copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
Her father, a male friend, a classmate, an acquaintance who she only exchanges casual niceties with when she sees him, the friend of a trusted friend who took her out on a first date, assaulted her. She was shocked. Never did she imagine someone who was familiar to her, a respectable gent, might do as he did. She did not know that someone known to the victim commits almost two-thirds of rapes. This lovely lass had not truly had a need to grapple with cruel realities. She could not have considered the cruelest realities that would now change her life forever. Nor have many politicians found themselves in a place as unimaginable as this. Yet, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Senators, Representatives, and Judges appointed by one Administration or another have a decisive power to determine her future.
As the elected officials debate her circumstances and the consequences, she lives them. The recent “pro-life” revelations offered by the potential Vice President, Sarah Palin reminds this survivor of her personal, private history, and the hell that haunts her. Her misery may have been met when she sensed a stranger in her presence. However, more likely she suffered at the hands of one she knows well.
73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.?
38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.?
28% are an intimate.?
7% are a relative.
Her situation might have been as most; it could have occurred less than a mile from her home. She may have been among the 4 in 10 who are maliciously molested in their own abode. The young girl, older woman, middle-aged miss was attacked from behind, or perhaps, from a frontal position. She was fondled and finally, penetrated. Her most private parts were not merely entered. Her sense of self was ripped from her soul. Clinically, Jane, Joanne, Jana, or Jennifer was raped just as women, men too are violated throughout America.
In 2006, there were 272,350 victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. (These figures do not include victims 12 years old or younger.)
Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
While the numbers of women subject to such an assault may be great, in truth, Deborah, Diane, Dina, and Dawn never thought they might be among these. Each never expected to be a statistic. Nor could they have predicted that they might become a vessel for another person’s personal angst. Not one of these women wondered what might motivate someone to sexually assault them. They were certain, they, themselves would never place themselves in a position to be brutally debased or heartlessly dishonored.
Yet, while in fear for their lives, ashamed, even mortified these frightened females unwillingly surrendered to a touch that terrified them. Each was held tightly, not in a sensual manner, but as a means to control of their movements. Engaged in an entanglement that was far from erotic, Sweet Sadie, Susan, Stephanie, or Sarah wondered and worried. What might he do. Did he have a weapon? Until that moment, these ladies might not have fully appreciated the lethal power of language. Yet, as the words of the perpetrator pierced their minds, hearts, and souls as a dagger might, they grew to understand. In the United States, near eighteen (18) million have been victims of attempted or completed rape.
1 out of every 6 American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).
17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.
9 of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003.
While about 80% of all victims are white, minorities are somewhat more likely to be attacked.
Some of these lovely ladies, in their careers, may crack a ceiling. They may be outwardly successful. Still inwardly, invisible to the human eye, these daughters of Eve are emotionally shattered. A fortunate few will work past the profound effect to the extent they are able. Yet, they will never forget the horror they felt, the horrific crime they endured. No Miss, Missus, or Ms will forget what changed their lives and outlook.
While they may “choose life” for the fetus, choose to give birth to the child who is the result of such a vicious, violent, aggression, it will always be a challenge to look at that little lovable being and not be reminded of when or how that beautiful baby came into being. Humans may heal physically from an invasion into their body and being; however, the internal wounds leave serious scars.
A child, as they grow inevitably will, on occasion, error. A mother conceived in love will hopefully understand. She will likely be gentle with the toddler. A prideful mother may appreciate the development. Yet, that same potentially melodious Mom may not be quite as generous if she scorns the man who planted the seed. The way in which a woman coddles, or cares, for an infant is influenced by her perception of the other biological parent. Try as a Mommy might to forget the circumstances of conception, the memory remains. A young one who ever acts in a manner that is defiant or difficult is frequently compared to the man who planted the seed .
Granted, a girl, a matron, or a soon-to-be Mom of any age, a woman who finds herself pregnant might consider adoption, as Vice Presidential aspirant Sarah Palin would advise. However, as a new mother ponders the future, she has faith she will never forget that she had a child and abandoned the precious being. Sure, she may say to herself she gave her son or daughter a wonderful home, two parents, a chance at a better life. Yet, in her heart of hearts she knows the child will wonder why his or her birth mother might desert a child so dear.
How could she be certain that the parents who raise her baby will be the best. The expectant Mom cannot imagine how she will live with the memory that she rejected her own . . . the baby who will also be a product of rape. A woman torn from within may understand that the fabric of her life was torn and tattered when first the man placed his seed in her womb.
While this woman with child might trust as Sarah Palin does, birth begins at conception, she may also come to terms with the fact that a definitive death occurred within her. As an Earthly life as she knew it ended on the day of her rape. A female when forced to face the demon that destroyed her spirit considers the alternatives, cannot help but think of the quality of life, hers, and her baby’s.
She will wonder will the newborn be safe; will she. Might she, as the mother, or her child, be sane in a world full of feeling provoked by a scurrilous crime. Is a child, not conceived in love, or a Mom mortified by a memory, better off if they settle for simple survival. A female who finds herself confronted with what is surely a traumatic decision, must weigh what no one can evaluate for her. She must determine the significance of the events and attempt to evaluate how she and the being who may mature will thrive..
Rape for a woman so fully developed can be as cruel as abortion is for one who is barely born. Perchance, no one can decide what is paramount, preeminent, or the perfect choice. If we, as a society, as people, are to truly honor life, might humans respect an individuals right to choose how, when, or if his or her body is breached. Could we also provide sterile and sanitary spaces for those who may ponder what is imperceptible, inconceivable to us. Let us reflect upon life, the quality, and all that is not necessarily quantifiable. Perchance, we might empathize with the women and the being in the womb, the two entities whose fragile feelings were ignored at the time of rape.
Sources . . . Survivors of Sexual Assault . . .
- Who are the Victims? Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. (RAINN)
- Supreme Court’s Evolving Rulings on Abortion, By Alex Markels. National Public Radio.
- Transcript: the Vice Presidential Debate. The New York Times. October 2, 2008
- Palin Opens Up on controversial Issues. CBS News. September 30, 2008
- How often does sexual assault occur? Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. (RAINN)
- The Offenders. Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. (RAINN)
- Palin on Abortion and Gays, By Kate Phillips. The New York Times. September 30, 2008, 9:16 PM