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Friday, December 19, 2014
Four years ago, I was going through life like I had it all figured out -- perfect family, perfect job, perfect home. Our proud military family was living the American dream -- we had it all. On December 21, 2010 -- the darkest day of the year, everything changed for us as a family. Little did we know our lives were forever transformed or what that ill-lighted date would come to represent.
Mother’s Day 2011 -- the memory of that day is so surreal. It is the day I found out our 14 year old daughter Pyper had been raped by an 18 year old soldier and was pregnant as a result. There was no going back to our perfect life, and this would be the first of many painful days for our family.
Our family has experienced too many low points over the past four years to count. For me, the hardest is a reoccurring nightmare which happens around the same time every year in December. Invariably, over the past three years, instead of making holiday plans, we found ourselves reacting to or reeling from some event resultant from that day in December, 2010.
In December, 2011, while joyous over the birth of our grandson Noah a few months before and looking forward to his first Christmas, we were haunted by the circumstance surrounding his conception and the fear of what the future held for us. The process of reporting the rape to the military and civilian authorities and the investigation into happened to Pyper was in its infancy, so the wounds were still fresh. It seemed that everything and everyone was against us. Our friends and family questioned our choices, they blamed my husband and I for what happened, and some even abandoned us because they just couldn’t process it. In fact, our church family urged that it would be better if we didn’t make a big issue of it -- just ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
As 2012 progressed, the fight to right Pyper’s wrong intensified. In December, 2012, we were facing one of the most daunting tasks of our lives. No one could have prepared us for the horrors of what we were about to endure, which included a defense attorney suggesting to our daughter that she wasn't really raped because she failed to abort. We spent the week preceding December 21st sitting in a military courtroom half-way across the country praying that our ordeal would end. It didn’t. What prosecutors told us should have been a slum-dunk case involving not only forcible rape, but strict liability statutory rape, inexplicably ended in a 3-3 hung jury. In the military, this means the rapist is acquitted. On the 21st -- that same dark date, we found ourselves packed inside a minivan, in shock and disbelief, driving a thousand miles to get back home.
Our situation was about to get worse, as our grandson Noah was in danger. In response to our daughter pressing charges, the rapist's attorney had filed for custody. We'd been warned that this was a common strategy, and with the failure to obtain justice in the criminal trial, the stage had been set for a bitter custody battle in civil court.
Over the next twelve months, we were hit with a deluge of court documents and besieged by harassment and threats. Each day brought a new fear -- the distress was consuming, but as our days grew darker, our resolve grew stronger. There was no way we were going to give up! December, 2013 found us sitting in a different courtroom, in a different town, over the same dark days as the past three years. This time it wasn’t about right and wrong -- we were fighting for our very lives; we were fighting for Noah. Expending every fiber of our being, down to our last breath, we battled for our precious little boy. This time, the outcome would be different.
On the day the court’s decision came in, we didn’t celebrate. Instead, we passed the day in reverent silence with just a few calls to the family and friends who remained. The freedom from our tormentors was final in March, 2014, and we slowly began to regain some of what we lost; to find our new normal.
As December, 2014 clicks by, we still find ourselves looking over our shoulders, watching and waiting; paying close attention to what is happening around us. Our enemy is silent, but we remain vigilant; ready to fight hell itself to protect our “hand-picked” angel. We have our little Noah -- our gift, our daughter's beauty from the ashes.
My husband has this to offer, "There is nothing that can sufficiently prepare you for the trials you face. Although there are many horrible things that could happen, the present conflict is always the worst. What happened yesterday is past, tomorrow is not here, focus on today and no matter what you are up against, keep pressing forward. As a parent or grandparent, you have to stay strong and fight with an unbridled tenacity because at the end of the day, next to God, your family is all that matters."
It has been by God’s mercy and grace alone that we are where we are. He has taken an act of iniquity and turned it into an act of goodness to bring glory to His name. Our grandson is the ark that carried our family through our darkest days. He has been and is the light in the darkness; the anchor given to us by God to hold us firm in our faith.
Labels: Angela Grogg, Angi Grogg, Conceived in Rape, failed to abort, Hope After Rape Conception, justice for rape victims, pregnant by rape, Pro-life speaker, Save the 1