always make the argument that rape and incest should surely be reasonable grounds to have an abortion but whilst I would have agreed with that once, I know from experience it only makes matters worse.

 

REGINA: How do you feel about these ‘pro-choice’ people presuming to speak for women with your experience?

ISABEL: These people don't speak for me. I was a victim of rape and incest. I ended my pregnancy and that has traumatised me just as much, if not more than the way in which the child was conceived. And she WAS a child, no matter what lies are taught in biology classes in even some Catholic schools. 

 

REGINA: You were a victim of a pedophile ring, which your own father was a part of. How has that shaped your life from an early age? 

ISABEL: They say personality is fixed by the time a child is five and my abuse started when I was still only a baby. My earliest memory is from around the age of two, so this was my normal. Being frightened, being unable to ask for help (because I didn't know I needed help even though I was suffering enormously) has always been my norm.

 

REGINA: Has this persisted into your current-day life?

ISABEL: I was actually taken severely ill earlier this year and couldn't get up from the pew after Mass. Rather than ask someone to help, I stayed for several hours praying and hoping I'd get better, and that no one would notice.

 

REGINA: How painful for you!

ISABEL: Flashbacks, night terrors and dis-associative episodes are also normal. In extreme cases of severe stress I have what I call ‘time-travel flashbacks’. My husband witnessed one and said later that he felt like he had been there in my past and witnessed what happened when I was a child. That's the most extreme example, though. More often when the time-travel flashbacks hit, I'll be confused about where I am and not know what year it is, and I panic. I also take a long, long, long time to trust anybody. 

 

REGINA: You were only twelve when you became pregnant. Knowing what you now know, what would you advise any young girl or woman should she find herself in that position?

ISABEL: I would tell her to talk to someone. Even if there is no one you trust, find a teacher at school and force yourself to open up because many people are actually trustworthy and you just have to take that leap of faith. I really wish I had.

 

Also, take time. If you've been assaulted you're already not thinking straight. If you then find out you are pregnant from that assault, your head just becomes an unbelievable mess of panic and trauma.

 

REGINA: And this was your experience?

ISABEL: As soon as I found out, I just took care of the situation in the first way that crossed my mind. It's a truly life-changing situation you are in. My child would have been 20 now. I don't have children and had things gone differently, yes, we'd have had some difficult and traumatic discussions about where she came from but I'd have loved her and she would be an adult now herself, changing the world. Please, please give yourself time to think and give someone the opportunity to help you. And pray. I don't make a single decision now without prayer. I know if I'd just turned to Our Blessed Mother in one single Hail Mary that day things would now be so different.

 

REGINA: What would you tell those who assume that abortion is the best solution for a pregnant woman who has been a victim of rape or incest?

ISABEL: I have to try not to be angry answering this question. A lot of the time people like me are left out of the pro-life/pro-choice argument simply because we are too traumatised and shamed by our experiences to speak up so the people who come out with this are often well-meaning, but frankly talking nonsense from hypothetical situations they've not been in themselves.

REGINA: Speaking from your own experience, what is your view?

ISABEL: Finding out you are pregnant due to rape and/or incest is horrific, yes, but making a panicked decision because you think you can't take yet another blow is worse.

It's tantamount to suicide. You're making a life-changing (or ending) decision from which there is no going back, when you are at your most vulnerable and you are not thinking straight. If I had known that it's a baby from conception, I'd perhaps have given myself time to think. With time to think I might have told a teacher.

REGINA: And what might have happened if you had ‘told’?

ISABEL: Actually, being pregnant would have saved me from further abuse at home because had I told a teacher, social services would have removed me and the baby from my family, and my healing process could have begun much sooner. As it was, I was in that environment until I became an adult, though from around 12 or 13 the abuse was mostly psychological and emotional.

REGINA: What, in the end, is your point?

ISABEL: Abortion after rape or incest causes extra trauma on top of what she is already going through, as well as killing her baby. And that baby could have turned out to be the one consolation she had. 

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