Friday, February 17, 2012

Welcome Back 1950s - We missed really.

I read a headline earlier this week before that went something like this "How the GOP Went Back to the 1950s in Just One Day."

What they seem to have forgotten was that there are portions of the ultra conservative members of the GOP who never left the 1950s and there are other portions who think that the late 1950s early 1960 were the coolest time to be on the planet.  In many respects - they were.  There was a great deal of real invention happening - not to downplay anything that we created from 1990-2010, we just don't know the full extent of impact those particular inventions will continue to have past 2010 whereas we know that we went to the moon and back several times in a rocket ship designed and then built in the middle part of the century.

What they definitely have forgotten are all those men and women who think the current century needs a little work but is jut fine the way it is, thank you.

Back to the gentlemen and ladies in a time warp,  They have definitely forgotten that there were several things about that part of the century that we struggled with and finally broke through, got beyond.  February 16 it was as if most of those accomplishments had been erased in one meeting.  And if we are truly honest, the issues started in December of 2011 when Susan G. Komen, an (albeit conservative) organization dedicated to women's health, went with a political tactic rather than a non-political tactic to end its more than 20 year relationship with Planned Parenthood.

Now here we reach a problem.

I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't write about politics this year and yet here I am, poised to dust off my soap box and stand upon it screaming myself silly hoping at least one person hears me.

You see, I live in Virginia where we are set to be a battleground state without doing anything other than sitting beside the city where the President will reside.  Oh, and most of the state decided we needed to have ultra-conservatives represent them in Richmond this past year.  They went down promising to bring down the budget and stop taxation all the while bringing more jobs to Virginians and bringing us up out of dismal despair because our factories were closing as are several ports over the next several years.

They threw in the anti-abortion, anti-birth control measures for free.

"You're welcome," they must have all said as they sat around the room drinking from snifters and smoking cigars of something whilst patting each other on the back.  Well, the men at least while the women were sipping tea or something like that.  And to narrow it down even further - the men and women who feel that they need to control what we do in our own homes and lives and belong to a church that has ideas and beliefs that are incredibly similar to the one their own.

And yet, I feel violated.

I feel angry.

I feel every single emotion I felt when I was raped in college and there wasn't a law to protect me.  In fact I was told "Well, you invited him to your room.  You must have wanted sex."

No, you dolt!  I invited him to my room because all my guy friends had someone staying over that weekend.  My roommate was in the room, which I thought would be enough to stop a guy, it wasn't, and if I had sent him to a hotel that would have sent an even CLEARER picture of what he thought I wanted which I didn't.  Oh, and last time I checked, sleep does not equal consent - especially when said guy (who said he was too drunk to drive home) is sleeping on the floor.

Then I got pregnant.  By someone who raped me.  Then stalked me.  He then proposed - I accepted because he said he wouldn't pay for anything unless I did, but I broke it off less than 3 months later.  I was faced with a choice.

No matter what the men in the suits and women in dresses want you to think, this is not an easy decision.  You have to firm yourself up for it.  Close off a portion of your soul to do it.  You have to be so sure that the best decision for you and for your unborn child would be for the child not to be born.

In my case it was. The baby's daddy was abusive - verbally and sometimes physically.  For those of you who knew him, be glad you didn't ever see him this way. Not pretty.  He was also drunk.  Not just sometimes - all of the time.  I knew that wouldn't change, ever.

But what about my other choice - adoption.  Sure, I could have carried the child for 9 months and given him or her away.  I thought about that.  Then I thought about what would happen with this man who had raped me then stalked me.  What would I have to do in order to keep the child safe for 9 whole months?  Would I be able to do it?  Or would I end up a statistic - dead, my baby dead all because he got drunk and couldn't deal with my giving our child away.  Or, him stalking the baby and the baby's new family after the baby was born.  He had stalked me.  What was to say he wouldn't stalk him/her?

Raising the child on my own - well, I would have truly been on my own.  My parents would not have helped in the least.  That and having a stalker on my hands...not safe for me or my baby.

Every way I looked at it, every way I examined the possibility of walking out of the marriage alive and undamaged I came up with "not possible."  There was just one way that I could ensure my own safely and I could never ensure the safety of the baby.

So we went to a clinic I am sure doesn't exist anymore in this state.  Our ultra conservative political folks here in Virginia have made sure there are very few organizations willing to perform abortions here.  We paid our money, put down some names and were both taken back for counseling, together and individually.

As predicted - my "fiancĂ©" wanted to keep the baby.  I wasn't the first girl he'd raped and gotten pregnant only to find out that she had bigger dreams than dropping out of college to be his wife and baby's mother.  I was the second he had done this to.  In a year.  But there were no laws against his behavior at the time.  None at all.  All the pamphlets, all the discussions, all the blame for our situation fell squarely on me.  I was stupid enough to let him rape me and was really stupid enough not to be on the pill (because I wasn't having sex at the time and hadn't for at least 8 months) therefore I needed to be chastised before they took me back for the procedure.

