Letter to the GOP: I Was Raped and Got Pregnant. Here Is *My* Story [TRIGGER]

This is one of a series of powerful stories from survivors of rape, you will find them all here.

I was raped during my freshman year of college.

It was not the first time I had been sexually assaulted, and I was just beginning to heal from the prior assault when it happened. To add to the burden, I got pregnant.

I reported my rape to the college and was forced to go to “mediation” with my assaulters. The college-appointed therapist sent me to a “crisis pregnancy center,” rather than Planned Parenthood. The center tried every tactic to get me to keep the child that I could not bear to have. They even argued that since the father (my rapist!) was also white, people would hurry to adopt my white baby. It was bizarre, obviously racist, and deeply traumatizing.

I miscarried before actually having the abortion I had scheduled back home in Maryland, with the help and support of my family. After the trauma at my school with “mediation,” I dropped many of my classes and switched schools.

The thing about my experience is that it was not an isolated incident. It was not the first time the system failed me personally, and it wasn’t the last. Being friends with and working in support groups with other survivors, I hear stories like mine all the time: college cover-ups and crisis pregnancy centers who specifically target women living in poverty.

This has been my experience with the pro-life movement and with an institutional system that continually fails rape survivors.

The fact that flailing lawmakers such as Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, Paul Ryan, and by extension Mitt Romney—who continues to endorse Mourdock and has kept Ryan as his running mate—seek to hold onto or increase their legislative power despite their failings is part of this landscape of institutional failure, too.

These are men who fundamentally believe in their own rhetoric over freedom of choice,  human empathy, and support. Men who would further victimize someone who has suffered a terrible trauma than offer that person a choice they don’t agree with.

This was what I got from the system I had to deal with as a teenager, alone and terrified, far from home—a system that had a pro-life agenda but that did not care at all about MY life, which I seriously thought about ending many times because I was in so much pain.

When survivors come forward, we need support. Many of us need support in ORDER to come forward. We need to be listened to. We need to be trusted to make the choices that are right for us. We need space to heal.

We do not need to hear judgment, that what happened to us was our fault, that a theoretical life is more important than our own lives.

Consider how you would feel if you had been in my shoes: isolated after a violent attack, still a child in many ways, faced with carrying my rapist’s child to term instead of starting the young adult life I hoped for. Whether one chooses to carry on with a pregnancy or not, we need safe and fair access to all options so that we can make our own choices, rather than continual, intimidating, and terrifying pressure in one direction.

Our voices and our stories need to be part of this debate, because we KNOW what it feels like. Mourdock, Akin, Ryan, Romney: they have never had to face these circumstances, yet they seek to legislate on our behalf. They would be well served to listen to us.

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  • pheasantweber

    Truly amazing story and completely horrifying. I went to a college in Kansas and I am pretty confident that if something like that had happened to me; they would have had some mediation or been completely unhelpful.

    Thankfully they did have peer groups that I was a part of dedicated to Rape and Sexual Assault education.

    Thanks for sharing your story and speaking up! It is disgraceful the comments that politicians are making concerning rape.


  • jessica-skolnik

    The college that I transferred to had a group like that as well, and it was enormously helpful to me. Thank goodness for such survivor support!


    And thank you for your kind words. I just hope that humanity and empathy can maybe change a few minds. While I believe in the right to choose regardless of circumstance, the fact that it is threatened even for extreme situations like mine speaks volumes about where lawmakers’ and anti-choice/pro-life folks’ priorities are.

  • crowepps

    “And in the case of rape Christ has a specific remedy. Studies have shown that if you pray for at least 20 minutes before any big date, your partner is 93% less likely to rape you.”

    “Scientists say prayer can create a ‘rape halo’ around a woman’s body which instantly renders a potential rapist impotent. I’m not sure how it works exactly. I think its pheromones.”

