We Were Impregnated By Our Rapists: 4 Bizarre Realities

Rape is horrifying no matter what the circumstances. But rape that results in the birth of a child is trauma squared. Add to that the fact that some politician who lives primarily inside his own asshole emerges every few years to decide how your body works ...

The Los Angeles Times
You'll note the word is always "politician" -- never "doctor" or "scientist."

... and it doesn't make for a great experience. Cracked wanted to know what life is like for women who've had children conceived through rape, and for those children themselves. So we sat down with a few of them. Cara Bennett gave her child up for adoption after she was taken advantage of at a party when she was 15. Jenny was conceived during the rape of her mother. Adelheid discovered she was also the result of sexual assault ... while going through an abortion after being raped by her then-boyfriend. Here's what they told us ...

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4
People Treat You Like This Is Your Fault

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Even today, it's not at all uncommon for young rape victims to be forced to carry the babies which result to term. Some of these babies, like our source Jenny, gradually come to realize that one or more of their parents blame them for the rape that happened before their birth. She recalls her stepdad dropping comments like "The baby died, but the turd lived" to remind her of her conception.

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Heads up: If it isn't obvious already, this one might leave you a wee bit mad.

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In fact, it was Jenny's stepfather who informed her of her gritty origin story when she was only a child and had no real comprehension of what any of this insanity meant. "I'd bring it up in class or something. I'd get bullied by other kids who did know what it meant. I don't think I really learned until sixth or seventh grade, when my stepsister explained it to me."

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We wouldn't have believed it ourselves, but middle school can in fact get shittier.

Cara opted against a late-term abortion. It was a time when that term was murky and could have allowed the baby to be partially born before the procedure took place.

"I decided that I wanted to give him the best start that he could get, and I wanted to give him someone who could do that. I would say the way he came about definitely had an impact on my decision as well, because, you know, I would not want my son to have a person like that in his life, and if I had kept him, there would have been some kind of custody battle around that. I wanted him to have two parents, and I've always thought it was a good decision on my part."

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Which is really impressive when you consider how many decisions you make at 15 that still hold up as an adult.

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Though she chose to give the kid life, she was treated to a very "rape culture vibe" when she turned to an adoption agency for help through this nightmare experience: "[They were] trying to have me put my son in a foster home before putting him up for adoption. I switched to a non-religious agency after that. They were really, really prying when it came to the circumstances surrounding his birth. They basically wanted me to admit that it was consensual, I think."

Dang, guys. When they say "denial is a powerful thing," they don't mean that as an endorsement.

3
Rapists Still Have Rights Over The Child

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Sometimes described as the "most intimate" crime, sexual assault is a violation that haunts its victims both physically and psychologically. When rape results in the conception of a child, the victims are left to straighten out the legal aftermath alone, but that doesn't mean their attackers don't continue to loom over them.

When Cara decided to give her baby up for adoption, she had to first ensure that the child's father -- her rapist -- was informed of the pregnancy and OK with giving up his parental rights. Let that sink in. A rapist can and does have legal rights to a child born from their act of violence. There are ways around this, of course. For example, the rapist could be convicted of the crime, which would require reporting it -- something an overwhelming amount of rape victims are uncomfortable with. Something Cara was uncomfortable with, though she did later discover that her attacker was convicted of the same crime in a different case, which torments her still: "He went to jail for raping someone else, and I think that is my fault."

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The only positive from him winding up in jail after two victims is that most rapists average around six.

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A victim also has to inform the father of their intended action (placing the baby up for adoption) and allow them to step forward and claim parental status of the child. Because even though this man raped you, the fact that he left some semen behind apparently gives him some inalienable rights. And how do you actually put the word out to your rapist that impregnated you? Well, the adoption agency Cara worked with decided to post a statement in the newspaper, allowing a set amount of time for the respondent to come forward before waiving his rights completely. She only vaguely understood this process at the time.

"I was mostly doing what they told me to do. All I remember about the legal stuff is that they came to my house and told me that I will have to approve a message that will go in the legal section of the newspaper. The message said something along the lines of, 'If you had sexual relations with [Cara] between the dates of Jan-Feb, please come forward for a matter of paternity.'"

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"... Ideally, come forward at the closest police station."

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Cara's rapist never came forward, and she earned the dubious honor of being the only kid in her school with a classified ad for her sexual history.

On the other hand, when our other source Adelheid decided she couldn't possibly raise another child with her rapist then-boyfriend, she was able to obtain an abortion with no questions asked: "I know still that if I'd have had another of his children or stayed, we'd all be in a very dire situation, or worse yet, dead. When I had found out I was pregnant, I knew I COULD NOT allow him to further trap and endanger my or our child or potential children's lives. I don't regret it in the least."

So rape victims have the right to a private abortion, but not the right to privately give their babies up for adoption. It seems sperm's magical legal-rights-bestowing powers take a few months to kick in.

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Because traumatized victims really need a set of arbitrary rules, like some pregnancy board game.

