“The method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.”
– Paul Ryan on pregnancies resulting from rape
Let that marinate for a while, folks. Paul Ryan, the man who wants to be Vice President of the United States, is telling millions of women who have been or will be raped in their lifetimes that, if they become pregnant, their mental and physical well-being is irrelevant compared to carrying the fetus of a rapist. They are merely incubators and should get over it.
I’m a rape survivor. If I had become pregnant, by Ryan’s logic, I would have had to give birth at age 11. For nine months, I would have had to carry to term the child of a man who with intent and malice aforethought savaged me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Even though abortion was legal in 1974, that was at a time when pregnancy outside of marriage still carried a scarlet letter. I didn’t tell anyone about therape until I was 24; to whom would I have turned to about a pregnancy at 10-going-on-11? I can say, without doubt or hesitation, that I would have committed suicide rather than let anyone know that I was pregnant, even though the “method of conception” was horrifically violent, excruciatingly painful, and without my consent.
In many ways, I am lucky. For the most part, I have become a stronger woman…a more insightful woman…a more compassionate woman…than if I hadn’t been raped. I have an amazing support system of friends who have become my family. I have children in my life who make me laugh and give me hope about the present and the future. I lead a full life; I have a career and many interests that allow me to enjoy that life.
Nonetheless, thirty-eight years, countless hours of therapy, and myriad trials-and-errors of psychoactive drugs later, I still have nights when I bolt awake with panic attacks, drenched in sweat. Only in my current apartment did I stop putting locks on my bedroom door when I moved in, but I still fear waking up in the middle of the night with a man standing over me, wanting to do me harm. I still have trust and relationship issues, although those have abated greatly. I take three different medications each day to keep my darker self from overtaking the life and the sanity that I’ve worked so very hard to build and maintain.
It is vile enough that people like Ryan and Todd Akin parse what constitutes “legitimate rape.” RAPE is RAPE. There are no gradations, no modifiers. Their lack of self-awareness and sympathy is stunning; that they use this issue for political gain is sickening. Making women bear the additional shame and trauma of unwanted pregnancies from rape is cruelty in its rawest incarnation. Recently I learned that 31 states (including Ohio) allow rapistsvisitation rights; in 27 of those states, rapists can seek custodial rights. What kind of malicious misogyny informs our legal system? I cannot fathom the kind of villainy, given cover by government office and the judiciary, that would add insult to grievous injury, forever tying a woman who does decide to keep the child to her most brutal nightmare.
Contrary to Paul Ryan’s pitiless, ill-informed opinion, rape does change the definition of life—the lives of its victims.
Written by Veronica Johnson
I’ve known Veronica for most of my life, and this disclosure makes me want to find, and choke the life out of the motherfucker that has left unimaginable, and unnecessary pain…on her past…and present day existence. I applaud her for sharing her personal experience to highlight the mentally insane obsessions that occupy the mind(s) of today’s Republican male. These “conservative” assholes are so ignorant and misinformed about female anatomy,yet they seek to implement bullshit laws that attempt to define AND legislate the functions and issues of said female anatomy. What is most offensive, is the idea that a woman hating, war-mongering prick aka Paul Ryan, can actually support the supposed “visitation” rights of the rapist to have a part in the “MISTAKE” of his result of abuse.
Every day that comes and passes reminds all of us of the psychotic vision passing as modern day conservatism.