This past Saturday I had a happening that I am struggling to deal with.
A 14 year old young woman I know told me that she had been raped.
She related that she went home after and then noticed that she was bleeding.
She then went to the hospital where she was examined. She was offered counseling and testing…and comfort in the arms of nurses and a doctor.
Then she was sent home.
Six days later we met for a Saturday outing.
When she told me I was horrified for her…deflated because this young woman has already been through a lot of shit in her life...and angry that rape was now being added to a list that reads like an indictment of our society’s devaluing of human dignity and life.
Then I asked her if she was offered emergency contraception.
I asked if she knew what emergency contraception is.
She did, but admitted that she was too upset to even think about asking for it.
That’s when I got angry.
As I drove her to Planned Parenthood…I offered that as a way to get a handle on her options and she accepted…my blood pressure shot through the roof.
A 14 year old was raped…she did the right thing and went to the hospital…she was offered tests and counseling…but she wasn’t offered emergency contraception.
As a sister in the struggle I am beyond words.
A 14 year old was raped and she wasn’t offered the emergency contraception I have personally spent time working to make available to all women who find themselves in such situations.
I certainly want 14 year old rape victims to be given the option.
I sure as shit wanted the young woman in question to have been.
When we arrived at Planned Parenthood we got another dose of reality. It was too late for emergency contraception but too early to find out if the monster who raped her had also gotten her pregnant.
With an appointment having been set we left…walked out and got into my car…drove past the crowd of anti-choice protesters who chose that moment to thrust dead baby pictures at my window…and out onto the road.
I drove…and then I pulled over, turned and folded her into my arms.
We wept…rocking back and forth on the side of the road...and I have no idea who was comforting whom.
The thing is...this young woman is strength.
That 14 year old is the very definition of what strength is.
But I am struggling to turn rage back into usable energy…frustration into action.
Beyond the rhetoric and policy debates over emergency contraception there are clients and patients.
Beyond all the political bullshit there are women who deserve the respect of choice.
Now I know that there are those who speak of a world where emergency contraception is never necessary.
But for those of us who live in the real world choice is very necessary.
In this specific case, a lack of choice has a 14 year old rape victim counting days and praying for her menstrual cycle to come early…all while trying to come to terms with having been raped in the first place.
I am struggling to come to terms with that.
Struggling to put these feelings into words that motivate something…anything…some kind of understanding that women’s lives are involved in this shit! Women with hopes and dreams and fears who are being denied choices because of someone else’s feelings on the issue of emergency contraception…because of misinformation about the issue of emergency contraception...
…because some seek dominion through this issue of emergency contraception.
And I just can’t make myself come to terms with that.