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Rose Duncan with her son Daniel. Rose Duncan
Rose Duncan

Opinion,

My aunt’s boyfriend raped me at 15. I never thought my baby would be my biggest blessing

Rose Duncan
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15-year-old Rose Duncan holding her newborn son Daniel who was conceived in rape.

November 24, 2017 (Save The 1) -- I had my son, Daniel, when I was 16 years old.  There have been challenges, but he has been my saving grace.  Now, at age 6, he is a fantastic student, a loving big brother, and a wonderful son.  He has been a huge blessing in my life, as well as the lives of our family members. My son has more love surrounding him than he knows what to do with.  He is truly a beautiful, blessed child.   And . . ., my son was conceived in rape.

I lived with a family member and my mother as a young teenager. This family member began dating a man much younger than her, who would ultimately turn my world upside down for the worst, yet at the same time, I ended up with the biggest blessing of my life.  This 33-year-old man moved in with us shortly after they began dating.  At first, he was kind of like a cool uncle.  But now I realize that, from the time this man moved in, he had begun grooming me. 

He would advocate on my behalf to convince the adults in the house to allow me to do things with friends, so I felt like he was in my corner.  On one occasion, he told the family he was taking me to see a pastor for counseling, but instead, he surprised me by taking me to dinner and to the movies.  He also began to sneak alcohol to me and my friends. I needed new underwear, and he took me to buy some, which included thongs. 

After this happened, I asked a friend if that was normal, and she said no not at all, but this type of distorted and perverted relationship was all I knew.  I had no idea of the manipulation that was going on. He encouraged me to skip school and hang out with him at home after everyone left for work. And, he did the same in a way, by pretending he worked night shifts, but he would leave for work and sneak back in the house and hang out with me watching movies.

Eventually, he began initiating physical contact.  At first, I didn’t know what to make of it.  I thought that just maybe, some people have this way of showing care for someone with a quick peck on the lips.  I looked up to him, and I wanted to make him happy, even though I told him to stop and I knew it was wrong.  But he was a lot bigger than me and I felt helpless.  I tried pushing him off each time, but I knew physically I couldn’t stop him. 

I felt terrible.  I just felt terrible.  He kept saying it was all okay.  I had already been sexually assaulted previously, and I had a sense of what was supposed to be normal, but these experiences distorted my concepts of safe relationships.

For a year between the ages of 14 and 15, I was sexually and physically abused by this man.  He told me that if I ever got pregnant, I would have to have an abortion.  My whole life, I’ve always been 100% pro-life.  I’ve always just had a strong conviction that abortion is wrong, no matter what.  So, when he said this to me, I didn’t argue, but I knew it would never happen if I were to get pregnant.  He told me he had a vasectomy anyway, so I really didn’t think it could happen. Of course, now, I see the inconsistency in what he was saying, but at the time I was 14 and had no frame of reference for sorting through all of this.

When I was 15, I found out I was pregnant.  It was kind of odd, because he just said to me one day, “You need to take a pregnancy test.”  He was with me when I took it. When I saw the positive, I just began to sob.  He hugged me and said, “It’s going to be okay,” but I knew it was not. 

I knew I was going to have to tell my mom.  I sat down on her bed, and I told her I was pregnant and, of course, she wanted to know by who?  I told her it was some random 20-year-old guy.  She was furious and right away told me we were going to go to the police and said “He’s going to pay for this.”  It broke my heart knowing that if she had known the truth then, she would have been even more heartbroken.

We made an appointment with my pediatrician, about five days later.  My rapist drove me and my mom.  I wanted to get pre-natal vitamins and see how my baby was doing, to make sure I had a healthy pregnancy.  I was about eight weeks pregnant and everything looked normal.

When we got in the car after the appointment, he pressured me greatly. He said that I "was not going to have this baby.”  I was hard-headed and stubborn as always, and said "Yes, I am," but inside, I was terrified.  I didn’t want him to do anything to hurt my baby. 

Although he was still pressuring me to abort, oddly enough, he was otherwise very nice to me, and very accommodating.  However, the morning after the doctor’s appointment, the police came to our house, banging on the door.  He hid in the attic, and the entrance was in my room where I was sleeping.  I awoke to guns in my face and the police asking me where he was.  They eventually dragged him out of the house, putting him in handcuffs.  It turns out, he was wanted for felony charges of assault and kidnapping of a girlfriend he had a few years ago.

Once he was gone, I felt relief knowing I wouldn’t be subjected to assault and abuse, and I knew I would have some time to think. That momentary relief was ripped away when I overheard a conversation between family members discussing all his violent history, and I was afraid he would come for me and my baby when he was released from prison.

