Q: Good morning ma’am, my sister was raped last month, and we just found out yesterday that she is pregnant and she cannot keep the child because she will be getting married by December. She has been struggling to deal with the memory of being raped and finding out that she is pregnant is something she cannot handle. Please ma’am, is there any pills she could take that will help her get rid of the baby? Thanks
A: Hello dear, my heart goes out to your sister for what happened. This is just horrific!!!
There are two things every rape victim must always do…report the rapist to the police and get herself/himself checked out in a hospital. Usually when people are raped, they experience a deep sense of shame making it difficult for them to seek help and indeed prosecution for the person accused. This should not be. Please get her to seek help… to ensure that she does not end up with any STI. If she had also sought help early, she would have been given emergency contraception and been checked out by a doctor especially if there is suspicion of a genital tear etc. Further, raising the alarm ensures that the predator is not emboldened to do this to another person, ever again. Going to law enforcement as soon as possible would help as the clothes may contain some forensic evidence.Now in this case, it would appear none of this was done.
Before I start my comments on what I perceive as next steps, I would like to issue my regular disclaimer: On this page, I do not pass judgement or tell people what to do. I just try to provide enough information to get you to take the right decisions.
I absolutely sympathize with your sister. It is harrowing enough to deal with the issue of rape and then add to that the issue of pregnancy resulting from that. The psychological ‘wounds’ from rape are deep-seated and will find an outlet one way or the other, if not today, it will be tomorrow or next year…but it will come out sometime. I would recommend that she tells her fiancé. All things being equal, he would still want to hang around to help her deal with this…after all, your sister is the real victim here L Having said that, there is no guarantee that he will stick around and so if your sister decides to tell him, there is the possibility that her fiancé may head for the nearest exit. I know that having wedding close at hand makes it look like there’s only one option here, but that may not necessarily be so! Please get her to seek help and counseling.
For the pregnancy, termination is illegal in Nigeria. Beyond the legality of this, I suggest that she figures out how she wants to handle this with her fiancé and then, dealing with the pregnancy becomes more straightforward.
I wish she were close by so I could give her a hug and tell her that everything will be okay…and they will. It may look like all is wrong with her world now, but trust me, she will come through this stronger than before. There are really no easy answers here. I wish this was one of those questions where the path to take is clear and easy. This is not one of those, but it is in the dark and difficult times that we stretch and discover purpose. Get your sister to seek counseling. If she decides to tell her fiancé, I hope that he sticks around for the long haul; but if he doesn’t, it’s his loss. She needs to focus on her now. She has to let go of the experience she had in order to begin her life afresh without fear and hang-ups.
To help prevent other incidents of rape, practice personal safety and trust your instincts. If the situation looks or feels fishy, it probably is. Try to ensure you go with company if you must visit any friend of the opposite sex or better still, meet in a public place etc.
If you’re in Nigeria, Project Alert (http://www.projectalertnig.org/) and the Lagos Domestic Violence centers (http://domesticviolence.com.ng/help-for-domestic-violence/) will also be able to provide some more practical support in terms of counselling and probably legal help, if required.
Remember that she needs to get herself checked for STIs and/or other infections while the discussion on the pregnancy and upcoming wedding continues.
Please tell her to stay strong, okay?!
Loads of love and hugs coming her way…
Have a great night, people 😀