A Story I Didn’t Want to Tell

I had decided not to relay this particular story but the recent uproar regarding statements made by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri has caused me to change my mind.

I met “G” about 4 years ago. She was a neighbor of my girlfriend (at the time) and used to babysit. Like my girlfriend, she was from Los Guido. (I have posted about this particular slum before and did two videos.) “G” was 18 when I first met her, and among those living in the neighborhood was rare in that she had reached 18 without having a baby. Even more rare, in the four years that followed, she had still avoided getting pregnant. I used to joke with her about this, and she would tell me that she was always very careful and didn’t want to end up like most of her friends… a single mother, unemployed, and with no decent way to support herself and a baby. She was still, slowly, trying to finish her education (the equivalent of a high school diploma) but the process was slow and expensive, and she couldn’t afford to finish as quickly as she wanted.

I would talk to “G” or see her once in a while after my girlfriend and I split up, but several months ago she seemed to disappear, none of her friends knew where she had been or why she hadn’t been answering her phone. Then I finally heard that she was pregnant. I was told this by the sister of my ex. I thought to myself, what a shame, assuming that like most pregnancies in the poorer quarters, the father was very unlikely to provide sufficient support for the mother and baby. Little did I know just how true that would be.

In the back of my mind, I was hoping that “G” had found a nice man and that he had a job and that they were going to raise the child together. When I finally heard from “G” herself, the truth turned out to be much worse than I had imagined.

I got a call from “G” one afternoon and by the sound of her voice I knew she wasn’t alright. She said she needed to talk to me and could she come over? I told her sure, no problem. When she rang the bell and I opened the door to let her in, I was taken aback by her appearance. Her face was emaciated and there were large dark circles under her eyes. Her normally cheerful smile had disappeared, replaced by one of fear, anxiety and despair. We sat down on the couch and she told me her story.

She was living alone, and was at home alone one night as usual when her landlord and a friend of his, both very drunk, came to her door. Not suspecting anything, she opened the door, and the two men entered and overpowered her (she is not big) and proceeded to rape her. She was quite traumatized, but not enough to prevent her from calling the police. The men were arrested and taken to jail, where they still are and will be for years, I hope. One small consolation for “G.”

In addition to the trauma of having been violently raped, she eventually noticed that she was feeling very ill… sick to her stomach and other strange things. She borrowed some money to go see a doctor, and found out she was pregnant by one of her rapists.

She needed some help buying some medicine and reluctantly asked me if I would help her, which I did. I have been keeping in touch with her since, and did a little investigation regarding the law here, and found out that she could have had an abortion if she had requested one in the first three months. By that time, though, she was four months along and even if she had known of the option, she might not have taken it as she is Catholic, as are about 80% of Costa Ricans. But she was, unsurprisingly, unaware of this fact. It is nothing the government here makes much effort to publicize and I doubt many of the under-educated and poor women in the country know that this option is available in the case of rape. Roman Catholicism is the official state religion and sex education in schools, such as it is, is strictly “abstinence only.” I would certainly be shocked if part of the “abstinence only” curriculum were to include information on how to get a legal abortion. I will have to ask “G” the next time I see her if she knew of this law.

“G” has been told that her pregnancy is ‘high risk’ and that when she reaches seven months they are going to do a Cesarean section on her for the sake of her health and the baby’s health. If there is a ‘happy’ ending to this story at all, it is that “G” has regained her mental health pretty well, and seems to accept the baby without hatred or resentment, regardless of how it was conceived.

I asked her if she plans to keep the baby or put it up for adoption, and she’s going to raise the child herself. It’s part of her life now and she already has warm feelings toward the baby regardless of who the father is and how the baby came to be. Luckily, there’s no shame in being an unwed mother here. In Los Guido and other poor neighborhoods, common to find women in their 20s with 3 children, often never married and each child from a different father. “G” doesn’t plan to have another, though. Whether she can avoid it, only time will tell.

I feel very sorry for “G” but I believe she will be a good, loving mother, regardless of who the father was. I wish her the best and will help her when I can. Not much else to say.

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Comments

  1. JimRankin says:

    Thankfully the neanderthal who made the comment "Legitiment rape" will be run out of office.
    Here in Costa Rica I meet young women who want to go to schoool, but lack $. Can you do a write up on costs and availability of programs for such young people.
    Jim

  2. Regardless of what political party this U.S. Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri must go. Who in their right mid would vote for him.. I was expecting the story being her father or uncle raped her. I am surprised these guys are in prison they need to rot there. Like you, I heard hundreds of stories like this. A girlfriend I know had her tubes ties in Leon, Nicaragua. I suspect she too has been raped but will not talk about it .

  3. wayne butler says:

    she will have a constant reminder of a brutal rape.

  4. After four years of living in Latin America, I'm convinced that the Catholic Church must accept much of the fault that exists here. "God's gift" my ass. I also believe that a strong case can be made for castration in many of these cases.