Good Afternoon Everyone!
We have our first article of the year and I am excited because Pastor David Wilkinson took time out of his busy schedule to write this article. Pastor Dave currently serves as the Executive Director of Community Pregnancy Clinic in Simi Valley, CA. Also, he is one of the contributors to And He Restoreth My Soul and his chapter is about when a church should consider developing a peer counseling center. His chapter presents a clear vision of the necessary steps to make this type of counseling work. I hope you enjoy this article and please feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have and I will pass them along to Pastor Dave.
As an 18 yr. old freshman in college and the first time away from home, Allie was excited to attend her first social and make new friends. Unfortunately, this night was not what Allie had expected. She was raped. A boy she had just met, handed her a beer and in her innocence she accepted not knowing it was laced with a date rape drug. The rest of the evening was a blur to her with vague recollections followed by feelings of nausea, guilt and shame.
The next day it was back to class, studies and wondering what had happened to her the night before and what was her part in it. A few weeks later she discovered she was pregnant. Feeling guilty and thinking the rape was her fault (she did after all, accept the alcohol, right?), she chose not to confront the boy and kept her secret to herself.
The holidays were hell for her as she went home to her parents over Christmas break pretending nothing was wrong. She would often excuse herself from the dinner table to go throw up in the bathroom, sob alone and then return to the family activities.
Allie grew up in a Christian home and nothing like this had ever happened before in her family (at least as far as she knew). What would her parents say? Would they pull her out of school? Would she be allowed to come home? Allie felt alone, scared and confused. Even though she had always believed that abortion was wrong, that it was the taking of an innocent human life, this was different – this was her life. After all, she was raped! This wasn’t her fault. She didn’t plan or ask for this. She couldn’t bring herself to tell anyone about what had happened, not the rape, not the pregnancy. Not to her parents and certainly not to the police, so she quietly made a plan. She called her sister, swore her to secrecy and had her drive her to the abortion clinic. She figured that once she had the “procedure”, everything would go back to normal. She could finish college, start her career, get married someday, have a family and it would be just like she always imagined it. Not!
After her abortion, Allie felt worse, even more alone and ashamed. She felt worthless and unlovable, because she had disappointed herself, her family and most of all God. She prayed that God would forgive her, but it took years for her to actually believe it. Even after she changed schools, got reunited with her high school sweetheart, she could not escape the memories of the rape or the abortion. She had nightmares, anxiety and depression. She eventually married her high school sweetheart, but even that wasn’t enough to bring peace or healing.
One day as she was watching the news, a story came on about the latest date rape drug. As they described the symptoms and effects of the drug, Allie finally knew what had actually happened to her – she did not have low tolerance, she was drugged and then selfishly raped. She could finally let go of the guilt and self blame that she had carried for many years. She could even forgive the rapist but she could not forgive herself for the abortion she chose.
As Allie grieved over the loss of the baby she had killed, she began a journey of healing and reconnection to God. Through the support of her family, church and a local crisis pregnancy center, Allie slowly began to find the peace she had been craving.
Coming to terms with the regret from her abortion, Allie realized that the taking of an innocent life did not take away her pain or undo the rape. Women often fear that if they have a baby that was conceived in rape, the child will forever be a painful reminder. But just because a child reminds one of something painful, is that a reason to end his life?
Rape is a terrible evil act that should be punished. When a woman is raped, she needs comfort, support and in the end, justice. If the rape results in the woman becoming pregnant, there is now a second victim – the child. It is never just to punish the victim for the crime of another. In the same way, abortion does not serve justice for the mother or the child. It adds to her pain, not relieve it.
Through counseling, support and time, Allie was able to resolve the pain from her rape. What prolonged the pain was the addition of the abortion on top of the rape. Allie’s wish now is to help other’s not go through what she went through. As a result, she now speaks to women’s groups about rape prevention and educates high school youth (including her own) about drugs, responsibility and healthy choices. She also counsels girls at the local crisis pregnancy center that first helped her. God turned something evil and used it for good.
Dave Wilkinson, M. Div.
Community Pregnancy Clinic
2650 Jones Way, #31
Simi Valley, CA 93065