Startling Beauty: Rape, Pregnancy and Restoration

Rape takes too much BUT I, for one, have gained more than I have lost. I have been startled by beauty in places it doesn’t belong. I see it on a bloodied cross, and bitterness loses its power. I see it on the face of the man who keeps his vows to me and fear releases its grip- Startling Beauty My Journey From Rape To Restoration by Heather Gemmen. 

This picture is of Heather and her daughter Rachel. Rachel was conceived from rape but was given life and love by her mother and her mother’s husband.

I read Heather Gemmen’s testimony of rape, pregnancy and restoration at a time in my life when I needed it the most. I was raped 10 years ago but it wasn’t until 2 years after the rape that I began to acknowledge what had occurred and began to remember certain details. I sought spiritual guidance and began seeing a counselor but I was still searching. I was researching for answers, hope and comfort. I found all of that and more in Heather’s book and a few other testimony books. It helped me to know what I was not alone, I wasn’t crazy and that I was going to make it!! 

Here are a few excerpts from an interview with Heather about her book and testimony. To read the entire article please checkout this link http://www.calvin.edu/publications/spark/2005/summer/gemmen_heather.htm

“Rape,” she wrote in Startling Beauty, “is ugliness at its basest form. Rape destroys innocence and cultivates bitterness. It steals security and extends fear. It kills hope and fosters shame. Rape leaves no room for beauty.”

What followed the actual incident was a nightmare scenario: Gemmen endured the post-rape investigation, isolated in her terror and pain and relying on the prayers of friends to see her through the crisis. And then she found out that she was pregnant from the rape.

Yet Startling Beauty, though it admits of “ugliness,” “destruction,” and “bitterness,” is a story that does leave room for beauty. Gemmen writes with considerable candor about the conflicts in her marriage, the stillbirth of a third son prior to the rape, the wreck of her friendships, her struggle as a Christian with taking an (ultimately ineffective) post-rape abortifacient, and her painful discovery that she — a person committed to racial reconciliation and living in a diverse neighborhood — harbored powerful racist feelings.

But Gemmen also writes about the restorative power of God’s grace in her life. Her husband, Steve, became her chief support. “He was so amazing through that process. He was so strong even though this was as much an attack on him as it was on me,” she said. Her friends, family and church family also rallied around. And Gemmen was emotionally restored to the degree that both she and Steve eagerly accepted the unexpected baby, Rachael, as a gift from God.

I want to share some information that I learned about rape and abortion. In no way am I being insensitive or pushing my views on anyone. I am 100% pro-life in all situations. If I had gotten pregnant when I was raped, I would have a 10-year-old child now. The thought of that brings so many emotions to my mind. I thank God for His mercy and grace. I told myself back then, if you’re pregnant, you’re keeping the baby. Thank God I did not have to make that decision, I know thats it a horrible one to have to make.

**Please read the information below and share your thoughts on here and not FB please.**

Pro-life Views about women being pregnant from rape:

For too long rape has been used to justify abortion and side-step the real issue: is it ever right to take an innocent human life?
No matter how unfair or horrible a situation might be, we can never justify killing another innocent human being to try to alleviate mental or emotional anguish.

It is unjust for a woman to be pregnant from a rapist, but it is a greater injustice to kill the blameless child. Unfortunately, in this case, injustice cannot be avoided. We must do our best to redeem the situation – forgiving the guilty, and helping the innocent.
As far as the well-being of the rape victim, the emotional trauma she’s been through is not lessened by abortion – it’s only compounded by another experience of violence. One study states, “In the majority of these cases, the pregnant victim’s problems stem more from the trauma of rape than from the pregnancy itself.”4
We must extend God’s love for the rape victim, offering her the compassion and support she so desperately needs. In the rare cases when pregnancy occurs, that support and reassurance is all the more vital. But we must also expose the lies that tell a woman who abortion is the easy way out. In the words of one experienced counselor, “Abortion does not un-rape a woman.”5
Written by Sharon Bennett Researched by Bob Miller

Statics about pregnancy occurring after rape:

Despite what you may have heard, pregnancy due to rape is extremely rare. A one-year study in Washington, DC, showed only one pregnancy in more than 300 rape cases. A similar Chicago study revealed no pregnancies resulting from rape in the past nine years.1Overall, less than 1% of the women who are raped become pregnant.2 Only one out of every 25,000 abortions is performed because of a pregnancy occurring from rape. More than 98% of all abortions are done simply because the mother does not want to have the baby.3

http://www.lastdaysministries.org/Mobile/default.aspx?group_id=1000008837&article_id=1000008605

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5 Responses to “Startling Beauty: Rape, Pregnancy and Restoration”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Wow!!! I don’t know what I would have done if I had gotten pregnant when I was raped. I was only 13 years old but capable of getting pregnant nonetheless. I don’t believe that abortion is the way to go ever. I think that at the very least, the baby should be given up for adoption. It isn’t the child’s fault. I am thankful for those statics that not many women get pregnant from rape. I praise God for that.

    I am going to check into that book because I think it will help me along my journey of continuing to heal. It is time to get rid of the junk in my closet and be whole in Jesus name!!!

  2. Carmen Says:

    This was a very inspirational story. As an old campus minister, college student, and now working on becoming a counselor this is vital information about how people still feel about women who are raped. The stereotype that comes and the shame that also comes with the act itself. There was a book many years ago called, “Joy”. In this book it was also about a woman who was raped and dating and became pregnant having to face and make the same difficult decision of to abort or not. She chose to keep the baby and God blessed her with a wonderful husband to heal from the ordeal. This is a testiment of God’s love for us. We come from situations that are shameful or that we did not ask for and yet he loves us. Children from rape are not the problem, they are a natural result to a precious act that is perverted by the enemy. To hold it against them is for God to hold our crimes and sin agaist us. Thank God he does not do that and we too either as victims or supports of victims must not hold the child accountable for the issues of another. They deserve life and love as us all for when God gave that body the human spirit he had a plan and a purpose for them to be here. Anything or word that God sends to the earth he does not expect it to return to him without fulfilling its intended purpose…that includes the people he sends here too.

  3. fhjpeder43 Says:

    Theres two elements that I think is important concerning rape. Women has to stop feel ashamed, if thats possible, ant try to helt eachother instead of pushing themselves down. The other thing is that men has to start behang lke men and make a clear and visible stand against rape. To be a real man is first and foremost to make everyone around him safe. Rape conserrns and touches us all. Be responsible,

    http://finnhjalmar.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/gasoline-on-%C2%ABthe-fire-of-shame%C2%BB/

  4. Kim Says:

    “It is unjust for a woman to be pregnant from a rapist, but it is a greater injustice to kill the blameless child.” POWERFUL!!!

  5. Jillian Coney Says:

    Thanks for this post! May God continue to bless and keep you and your family!


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