The walk of shame

He was my brother. I had been away from him for a while, I had no reason not to trust him. He was married now, he had a child of his own. I had no reason to believe he was still a monster. That’s why I got in that car with him.  There was no reason I should have been his victim. But I was and there was nothing I could do about it. I said no. I fought back. But he was too much like his mother. If you didn’t do what he wanted you got a punch or a slap until you did do what he wanted. And on this day, he wanted sex. He wanted a blowjob and he wanted vaginal intercourse. And by the time he was done, my throat was raw and my panties were a torn mess lying in the woods where he had pulled off the road. All of my screaming and tears did nothing, they brought no help, they didn’t elicit sympathy from him. In fact, I think my screams excited him more.

When it was over, I curled up in the front seat, still sobbing and he took me home. As I got out of his car, he said “Tell Mom we will be over about 6 for dinner. And thanks for a good time.” I said “Fuck you” He laughed and said, “Maybe another time, I’m beat”. I wanted to kill him in that moment.

I went into the house and showered.  Standing in the shower I started to panic, he didn’t use a condom and I wasn’t on birth control. What the hell was I going to do if I got pregnant? Well, there was no question about it, I would get an abortion.  I started doing the math in my head. It had been about 2 weeks since my period. Didn’t they teach us that our cycles were about 28 days and that at about 14 days in we could get pregnant? Why the hell did I have two fucking mothers and neither of them would let me get birth control pills. One told me only whores needed birth control and her son had just raped me. And the other wouldn’t even have the conversation with me. She said, “Catholic girls don’t need birth control!” Maybe for one in my short miserable life whatever fate, gods, luck or karma would smile on me and the worst wouldn’t happen.

When a month passed and my period didn’t happen, I went to a clinic and took a test. Sure as shit, I was pregnant. I looked at the woman and said: “What does it take to get an abortion?” She asked my age, I lied “I’m 18” I was 16. She said we need proof of your age and $1500 and it has to be done in the first 3 months. I was screwed. I needed a fake ID and more money than I made in a month working at Albertsons.

This was back in 1979 and there was no internet to research how to induce a miscarriage, there was no way to find groups to help with paying for an abortion and there was no such thing as Plan B. I called up my brother and told him I was pregnant and needed an abortion. I told him I needed a fake ID and $1500. He laughed and said it wasn’t his problem. I screamed at him, told him that he was the only one that had sex with me, that it was his spawn. He kept laughing and said, “Nope wasn’t his, mom said I was nothing but a little whore and this proved she was right.” I wanted to kill him, again.

I went to the only person I could think of to go to, a woman I worked with, Michelle. She was older and constantly talking about women’s rights and such. I thought that if anyone knew what to do it was her. She was indeed my savior. I caught her as she was getting off work and poured my heart out to her. I told her everything. I told her about my mother, I told her my brother raped me and it wasn’t the first time and I told I was pregnant with his child. The first thing she said was “GIrl, we have to get you out of that house and away from those people.” I moved in with her that night. I told Mother that I was just going to her house to stay a couple of days but I never spent another night at Mother’s house again. I was sneaking in when Mother wasn’t home and getting my things.

Michelle introduced me to several other women who thought like she did and told them what was going on with me. Quickly the ball started rolling. The first thing they did was give me some kind of drugs to drink to see if that would encourage and miscarriage. It didn’t. I was still pregnant.  Knowing that I was only 16, I either had to have a fake ID or someone had to pretend to be my mother. Either way, it could be jail time if we were caught. I didn’t want to risk anyone else so I opted for the fake ID. The women started raising funds for me, I was still working and every penny was going to the abortion fund. Finally, I had enough money and a fake ID.  And an appointment.

Michelle drove me to the clinic and as we parked I was instantly terrified. We had to park across the street and the sidewalk was lined with people, mostly men with signs protesting abortion. I would have to walk by them to get to the clinic. But I had to do it because if I didn’t get the abortion, I would kill myself. There was no way I was going to give birth to that thing that was growing inside me. There was a group of people in the parking lot that we parked in that Michelle said were clinic escorts and that they would walk us to the clinic and protect us from the protestors. While I saw the signs and the people, nothing prepared me for the walk that I was about to take. To this day, I’m not sure which was worse, the walk or being pregnant.

