This post appeared originally on MercatorNet
United States politician Todd Akin has created quite the discussion with his rather fumbled comments on “legitimate rape”. Although the Missouri Representative has apologized and will proceed with his campaign for the Senate, against the wishes of many of his colleagues, the larger discussion on how to care for a woman who is impregnated by rape continues.
All rape is violating and repulsive. What makes rape such an outrage is that it takes what is supposed to be an intimate, natural and loving act, and uses it for power, aggression, and self-gratification on the sole part of the rapist. The victim is left feeling used, ashamed and often angry.
Then, if a woman finds herself pregnant after rape, she understandably will feel more misery and shame. As one rape victim wrote, “my pregnancy legitimatized my rape. It had happened; this was real.”
But the misery doesn’t have to stay, says this rape victim, Shauna Prewitt. In her poignant open letter to Representative Akin, Prewitt writes:
“Although I would not be able to articulate it for months, I was experiencing a most curious emotion toward the life growing inside of me, an emotion that both enlivened me and caused me to experience an intolerable shame. You see, to my surprise, I did not altogether hate the life growing inside of me. Instead, I felt a sort of kinship, a partnership — perhaps the kind that only develops between those who have suffered together — but, nevertheless, I felt a bond.”