She Rejected Abortion After Rape, Then The Rapist Sought Custody of Her Daughter

National   Lauren Enriquez   Apr 28, 2014   |   10:34AM    Washington, DC

In 31 states, rapists are allowed to seek custody of the children born as a result of their crime. Ten years ago, Shauna Prewitt was raped, and at that time many people in her life encouraged Shauna to abort her daughter, but she knew that was not the right choice for herself or for her child.

Having made the courageous decision to raise her daughter as a 21-year-old single mother, Shauna had her share of difficulties to surmount, and to add to insult to injury, her attacker sought custody of their daughter when she was born.

shaunaprewittShe shares her testimony and explains her journey to choosing life for her daughter, saying:

Ten years ago, I was raped. It is remarkable to me, sitting here as a 32-year-old woman, to look back on the decisions that I made when I was 21, and to just think how easily it could have all been so different. I stopped letting the, kind of, the people who were telling me that abortion was the right thing to do, I stopped hearing them. I decided that, it’s not right for me, absolutely not.

Shortly after my daughter’s birth, when I was basking in the glow of being a new mom to this incredible little life, my attacker sought full custody of my little girl. And, you know, that’s when I got scared.

It’s the question [from my daughter] that I had been dreading for almost nine years. So I just told her, I said, ‘you know, baby, sometimes we’re forced to do things that we just don’t want to do.’ She just started sobbing at that point. After crying for a little bit she said mommy, I am just so sorry that that happened to you. But at least you have me.

I think this world would be a much worse place without my little girl in it. I think the world needs more people like her. 

Prewitt gained notoriety in 2012 when she responded to Tod Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments by penning an open letter to the senator explaining the circumstances of her rape. In that letter, she said:

You see, to my surprise, I did not altogether hate the life growing inside of me. Instead, I felt a sort of kinship, a partnership – perhaps the kind that only develops between those who have suffered together – but, nevertheless, I felt a bond.

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Legislation punishing rape is extremely skewed in the United States. Frequently, the children are punished for their father’s crimes by being aborted due to the circumstances of their life. To make the situation even more threatening to the little ones, a woman who courageously chooses to carry the child of her rapist to term is faced with the possibility, in most states, that her rapist will seek custody of her child.

Rather than vehemently punishing the abhorrent acts of these men, legislation punishes the children and mothers instead. Today, Prewitt advocates for the rights of mothers who have experienced rape and become pregnant, and she advocates for the right to life of the children conceived in rape.