…Women recount ordeal, warn against abortion
From: Bianca Iboma
Salome Vander Wendy is a firebrand member of the Family Watch International, a global organization that has recently stepped up campaign against abortion, particularly in Africa.
Wendy, from Netherlands, is passionate about persuading women against opting to have their unborn children killed for any reason including sexual abuses, noting that, besides being a crime against humanity, the health and psychological repercussions of the action are grave.
Wendy should know. She had been there. As a victim of rape, she had tried to dispose of the foetus to cover shame, when she discovered that she was pregnant few months after she was raped as a teenager.
She tells her story: “When I was younger, there was a man who wanted something from me that I was not willing to give. I was in my twenties when the man attacked me. Though I attempted to escape his grasp, he began to strangle me.”
As she struggled to breathe, she realised that fighting might cost her, her life and so allowed the rapist have his way. Afterwards, she clutched her coat tightly against herself, and walked away so no one would see her ripped clothing underneath.
Time passed, and Wendy discovered she was pregnant. “Although my body started to change, needing larger clothes, I believed I was not pregnant, as the initial pregnancy test came up negative (not enough hormones yet). I could no longer close my zipper. But, after a six-week road show, a visit to my family doctor informed me I was pregnant. Shock, disbelief and fear gripped her and she was advised to go for an abortion, as the age of the pregnancy was on the verge of shooting off the limit allowed to be done legally.
In a whirlwind of events, she ended up in an abortion clinic. Wendy said: “I felt very uncomfortable waiting in the hall with black-white checkered tiles, watching the minutes on the clock tick by. It was as if death hung as a cloud in the air above me. I did my best to stuff my emotions, signed a paper, received my number, and joined some eight women lying on beds in a room, waiting a long time after inserting something and changing into an operation garment that was to remain open. As they spoke of their pregnancies, morning sickness, and why they were killing their babies, I began to think. In the lift later, when I was going upstairs, I placed a hand over my tummy, finally realizing I had a child inside of me, and said, ‘I’m a mother.. I have a baby inside of me!’ The nurse accompanying me reassured me, saying, ‘It’s ok – other women have that thought too at the last minute – you’re doing the right thing,’ after which the doors opened, and I walked into a brightly lit operating room, where I was told to lie down, and place my legs up high in the stirrups. But I felt terrible and vulnerable due to the privacy, and even more so as the abortionist became very angry and agitated when the nurse discussed something with him, and he started to yell at me, saying I had already signed a consent form, hadn’t I? And that I was holding up the flow of things. He roughly grabbed my arms, which they strapped down, and forced a needle into my arm… after which I didn’t remember much….I passed out…
Looking back, Wendy regrets her abortion after the rape, and the morning after pills she took later in life as she had problem conceiving on time and also suffered several miscarriages, in addition to suffering serious guilty feeling and emotional trauma. She said: “If I had realized then, what I now know, I would never have been able to ask to have my baby killed. She adds: “I learned that scar tissue from the abortion can cause problems in later pregnancies, and premature births from the damage of the abortion, along with more chance of breast cancer if you don’t carry your first baby to full term, but abruptly stop the milk production process developing by aborting.”
Ms. JacklineGandi is a post abortion counsellor from Kenya, , who had, had five abortions. She advises ladies who suffer from post abortion psychological trauma to seek help. “I had five abortions, but decided to keep one pregnancy to have a deal with God,” she says, stressing: “I was traumatised due to the abortions because milk was coming out from my breasts, but there were no babies to suck them until the sixth pregnancy.”
She urged parents to create time for proper nurturing of their children to avoid sexual abuse by men. A child of a troubled home, Gandi had got pregnant for a man, who travelled outside Kenya without communicating with her, forcing her to abort the pregnancy following pressure from her family.
After her first relationship, she went into other affairs, drugs and alcohol consumption, which led to aborting four other pregnancies.
“However, I decided to keep the sixth pregnancy as a deal with God and saying Lord, remember me in your goodness for keeping this pregnancy,’’ she said. According to the counsellor, the baby from her sixth pregnancy is seven years old now and has started schooling.
“At times, I loved the baby and sometimes hates her; several times I would kick her and attempt to kill her, because she was reminding me of all the several abortions I had done,’’ she said, explaining that she was haunted by the post-abortion trauma and depression. Gandi said that proper counselling helped her to decide to move on with life and secure a job at an abortion clinic.
The lady who currently works with the Pearls and Treasure Trust, Kenya, an organisation that has been kicking against abortion says: “I fell in love with my job which made me get promotions regularly and earned more money.’’
On her part, Wendy, who herself is a product of rape, said: “Life is not about how we were conceived, or our upbringing… But about what we make of it. There is healing, and I am so glad my mother didn’t have me killed, when she had the chance. I am so glad though that she gave birth to me, and raised me, despite how I was conceived, and that I am alive and able to now do something for humanity. My value and right to life does not depend on how I was conceived! Even after rape!
“I have had to come to terms with what I, myself did. I chose to have someone paid to kill my innocent baby. There was a father (the rapist), a mother (me) and a baby. But I hired a murderer (the abortionist) to kill my innocent baby… I deeply regret having put my innocent little baby through such torture and painful mutilation, letting it be cut up into pieces while still alive with a beating heart. Killing an innocent baby is never right, even after rape. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” The father harmed me, but I harmed the baby. The baby didn’t do anything wrong. The baby is a third person. I could have grown to love it, or have it adopted in a loving family. A baby should not carry the burden of the sin of the parent and be killed for it. What are we doing killing our own children?”
She wants families, caregivers to help put a stop and ward off this evil before it penetrates deep into the African society.