In 1969 I was in seventh grade. One fall afternoon, I took an ill-advised short cut home from school through an empty lot. It was there that a man dragged me into bushes, gagged and raped me. It was less than two weeks after my 12th birthday.
I will not go into the details of that awful day save one: After speaking to police, my mother took me to a hospital and made sure that doctors injected a spermicide. Yes, she was a devout Catholic. But she was also sane. She refused, on my behalf, for me to risk pregnancy after dealing with the nightmare of sexual assault.
That sane and rational choice is no longer a given for victims across the country.
With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, our fascist Supreme Court thus ensures that rape victims, be they little girls or grown women, will not always get the option I had more than 50 years ago. In at least eight states the laws banning abortion have zero exceptions for rape or incest. Instead, in their misogynist hatred of women, the zealots in charge of those states put dividing cells above the worth of females. They elevate the rights of rapists, who will now have state backing to force pregnancy upon their victims.
They engage in this repulsive mockery in the name of “life.” Their desire is to control us, to bring us to heel, to impose their version of theocracy upon all women.
Their actions and policies are a cancer upon our country.
The man who raped me nearly 53 years ago took my innocence but not my voice. Years later I spoke of it with my hero, Maya Angelou, who suffered a similar incident as a young girl, absorbing over an afternoon her compassion and her wisdom. Like her, I have never forgotten what happened, but the assault fueled my thirst for justice for women everywhere.
And now my rage rises for all the little girls and women who are treated so worthlessly by people who make hollow claims of a higher good.
They are beneath contempt.
I will never stop fighting those who oppress women, whether they wear black robes, sit in courtrooms, walk the halls of state legislatures, or speak from pulpits. I owe that much to my gender, and to the memory of the wounded little girl I once was.