September 27, 2017 (Life Institute) — Women who have been impacted by pregnancy from rape have been forced to change a speaking venue because the hotel which had taken the booking feared pro-abortion protests.
The three women are speaking in Dublin and Cork as part of the “Ending the Silence: women impacted by pregnancy from rape speak out” initiative organised by Unbroken Ireland, which aims to give voice to those affected by pregnancy after rape. Two of the women are rape survivors, while one of the speakers was conceived in rape.
The Life Institute, which is co-hosting the event, said that it was absolutely shameful that the Gibson Hotel had apparently bowed to pro-abortion bullies who wanted to silence rape survivors.
Niamh Uí Bhriain said that this was the second pro-life event which had been cancelled in Dublin within a week because of threats of pro-abortion protests, with a different event in the Aisling Hotel cancelled after intimidation from abortion campaigners.
“It is absolutely shameful that pro-abortion campaigners feel that they can shout everyone down, and that the Gibson Hotel have effectively let repeal the 8th extremists silence women who have been raped,” she said.
“These women know at first hand the trauma of becoming pregnant from rape, and the stigma attached to children who are conceived in this way. They say that women like them they are too-often silenced by the stigma and shame they are made to feel, and that only the rapist, who is a criminal, should feel this stigma,” said Ms Uí Bhriain.
“Whatever your views on abortion, I think most people would recognise that these women have an important part to play in the debate – and that their voices are rarely heard. It is frankly disgusting that abortion campaigners want to silence them,” the Life Institute spokeswoman said.
She said the Dublin talk would now go ahead at the same time, 8 p.m. Thursday, September 28, in the Spencer Hotel, Excise Walk, IFSC, Dublin 1. The Sunday, October 1, talk is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Silver Springs Hotel, Tivoli, Cork City.
The speakers include Shauna Prewitt, Jennifer Christie and Rebecca Kiessling.
Prewitt was in her senior year in college when she was raped. Nine months later, she gave birth to a baby girl. “We live in a culture where children who are conceived in rape are still spoken of in terms of an animal's child, a monster's child. She is not a monster’s child, she is my child. She's wiped away my tears when she didn't understand why I was crying and has just been with me through the darkness,” she says.
Christie was on a business trip when she was attacked by a serial rapist. She says that the pain was immense – and that the lack of understanding as to how to best help her through the trauma was devastating. “My child had nothing to do with the attack on my body or the scars on my soul. He had everything to do with my healing — giving me a reason to hope. I did not save my son. He saved me. I am not raising a ‘rapist's baby'. I am raising my baby,” she says.
Kiessling was conceived in rape. She explains: “I was conceived in rape … I am no less of a human being, worthy of love, and deserving a right to life. She says that society’s misconceptions and lack of understanding forces women and their children to feel stigma and shame. “Many people make an assumption that a 'real' rape victim would have had an abortion, and, shamefully, women are sometimes doubted or questioned if they chose life for their child.”
“The only person who should feel shame is the rapist,” she says. “My mother was innocent, as was I. The rapist is the criminal who should be punished.”
These women will speak as guests of Unbroken Ireland at the “Ending the Silence: women impacted by pregnancy from rape speak out” meetings in Dublin and Cork.