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”.