Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sudanese Refugee Who Raped Me Now Seeks Custody of My Little Miracle, by Penny


When I met him in the summer of 2016, he seemed friendly, but it was clear that he didn’t understand boundaries as he was touchy, hugged a lot and was seen asking all of the women in the neighborhood if they needed help with their yard or in the house. He told me and my mom that he wanted to find a white woman to marry and have kids with. Despite these odd behaviors, the few times I had spoken with him, he still seemed genuinely wanting to help women. I just figured he was naïve and that there were cultural differences because he was a Sudanese refugee. 

When I heard that he had gone to jail for a disturbing crime of “sexual contact with a vulnerable adult,” I was shocked and confused.  I reached out to him in jail to get his side of the story.  I was met there by his refugee advocate, and they both assured me of his innocence.

Upon his release from jail, he contacted me, asking if he could see me to thank me for coming to see him in the jail.  We talked over the course of a few days and became friends.

There was a lot of prejudice going on in my small Idaho town about the refugees, and befriending him was my way of being positive and welcoming. When he was soon dismissed of the sexual assault charge, that was confirmation for me of his innocence.

It wasn't very long before he began making comments about wanting to be more than friends. At this time, my boyfriend and I were going through a hard time and in the middle of a split, and this Sudanese man knew this. He acted concerned, but soon started to say things about wanting to be with me, and I made it very clear that it would never happen.

I was now staying with a friend. My phone was going to be shut off soon because of my inability to pay for it.  When I told him about it, he got very sad and offered to pay so he’d be able to talk to me.  He became obsessive in calling and texting, but I felt obligated to reply.  

He would always ask me who I was with, what I was doing, and where I was. He would constantly ask me to come over or if he could come where I was.  If I didn't respond in time or told him I was busy, he would become upset and tell me how lonely he was and sad.

He began saying things like I was his heart and he wasn't complete without me.  I repeatedly told him it wasn't appropriate and I only cared for him like a brother.  Still, this didn't stop the unwelcomed comments. On numerous occasions out in public, he would try to put his arm around me. He would ask, “If you and me had a baby, would they have your eyes?”  Or he would point to a baby and say, “If we had a baby, would it look like that?” I told him to stop saying those things, and that it wasn't ok to ask me that because it wouldn't happen and it made me uncomfortable. He would just laugh, and act like he was just joking around.

But then he tried to get me to move in with him to save money, which I refused. To avoid seeing him, I used the excuse of not having gas, so he insisted on filling my gas tank to make sure that wouldn't be an issue.  In hindsight, I now see how I was the one who was naïve, still feeling sorry for him and believing he was awkward but kind.

 One night, I told him I was having a girls night with my friend. He showed up where we were, and even though he said it was against his Muslim faith to drink alcohol, he bought us drinks that night.  While I was dancing with a guy, I could see he was behaving jealous, and again, I told him his feelings were inappropriate.

When it came time to leave, he began begging me to come with him. He was almost in tears because I refused and proceeded to confess his love, but in a harassing way, turning into a scene.  My friend was concerned, and even the bouncer had noticed, asking if I was okay.  After almost a half hour of arguing with him, he finally stopped, and I told him it would be best for him to stay away from me if being around me was so hard on him and he couldn't accept the way things were. He then grabbed me and forcibly kissed me. I was so upset!  I walked away from him and over to my friend who saw the whole thing, along with the bouncer.

We didn't talk for a few days and I thought he must have finally accepted what I had said. Then I received messages telling me that he had talked with his god and asked for forgiveness for having such out of control feelings of love and desire for sex.  He told me it was against his religion to even be around me.  I told him I didn't want to compromise his beliefs and I understood why he was saying goodbye. But it wasn’t long before he began texting me again.

A few weeks later, my friend and I dressed up for Halloween, but decided to stay in.  He asked us to come to the bar, offering to buy drinks, but we declined. Reluctantly, we agreed he could stop by because his apology had seemed so sincere, so my friend drove my car to go get him. I had already had some drinks at that point and was feeling the effects.

It came time for us to settle down and get ready for bed.  I aired up my mattress, but he asked that I go with him for just a bit to the bar and he would buy me another drink. My friend expressed that she didn't think it was a good idea because I wasn't in a good state of mind to make decisions. He took her aside and assured her I’d be safe, but she was adamant that I was too intoxicated.  Regrettably, I began to argue with her, and it ended in me leaving with him.

He drove my car to the store to get more beer and then drove to the canyon rim.  I drank more in the car. Then he began kissing me while I was drunk and vulnerable. The next thing I knew, we were at his house in the bedroom.  As I was sobering up, I realized what he had planned.  I said I was tired and needed to sleep. But he would not accept that. 

He undressed and grabbed his penis, sadistically telling me he was sure that “_____” (the developmentally disable girl who had previously accused him of sexual assault) was scared of how big his penis was. He had just admitted to me that he really did commit assault upon that girl! In that moment, realizing he’d raped before and got away with it, I was absolutely terrified.  It was clear he said it to scare me, to let me know he was about to rape me.

I pleaded with him to stop -- that this wasn't ok, and he told me it wasn't ok to stop. I started crying and pleading.  When he was done, I sobbed and repeatedly asked, “Why would you do this?” It was bizarre as he described the shape and feel of my insides. (I now think of the accusations in the police report of the developmentally disabled girl, which I've since read, and how similar this was.)  I begged him to please leave me alone.  After several minutes he finally did, and left the room.  With my head spinning, I cried myself to sleep.