    “So I don’t think God wants a woman to get raped. He offers her a choice. The rape halo is only a prayer away. If she’s too lazy to get on her knees and ask for it, that’s her fault. “



  • littleblue

    The Daily Current is a lot like The Onion; it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  • crowepps

    Thanks for letting me know, I couldn’t tell it was a parody, because it’s indistinguishable from the things he does say.

  • cmarie

    Since it’s not mentioned. I’m going to go ahead and ask the $64,000.00 question.  How is it that no one ever called you an ambulance?  If they did;  if the emergency room you were taken to didn’t offer you emergency contraception or you couldn’t take it for some reason or it didn’t work then you should include that in your story because it’s the first question that most readers will ask and certainly the first thing that should have been done.  Even if you were at a very small and isolated Christinan college, no one could have prevented you from taking an ambluance to the hospital.  If they tried to prevent you from calling 911 or seeking medical help then in addition to the rape, you were kidnapped.


  • forced-birth-rape

    A lot of people do not call an ambulance after they have been raped, they try to pretend it did not happen, you jerk.

    I could not say I was raped for nine years after it stoped. The hardest thing to say is (I was raped), no one wants to say that!


    Rape is so trivial to you pro-life/rape lovers.









    As someone who was sexually terrorized as little girl, I can say that I hate pro-lifers every bit as much as I hate the vile man who would not leave me the hell alone when I was alittle girl. My body and vagina did not belong to him, and my body and vagina does not belong to the rape loving pro-lifers.

    Forcing me to stey pregnant and give birth would have made my rape a million times worse. Every time a pro-lifer says they would like to FORCE a rape victim to stay pregnant and breed with her rapist it hurts me so very, very much, I have cried so much over it.


    A child of a rapist can not go hook up to his body, use and abuse his body against his will, cause him genital pain against his will, but the rape loving pro-lifers want to FORCE that on RAPED under age girls. Pro-lifers make me want to cut myself.


    My rapist gives pro-lifers two thumbs up, they are his kind of people.

  • cmarie

    Where in shit did you get the idea I was a pro lifer?  The author was raped and no one called her an ambulance.  That’s horrible.  She should have been taken to an emergency room immediately.  There she would have been provided with emergency contraception, whatever steps possible would have been taken to prevent STD’s, she would have been given an opportunity to speak with a rape counselor and the police and to have the Dr’s collect evidence to provide in court against the rapist.  Why would anyone want to force you or any other rape victim to stay pregnant?… certainly I wouldn’t.  For some reason no one helped this woman.  With no emergency contraception she got pregnant.  I would never oppose abortion for a rape victim but it would have been much better if someone had taken her to hospital and the pregnancy had been prevented altogether.   Also, if your cutting yourself or wanting to, please get some help. Cutting is extremly dangerous, similar in many ways to an eating disorder.  It frequently is an indication of severe depression.  If it makes you feel better to hate people who really are “pro life” or to pretend that me wanting a rape victim to have access to an emergency room and EC actually means that I want her to get pregnant (?)  then think whatever you want.   Hate who ever you want.  Pretend whatever you want, but don’t ignore this wish to harm yourself.  Contact the author of this article or anybody else who writes for rh reality check or anyone who you trust.  I’m sure they will be more than happy to direct you to the appropriate resources so that you can put an end to the cutting, desire to cut yourself and any other self injuring behavior or desires.  Good Luck.

  • jessica-skolnik

    No, nobody called me an ambulance. I could not call an ambulance myself. I was drugged and barely able to move and in an unfamiliar place (the rape took place off-campus). Why would my rapists, who I was alone with for a period of time, call an ambulance for me? By the time I got back to campus with them (one of them was someone I was dating and I stayed with them because I was alone, terrified, and needed to get back to campus from far away) it was too late – almost 48 hours later. I had been forced to shower.

    Not to mention that the legal-medical system is often an unsafe place for survivors. There have been some good strides made by survivors’ groups to provide adequate training for medical professionals dealing with survivors, but it can be an incredibly traumatizing event for us dealing with emergency room staff and the process of the rape kit.

