Speakers for the pro-life group Unbroken will share how their lives have been impacted by pregnancy from rape in Dail Eireann today.
The three women will share their stories with TDs and urge the legislators to seek a better answer than abortion. Two of the women are rape survivors, while one of the speakers was conceived in rape.
The Unbroken support and advocacy group’s “Ending the Silence” initiative aims to grow awareness of the needs of women who have become pregnant from rape, and of the humanity of children conceived in rape. They seek to challenge the Irish people to provide a more compassionate and progressive solution than abortion.
The invited speakers are women know at first hand the trauma of becoming pregnant from rape, and the stigma attached to children who are conceived in this way. They say that women who have been in this situation are too-often silenced by the stigma and shame they feel, and that only the rapist, who is a criminal, should feel this shame.
Laura Ni Chonghaile of Unbroken Ireland said that Irish women had felt silenced for too long on this issue, and that she hoped the initiative would allow women to find their voice. She will be accompanied to the meeting in Dail Eireann by:
Shauna Prewitt was in her senior year in college when she was raped. Nine months later, she gave birth to a baby girl. “We live in a culture where children who are conceived in rape are still spoken of in terms of an animal’s child, a monster’s child. She is not a monster’s child, she is my child. She’s wiped away my tears when she didn’t understand why I was crying and has just been with me through the darkness,” she says.
Jennifer Christie was on a business trip when she was attacked by a serial rapist. She says that the pain was immense – and that the lack of understanding as to how to best help her through the trauma was devastating. “My child had nothing to do with the attack on my body or the scars on my soul. He had everything to do with my healing — giving me a reason to hope. I did not save my son. He saved me. I am not raising a ‘rapist’s baby’. I am raising my baby,” she says.
Rebecca Kiessling was conceived in rape. She explains: “I was conceived in rape … I am no less of a human being, worthy of love, and deserving a right to life. She says that society’s misconceptions and lack of understanding forces women and their children to feel stigma and shame.
“The only person who should feel shame is the rapist,” she says. “My mother was innocent, as was I. The rapist is the criminal who should be punished,” Rebecca said.
Louise Smith became pregnant after rape and says that she felt expected to undergo an abortion but that the abortion brought her huge trauma and regret. She says that abortion does not meet the needs of women pregnant after rape.
These women will speak as guests of Unbroken Ireland at the ‘Ending the Silence’ meetings in Dublin and Cork as follows:
DUBLIN: The Spencer Hotel, IFSC, Dublin1, Thursday, 28th September, 8pm.
CORK: Silver Springs Hotel, Tivoli, Cork City, Sunday, October 1st, 4pm.