Katrina

This article may be triggering for survivors of sexual violence or intimate partner violence or abuse of any kind.

A recent law passed in Arkansas forces women to get their rapist’s permission for abortions, so that the abuser who impregnated you can deny you that right.

The Arkansas law is not only atrocious, it allows abuse and rape to model behavior for future generations.

I have no idea where my life would be now if I’d needed my abuser’s permission for an abortion when I was 22.

At that age, I fell into an abusive relationship with an acquaintance who was a highly manipulative serial and sociopathic sexual predator. However, like many sociopaths, he was also charming, charismatic, and convincing – leading to authority figures never holding him accountable for his behavior.

He abused me repeatedly — physically, sexually, emotionally — and stalked me for months. He always wanted to know my whereabouts, prevented me from spending time with anyone else, and called and texted me constantly each day from dozens of different phone numbers each time I blocked one.

He filed false police reports against me, tried to blackmail me with nude photos taken without my knowledge, and threatened to break into my home – all while creating false backstories and telling me no one would believe me if I told anyone.

I found that I was one of many women, in multiple countries who he was treating in an psychologically manipulative and abusive way. He shamed a rape victim for “cheating” on him, impregnated multiple women I knew, aggressively stalked other women on campus, and methodically exploited our unique vulnerabilities and trust for his own sick satisfaction of controlling our bodies and minds, using his campus job and fraudulent charitable activities to disarm, identify, recruit and pursue his prey, including me. He seemed to gain great personal satisfaction and a sense of self-worth from his manipulation, and even bragged about deceiving and abusing multiple women at once.

He deliberately impregnated me against my will in order to force me to have his child. I told him I wanted to have an abortion, and he sent me photos of bloody miscarriages, destroyed my property, and threatened me. After I had the abortion, he bludgeoned my head into a brick wall. When I contacted my housing director to request a new dorm assignment, he used his campus IT work position to hack into my email and download my communications. I feared for my safety every day, and he continued to stalk me and physically assault me until I went to the police (who did not believe me – but he seemed to realize I no longer suited his purposes and refocused his attentions on others).

If I had needed to get his permission in order to get an abortion, I have no doubt that I would not have escaped his torment. I would not have pursued my education nor my career as I have been able to.

It has now taken me years of suffering and hard work to recover, and to learn that I do not deserve abuse and am worthy of respect and love. After having the abortion seven years ago, I started a community garden, proceeded to earn all As in my senior year of college and graduated with honors, and have now received my Master’s Degree and founded a nonprofit to advocate against sexual violence.

If I choose to have a child, I do not want an abusive parent in their life. I want my child to feel genuinely loved, to learn they are worthy of respect, and to learn that abuse is not acceptable. I want my child to see healthy relationships as a model for their behavior.

For me, having an abortion was a chance at a new life. It was a chance to escape from abuse at the hands of a man I know for a fact would not have cared if he had killed me.

If this same situation that I was in years ago happened today in Arkansas, I would not have that chance to choose to have a life of my own. I know that I would not be strong enough to leave the situation I was in, and he would use his legal parental rights to continue his abuse. My child would not have a stable, loving father, but instead, be parented by an abuser, whose horrifying treatment of me would not allow me the chance to learn I’m worthy of respect — in turn, passing down the same dysfunctional dynamic.

Rapists and abusers do not deserve the right to use innocent children to further manipulate and abuse those they inflict their behavior on. They do not deserve the right to pass down their legacy of abuse to future generations.

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