I Was Raped!

    I was just 17 years old when I left our grim, inner-city slum home in Philadelphia, in flight from two alcoholic parents, and moved across the country to San Francisco.
    I got a job in an office there and was certain that my future was going to be very different from my past. But I was naive; I’d rarely date and I knew very few people, so when a bunch of people at work told me they’d been invited to a pizza party, I decided to go along.

    When I arrived, there was just me and the host, who worked in another department of my office. I later learned he told everyone else the party was off. He was 30 years older than I was and physically powerful. He was tall,  bearded and obese. Within minutes of my arrival, he raped me.

    I’d never been sexually intimate with any man before, and afterwards, I crawled back home, terrified, hurting and ashamed. There was no crisis center or hotline to help deal with the trauma, and out of my sense of shame and terror, I didn’t even report him to the police.


    When I discovered I was pregnant, I moved to Los Angeles without telling anyone about my condition. I moved in with an elderly couple until my baby was born.

    In those days, it was thought to be better if a baby being given up for adoption was taken away from its mother immediately after birth. I suppose they felt what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve for. I’ll never forget coming out of the anesthetic and being told I’d had a healthy baby girl. I was never given a chance to see her, to hold her.

    I was overcome by the finality of it all and by a desperate sense of loss. I was just 19 years old. I was 28 years old before I trusted another man again. My husband, Harold, was the only person I ever told about that terrible night and the baby born as a result.

    Not a day passed that I didn’t think of the baby girl I’d brought into the world. But I didn’t for a minute consider tracking her down. I did not want to disrupt her life, but I admit I did think someday God’s radar would lead my birth child back to me again. And it finally did.

My Daughter Found Me!

    I’ll never forget that first phone call. She told me her name was Julie Makimaa and she’d been searching for me since she was 17. She told me her parents had given her copies of her adoption papers. Julie then said that once she knew my maiden name she’d made hundreds of phone calls from her home in Michigan to track me down. A friend of Julie’s noticed that pencilled very faintly on one of the papers was the name “Prospect” followed by four numbers. Julie had assumed it was a street address  in Los Angeles but her efforts to connect me with it had been fruitless.

    Then her friend had a great idea. “Julie,” she said, “it’s not an address. It’s a phone number. Let’s try it to see if it’s still connected.”

    It was. It belonged to the old couple who’d given me shelter during the last months of my pregnancy and with whom I’d kept in touch over the years. They put Julie and I in touch right away.

Meeting My Daughter

    Julie said she was now 20 and was married with a child of her own. My heart was racing as we agreed to meet, and I remember thinking, “what will I say if she asks me about her father? How can I tell her he’s a rapist?”

    It was my husband who convinced me that Julie had to be told of the circumstances surrounding her birth. He phoned Julie’s husband, Bob, and told him the truth. Bob was the one who broke the news to Julie.

    We met for the first time just a month after our first phone conversation. There are no words to describe my exact feelings as  Julie walked into my hotel room.

    Here was the child whose memory I’d hidden in my heart for so many years, the child who has given me my first grandchildren – Casey, now 3, and Herb, 1. She embraced me. We cried. Bob said with all the love in the world in his voice: “Thank you for
not aborting Julie. What would my life be like without her?”

    It was Bob who persuaded me to write my book, The Missing Piece, about Julie’s birth, my years without her and the joy of our reunion. Finding my daughter has enriched my life beyond measure. The couple, who adopted her, Eileen and Harold Anderson, are beautiful people.

    Julie, Eileen and I have been speaking to various groups about what has happened to us. I guess our message is that just as bad things can happen to good people, so can something beautiful come from a wicked act. Julie is living proof of it.

Adapted from The Missing Piece by Lee Ezell, Servant Publishing

Is Abortion the Answer to Rape?

Perhaps the best study of rape and abortion was done by Dr. Sandra Mahkorn, published in Psychological Aspects of  Abortion. Dr. Mahkorn was an experienced rape counselor who, in 1979, identified 37 pregnant rape victims who were treated by a social welfare agency.

Of these 37 women, only five chose to have an abortion. Of the 28 who gave birth, 17 chose adoption and three kept the child themselves.

Many reasons were given for not aborting. Several women felt that abortion was another act of violence, that it was immoral or murder. One woman said she would only suffer more mental anguish from taking the life of a baby.

Some women saw an intrinsic meaning or purpose to the child: somehow this child was foisted into their lives but, on the other hand, they sensed some sort of hidden purpose behind it. And although they weren’t responsible for having brought the child into being, it had happened, and the consequences could be lived with.

At a subconscious level, these rape victims felt that if they could get through the pregnancy they would conquer the rape: choosing life would show they were better than the rapist who brutalized them.

Giving birth, then, is the way rape victims seek to reclaim their self-esteem. It is a totally selfless act, a generous act, especially in light of the pressure to abort. It’s a way for them to display their courage and strength to survive even a rape.

See the survey on rape at www.afterabortion.org

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