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Of course, growing up as a child conceived via sexual assault has its own problems. It's important to know your family medical history, and when half of that history is a mysterious blur, as it is for Jenny, you've got to do some detective work to suss out your origins:

"I recently did the Ancestry DNA test. They give you all your DNA markers, but they're not legally allowed to tell you what they mean. Using triangulation of my DNA and my sisters' (they also did it), I'll be able to eventually figure out what came from my biological father. On Ancestry or 23andMe, you can submit your DNA information and it will connect you with other people from across the world who have a likelihood to be related you genetically. I'm nervous and slightly terrified, though, that someone will pop up on the relation list from the other half of my DNA. I mean, how would I even handle that? 'Oh hi. You're related to someone who raped my mom 43 years ago.'"

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"So any family history besides violent criminal tendencies that I should know about?"

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That sounds like the plot to the worst Adam Sandler movie yet. Well, maybe second-worst.

2
It Changes The Way You Look At Both Motherhood And Sex

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Parenthood seems terrifying enough without a web of trauma surrounding it. Now that Jenny has her own daughter, her mama bear instincts have only intensified: "She's almost 18. It's made me paranoid about her getting out there in the world. We talk all the time about protecting her drinks if she goes out with friends and such. I remind her that bad things can happen to anyone with anyone, even friends."

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Jenny's been known to get creative with her parenting techniques.

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Sex is an entirely different ballgame for these women now as well. Jenny found that she began detaching herself from the act: "[My daughter's] dad and I were in a relationship when I found out I was pregnant, but I didn't love him. Sex is just sex to me. My best friend pointed that out to me about 20 years ago; I don't need emotion or affectionate attachment to hook up with someone."

That's not to say that a woman has to be in love to have sex, but Jenny believes this was directly caused by the knowledge of her mother's rape.

Adelheid not only put up walls, but moats, cannons, and man-eating crocodiles to keep the fellas at bay.

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Metaphorically speaking. Or at least, metaphorical until the homeowners association approves ...

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"I'm far more cautious of men who have ongoing issues with their exes or their mothers. How a man treats those women in his life is by far the best indicator I have come across. I have a harder time believing men are capable of the kind of love a woman is, whether for his significant other or for his children. I'm worried that most men are wolves in sheep's clothing. I have dated a bit since separating from my son's father, and I find it a bit harder to enter into a physical relationship, and tend to be more hesitant of catching feelings for them."

1
You Still Develop A Family Bond

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Jenny's mother may have chosen to raise her as her own, but Jenny still understands the impossible choice she was faced with. So she doesn't begrudge Cara for opting to place her son up for adoption: "My mom's decision was hard. She lost family, lost dreams, because she kept me. I wouldn't wish that on anyone."

Jenny does believe that she caught some weird vibes from her mother now and again, but for the most part, she believes their relationship was a strong one. She put her hair up in a handkerchief, spun some Neil Diamond tunes, and taught Jenny how to iron sheets when she was four years old.

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It's hard not to feel connected with "I'm A Believer" going in the background.

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Jenny especially treasures the memories of when she was pregnant with her own daughter: "My mom always always cooked for me. Big feasts. She'd ask me what I wanted and she'd make it. I remember calling her and telling her I was craving fried chicken. She made sure I had everything when I was off work, and I didn't even live with her anymore. She didn't do that with my younger sister. I know my mom loved me. I remember after an episode with my stepfather, I asked her why she even bothered to keep me. Why would she keep a bastard whom no one loved? She reminded me that she loved me. She told me that if she could do it all over again, she'd make the same decision."

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Yeah, we weren't expecting a happy ending either, but who's arguing?

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Adelheid had a similar bond with her mother: "I know from conversations with my mother that she doesn't regret how she came to have my sister and I. She never held our conception against us, though I think in her younger years she certainly resented it and us. My mother kept me and my older sister, and for being what we are, coming from where we did, we are remarkably well adjusted. We know that we're very much loved and wanted, regardless of the circumstances. I think she made the right decision for her, as hard as it was to deal with on a daily basis."

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"For my kid's sake, I will be reminded of the most traumatic experience of my life daily and I will deal with it." -- a fucking excellent parent

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Cara recently got back into contact with her biological child, and things have been going swimmingly: "He's a perfectly awesome thing. We're chatting back and forth and became Facebook friends. I haven't met him yet. He told me that he kind of felt that he was adopted before his mom sat him down and told him. We have a mole on our cheek that is exactly the same. I've mostly watched a bunch of videos of him on YouTube, and I feel like the way we talk is the same. He's pretty nerdy. My whole family is into gaming, even my parents, and he's very much into gaming. I think it's kind of the way that our family's mind works -- we like puzzles and games."

And that's about as happy an ending as you can hope for in an article on the consequences of rape. Let's go ahead and wrap this up before some new politician says something stupid about pregnancy and r-

The Spokesman-Review

Oh, god dammit.

Deep inside us all -- behind our political leanings, our moral codes, and our private biases -- there is a cause so colossally stupid that we surprise ourselves with how much we care. Whether it's toilet paper position, fedoras on men, or Oxford commas, we each harbor a preference so powerful we can't help but proselytize to the world. In this episode of the Cracked podcast, guest host Soren Bowie is joined by Cody Johnston, Michael Swaim, and comedian Annie Lederman to discuss the most trivial things we will argue about until the day we die. Get your tickets here!

For more insider perspectives, check out 5 Things I Learned Committing A Campus Sexual Assault and 5 Bizarre Realities Of Being A Man Who Was Raped By A Woman.

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