Hey Rep. Akin! What about Belinda?

Let me tell you about one of the bravest women I have ever met. I met Belinda three weeks ago when she called the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice for help the next week while she was a patient at Southwestern Women’s Options.Thanks to the National Network of Abortion Funds, she had pulled together enough money to pay for her abortion and a bus ticket from the Navajo nation to Albuquerque, NM. We made arrangements for a place to stay, meals and transportation.

It would be another two weeks before she made it to her appointment, once she could be certain that her children were safe while she was gone. That’s when she told me she needed an abortion because her step-brother had violently raped her and even though she had called the police, her family was protecting him!

“I used to pray every day, but I haven’t been able to pray since this happened,” she confessed.

If Rep. Akin and others like him have their way, Belinda would have been forced to birth and raise her rapist’s child, surrounded by judgement and shame, with no support.

From the donors to the volunteers to the All-Options Clergy Counselor who reminded Belinda that God had heard her–even when she didn’t know she was praying–we were able to provide the care Belinda needed, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Belinda had a community to support her, unconditionally. But next week, there will be other women, who will need just as much support. It might be a teenager, an undocumented immigrant, a disabled woman relying on Medicare.

Before she left for home, Belinda took several brochures. “I’m going to put these in every women’s restroom I can find,” she told me, “I know there’s lot’s of women on the Reservation that need to know about this.”  Belinda will continue to need support, but thanks to our community, she is beginning to move from victim to not just survivor, but activist! Belinda will someday be the answer to another woman’s prayer.

–Joan Lamunyon Sanford

Executive Director, New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Hey Rep. Akin! What about Belinda?

  1. Rape is a serious crime. But not as serious as child murder. You don’t kill a child for something the father did. We don’t kill the rapist. In America everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Many women claim they were raped, so they can get an abortion. Not saying this woman is lying, but it happens.

    If this woman was raped ,why didn’t she go to the police at the time of the rape, instead of waiting until she found out she was pregnant? If any other woman were raped, because she didn’t go to the police at the time she was raped, she just as bad as the rapist. You should be outraged that this woman did not go to the police at the time she was raped. It should actually be a crime if you don’t report a rape at the time it happens. If anyone else was raped by the stepbrother, they have a legitimate lawsuit against this woman, because he did not go to the police at the time she was raped. When she did not go to the police and report the rape at the time the rape she was in fact a criminal. She is aiding and abetting a rapist. She should’ve been put in prison when she said she was raped and didn’t report it. I hope they matched up DNA of the fetus to match it up with her stepbrother, to make sure she was not lying.

    • There are many reasons why a woman would choose not to report a rape, many of which relate to her making very logical decisions about what is best for the safety of her and her children. Reporting means police involvement, which means investigations, which means exposure to the very real possibility of retribution. The cardinal rule of supporting victims of abuse is to give power back, in order to compensate for the power that was taken away. Making it a crime not to report a rape–meaning that many survivors would be forced to do something against their will–would lead to further trauma, not healing. At the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, we believe that a woman in difficult circumstances deserves compassion, support, and respect–not judgment.

  2. I had a call from Belinda on Friday asking is we could send her more brochures! She has shared her story with many women, starting with her support group at her local shelter. She is taking her power back and sharing that power with other survivors. Go Belinda!

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