“I LOOK at her and think ‘how could someone so perfect be the product of such an evil act?’”
These were the piercing words of rape survivor Cathy Samuels*, a 30-year-old nurse from Langlaagte in Johannesburg, who was raped by her friend’s older brother at the age of 16, when she was sleeping over one Friday night.
Several years later, Samuels recalls looking at her daughter, who was the result of her rape ordeal and a thousand thoughts rushed through her mind about whether she made the right choice by keeping her. The mother of two, who was violated and robbed off her dignity said it took years for her to accept her daughter.
Samuels said although she made the decision not to terminate the pregnancy, there have been times when she wonders how her life would have turned out had she aborted her daughter.
“Rape leaves a permanent emotional scar. A scar that might never heal but at least you can hide it. However what you cannot hide is a child who is the spitting image of your attacker calling you mum and you having to give back the love, that is extremely hard. But I have found that it is achievable with time,” she said.
Samuels is among multitudes of rape survivors who have had to decide whether to keep their baby or not due to the unfortunate circumstances in which they were conceived.
Some of her close family and friends advised her to terminate the pregnancy, “for her own good” but she refused.
“I knew it was not the best circumstance but I was not brave enough to go through with it, besides it was an innocent life. Myfamily and friends did not understand why I was adamant to keep the baby, but for some reason, as young as I was, I knew it was for the greater good,” she said.
The debate about whether or not rape survivors should keep children conceived by rape has existed for as long as the crime of rape itself has. While some women find themselves in the dilemma of having to chose between keeping it or aborting, Samuelssaid she’s now happy she chose not to terminate the pregnancy because she’s finally come to accept and love her daughter.
“I tell her every day that she is beautiful and special. I tell her there is a greater purpose for her existence,” she said.
Samuels is not the only rape survivor to choose to go through with a pregnancy and raise her child the best way she can.
Some have even grown up to become influential members of society.
Former Fox and Friends Weekend coanchor Kelly Wright spoke about his mother’s decision to give birth to him despite being conceived by rape.
In his book, America’s Hope in Troubled Times, Wright describes how his mother was sexually assaulted when she was 16 years old and how he was the result of that rape. He said that growing up his mother always told him that although he was conceived the way that he was, God had a purpose for his life.
He went on to say that the primary reason his mother chose not to abort him was primarily motivated by her desire for children. Wright quotes his mother as having said: “This is God telling me that this may be the only biological child I have.”
As it turns out, his mother was right. Wright would be her only biological child and his sister was adopted.