Monica at age 14 begins an exclusive relationship with a classmate, a boy one year younger than she. It’s public knowledge among their mates that they are an item. After a year, at age 15 Monica falls pregnant and tells her father and uncle that she was raped – by her boyfriend. Repeatedly.
The case was investigated. Family relatives were divided in their beliefs of the story of rape. Police looked but did not find any evidence to corroborate her story. She gave birth to a healthy child, finished high school and at 18 meets a young man. They move in together, leaving the toddler behind, with the promise of frequent visitations and someday reuniting as a family.
The child is raised by incredibly caring grandparents with whom she feels wanted, loved and safe. At age 9 she is reunited with her mother, the boyfriend turned step-father, and a half-sister, four years her junior. She embraces her family but misses her grandparents and never quite feels as though she belongs.
Not long after, and as the feeling of being the outsider in this new family arrangement intensifies, her mother takes her aside and tells her she was conceived from a boyfriend who’d raped her. Repeatedly. Monica’s child is once again sent to live with her grandparents, who welcome her with open arms and do their best to soften the young girl’s news. She moves back and forth between families for the next few years.
As a teenager she meets another girl with a similar story and the two vow to find their biological fathers. Their search is foiled by a legal system full of sealed records and after a few months they give up.
Then one day while the girlfriend surfs the web, she trips over a website that features a handful of fathers looking for their children. There is a letter with her friend’s name on it. She replies.
The man introduces himself as the father of Monica’s child, explaining that he’d been looking for his daughter for a long time – but that he’d had to move far away because the rumour of his having raped a girl changed his life. He was innocent. But more than he wanted his child to know he wasn’t a rapist – he wanted her to know that she hadn’t been brought into this world from violence or anger – and that had he been given a chance he’d wanted to be her father, regardless of how young he and the mother had been. And they had been young. He was 13 when they began having sexual relations. Monica had been 14.
The young teenager made contact with her newly found parent. When Monica and her husband find out, Monica is so traumatised she’s hospitalised overnight and the her child is once again sent away.
There’s much, much more to this story and I understand how – some 20 years ago now, a young 14 year old girl could have probably feared her father enough to make the claim of rape to excuse her having become pregnant at such a young age. I’m not really faulting her for what happened between two kids and her subsequent prospect of having to face an angry parent.
What I can’t understand and am still trying to wrap my head around, is how the mother could have kept up the lie all these years – why she even told her daughter she’d been conceived during rape – and why she continues to punish her daughter for an event that never took place. I don’t understand the logic at all and my outrage at what this woman has put this girl through – and continues to put her through – has me teetering on madness.
You have no idea how much self-restrain I’m having to use just to keep from calling this woman out publicly. But my young friend has had enough public humiliation and personal pain and dragging her mother out into the sunlight would only serve to add to her pain.
But if any of you can offer viable explanations, it might serve to help her heal.