The next morning, he was sitting at the table and began telling me how sorry he was.  I told him if he was sorry he had to go buy me the morning after pill.  He went and got it quickly because he lived close to Walmart.  I took it right there and then left.

I told my friend how he raped me, and she urged me to go to the police, but I didn't report the rape because I was so afraid.  He had gotten away with this once before.  If I reported him and he got out of jail again, he knew where my mom lived, where my friends lived, where my ex lived. . . .   I was too afraid of what he might do.

Weeks went by and I still hadn't started my cycle, though I assumed that the morning after pill was successful.  The box said it had a 98% success rate at preventing pregnancy. Nevertheless, I eventually took a pregnancy test and I couldn't believe I was pregnant!

I hadn’t seen him since the night he raped me.  My mom moved out into the countryside, and I moved with her to get away from him.  Since he didn’t have a car, I figured he’d finally leave me alone if I was far enough away.

When I first learned I was pregnant, I was even more furious with him than before.  So I sent him a message telling him the consequences of what he’d done.  He said I should marry him.  Disgusted, I told him, “Never!” It was then that I realized he’d done this all to get a white wife.

He then said he didn't want children with a woman he wasn't married to.  I told him he should not have done what he did then.  Then he started pressuring me to abort. He even told me that the refugee advocate was a nurse and could get me a pill that would cause me to lose the baby.  I told him repeatedly to stop asking me to abort, but he kept at it. I had made up my mind that, having survived the morning after pill, the little miracle growing in me was meant to be.

Eventually, he left me alone and I went on with my pregnancy without hearing from him. That was until weeks before I was about to deliver, when he messaged me over Facebook asking me how I was -- like everything was just normal and nothing had happened.

He asked if I was having a boy or girl and seemed to insinuate that my ex got me pregnant, so I asked him, “Are you in denial?” Again, he said he wished to have kids with a girl he was married to.  I responded that this not a situation I’d ever thought I’d be in, but I’d accepted it and was looking forward to the birth of my baby. I brought up the night he raped me, and he began to lie about what happened, and kept saying, “If the baby is mine, I will take care of it.”  That freaked me out, because he’d wanted her dead through abortion, so I was scared he’d kill her once she’s born.  I told him she was my baby and I didn’t want him to be a part of her life.
 
After she was born, he contacted me again asking whose she was, saying he’d have to get DNA done and asking if I was on assistance.  When he asked if he could see her, I told him I wasn't comfortable with that. He began to say that we should raise her together and that I was selfish. I was terrified!  I asked him what his religion says about all of this.  I told him he would never see her unsupervised, but reluctantly agreed for him to see her just once, so he could see she’s clearly biracial, just hoping this would make it easier to get child support for her because I didn’t know how I would be able to raise her without financial help.  But instead of following through with the visit, he blocked me from contacting him and I was relieved.

Eventually, he was sued by the state of Idaho to establish paternity and child support in the Twin Falls County Court.  Instead of merely attending what I thought was a status conference for child support, the man who raped me had hired an attorney and filed for shared custody of my baby.  For the first time, I was finally willing to speak up and I asked Judge Thomas D. Kershaw Jr., “What do I need to do to get charges filed?”  The judge asked, “What kind of charges?” and I replied, “Criminal charges.”  That’s when the judge told me that it’s not advisable to threaten charges just because a father who has rights to his child is asking for custody.  I assured the judge, “It’s not like that,” but the judge told me that I have unrealistic expectations, and “What do you expect to happen when you have a baby with somebody?”

I never anticipated the Court would be like this.  I hadn’t considered that my rapist -- who wanted my baby aborted, who said having a child out of marriage would bring shame to him -- would actually want custody of my child!  I know now that this is a power and control issue.  I have no doubt as to why he is doing this.  I have now filed a police report, but I only wish I’d gone to the police right away.   

I’m on state assistance, but I had to hire an attorney, which will cost $3,500 minimum.  My mom is helping me, but it won’t be nearly enough.  I've now learned that under Idaho law, Section 16:2005, the court can terminate his parental rights, with a "rebuttable presumption" that it's in my child's best interests where the "parent caused the child to be conceived as a result of rape," and Idaho law does not require a rape conviction, like some other states still do.

I protected my little miracle during my pregnancy, and the thought of him being anywhere near my daughter has given me the courage to come forward and tell our story of how she was conceived.  I joined a support group a while ago for other rape victim moms, and I heard the horror stories of others having to fight their rapist over custody, but somehow with him claiming his religion was so important to him, I never thought he would have the audacity to seek any parental rights, let alone custody.

My rapist should never be trusted with a baby.  Having sexually assaulted a developmentally disabled girl and having raped me, I'm terrified of what he is capable of doing to my baby girl. If he could take advantage of two vulnerable women, then what would he do to a child?

BIO:  Penny is a mother of two, and a member of and now pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  She is hoping to advocate for laws to be changed in other states so that a rape conviction is not necessary and other moms and their children can be protected.  In the meantime, Penny and her baby need to be protected by the 5th Judicial Court of Twin Falls County, and has a Gofundme Account set up for her by a friend.

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