    If I had gone to the hospital, additionally, I would have had to file a police report, which I was not comfortable doing because a) this was relationship violence and I knew I wouldn’t be taken seriously; b) I had already had a horrible encounter with the police at age 13 when I reported the first rape; c) I have had issues with police violence and sexual assault in my community. I did not and still don’t trust the police to be good advocates for me as a survivor.

    So there are a lot of reasons why that didn’t happen. A lot of them. Realities are complicated things.


  • jennifer-starr

    ((((((((hugs)))))))))) for you.  So sorry you had to go through that.

  • jessica-skolnik

    <3 <3 Thank you.

  • cmarie

    So you were kidnapped.  I’m sorry too.  I’m also very sorry that no friend or roommate made the effort to help you.  If you didn’t feel comfortable talking to the police they could have contacted a rape survivors group.  They could have done something to show you that you were not alone.  Thank you for responding to my question.  Most people reading that original story are not going to assume that you were kidnapped though.  It’s a vital part of your story.  I hope if you share your story again you include what you told me because it’s crucial to your argument. 

  • jessica-skolnik

    I disagree that it’s crucial to my argument. Survivors are under no legal obligation to call the police, and whether I COULD have physically or not is not the real issue. Roughly ONE HALF of rape victims do not call the police, for varying reasons. It does not mean that what happened to us is any less real or painful simply because it didn’t enter the legal system.

    A side note: this happened to me in 1997. Survivors’ advocacy groups, some of which I work with, have made many strides to put pressure on the system so that it’s a more welcoming and less retraumatizing experience for survivors who choose to report. The system is still far from perfect.

    I’d hope you would read the study and information here: http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/rape-sexual-violence/rape-notification.htm

    But thank you for your empathy. I had a couple of friends and family who were there for me, and they helped me through when I needed it most. Everyone deserves kindness after a trauma like this.

  • coralsea

    Cmarie — one of the things I have noticed through the years is that when people hear about a crime, they often seek to reassure themselves that THEY would never be mugged/murdered/raped by immediately running through a laundry list of: “was it dark out?” “was it a bad neighborhood?” “why were you there?” “why did you let him in?”  This line of questioning — especially if it goes past two questions — has more to do with the questioner’s desire to find some reason why this happened to you — and won’t happen to them.


    Guess what?  Crimes can happen anywhere.  I know because I work in areas up and down the economic scale and with every possible racial and ethnic mix, immigrant/non-immigrant.  Although one has to be careful in some areas, the only places where I have ever been attacked/menaced (with one glaring exception) were middle-class/upper-middle-class/upper-class areas (the exception was the docks in Philadelphia — a workplace where I had to carry a crowbar because the guys who ran it didn’t want women workers there and basically said, “if something happens to you — it’s your fault” — a message some of the dock workers took as open season (this was during the 1980s.)   Several times I have been in “bad” neighborhoods (ones with gang members, etc.) conducting interviews regarding a contaminated site and ended up with an “escort” of gang members or other neighborhood folks who thought what I was doing important and wanted to help me get it done.  I have also had a gun pulled on me by some unhinged attorney in an “upscale” neighborhood who was furious that I was working on a project in his neighborhood because it “will hurt property values.”


    Also, people often don’t react when they see something happening to someone or encounter a “victim.”  Sometimes they don’t understand what is happening/has happened, the don’t want to get involved, or they just figure someone else will help out.  I got to experience this up close and personal when I was being attacked by a teenaged, would-be carjacker in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn in Irving, Texas (near Dallas).  This kid was beating on me–and I was kicking him and hitting him with my briefcase, as well as SCREAMING FOR HELP.  There were several people in the parking lot.  A couple of businessmen stopped and watched, then moved on.  Another couple of businessmen also stopped and watched — but only intervened when the kid tripped and I was pounding on him and stomping on his hand with the heel of but shoe (tubby woman stomping with high heel). 


