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The RU in english


RU 32+33/2008 - GREAT BRITAIN

- ENGLAND: If you lean – even only a little bit - towards the murderous slogan of certain legislators, judges, doctors, even of people who consider themselves pious, “No to abortion, except, of course, in the cases of rape or  incest”, then please, take 5 minutes during this month of August 2008 for reading the following story. It’s an article, slightly adapted by ourselves, which has been published on August 9th in the English Daily Mail: “I was raped and left pregnant at 16… but I still love my baby!” (personal names changed for legal reasons).

Like so many teenage mums, Elizabeth Cameron doesn't like to talk much about the father of her toddler daughter Mary. She shrugs when asked about him, and admits that when questioned about his whereabouts - as people inevitably do - she likes to keep things vague. “When new people ask, I say I have nothing to do with him - which is true,” she says quietly. “But I'm not sure yet what I will tell Mary herself when she is old enough to ask… Hopefully, one day, I will get married, and then Mary will have a father and it won't be such an issue.” In fact little Mary may never want to know the truth about the man who gave her life.

She was conceived on a cold December evening when Elizabeth - then a 16-year-old virgin - was dragged into the back of a van and raped. All that Elizabeth will be able to tell Mary one day is that her father was a stranger in a hooded top who forced himself upon her. She has no idea of the man's age, ethnic background, even height, such was the confusion of that evening. Indeed, he could be one of three possible individuals. Because one of the few things that Elizabeth is sure of is that she was raped three times that night, by three different men.

That Mary exists at all almost defies belief. Practically everyone who knew exactly how Elizabeth had fallen pregnant - doctors, siblings, even her own father - urged her to have an abortion as soon as possible. The only person who pleaded with her to at least consider having the child was her mother, Sarah. Today, Elizabeth and Sarah are living together in their lavish home in a picturesque village on the South Coast of England. At first they seem like any doting mother and grandmother, falling over themselves to share stories of the little girl of whom they are so proud.

Sarah, 53, who owns a property leasing business, admits. “Having her in my life is such a joy. From the first time I held her in my arms, I have had this fierce bond with her, a connection which started even before she was born. She looks like me when I was her age, and I feel strongly that she was meant to be a part of our family.”

Elizabeth, still only 19 and about to start university to train to be a primary school teacher, is less vocal than her mother, but no less besotted: “Everyone, save for mum, thought I should have an abortion,” she says. “My dad even made an appointment at the clinic, and they showed me the little blob on the scan, I presume, to convince me that it was just a mass of cells and the whole thing would be over quickly. But I couldn't go through with it. At school, my friends - most of whom didn't even know about the rape - couldn't understand why anyone my age would want to have a baby rather than an abortion. And the few I did tell about what had happened were even more horrified that I would want to go through with the birth. But I did. And I don't regret it for a moment. Every time I look at Mary, I know I made the right decision. I never wanted to end my baby's life just because of how she came to be.”

To most women, the thought of carrying their rapist's baby would be unthinkable. Elizabeth says that she, too, would once have shared that view. To her amazement, though, the first sight of that 'mass of cells' on the screen triggered waves of tenderness rather than revulsion in her. “It was surprisingly easy to love her as she grew inside me, but I have to admit I was scared my feelings would change when I saw her. During the pregnancy, I had nightmares about the attack and I worried myself sick that seeing my baby would immediately bring on flashbacks of that night. But from the moment mum put her on my breast, there was no question we belonged together. She did not remind me of that night, and I knew then that having her was more important than what had happened.”

Very few people know the truth of how Mary came to exist. Unfortunately, in their community, it is assumed that she is just another youngster who got pregnant through carelessness, foolishness or deliberate willfulness. Mother Sarah’s comments: “We had always been regular churchgoers in our community before this. But we faced so many barbed comments from people at church that we stopped going there and went to another parish. Sometimes, it has felt like me and Elizabeth against the rest of the world.

Elizabeth's astonishing story began in December 2005, when an ordinary day at college took a dreadfully violent turn. Elizabeth was a shy, studious girl, known to prefer studying to going to clubs or discos. She had spent the day with friends but was under instruction to be home for the family meal. Unfortunately, her mother Sarah who was supposed to pick her up at the supermarket car park, was delayed by an hour, and her frantic phone calls to Elizabeth's mobile went unanswered. When she arrived at the car park, there was no sign of Elizabeth, so, thinking that she must have caught the bus home, Sarah drove to the family home.

