Sep 032010

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I had a rape pregnancy. The pro-life movement berates pro-choicers for emphasizing rape and incest for being rare, but even if it is, that is no excuse for ignoring it. It happened to me. It happens. We need this option so we don’t feel like we’re getting raped again every day for nine months. At the time, I didn’t tell anyone about the rape when I was seventeen. I’d never had a boyfriend or girlfriend, never been kissed, and never much cared to. Academics were a priority, and I’ll admit, I was fairly weird and antisocial. When this guy started talking to me at a concert about obscure post-punk acts, my excitement had more to do with the topic than him. It was annoying when he keep trying to talk during the songs as well. Once he tried to brush my hair behind my ear, I cringed and moved to the other side of the stage. I didn’t look back. I just didn’t think. Back then, I always parked out of the way to avoid steep parking fees and was preoccupied with fear that my car was towed. I didn’t notice him follow me out of the venue and the two blocks to my car. My switchblade and pepper spray were inside the armrest, behind locked doors. He managed to hold his jacket over my head on the ground, and I was scared I’d be killed, too. I couldn’t pry it off my face and hold my skirt down and push him at the same time. I didn’t bother to chase him when he ran off afterwards. Even now, I’m just as angry with myself as him for not being able to fight him off (which my therapist told me isn’t right, but it’s how I feel). The rare chance of finding this stranger didn’t seem worth it for the aftermath hassle of my overbearing parents on their assaulted child. The next morning I took a bath as hot as I could stand and some vitamin C. A few weeks later I had a light period, not thinking anything of it with my random cycle. When it didn’t come the month after, I didn’t quite believe I needed the pregnancy test I went out and bought, but it was positive. I never thought I’d panic again as much as I had the night of the rape. I just stared. And stared. And suddenly couldn’t catch my breath.

I never, ever wanted children in the first place. Luckily, I was raised informed of my options. I made an appointment with a woman at a Planned Parenthood clinic for a medical pregnancy test, though my voice was so oddly cool on the line she acted like she didn’t understand what I was driving over for. It was half an hour from my house. I think I told my parents I was working an extra shift or something. And sure enough, pregnant. The doctor or technician gently asked if I wanted to discuss alternatives to abortion but my mind was already made up. They didn’t perform abortions at the location I had my testing, so it was another two weeks before I could get the procedure. In the meantime I racked my brain trying to think of someone who could pick me up afterwards. I honestly didn’t have any friends in my town, and it seemed too serious a favor to ask of any school acquaintance – and too risky, in case anyone talked. My father worked out of the house and might’ve seen a taxi. There wasn’t any bus line out in the suburbs. Finally I settled on someone I knew from work after she mentioned getting her sister birth control from the clinic I first went to. She probably did tell her sister but I was already planning to quit where we worked.

Kind as the staff were, I had to wait an hour before going in. I’m sure everyone in the waiting room off to the side were in the same situation, staring at magazine pages longer than necessary, hugging coats to our chest, trying not to jiggling our legs too much and give away our anxiety. I didn’t let the coworker come inside with me. I made her wait in her car with a book. It hurt in a way that mattered; the pain felt like closure. I didn’t miss the fetus at all and don’t blame myself. It was never a baby, it was an unwanted souvenir. What if I gave the baby up for adoption, knowing nothing of its conception? And violence, if not sexual violence, was hereditary? Why should I let my rapist promote his bloodline? Why should I have to go through seven months on top of the seven weeks I spent hosting the fetus, remember each awful minute of the rape?

I went into therapy after college but I’m just an angry person. I hated the fetus. I wasn’t in any frame of mind to accept it as my child. It was always his. I can’t fathom how anyone would force motherhood on someone in this situation because they don’t want to make exceptions to their own morality. I’m pretty sure I would’ve killed myself if forced to carry it to term. Gratefully, that was never an issue. I had a very positive experience with Planned Parenthood who tried to be so understanding of a situation I couldn’t really talk about. They even gave me the number to the county health and mental services so I could find a psychologist with sliding-scale fees.

I really wanted to share my story because I have a close friend who attended the recent March on Life in Washington, and she was babbling about how a child from rape is a blessing, something positive that comes out of something horrible. Maybe to some people, but not me. And I wouldn’t want a child to grow up being resented. I don’t think anyone who’s been in my situation ever says anything like that. It is important to have a choice and to reassure the women who need them. I’m really glad a site like yours exists.

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