Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Forced to Devise a Parenting Plan With My Rapist, by Ashley Beal

During Christmas break of my Sophomore year, at age 16, I stayed with my 24 year old 2nd cousin.  One night, she had a 19 year old guy come over who shed met in a chat room.  Everyone was drinking, and I believe that our drinks must have been drugged.  I briefly "came to" in the basement while the guy was raping me and then must have passed out again.  When I awoke, I was alone.  I ran upstairs to get my cousin, but the guy was still there and I was frozen.  Once I had the opportunity to speak with my cousin, I asked her what had happened, but she didnt remember anything either.

The upcoming weeks after being raped were quite disastrous.  I had vowed to myself not to tell anyone.  I felt like trash.  I felt disgusting.  I felt like I deserved it, and that nobody would believe me anyway. 

A couple of weeks later, after realizing that I had missed my period, I decided to take a pregnancy test.  The pregnancy test was immediately positive.  I was in disbelief.  I felt ashamed and sick, as my childs father was a rapist.  I wasn't sexually active, so I knew that was the situation I was facing that I was pregnant from rape

Abortion never crossed my mind.  I had a Christian upbringing and I was always taught that children are a blessing, so even though I was facing this pregnancy by rape, I actually became excited about having a baby.  However, when I told my cousin I was pregnant, she immediately told me that I need to get an abortion. 

My parents were upset of course.  Id never seen my father cry until I told him Id been raped and that I was pregnant.  He cried like a baby, then went through an angry period.  He took me to the police station, but they just said it was too late for a rape kit and they werent going to do anything since I was 16 and they said they rarely get convictions under such circumstances.

Over the course of my pregnancy, especially during the summer of 2004 leading up to the birth of my son, I had people call and ask me if I was giving my son up for adoption.  My mom would answer the phone and respond with Baby not for sale.  My parents and I never discussed adoption -- it was just assumed that I would keep my son.

After a lengthy labor with no pain medication, I gave birth to my son Monday, September 27th at 2:57 pm.  The process of the birth was both joyful and scary at the same time.  My sister held one hand and my mom the other as I gave birth to my son.  I instantly felt like he was a part of me, he was beautiful and I loved him.

While in the hospital, I called my grandma and grandpa and I remember just crying and my grandma asking why I was crying.  I told her that I felt like I had let them down, still blaming myself for being raped, giving birth as a teen mom out of a rape.  She reassured me, saying, Itll be okay dear.  You dont need to cry.

When I came home from the hospital, life sort of proceeded as normal -- as normal as it could proceed, being a teenage mom.  It wasn't until after my son was born that I began to dwell on the rape. The first few weeks of being a mom were great, but once I went back to school, it got a lot more challenging.  I had to work full-time, be a mom full time, and go to school part-time.                       

When I went back to school and knew that I had to find daycare for my son, I applied for daycare assistance, as well as food stamps and WIC through the county.  In January, 2005, because I was actively getting assistance and I was now over the age of 18, I was forced by the state of Wisconsin to pursue child support.  I was absolutely terrified!  I was told that he had just as much right to my son as any other single father  because our case was he said/she said and they were not going to treat our case as a rape case.  I begged and pleaded to not have State aid, but they said even if I chose to discontinue the State aid that he still had rights.

I decided to do what I thought was right, and was going to ultimately protect my son in the end and followed all court documentation to a T.  I was so scared and worried that if I had one small mess up, then the rapist would swoop in and get full rights to my son.  I also often feared that he would try to kidnap him as well, so I watched my son like a hawk and made absolutely sure that everyone at daycare knew who could pick up my son and only people on that list could pick him up.

In early 2007, the courts ultimately forced me to start building a relationship with my son’s biological father.  Under court order, I had to meet the man who raped me in Portage, WI at the Columbia County Health and Human Services building for court supervised mediation where they forced me to devise a parenting plan with my rapist, as he was granted joint custody by the state of Wisconsin.  The stated goal was to build up to 50/50 time.  The mediator agreed with my pleas that we start off slowly by having an initial meeting between the parents, then gradually developing a relationship between my son and my rapist.  At the initial meeting, I was horrified as we had to exchange phone numbers and emails.  

Over the next few weeks, the rapist and I would chat by Yahoo messenger here and there, along with some phone calls, as I was under court order to do.  I was so scared. To this day, I still cannot believe that the Court of Law didn't protect me from him.  I feel like the justice system failed me and that they wouldnt even consider that I was raped.  There was absolutely no hearing before the Court on this issue.  It just wasnt even allowed.

