In November 2006, then gubernatorial candidate Sarah Palin declared that she would not support an abortion for her own daughter even if she had been raped. Granting exceptions only if the mother’s life was in danger, Palin said that when it came to her daughter, “I would choose life.”
This is my message to Ms. Palin:
I was brutally raped at 15. It was such a traumatic experience that I completely blocked it from my memory for nearly 4 years. Suddenly (and something did trigger it) moments of that night flooded my mind. I spent years and years in therapy, very little of which was covered by my insurance company.
Oddly enough I wanted to remember the entire evening, I didn’t want the bits and pieces. A therapist told me, “your mind will only remember what you can handle” and I have lived with that reality. I floated through life struggling with that reality for the next 15 years. During those years I was lost and never in a relationship. However, I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I found a great career after much sadness and struggle. And recently, almost 20 years after the rape, I found a man who loves me…a good man.
However, I cannot imagine adding a child to my equation. It was difficult enough living with the memories of that brutal night. It was extremely difficult going through the very long healing phase. If I had become pregnant from that experience, that child would certainly be a reminder of a horrible evening that ended with me in a bathtub, wearing nothing but a bloody t-shirt. That night changed me. A soccer star who quit the team. A smart girl who couldn’t finish college. A girl afraid to sleep at night unless she kept a knife under her mattress. A trusting girl who suddenly trusted no one. If I was forced to raise a child from that experience-I don’t think I would have made it. Suicide would have most definitely been an option. I know some might say that child could have healed me. I beg you to put yourself in my shoes, in any raped girl’s shoes…what if that child had his nose? his mouth? his eyes? those eyes that still haunt my dreams. The fear and pain would never subside. I don’t wish that pain on anyone.
Think about that, Ms. Palin.
p.s. I’m sure your answer would be, your friends, family and your local church would have surrounded you with support and love. I beg to differ. My church-going parents and sister will not talk about my rape. Most of my friends remain silent when I mention it. I feel like the bad guy, imagine how that child would feel??? This is not your choice or the government’s choice. This is a woman’s choice.