Michelle and I sat in the car for a moment watching the protestors. They were watching us too. My heart was racing. I read their signs, “Baby Killer” “Don’t kill your child” “Jesus said children shall inherit the earth, don’t kill yours”.  As I sat there reading those signs and looking at those people, all I could see is the hate that my mother spread every time she spoke to me. These people knew nothing about anyone who was coming to this clinic, yet they here they judging them all. They had no idea if the woman they were calling a baby killer was a rape victim, or if the baby was already dead. And the worst part was, they didn’t care. Before getting out and making my own walk, another young woman flanked by escorts crossed the street and started walking to the clinic.

The protesters started circling around her like sharks homing in on their next meal. Even with the windows rolled up in the car I could hear them shouting at her. “Let us help you!” “Don’t kill your baby!” She kept her head down and kept walking, the escorts formed a barrier between her and the sharks. The more the sharks yelled the closer the escorts got to the young woman. She was clearly unsettled if you looked closely you could see tears fall from her face. My heart broke for her but at the same time, I was horrified that I was going to have to make that same walk.

Even though the perfect time to make my way to the clinic would have been while the Pro Life protesters were busy with the first girl, I was so intimidated watching it unfold that I couldn’t move. Then there was a tap on the window. “Honey, are you okay?”

I rolled down the window. “Yes ma’am, just trying to catch my breath and my nerve so I can walk up there. But I guess I’m just wasting time sitting here and those creeps aren’t going away.” So I rolled up the window, grabbed my purse, opened the door and got out.

The escort introduced herself as Jackie and motioned for a couple of other escorts to come over. The other women introduced themselves as well. Michelle and I introduced ourselves and told them I was the patient. They asked me if I wanted ear plugs so I couldn’t hear them. While it was tempting, I declined. I had survived far worse, I could survive this walk. After all, they were just a bunch of do gooders shouting. And we all learned in kindergarten that sticks and stones break our bones but words don’t hurt. Although, anyone has been verbally abused knows better than that shit. Words hurt just as much if not more than having your ass kicked.

Surrounded by escorts and Michelle holding my hand, we made our way across the street. Instantly, we were surrounded by all 10 of the Pro Life protesters and their signs. Michelle linked her arm in mine and an escort linked her arm in my other one, I also had an escort in front of me and one behind me. I was protected, physically. I kept my head down but I could still hear them. One woman who looked a lot like my mother was almost in my face and while she wasn’t loud, her words were meant to sting.

“Honey, don’t kill your baby. You know that baby was made in love. If you don’t want it, give it up for adoption. We can help you find a loving home for it. Death is not the answer for that sweet innocent life, keep it or adopt it out. But please don’t kill it. Does the father know you want to kill his precious baby? Did you tell him you were pregnant, does he know that you made a child with your love?” The more she talked the angrier I got, I couldn’t hear anyone else but her and she kept droning on and on about love and adoption and innocence. And then I lost it.

I stopped and lifted my head and looked her dead in the eyes. I didn’t scream or raise my voice. “What do you know about me? NOTHING. This baby wasn’t made in love. My fucking brother raped me. And do you know why I wasn’t on birth control? Because the fucking bitch that adopted ME said only whores needed birth control. So now what is your answer? Let me guess, you want me to carry this baby and be reminded every day for the rest of my life that there is a person on this earth that was the product of incest and rape. Your plan is to punish me for the rest of my life and to punish a child. That’s a great plan, but FUCK YOU, it’s not happening. While you may think that adoption is the answer, how many kids are sitting in foster care waiting for homes? And how sure are you that all kids that are adopted are in perfect little homes? I’m here to tell you that being adopted for me was hell. So unless you have real answers, get the fuck out of my way. I prayed to your God every day of my life to get me out of hell and he did nothing, so fuck your God and fuck you.”

When I started walking again, the protesters didn’t follow. They were stunned into silence. Not even the escorts said anything as we walked into the clinic. The escorts hugged me and wished me luck. One of them whispered in my ear that she was proud of me.  I made my way to the check in counter, signed in, gave her my ID and she didn’t even question it. I sat down and waited my turn.

It wasn’t a long wait until I was called back. A quick counseling session to make sure I wanted to have the abortion, another look at my fake ID, I paid my money and the difference between ending my life or ending the life of a fetus that should have never been created took place. There was no crying while the doctor did what he had to do, there was only a sense of relief and resolve. Some people make resolutions on New Year’s Eve, I made a resolution that day that I never broke, I swore that day that I would never live in the same house as my abusive mother again and I would never give my brother the chance to rape me. Thirty years later, I do not regret my abortion and I never broke my resolutions.

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