There, to her astonishment, she found Elizabeth in her bedroom, in floods of tears on the floor. “She was disheveled and crying her eyes out,” Sarah remembers. “I panicked, asked her what was wrong but she couldn't tell me. When I tried to put my arms around her, she pushed me away. She just kept on crying, making me feel completely helpless. This continued during several days.” Elizabeth says now that she was simply in shock about what she had been through. “I just couldn't bear to speak about it, not even to mum,” she says. “I didn't tell anyone because I thought they would think it was my fault, that I was somehow asking for it. I was so ashamed and embarrassed by what had happened, I couldn't even say the word ‘rape’.”

Her mother continues:  “She was sobbing. She told me that three men in a van had approached her and threatened her. Then they forced her into the van. I was devastated as she said it. Even now, it is hard to talk about. I told her the men who did this were dangerous - that we had to go to the police. Father, when told about the story, exploded with anger - both at what had happened, and at the fact that Elizabeth had not told us sooner. He called the police straight away. Elizabeth was distraught.” 

Then Elizabeth herself takes up the story. “I had to go over it all and it was awful. I told the police that I'd been so terrified. I thought they were going to kill me. I said that, after I got into the van, they drove away. I was sure I was being kidnapped. I was crying with fear, but I didn't scream in case they became more violent. In the back of that van, I was raped by all three of them as they drove around, stopping occasionally. I closed my eyes. I couldn't bring myself to look at them. I thought they were in their 20s, but I cannot be certain. I expected medical examinations, as I had bruises on my arms where they held me down. Then I expected maybe counseling, more interviews. But as the days passed we heard nothing. The lack of a clear picture of her attackers appears to have made the investigation problematic for the police, and the attackers have never been caught.

One month later, however, Elizabeth’s period was late. “When the pregnancy test was positive, I was the one who cried the most,” admits Sarah. “I told her I would be there for her, whatever. Her father immediately said she should have an abortion.” Elizabeth says she had always held very strong views on abortion - believing it wrong, whatever the circumstances. And she couldn't shake off that feeling, not even while lying on the examining couch in the abortion clinic. Although an appointment had already been made for later in the week to have the actual procedure, Elizabeth asked her mother to cancel it. “I spent the few days before the appointment in tears, arguing with my father. He couldn't believe that I would even contemplate continuing with the pregnancy. My sister hated the idea. I can't explain why I felt so strongly - but I did. I also couldn't even consider adoption. I'd grown up thinking: ‘How could anyone abandon an innocent baby?’  -  and I found myself thinking that about my child. I think mum understood. When I finally said: ‘No, I want to have it’, she stood by me.

“People have been horrible towards us,” admits Sarah. “But this made us yet more determined to fight for this innocent little child. She had not asked to be conceived, had she?”

On September 15, 2006, little Mary arrived weighing a healthy 8lb 4oz. Sarah stayed by Elizabeth's side during the long labour and was the first to hold the little girl. Both new mum and grandmother admit they were relieved that their only feeling on setting eyes on her was one of adoration. As Sarah puts it: “She was so pretty, with thick dark hair and beautiful blue eyes. People may wonder how it is possible to love a child conceived in this way, but believe me, I love her even more because of it. All the hatred I felt towards those men disappeared when I saw the baby. I put Mary on Elizabeth's breast and that was the most moving sight. In that moment, it wasn't about her being attacked in some car park, it was simply about the precious moment a new mum holds her baby.”

Elizabeth concurs. “I have never, ever blamed Mary for what happened. While it was terrifying, knowing that I was going to be a mum made me look forward and focus on something else. I suppose I have tried to look beyond what happened, to the life that was created.” She is the first to admit that it has not been easy. Mary is almost two, and it took a long time for Elizabeth to make peace with her father. “I didn't want him near her at first. I remember shouting at him: ‘You wanted me to kill her!’ But, in time, I saw that he wanted to make amends, too, and he adores her now. That's important for Mary.”

Finally Elizabeth found a way through her reasoning. She wants to say one day to her little daughter Mary that she was the good that came out of something bad. And I will tell her that, however she came to be, I have never ever regretted having her, and I would not be without her for the world.”

End of the summarized article. Nothing to be added. And let’s keep in memory: let us never repeat this immense injustice: “… except in the cases of rape or incest”! - (ru; cf.



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