I was sixteen when he raped me. I got pregnant, and my parents told me I had to marry him. My dad was an elder—a leader in our community of Jehovah’s Witnesses—and everything in my life seemed very black and white. I knew what was expected of me, and I knew I had to date and marry someone of the same faith.
I remember that conversation with my father. He told me I should not have put myself in that situation, and that I had to marry Kevin. Abortion was not an option. I was still a Witness at the time, and I believed that if I got an abortion I would go to hell, and there would be no way to redeem myself.
So we went to the courthouse and got married. I stayed for two years, and I got pregnant again. I had my second child, and when she was six months old, I packed up my car in the middle of the night and I drove us all to a homeless women’s shelter. And that was the first time in over two years that I felt I could breathe.
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