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Raped by My Stepfather: A Survivor of Illegal Abortion On Why Safe, Legal Abortion is Essential

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Rape is RAPE

(Photo: mmtzjr69out/flickr)

 

Written by Dawn Hill for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

This is one of a series of powerful stories from survivors of rape, you will find them all here.

This week, Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock argued in a debate that women who have been raped should not have access to abortion services because their pregnancies are a “gift from god.” As a survivor of childhood sexual violence, I disagree with him completely.

My name is Dawn Hill. Though I am old now, there was a time when I was young and carefree as you perhaps are now or can remember being in your childhood. Childhood should be a happy and carefree time for all our children, but my mother found her new husband, my stepfather, much more important. He forever took the joy away from my life when I was just 11 years old: He began molesting me and continued until he began raping me when I was 13.

Mr. Mourdock last night said:  ”I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”

I became pregnant, contrary to the “scientific theories” of many modern Republicans. Not only was the experience loathsome and painful, it was also impossible for me to deal with or talk about because of the times: in the fifties, abortion was illegal. Illegal in the same way the Republican Party platform states it wants to make abortion now by constitutional amendment and just as Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has suggested casually he would “be delighted” to return to.

Please, take a moment to travel back to the fifties with me.

My mother took me to Mexico, where anyone could get an abortion for a price. I have blocked out many memories associated with this entire experience, but I remember the pain. Illegal abortions are not the simple safe vacuum procedure used today by legal abortion providers. Oh, no: They were a “dilatation and curettage.”

This means that my cervix was mechanically opened by insertion of larger and larger metal “dilators” until it was opened enough to get a sort of sharpened spoon inside my 13-year-old uterus, while strangers looked at my exposed parts that were theretofore called “private.”

It was cold and dirty in the room, and then the true torture started. They shoved this curette into me and scraped away the entire lining of my uterus with the sharp side. I screamed the entire time even though no one had seen so much as a tear out of me before this moment because I had developed a stony stoicism to protect my mind from the molestation.

This pain was, however, like nothing I’ve ever felt before or since. Can you imagine what happened to those women and girls who couldn’t even get this barbaric abortion? They stuck wire hangers into themselves and bled to death or suffered other horrible complications. Then, too, I also got a terrible infection from the filthy conditions.

I can tell you, though, that I would have gotten a hundred illegal abortions before carrying that monster’s offspring and going through labor, even to give the child away. That would have been the unkindest cut of all.

For women and girls, safe legal abortions are essential. While many will choose a different path than I with their pregnancies, having that choice is essential. Any encroachment on that right is an encroachment on the life, liberty, and safety of the women and girls of America.

What God Intended? As a Victim and Survivor of Rape I am Appalled and Disgusted

4:37 pm in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Cindy Harding for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

This is one of a series of powerful stories from survivors of rape, you will find them all here.

Richard Mourock (Photo: Indiana State Government / Wikimedia Commons)

Twenty -two years ago I gave birth to my lovely daughter who was conceived as a result of rape. This rape was a “legitimate rape,” just as all rapes are. It was a horrible, degrading experience. I did not report it because I did not want to have to go through being treated like I was somehow to blame for it, I didn’t want to hear that I was the one in the wrong and the rapist was the victim as often happens.

As a victim and survivor of rape I am appalled and disgusted with the statements that have been made by members of the GOP and although it is a very difficult thing to talk about, especially to strangers, I decided that I could not, nor would I remain silent any longer.

Today, I wonder what kind of world we live in. Richard Mourdock, a U.S Senate candidate in Indiana, this week said, “if a woman gets pregnant as a result of rape, well it is what God intended.”

It is clear that these men have no clue what it is like to be assaulted in such a horrible disgusting way, to be raped. It is also clear that they have no idea what a woman struggles with after a rape, and then what she goes through if she becomes pregnant as a result of that rape.

I knew it was not my baby’s fault but I struggled with how to raise a child without spewing the hate I felt for that man. I thought about how my child would feel, and as a mother I hurt so much for my child and what feelings she would have to live with her entire life. I can tell you it hurts a whole hell of a lot.

There is nothing anyone can say that justifies the statements that have been made about sexual assault, rape, abortion, and women in the last month. I believe Richard Mourdock, Todd Aiken, and others like them who’ve spoken out against women in the last month do not belong in public office.

For GOP leaders to continue to endorse Mourdock and for them to say that the Senate needs Mourdock in office shows that they agree with the disgusting statements that have been made. They have no clue what a woman who has been raped goes through, and now they are showing that they don’t care what she has gone through.

These statements have set us back years, they are degrading to women, and they are part of the reason women do not report rape, and part of the reason I did not report my experience with rape. Women are sick of being treated like a criminal instead of a victim. We are sick of the shame and the blame.

I chose not to abort my pregnancy but I can find no fault with any woman that chooses an abortion if she becomes pregnant as a result of rape. That choice is essential.

I am a rape survivor, I am a strong, and I am a woman with a voice and a vote and I will do what I need to do to be heard and to alert people that the GOP platform is one that cares nothing for women nor their feelings. I will stand up and be heard, and I need you to stand with me.