Recently, I have heard a lot from the GOP about rape. Apparently, women cannot become pregnant if they are raped. This information would have been very useful to me when I was younger. When I was 18 to be exact. That’s the year I was raped and then went four months without having my period. Not knowing it was impossible for me to be pregnant as the rape I experienced was very forcible, I panicked and went to my doctor. I was too embarrassed to admit what had happened so I just let her think I had irresponsible sex. It seemed less embarrassing at the time (now, too). Silly me! If I had just told her I had been raped, she probably would have not even given me the pregnancy test!
(Side note: if you read my blog regularly, you know I write a lot about my life and from what you read here, it probably looks like it sucks. It doesn’t though. Really.)
Stephen Colbert had it right; anytime any GOP politician thinks they should talk about rape, they should stab themselves in the eye with a pencil.
You’d think the party of Paul Ryan would know better than to stick its head into these conversations. I thought they were all about facts and figures. I guess not. If they were, they would know that one in four women is raped. That’s right; one in four. Take a look around you. See four women? One of them has been or will be raped. True story.
Since I brought it up, I’ll tell you my story. I was 18. I had been drinking. I was at West Meadow beach with a friend. I met someone whose sister had gone to high school with me. Irony: I never remember the names of people I dislike but I remember his. No, I am not going to call him out here as much as I want to. Maybe he’s a decent guy now. He was a jackass then.
Anyway, I met these two guys. They said they wanted to see if I was a “real redhead.” Side note: I am, and yes the drapes match the carpet. One held me down while the other raped me. I cried. For years I felt better about them because they said, “We’re sorry, we didn’t mean to make you cry.” Right.
I grew up at the beach. It was one of my favorite places on earth. Looking back, I see that I stopped going to the beach when that happened. That sucks.
Positives that came from that: In college I got the SUNY Stony Brook campus to install a blue light phone system (seriously, you’d think with all the murders at Stony Brook that would have been a no brainer but it took some doing, you’re welcome Stony Brook students) and got a support group together for rape victims. I took survival seriously and I wanted to help others get through that. I like to think that I made a difference for some people because it took a lot to make a difference for me.
I am not “over” what happened to me. I am not of the school of thought that thinks rape is worse than murder. If I had been murdered, I never would have any of the cool things I have been able to do. I am a different person than before that happened. Not better nor worse, just different. It bothers me when people discount rape in the way the GOP has been. Had I become pregnant, it would have possibly killed me. Despite the GOP hype, no one is “pro abortion.” I am pro-choice but if I had become pregnant, that decision would have been horrible. It is horrible. I don’t know what I would have done. My pro-choice side thinks I would have had an abortion but I don’t think I would have.
I am pro-choice because there is one piece of real estate that I want to always be able to control. That real estate is my own body. No, right wing, you don’t get to lease my uterus. I don’t like abortion. In the years since this has happened I have become pregnant and miscarried (it happens more often than you might think, and yes, I am trying to justify what I think it a basic failure on my part as a woman — if I cannot bear children, what’s the point of me?) and that’s why I am not sure if that event would have resulted in an abortion. I just don’t know.
What I do know is that I should make that decision. Not Mitt Romney (or Paul Ryan). Not Todd Aiken. Not anyone who doesn’t answer to the name Alyson Hillary Chadwick (how crazy will I feel if there is another person with that name?)
So, GOP, you want me to think there is no “war on women.” You want me to think you care about things I care about. Maybe you do. Talking the way you do about rape does nothing to make me believe you. Stop.
Thank you for sharing your story.
I agree with you that, even if you are pro-choice (which I am), choosing to have an abortion is never an easy decision to make, regardless of the circumstances.
i grew up in a strongly pro-life, Catholic household and was one of those kids who was dragged along to protest in front of Planned Parenthood clinics, holding signs with pictures of aborted fetuses on them. We were taught to believe that women who have abortions are monsters and they do it because they hate babies. There was never any legitimate excuse to have an abortion, we were told, and anyone who does will never, ever be forgiven by God.
I know my parents aren’t the only ones that think that way and it makes me to sad that there are people out there who refuse to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and imagine just for a second what it would be like to carry a rapist’s child to term or to continue with a pregnancy that doctors said would kill you and your baby or to have a partner that bullied you into it and you couldn’t say no because you were so afraid of him.
These Republicans who have been shooting their mouths off about rape and abortion fall into the same camp as my parents, I think.