I had to meet me rapist face to face, and parenting visits began.  After about 10 of these visits, something changed in my life which caused the rapist to back down I got engaged.  Im not sure exactly what happened, but he just stopped all visits after I told him at our last mediation in March, 2006 that I was engaged.  Maybe he realized that he wouldnt be able to manipulate or control me because there was now another man involved.  Maybe he had just been curious to meet his biological son.  Maybe his parents had been the ones pushing for the visits.  I dont know, but I was just relieved it stopped!

However, the fact remains that I was failed by the court system.  I shouldn't have had to tell him I was engaged.  I should have been protected by the court of law.  I was raped!  I feel like they protected the rapist better than they protected me.  10 years later, it still makes me literally sick, and I fill with panic thinking that I was forced to interact with him.  I would cry and be on nerves end for days before I would have to see him, or know that I would have to talk to him.  

Because of the rape, the trauma of having to deal with my sons biological father, and fighting so hard and ferociously to protect my son, I now suffer from PTSD.  I deal with my trauma on a daily basis.  It goes deeper than just being raped.  The interaction I was forced to have with the rapist, feeling like I had to get married young to protect my son -- it didn't just affect me, it affected my son as well. With the rapists selfish actions, it turned my life upside down.  Thankfully, my husband has been a good father to my son, and my son has no knowledge or memory of the visits with the man who raped me.

Im sharing my story now because I was inspired by a recent story out of St. Louis of another woman who became pregnant by rape.  First of all, I want people to know that a child conceived in rape is a blessing and is worthy of love.  Secondly, I want to bring awareness to the plight of women who are raped and choose to parent their child.  The law needs to be changed in Wisconsin.  No woman should be put in a position that if she chooses to keep her child, she would have to co-parent with her rapist.  I want to be available to testify before legislatures to make sure this never happens to another woman again.

BIO:  Ashley Beal is a mother and Independent Living Specialist/Youth Services, residing in the Madison, Wisconsin area, and a pro-life speaker and blogger for Save The 1.   She is Save The 1's Director for the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act project.


jim.carroll said...

First of all, please know that I am praying for you and your recovery from your PTSD. Towards that end, there is a blog entry that you might find helpful: "The Grace of Forgetfulness and the Healing of the Imagination". (http://thepathlesstaken7.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/superb-guest-post-from-john-carmichael.html)

Temptation occurs when the Evil One uses our existing sense data (our memories of experiences) to move our imaginations. When our imaginations are "healed", God's grace can grant us the gift of forgetting that sense data that can be used for sin.

While the author is talking about resisting temptation, it struck me that this could also be used to help you cope with your PTSD.

I apologize for any incorrect assumptions I have made regarding your spiritual life, and can only hope that this may bring you some measure of peace.

Anonymous said...

Dear A.M. I would like to thank you for sharing your story. Although I was not raped, I lived in an abusive marriage with a man who eventually choked me while I was holding our almost two year old daughter. I feel that the courts have also let me down. The courts do not seem to care that my ex is violent and dangerous. They want 50/50 parenting time even though my children will be in danger and I am forced to continue in a relationship with a man who seems obsessed with me. I pray too that the laws will be changed to protect women and children who suffer from rape or abuse. I live in Upper Michigan where the laws seem similar to Wisconsin. I will keep you in my prayers!

SaryRose said...


Please know I am praying for you and your family. It cut to my heart reading your testimony, and I'm so sorry for what you had to endure. Please find comfort in the fact that Jesus knows everything you've endured and is there to give you peace beyond all comprehension. While the justice system from this life failed you, God will not- He is not mocked. Vengeance is His.

Look to Christ for the love and grace to see you through your PTSD. He promises an eternity for those who believe in Him void of pain, tears and suffering. Take comfort in this, and turn to Him.

Love, Sarah.

No comment said...

I'm working on a parenting plan with my rapist for over a year now in Florida. No worries! It wasn't really rape because I knew him. Yeah, he drugged me a few times and raped me on video but no matter what the law says, it's is okay for your husband to rape you. Florida has such great laws to protect people, just not when you try to use them. They are only words.

Unknown said...

I went through something similar in Kenosha County back in 2002. My 12 year old son was conceived in rape, and I was on state health insurance. They put me through the same paces; demanding I set up contact with my rapist. I hadnt had any contact with the man since the night of my rape, but they insisted they would find him. I won my appeal, thanks to an advocate I had come in to give testimony that forcing the contact would be harmful to my son.