Content warning: this post deals with rape.
In our push back against the rape culture we’re inevitably a part of, so many of our conversations about rape and assault are beginning – albeit slowly – to put the focus on the attacker’s actions and the trauma of the victim.
But one conversation that often doesn’t get much airtime is one about those who are the product of rape and assault – the children born from the most violent of circumstances.
Where are their voices? And how do they navigate the emotions that come with the knowledge of how they were conceived?
Thanks to a new Reddit thread asking those born from rape to share their stories, these people have just been given a platform to share their experiences of growing up as the product of rape.
And they’re a harrowing but important read.
One user, going by the name of Hashp1per, wrote that they had been given up for adoption after their birth mother had been raped at just 17, by a man she had grown up with. Hashp1per believes their mother gave them up for adoption to give them an opportunity to “have a life free of the stigma of rape”.
“My adoption was private and I decided at 15 to get in contact with her. We met and she cried the entire time, I had no idea of her past trauma at the time, I was confused. When I asked about my birth father she told me he knew I existed but that I shouldn’t get in contact with him.
“Years later I received a letter outlining what happened to her, and about my birth father’s suicide. My mother had been guilt ridden for years. I told her that she did the right thing by giving me up and that I have a good life, that I’m not defined by the circumstance of my birth but rather by the life I lead and by the people who love me.”
Another user, bigshammy, had a different outlook on their experience, writing simply, “most days I feel like I was never meant to exist”.
Beautifully, bigshammy’s comment was followed up by another woman who sought to ease their sense of confusion, writing “my child was conceived through rape, and she saved my life. Don’t you ever feel bad, you can’t help it”.
Another user, stravvberrymilk, shared their own story, saying their mum was raped by their dad when they weren’t dating.
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“When my mother got pregnant, my grandmother’s brother threatened my dad so he would marry my mum. They got married and her marriage life was horrible. I just discovered this last year because my grandmother told me about it.”
“I felt very upset because it felt like I’m the reason why she had to suffer for years. My father was very violent whenever they argue. They’re not together anymore and I’m very thankful for that,” stravvberrymilk added.
One more user, slacktherin, said the fact she was a product of rape had lasting consequences for her relationship with her mother.
“Growing up, my mother tried her best, but I could always tell that she didn’t love me like she thought she should. When I eventually found out about my conception (I was 13/14ish), I was upset for a very long time. I have nothing to do with my biological father. It’s shameful. I feel dirty, knowing that I resulted of a violent act.”
Tragically, she said it wasn’t until she had her own experience with assault that she “grew more understanding”.
“There’s a large rift between us, one that we don’t really try to mend. It’s just easier to not truly be part of each other’s lives. While the other response in this thread hasn’t had too negative of an effect on him, it definitely fucked up my childhood a bit.”
“I never could understand why my mom was a bit harsher, a bit more emotionally abusive, a bit more violent than other parents. I eventually connected the dots and realized it was misplaced anger at my father, but the situation was awful for both of us.”
If this post brings up any issues for you, or your dealing with the trauma of assault, contact the Centre Against Sexual Assault here, or on 1800 806 292.