By Deana Schroeder
“She asked for it.”
That is how a 17-year-old boy responded when confronted with the rape of an 8-year-old girl. At 8 years old. “She asked for it!”
The words ring in my head. Most eight-year-old girls don’t know about sex. Certainly, not enough to ask for it. However, that is the line that has been used for eons by predators to skirt the responsibilities of the atrocities that they commit on their unfortunate victims: “They asked for it.” “They made me do it.” Bullies and predators are great at pushing the blame onto someone else and it doesn’t matter if the person they are blaming is male or female.
The victims are left wondering, if they even understand what happened to them, whether there was something that they did, even subconsciously, that contributed to what happened to them. Then, guilt and shame sets in with the victims and they are left, not only with the physical trauma and its aftereffects, but also with the emotional rape of being taken advantage of and manipulated by the emotional abuse of the person who violated them.
I am very glad that the young girl in this case was comfortable enough with her parents to tell them. Also, thankfully, the parents believed their child and did what they could to bring the crime to light.
This situation hit home with me because I was raped when I was 17. The year was 1974. I was told that I must have done something to deserve it.
The truth was that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time when I was drugged and raped. I don’t remember how I got home that night. Who was it that did this to me? I was not even conscious. So, I couldn’t have asked for it.
Unfortunately, I was pregnant. I had to tell my family, who didn’t believe me, further traumatizing me. I was dropped off at an ordinary looking office building. I was told that I had to go in that building and do whatever I was told to do and my mother would pick me up at the back door.
No one inside the building told me about what was to happen to me and how it would change my life. I remember there were 11 other girls and we sat in a circle in one room. We were from 12 to 17 years old. We were asked, and we told, how we “wound up this way.” Every one of us had been raped and I could see the trauma in each one of their faces. There probably weren’t any reports filed even though we were all underage.
The people in the clinic really didn’t say much to me. No one said it was a baby or even tissue. The child I was carrying was not identified as a human. We didn’t know then what we know now. All we knew what that we had to do what we were told. There were no forms to sign. No money was exchanged.
I was put under and when I came out of the anesthetic, I screamed from the pain. It was a horrible experience to go through. I still have flashbacks. I remember crying and sobbing for hours afterwards. Then, I stuffed my emotions and tried to carry on life as best I could. Since then, I have battled with infertility and depression and even thought about ending my life once. I didn’t cry again for many years, until I processed the loss and the grief that goes with it.
I am not alone. I have worked with other women in post-abortion recovery. They will tell you that the decision to abort was not an easy one. None of them have gone through an abortion without it affecting one if not more areas of their life.
It may surprise you that, having experienced abortion, I am against abortion for ANY reason. The reason I am against abortion is because it does horrible things to your body, mind and spirit. These abortions are done in clinics, not hospitals, where if something goes wrong, they are not equipped to handle it. This has resulted in permanent sterility and even death from botched abortions.
Also, it is not the baby’s fault and there are plenty of people out there who are desperately seeking a child. And it is a baby and they deserve to live. Many post-abortive women are not able to have children or they have difficulties with subsequent pregnancies. There’s also the possibility that she will cling too tightly to subsequent children due to unprocessed grief. Other effects include flashbacks, increased rate of miscarriage, higher suicide rate, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and an increased risk for other physical and psychological problems.
One of my fears is that, with all the Planned Parenthood videos out, that women who have had an abortion may realize the horror and feel the grief for what they did. It is very painful for those hidden emotions to come out, but that is the first step to healing. Many women had abortions in the early years and recoil in horror at the latest science and what we are able to see now.
I wonder how easy it will be for them to heal. Or will they bury their pain deeper because they feel that they are beyond God’s saving grace? I hope not, and that is one of the reasons why I wrote this article.
Current statistics say that one in three women have had an abortion. That is staggering. I challenge you to look around your church or place of employment. Chances are very high that you or someone you know has had an abortion.
If you have had an abortion, seek out a faith-based crisis pregnancy center or post-abortion healing ministry. They have resources that will help you heal. Our God is big enough to bring you through healing from this pain, from both the rape and the abortion. You do not have to shoulder the pain alone. Your sisters are here to help you heal.
And as far as the “she asked for it” comment goes, he is responsible for what he did to her and needs to be punished. Sexual predators need to be held accountable for their offenses. True, we have a violent media and they may have had a bad life. However, many people have had bad lives and not committed violent and criminal acts. Somewhere along the line, the 17-year-old made a choice to “return evil for evil.” Returning evil for evil never makes things right, it just adds more trauma and pain to the society.
These people need our help, too.
Deana Schroeder is a member of the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Pregnant By Sexual Assault (WPSA). See her previous article, My Rape Pregnancy and My Furor Over Social Myths.
Abortion and Sexual Assault Pregnancy
Protect Girls Pregnant Through Rape From Abortion
My Rape Pregnancy and My Furor Over Social Myths
Rape, Incest and Abortion: Searching Beyond the Myths
Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault
Special Report on Sexual Assault Pregnancy and Abortion
Rape Hurt My Mother, But Abortion Devastated Her
I Was 17, Drugged and Raped … But Abortion Wasn’t Best for Me
Women Who Have Experienced Pregnancy From Sexual Assault Say “Ask Us”
Choices4Life (rape/incest pregnancy support)
Help during pregnancy
Help after abortion
Legal help for those being pressured, coerced or forced to abort