Tag Archives: Shame

What Is Bravery?

Why say I’m brave?
You don’t call robbery victims brave
when they tell
You don’t call shooting victims brave
when they tell
You don’t call mugging victims brave
when they tell
Yet your clouded view calls me brave
when I tell
I was raped

_______________________________

Today is Quadrille Monday over at dVerse Poets Pub. The prompt will be up at 12:00 PT, but I learned that the word for today is “cloud” from Victoria who has access to the prompt earlier than I do. But I wrote the first draft of this Quadrille earlier this morning not knowing what the word was and then worked it in later. I think it’s better with the change.

The impetus for this poem was something that happened last week when I told a group of people in a meeting that I had been raped. I won’t go into the context of the discussion, but during and after the meeting several people told me how brave I was to speak up. As I pondered those comments over the past week I felt an anger welling up. To me, those comments were indicative of the stigma that still remains on victims of sexual assault, like somehow we are partly to blame for what has happened to us and we should be ashamed of what we’ve been through.

I am thankful that God doesn’t see it that way. He doesn’t call me brave; He calls me beloved.

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Filed under Faith, Life, Poetry, Women

Why I Did the Unthinkable

Stories of women doing the unthinkable—killing their own children—often make headlines. See this article for a list of 20 such women. There is a collective outrage and feeling of disbelief when women kill their children and we call for the most severe punishment. Often these women have reasons, ranging from mental illness to wanting to free themselves to be available for a boyfriend or spouse to cashing in on an insurance policy.

Well, I confess that I’ve done the unthinkable, too, as have thousands of women who never make headlines. The difference is our children—living children with their own DNA and blood type—were still in our wombs at the time.

And we all had our reasons. I know I had mine. I was young. I had my whole life, my college and career plans, ahead of me. I didn’t want to be connected in any way to the father, who was an older man with a wife and kids, and a rapist to boot. I didn’t want to end up like my friend who got pregnant at 15, had the baby, got married, and now lived with an abusive husband. I didn’t want my mother to be disappointed or angry with me.

The sad thing is none of these reasons justified killing my innocent child. She didn’t do anything wrong. As much as society told me it was okay—the U.S. Supreme Court had even said eight years earlier that I had a legal right to kill my pre-born baby—the knowledge deep in my heart that it was wrong haunted me. It haunts me still. And it compels me to now write about my experience in the hopes of saving even one young woman faced with the difficult circumstance of an unwanted pregnancy to understand that there is no justification that will fully satisfy a mother’s heart.

I held a deep belief that I was worthless. I wasn’t sure where this vision of myself as worthless came from, because by outward appearances I was a successful young woman. I was a college and law school graduate—because in college and law school I could immerse myself in my studies and bury the truth deeper in my heart. I was married to a wonderful man who knew about my past and loved me nonetheless. But I was fooling myself as much as I was the rest of the world.

After law school, the attempts at fooling myself and everyone else came unraveled. I spent seven years living with debilitating depression and social anxiety. I didn’t understand why—I just thought I was broken beyond repair. And I was broken. My spirit was grieving and broken over my own sin and I was mired in a sea of unforgiveness towards myself and others who had hurt me. I knew I was guilty and nothing I did or said, no reasons I had at the time, could justify what I had done.

But thankfully, God has made a way for this woman who was guilty of killing her own child to be justified—to be declared guiltless or innocent—and that is through the grace of Christ. Through His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus paid for my sin; He also paid for the sin of every other mother.

If you have had an abortion and been plagued by the regret and the guilt, take heart. God loves you still. Like the prodigal son who was welcomed back after squandering his inheritance on wild living, you will be welcomed back into relationship with God. Even as you are far off, He will run to you and celebrate your return.

You are not worthless. Your life is of great value to the King of kings and He desires to heal your wounds.

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Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Women