Men & Abortion

Conceived in Assault

 Conceived in Assault: Robert's Story of Assault – Testimony to State Legislature

My name is Robert Bennett. I would like to start off by saying thank you to State Senator, and Director of South Dakota's Right to Life, Mr. Brock Greenfield for bringing me here to South Dakota and for recognizing the value of my unique testimony.

I am happy and very proud to be in this room to voice my support for the protection of preborn children. I was born in Naples, Collier County, Florida on February 23, 1971. My mother married my stepfather when I was just two years old. I lived what you might consider a normal childhood. I had the love of my family and mother and had that very important father figure there for me. Growing up I never really wondered who my real father was. At the age of 14 years old I questioned my mother for the first time. 'Who is my biological father?"

She told me that he was not worth searching for, and was a no-good drug addict and alcoholic. She then told me that he was in and out of jail all his life and said to forget about him, it's not worth it.

But a few years later I thought about it again. It just kind of gnawed at me. I questioned my mother again about the matter. Who was my real father? She told me the same story as before. At that time I decided not to pursue looking or even asking about him any more. She obviously didn't want to talk about it and I didn't want to hurt her by pushing.

In March of 2001, my life changed. A family member told me some very shocking news right out of the blue. My stepfather's older brother walked up to me and said, "I know who your biological father is." I looked at him and said really, who?

He said my biological father just so happens to be my grandfather.

I found out he was an alcoholic and had been raping both of his daughters, my mom and my aunt since the early 1960's.

It happened for years till my mother conceived me from it. My aunt never did get pregnant, but the rapes stopped for them once my mom became pregnant and gave birth to me. It took one of his daughters who he had been raping for years to get pregnant for this to stop. You must understand that my life helped to protect my mother from being raped any further by her father. Well, you can imagine what a shock that news was. My world just crumbled.

I immediately asked my mother about it. After talking to her for a while she admitted it was true.

The next day I sat down with my mother to talk more about the matter. I told her that I have no hatred, nor any grudges toward her. I reassured her that it wasn't her fault and that I loved her for giving me life.

This revelation actually improved our relationship rather than harming it. We converse more; not a week goes by that we don't talk. The acceptance between my mother and I was wonderful.

What made it even more wonderful is that she had been offered an abortion and she didn't take the offer.

She had mentioned at one of her first visits to the doctor that her pregnancy was the result of incest. One of the options that the doctor immediately offered was to refer her to a place in Miami for an abortion. This was before the court decision Roe v. Wade, so the abortion would have been an illegal one, but it was offered anyway. How fortunate I was that she didn't want to get rid of me.

After getting this shocking news I then started my own research into the subject of rape and incest. What I found out was that I am not alone in this world. In fact there are a lot of people born each and every year in the United States from rape and incest. After I realized this, my outlook on human life totally changed. I began to have a greater outlook and respect for life.

I've spoken with doctors about this and they all feel and tell me the same thing. "People conceived of incest, like I was can live healthy and normal lives". And it is true, we can. I currently reside in Michigan, and I am a happily married man with a 31-year-old beautiful wife and two healthy, gorgeous children ages nine and one.

We are all God's children no matter how we were conceived. We need to start respecting the most precious thing in all of existence — "LIFE".
A lot of men and women gave their lives to make this Country what it is today. This is the land of the free, home of the brave. Home of the brave, I'll vouch for that.

But freedom has not come for those killed by abortion. Those of us conceived from rape and incest have committed no crime, but some of us had to pay the penalty of a death sentence for someone else's mistakes. None of us had a hand in being here. Only God is in control over that.

Mothers of incest are not protected by abortion; they are protected by the birth of their children. When pregnancy results from a brutal crime such as rape and incest the perpetrator is not the fetus but the rapist.

According to Dr. David Reardon in his book, Victims and Victors, children conceived from incest are not doomed to be victims of deformity due to inbreeding. Such problems typically emerge following a repeated pattern of incest over several generations.

According to statistics women with a history of sexual assault are likely to experience greater emotional trauma during and after an abortion than other women. What rape takes away from a woman, abortion cannot restore. Statistics from Victims and Victors also show that women who have become pregnant by rape and incest and carried their pregnancies to term tend to express no regret about their choice, and most rape and incest victims who became pregnant said abortion was not a good option for other women in the same situation.

"In fact, giving birth is proof that she is better than the rapist, while he was selfish, she can be generous. While he destroyed, she can nurture." So says the research of Dr. David Reardon.

Rape and incest are an excuse, not a reason to promote abortion. Abortion in fact actually promotes continuation of incest because once the woman has the abortion, it clearly shows the perpetrator that he has won, and gives him the opportunity to do it again. Abortion is a great tool for the perpetrator to use to destroy the evidence of wrong doing.

"Incest happens behind closed doors, and the victims are reluctant to report it due to shame and embarrassment and from threats made by the perpetrator". The feeling of shame can extend to the children of incest, too. When you find out that you are a product of incest, your first feeling is one of loneliness. No matter how old you are, you feel like an outcast, you feel that nobody can possibly understand, that you are really really all alone. I've talked with other people like me and we all had to deal with the stress of a very unpleasant truth.

But I think it's time to stop thinking of children of rape and incest as victims, and rather think of us as survivors. For some of us it has involved counseling help and for some of us it has not. For many of us, a strong positive part of our lives has been getting to know others who have gone through the same kind of stress. But we are all survivors. Our mothers gave us a chance and we've taken it.

There is a lot of misunderstood information out there on incest and it is time to set the record straight. Therefore I am writing a book on my
story and looking for a publisher. … I want to tell people that the fact of being a child of incest does not ruin a life and I want to detail what kind of effects it does have.

For instance, as you know, in the United States, a child who is adopted is usually told he or she is adopted. When the child turns 18, the regulations of that state may allow the child access to certain court papers relating to the adoption, papers which sometimes give rise to suspicion of rape or incest. Many adopted children want to find their birth mother and also their biological father. The first set of court papers may be the beginning of a very long and frustrating search under the best of circumstances, and it is likely to be even worse in the case of rape and incest.

In this search, agency efforts to protect the mothers' privacy collide with the grown children's desire to know the truth. Even when the mothers are willing to be contacted, the bureaucratic roadblocks can be almost insurmountable.

Every human being deserves the right to know how he or she came into this world. I was lucky. I didn't have to search for my mother because she was right there, but I did want some information through the system. In getting it, I got my own sample of the obstacle course that so many people have to run. My book will discuss the "system", the system being local District Courts, Law Enforcement, the Department of Health and Human Services, Adoption Agencies, and Mental Health Facilities around the Country, and their modes of operation. There are some gross defects in their process of handling the situation with incest and rape that need to be fixed.

The book will also be utilized as a form of guidance to help those conceived of incest get over the stigma of their births, and to be able to find peace and happiness in their lives. I think people who read it will be able to see that abortion doesn't help women whose pregnancies are the result of incest.

I like to think that one day all pre-born children will have the same opportunities I did. Maybe one day we will have a Human Life Amendment on the United States Constitution. With the good work of all the people like those gathered here today, one day we will succeed in protecting those vulnerable ones among us.

I started [by] thanking Mr. Greenfield. There is clearly another person I should thank. That is my mother. Without her courage and kindness, I might have ceased to exist a long time ago. And without her courage and kindness in the years she spent raising me, I would not have the happiness I have today. So, thanks, mom, for giving me life and love.

And thank you, all of you, for allowing me to speak here today.

[Robert Bennett shared this powerful testimony with the South Dakota Legislature.]

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