About a week later, he wrote to us saying he was getting out in about 10 days.  He wrote to me, “Don’t believe things you hear about me.  Remember what we talked about and what you need to do.”  That’s when I spoke with a family friend, and we decided to tell my mom, together, that he is the one who is the father of my baby. That was one of the most painful conversations I have had, but it needed to be done for mine and my baby’s protection.  My mom was heartbroken and sobbed and sobbed.

We went to the police and filed a report.  He was released from prison on the prior conviction of assault when my son was six months old.  It wasn’t until my son was eight months old that they finally did a DNA test, which took four months to come back.  In the meantime, he was harassing me, driving by my house, etc..

He ultimately got a plea deal and was convicted of criminal sexual assault with a minor and sentenced to three years for raping me, but got timed-served for the prior assault.  Thank goodness, he’s on the sex offender registry in South Carolina.

Although this was a lot to endure, getting pregnant is what really got me right with God.  Don’t get me wrong -- I was devastated, because I anticipated that this would be a long, heart-breaking road raising this child.  

With the pressure to abort from not just family, but friends as well, I remember sitting outside on the back patio, and for the first time in my life, I heard God truly speak to me.  He told me that I was to raise this child, and not to worry, because He would take care of everything. 

From that moment on, I had a steely determination when it came to my pregnancy and my baby.  I told anyone who doubted, that I could do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  I didn’t even know exactly what that meant at the time, but I knew in my spirit it was true.  

As He always does, God provided.  I had everything I needed for my son, mainly through donations through church and from friends around me.  I was so blessed to have an abundance of support and love for me and this child. 

I’m not going to lie -- I was a fantastic mother to my son, even at 16!  I wasn’t what people think of as the stereotypical teen mom who supposedly leaves her child with grandma to do whatever, and the grandparents raise the child.  I took care of him, I breastfeed him for 2-1/2 years, I read him books, played with him, sang him nursery rhymes.  I loved being a mom!  I had the support of my amazing mother who I lived with, which greatly helped.  I also had the support of my church and extended family.  I took care of my son full time.  I taught him sign language, read and sang to him every day, and loved him unconditionally. 

Now, six years later, I am married to the most wonderful man in the world, who loves my son as if he were his own blood and we are in the process of my husband adopting him.  My son is a truly wonderful, outgoing, sweet, beautiful child.  I see him growing into an amazing man of God who will move mountains.

My beautiful son is why, when I hear about “pro-life” beliefs, “except in the cases of rape,” I do more than cringe:  my heart aches!

“Except of course in the case of”... my son -- my firstborn child, who is a wonderful and amazing person.  They say except in the cases like him, in cases like my son, the baby should never even have had a chance to live.

Regardless of your preconceived notions, please understand every single life has meaning.  Through no circumstance should a child ever not get a chance to live and thrive in this world.  Every child has a right to life. 

According to statistics, less than 1% of abortions performed in the U.S. are the result of rape.  Those 1% matter.  My baby boy, the 1% matters!  It’s insulting and very hurtful to me.  It’s like a stab.  How can you think it was just a   decision and that my child shouldn’t even be here if my rapist had succeeded in pressuring me?  The law should protect my son and children like him. 

We must stop looking at the circumstance, and start looking at the life.  Regardless of conception, developmental impairments, or the circumstances the mother is in, every single child deserves their right to life. 

I truly believe my son will make a difference in the world, and he has most certainly left a positive impact on our family and all our friends.  He is a light and a beautiful soul. 

I am a mother of three, but I only have two on this earth.  After long awaiting, planning and excitement, I unexpectedly lost my sweet daughter, Savannah, at 40 weeks gestation.  After a perfectly healthy pregnancy, she was stillborn with the cord wrapped around her neck several times. It showed me again how precious life is and how fleeting.  You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. 

A few weeks later, we unexpectedly welcomed our foster daughter who was almost two years old, and her life is precious too. 

There are so many who desperately want to be parents, to be a mommy or a daddy.  There are so many people longing for a baby in their life, myself included.  We cannot disregard life, just based on how the life began. 

Despite how a life begins, that child’s life can truly turn into something beautiful.  My son is a testimony of that.  Even in the bleakest moments, there is always hope.  We need to change our mindset of fear to a mindset of hope -- that every baby deserves a chance, even in cases of rape.  Every child is a true blessing from God, and deserves to have a chance for a beautiful life.  It is up to us to save the 1%. 

Editor's note: Rose Duncan is a wife, a stay-at-home mom and student, and resides in South Carolina where she hopes to make a difference to end the rape exception in her home state.  This article has been reprinted by permission. 

 
 

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