Rape survivors say they are appalled and upset by the actions of Trinity People Before Profit who have boasted on Facebook that they have torn down posters which were advertising a meeting to be addressed by women who became pregnant after rape. The women have asked the three People Before Profit TDs, Richard Boyd Barrett, Bríd Smith and Gino Kenny, to condemn the poster removal, and acknowledge the right of raped women to talk about their experiences in the debate on the abortion issue.
The Trinity People Before Profit Facebook page boasted that they had illegally removed the posters and said ‘fuck the anti-choice brigade’ in a reference to Unbroken Ireland, a group representing women who have become pregnant after rape, or have been conceived in rape themselves.
Laura Ní Chonghaile said that the actions were both thuggish and appalling, and that it was disgusting that abortion campaigners were trying to silence women who have been raped, simply because women were seeking a more compassionate and progressive answer than abortion.
“We are tired of being silenced, and we will no longer accept attempts to silence us, or to make us feel ashamed,” said Ms Ní Chonghaile. “Is this the 19th century where aggressive men feel they can tear down our message and abuse us for sharing our experiences and having a point of view?”
“We need the People Before Profit TDs to condemn these actions immediately, and we want our posters put back up today. There is no place in a democratic debate for this extremism, and for shouting down women who have been raped,” she said.
“The women who are speaking know at first-hand the trauma of rape and the needs of women who become pregnant from rape. We also understand the stigma attached to children who are conceived in this way. Women like us have been silenced by the stigma and shame we are made to feel, when it is only the rapist, who is a criminal, who should feel this stigma,” said Ms Ní Chonghaile.
“Whatever your views on abortion, I think most fair-minded, decent people would say that we have a right to speak and to share our experiences of pregnancy from rape, and it is appalling and upsetting that abortion campaigners want to silence us,” the Unbroken Ireland spokeswoman said.
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 event was forced to move to a new venue this week when the Gibson Hotel had apparently bowed to pro-abortion bullies who sought to have the meeting cancelled.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Shauna 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.
Jennifer 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.
Rebecca 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.”
These women will speak as guest of Unbroken Ireland at the “Ending the Silence: women impacted by pregnancy from rape speak out” meetings in Dublin and Cork as follows:
DUBLIN: The Spencer Hotel, IFSC Village, Dublin 1. Thursday, 28th September, 8pm.
CORK: Silver Springs Hotel, Tivoli, Cork City, Sunday, October 1st, 4pm.
For further information call Ciara on 086 3416252