Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Now, Before You Start Yelling...

Hear me out. I wanted to share with you the testimony I read on Monday to the Senate Hearing Committe who would decide whether or not to pass SB 60, a bill that would require hospitals to inform rape victims in the ER about emergency contraception, onto the Senate floor.

But first, let me disclaimer away...

-I have an appointment tomorrow and the doctor said he would actually like to see how my body handles a bit of activity since, at the last appointment, things were looking good.

-I only spoke for four minutes. Not much standing at all.

-I think the stress of NOT speaking out would have been more detrimental than anything else.

I think that's all. Onto my testimony...

I am here today in the hopes that my story might encourage you to vote yes on SB 60. When I was a twenty-year-old college student, an acquaintance offered to give me a ride to the grocery store upon hearing my car was broken down. At the end of that evening, I was a survivor of rape. A few weeks later, eleven years ago on Valentine’s Day, my college housemates bought me a pregnancy test and encouraged me to take it in the hopes that I’d stop worrying about something as unlikely as a pregnancy resulting from the attack.

I remember taking that test as though it happened just yesterday. My three roommates anxiously gathered in the common area. Me, leaning against the sink in the bathroom, hands trembling, reading the pregnancy test instructions. The second pink line showing up immediately. Running out of the bathroom, past my roommates, slamming my bedroom door and collapsing on my bed. Sobbing into my pillow. Hearing the shuffle of my roommates in the bathroom, whispering confirmation of what my reaction had already told them was true.

I remember thinking why me? Why would I be one of the unlucky few? So many of the statistics I’d heard, in all of my Pro-Life upbringing, proclaimed that getting pregnant as a result of rape was extremely rare. As in, a 1% chance. And I’d clung to that statistic, trying desperately to ignore the queasiness and exhaustion of early pregnancy. Surely I’d be one of the 99%.

I can never fully convey the horror of that day. I felt violated. Not once. But twice. First by a friend of a friend. And then, by my own body. My body, which, according to my rudimentary understanding at the time of what my Pro-Life compatriots had always told me, was supposed to release chemicals after the rape that would reject a pregnancy.

Now I know that those statistics and the talk of one’s body rejecting a pregnancy after rape are not true. For the simple reason that, as many times as I have shared my story, which is many in the past few years, at least one woman has pulled me aside and told me that, she too, became pregnant as a result of rape. It happens more than we know.

I can only imagine what life would have been, and would be like now, for me if I had not become pregnant. I’ve since learned that, while emergency contraception wasn’t widely available at the time, doctors were able to prescribe a number of birth control pills with a similar effect to Emergency Contraception. If I had only known, I might not have become pregnant at all. I might have been able to celebrate Valentine’s Day at a restaurant having dinner with my incredibly supportive boyfriend. Instead, I spent the evening contemplating just how and when I would tell my Mom and Dad.

In the end, with the support of my parents, family, and friends, I terminated the pregnancy. The experience left me with a greater understanding of what it is like to face an unwanted pregnancy, no matter the circumstances. I now support Choice and the rights of women to make decisions regarding their own medical care when it comes to their reproductive lives.

It would be my dream that no woman would have to endure the trauma of being raped. More so, I dream that a survivor of rape would never have to face a pregnancy resulting from the attack. Those dreams are unlikely to ever be realized. However, providing rape victims with information about Emergency Contraception is one step in the right direction. I can only hope that all of you here will understand the importance of providing rape victims with all of the relevant information regarding their care. And that includes information about Emergency Contraception and the possibility of preventing pregnancy.

I am now 25 weeks pregnant. My husband and I are expecting our first child. It has been a struggle to get here. We suffered three miscarriages last year. With each loss, I struggled with the question of why. Why would my body maintain a pregnancy after rape while failing to keep those I’d made together with a loving man? A nice man. A man who would never, in a million years, dream of harming me. I will never know. Had I been able to prevent the pregnancy eleven years ago, I would never wonder about that one aspect of an already heart wrenching situation.

Life as a survivor of rape is difficult enough. The overwhelming sense of not being in control of my body and my fate is a feeling I’ve shared and discussed with other survivors. Withholding pertinent medical information from someone on the threshold of a struggle to regain control is unspeakable. Please put control back in the hands of those to whom it belongs. The rape victim.


And...drumroll please...the bill was passed on UNANIMOUSLY by all eleven committee members. Which was a complete surprise. I feel like I made a difference, somehow.

20 Leg Humps:

Crazy Lady said...

What a powerful statement! I am proud of you for standing up and telling your story, and more importantly, being instrumental in getting a very important bill passed!

Northern_Girl said...

Bravo. Bravo! BRAVO!

Good on you for making a difference. Now go put your feet up and take care of you and your baby.

Ginamonster said...

Oh. You make me want to cry. Thank you, as always for your bravery. It is people like you who break down the ignorance about rape that is built of the foundation of silence and shame.

mothergoosemouse said...

Zube, that's fantastic! Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing this, for baring your soul and telling your story to help future victims. You are so brave! -literarycook

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing this. You are a hero to all of us. I too had an unwanted pregnancy, and made a choice. Although I sometimes regret it, I am glad that I had the choice.

You are a brave, brave woman. Bravo.

Miss Cellania said...

You should be proud, standing up for those who will need this in the future. I'm proud of you!

Courtney said...

Zube, you are an absolutely amazing woman.

Anonymous said...

from a longtime lurker....You go! How brave and tough and amazing you are.

serap said...

I'm sure you made a huge difference - your speech was really brilliant. Well done, now go and pop those feet back up!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Zube Girl. You told it like it is. You are going to be a rockin' Mom!

PaintingChef said...

Again with the proud and the love.

Amy said...

Wonderful, brilliant!!! Congratulations!!

Mary Ellen said...

That's fantastic! And very brave of you, too.

Bathtime Gal said...

It's been awhile, but had to leave you big KUDOS.

You may have shared your own personal story, but it's a story that rings true for alot of us survivors. You spoke for all of us, and thanks doesn't seem to be enough. You have done so much with your one, single voice....you go girl!

Thank you....from a fellow survivor!

Dink said...

You fight the good fight, sweetie. Good for you.

hotdrwife said...

Your story never fails to give me chills, and I'm thankful we live in a country where a voice can be heard. Beautifully written and spoken, I'm sure.

Thank you for sharing!

junebee said...

Ok, I must not have got the e-mail - you read this before the U.S. Senate? Regardless, it's a powerful statement even if you read it to yourself. As the parent of a daughter, I pay even more attention to your words because decisions made on treatment of rape survivors or abortion laws could affect her in the future. Keep up the good work.

Kelly said...

Wow.

I started reading this blog a year or so ago, following an extreme event of my own. Reading how you deal with the pain helps. Isn't it funny how we can know on one level that we're not alone, but on another be unable to convince ourselves it's true? Granted your situation was something that happened TO you; mine was something I did to myself; something I'm not sure I'll ever really forgive myself for. I don't beleive I've ever left a comment on your blog before, but this time... I dunno... I guess I just wanted to say thanks for being an inspiration.

Rainypete said...

Geez. I slack off in blogging for a bit and you go and change the world. Good stuff. It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of a group like that and explain the situation, especially as eloquently as yourself.

 

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