I've started not wearing a watch unless I have to. It's very interesting to not be so caught up in the urgency of time anymore, instead just drifting along during the day, judging time by how light it is outside, and then realizing it doesn't actually really matter what time it is. Because of that, I just realized it's January 18. Happy half-birthday to me?
I've had a lot on my mind since graduation has given me boatloads of free time. However, I seem to be less good at regularly writing about it. There have been a few developments on the relationship front and the advocacy front (i.e. volunteer work with a crisis center), which I think I will talk about in future separate posts.
I was feeling ambitious tonight and planned on writing at least one post about trauma and relationships, but a few minutes ago I just ran into a post on a friend's journal that left me feeling emotionally overwhelmed and a bit triggered. My friend is strongly pro-life, with the view that abortion is murder and therefore unacceptable in all cases. That I can respect-- I talked a little about my views on that in this previous post. What irks me is specifically the "it's for your own good" argument. There are several studies that present findings that many women who experience an abortion develop depression and anxiety and other mental conditions. When I am in a calmer and less triggered mood, I will read those studies and return to this blog with my analysis. However, just for right now, I am going to approach this issue from an entirely personal perspective, academic impartial analysis be damned.
If I had become pregnant from either of the rapes I experienced, particularly the second one, it would have killed me to carry the baby to term. I mean that not only figuratively but also quite possibly literally. I would have spent all nine months hating the baby growing inside me. I had enough problems with harmful and self-destructive behavior without having part of my body act as a constant reminder of what happened. If just the memory of the event and later the aftermath with people's ignorance and apathy was enough to drive me to physically hurt myself, what do you think having his baby inside me would have done? I think it very well could have led to me killing myself, and thus the baby as well.
It is appallingly arrogant and presumptuous of anyone to badger, coerce, guilt-trip, or force a rape victim to carry the baby to term if she believes it is not in her own best interests to do so. Only misguided arrogance could make someone believe he or she knows better than the victim what she should do with her own body. In other words, the "for your own good" argument makes me want to slug someone. It's quite easy to wave around "scientific studies" and preach that the victim will regret it if she chooses to have an abortion. However, I wonder how many of those people would actually have the guts to say that directly to a traumatized rape victim.
It makes me wonder what would have happened had I become pregnant after the rape. I want to know how many people would have tried to guilt-trip me into carrying the baby to term. I want to know which of my friends would have dared tell me to my face that it was for my own good. With the way things actually went, already most of the people I knew wanted nothing to do with me and my trauma and my struggle to heal. How many people would have tried to coerce me into making a decision that would directly contradict my understanding of how I could best heal and then left me to my own struggles? The apathy I faced from "friends" was bad enough. No one would have wanted to deal with the extreme self-loathing that would have ensued had I been forced to carry his baby for nine months. I had enough problems with starving myself for days, standing into the cold (yes, New Hampshire winter, snow and all) with no protection, and physically marking and scarring myself. [Self-destructive behavior: another post for another day.]
I felt so dirty after both times I was raped. Think of the shower scenes you see in movies after someone has been so irrevocably violated (e.g. in The Lives of Others). I felt like I could never be clean again. What genius could think that having my rapist's baby inside my body for nine whole months is going to help me heal? How much more of a constant physical reminder of the trauma that already plays itself over and over in my head do I need? How can you possibly tell me that you know better than me what will help me heal-- and better yet, use that as justification to try to prevent me from making any kind of choice whatsoever?
Feel free to try to educate rape victims about the potential mental health risks of aborting their rapist's baby. I support the concept of fair and impartial education. However, you have absolutely no right whatsoever to take away the woman's choice by shutting down abortion clinics or making them unaffordable. Furthermore, if you ever intimidate, coerce, or guilt-trip a woman into carrying the baby against her will, you are no better than her rapist.