I won't describe what I went through.  Let's just say I wouldn't wish the experience on anyone.  I cried tears of true grief.  I built a wall around a small piece of my heart that's still there.  It breaks a little every September.  The baby would be 21 this fall.  Graduating college, maybe going to grad school.  You better believe I think of my child every single day and there isn't a day that I don't wonder if I made the right choice.  Then I remember the abuse I suffered at the hands of the man who said he loved me and realize that it was indeed the right choice.

However, having gone through the experience in a clean, safe location - I also cannot imagine someone not having that choice if they need it.

The new laws in Virginia that force a medical procedure on a woman who wishes to exercise her Constitutionally protected right to choice aren't benign.  They won't make butterflies dance on gilded wind and unicorns prance outside in the waiting room while the woman lays with her feet in stirrups, a prod inserted as deeply as it can go into her vagina then squished around until a fetus is found causing her to then completely fall in love with this intruder who has turned her world upside down for one of a million reasons and decide that there is NO OTHER OPTION but to keep the child.  The sound will most likely be turned up so the heartbeat can be heard and the doctor needs to do everything in his or her power to get her to look at the screen to see her baby and then he or she must describe the exact age and what the baby can and cannot do at this stage.

This is a true physical and psychological attack on a woman to attempt to coerce her to keep a child she has decided she doesn't want.  She is being held captive and forced to watch something she doesn't want to see in order to achieve the outcomes of a small group of men and women who have decided that men's sperm is a gift from G-d and must only be used to create as many children as possible.

When did we cross that line that said holding someone hostage and forcing them to do something they didn't want to do was right as long as they did what WE (not me, just for effect) wanted them to do?

And when in the last 3 months did we women and the men who support us decide it was OK to let these people do this?  Really???

I made a promise to a friend of mine that I wasn't going to talk too much about these rights online as they make her a bit uncomfortable.  To be honest, I have gotten sick and tired of the political talk and we haven't hit June yet so the machines are still just cranking up.  I have gotten attacked by people who just take a look at me or my faith and assume they know my political mind frame, my beliefs, etc.  But there are certain things that are too important to stop talking about.

a) How and when our soldiers come home.
b) Economy and the jobs that need to be there in order for it to start climbing again.
c) The First Amendment - the real issues here, not the made up issues that are manufactured to discuss birth control with all people with the same opinion.
d) Freedoms of Choice

These are things I will always talk about.  These are, I believe, the center of what makes this country great.  So as long as the gentlemen in Virginia and in Congress don't forget that there are women who may want a say in this - and one that isn't the same as your minister at your church.  Invite them in, invite their friends in, invite their enemies in, invite at least 3-5 different voices to talk about the issue - and then truly LISTEN to them.

Because if all we do is follow the words that may have been written down in a book well over a thousand years ago as told to us by ultra conservative men of the cloth and don't take into account how much life has changed over those millennium, are we any better than the ultra conservative men who read the Qoran and learn from their men of the cloth that each and every word should be followed without question?


The Nerd said...

Thank you for sharing your story. You did the right thing for you. Nobody, especially not the state, has the authority to tell you otherwise.

Libby said...

Thank you for your story. I'm glad that you had a choice, and as an affiliate of a pro choice organization, I want to say that it is the independent voices putting a story out to the world that will help put a stop to this madness. You made the right decision for you, and nobody deserves the right to take that away from you, or blame you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing such a tough story to tell. I also had an abortion in college, the pregnancy a result of a similar, but less abusive, scenerio, and I am angry beyond words about what is going on down in Richmond. You are both brave and eloquent - thank you for being so!

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your story,especially for doing so with such an exceptional balance of reason and emotion that is sorely lacking these days in political and social discourse.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being strong enough to share your story. My heart breaks reading what you went through and knowing these laws are designed to make other women suffer similarly. I hope your story can change some minds regarding what is and ought to be a private matter.

Anonymous said...

I hear you. Thank you for sharing your story. I've been lucky in the reproductive lottery, but I wouldn't have been so without good access to birth control. Knowing the stories of my friends and my relatives who needed abortion helps keep my resolve strong. We all need to know the stories.

skepticbill said...

I admire the hell out of you for doing what you did and for having the guts to tell your story. It's clear to me that you wrestled with your conscience, carefully considered your options, and made a very painful decision. Given your situation it was clearly the right one.

Matthew Guy Barber from UK said...

Thank you for your story
Your right

Lisa said...

Thank you all for your comments. Your supportive words were much appreciated. As you can guess, this was not an easy blog post to write. I have never felt guilty or ashamed of my choice, but I also have never felt as though sharing it would be welcomed. It has finally gotten to the point where I can no longer remain silent just for comfort's sake.

Thank you again.