Fifteen years ago, in San Francisco, I was imprisoned for a year by a man who twisted up facts and distorted truth, beat me regularly, starved me, tortured me, deprived me of sleep and frequently coerced me to have sex with him. When I finally escaped, I went to the police, who listened to my story, told me I was crazy and sent me away. I tried to press charges, but was then told by the Attorney General’s office that my case would not be prosecuted because there was a lack of preponderance of physical evidence–no bruises, broken bones or fresh contusions. This despite two ugly burn scars–by then healed–and my own extensive and detailed reports, the support of an experienced psychologist and that of another person who filed her own reports against him.
My story is off the beaten track, and because of that, is proof that rape comes in many forms–coerced sex is just as damaging to a victim’s soul as violent rape is. Rape victims can be found in all walks of life, and there are not always bruises and broken bones. I do have multiple scars, inside and out; I am forever changed by that year.
I shudder to think what might have happened had I gotten pregnant. Under the Smith bill, I would be forced to bear the child of a monster or pay for an abortion myself–utterly impossible at a time when everything I had had been taken from me by the man who held me prisoner. That child would be a teenager now, and I would be confronted every day with the face of my tormentor.
If this bill is enacted, how many women do you suppose will choose to take their own lives rather than bear a child borne of such an unholy union? Watch the suicide rate go up if this is enacted. Their blood will be on your hands.
At the very least, you would condemn them to a life of torment and pain. Some say that the birth of a child is redemptive, but I’m telling you that seeing the face of my tormentor reflected every day in the face of my child would have been a private hell. Post traumatic stress is quite enough, thank you, and fifteen years later I still have flashbacks.
I might not have made the choice to abort–of course, there’s always the adoption option. But that would still mean carrying this child for nine months, a horrible punishment for someone else’s crime.
It should be MY choice, not yours.
Rape is rape, whether it’s violent or not. If there is not free mutual consent, it can be nothing else BUT rape.
(Go to the Facebook discussion here for some very interesting perspectives).