    I have since learned that this is common.  People don’t want to intervene, especially when they think it could be something “private.”  There was also a cop inside the hotel, drinking coffee, who knew the kid, a persistent offender, was lurking in the parking lot, but hadn’t bothered to do anything about it (although he did tell ME that in his opinion, women shouldn’t fight back).


    So it’s anything but cut-and-dried.  I was also a rape victim and didn’t report it or call and ambulance.  All I wanted to do was go home. 


    I hope you are not actually suggesting that women who don’t follow the “proper protocol” are somehow guilty of something, or are deserving of your scorn.  Instead, I prefer to believe that you are simply unaware of the realities of crime. 


    FYI — a few years ago my car was totalled by a semi-tractor trailer during rush hour on an Interstate in the Chicago area.  My Honda Civic was hit from behind, spun around, and then hit broadside at 60 mph and pushed about a mile, sideways, down the Interstate.  Fortunately, my car didn’t flip, and I walked away.  However, I clearly remember all of the people in luxury cars driving by on the shoulder, furious that an accident was slowing them down and FLIPPING ME OFF.  Two people stopped.  Both were Hispanic men who spoke limited English (I speak Spanish).  That has been my experience — working class people are often a lot more willing to stop and help others.   You have no idea how much of a relief it is to have someone stop and help you.


    Since I have dealt with dangerous situations for the past 25 years, I have made it a habit to always stop and help others, or inquire of others as to whether they need help.  I have been told by some “helpful” people that this can be “dangerous” — to step up and help others.  But having been “there” more than once, there is no way in the world that I will ever not stop to help.  If someday I come to a bad end because of it, well, stuff happens.   Think about that yourself if you ever run into a situation in which someone appears to be in distress or danger.  Since you are adamant that people help out, then I invite you to do so yourself.


  • cmarie

    Of course it could have happened to me.  More importantly, I have two daughters.  If God forbid it had happened to any of us I hope to God I/we/they would have received some help.  If I/we/they didn’t want to contact the police or go to a hospital then I hope someone would encourage me or my daughter(s) to get assistance in a way that I/we/they felt comfortable with.  For instance:  “Please let me contact this rape hotline for you anonymously.  Let me just ask them where I can get you an rx for emergency contraception and another to limit your risk of STD’s.”  None of that of course would decrease the agony of having been subjected to rape, but it would at least help  by dramatically decreasing the risk of pregnancy or STD.  This article has really made me think alot and I appreciate the author’s willingness to share her story, which in itself has to be a terrible thing to have to revisit.  I guess if when I was in school or previously a neighbor had told me she had been raped I would have considered a visit to the emergency room and a call to the police to be the obvious way to help.  Now I know better.  But please don’t assume because a woman has not been raped she is incapable of compassion.  I’ve learned a lot I think by being able to read Jessica’s story.  Also I will read and study that link.

  • coralsea

    Cmarie — I said that you were ignorant of some of the issues of crime; This wasn’t meant to be a criticism.  I wish we all could be ignorant of some of the details of being assaulted, because a lot of this stuff only comes up when you are faced with it.  I would encourage you to offer your support and advice (“I think we should make sure you haven’t been exposed to an STD”) to anyone you felt had been assaulted.  Also, if you encounter someone who appears traumatized in some way, ASK THEM if you feel comfortable doing so “Are you all right?” or “Do you need help?”  This isn’t just an issue with sexual assault.  You can encounter someone who is dealing with a medical emergency.  So many people nowadays are unwilling to approach or speak to strangers — but think of what you would want someone to do for you.  If they say “no,” back off (unless they are bleeding or something).  If the person is someone you know and they initially say they don’t want help after, say, a suspected assault, then you can still ask the next day — but I’d drop it then after reminding the person that you are there for her.   Obviously, it’s different if you are dealing with a minor or a family member; you have more latitude there.  And be aware that someone may say “no” to the idea of medical attention right afterward, but may be more amenable a few hours later or the next day.