Children of Rape

I recently found out that I was conceived through premeditated rape.

I’ve known my biological father most of my life (the exception being a 10 year estrangement between the ages of 13 and 23.) I have only recently cobbled together some semblance of a decent relationship with him, and now this.

Has anyone else been through this? I don’t really want to pour my heart out unless I’m not alone.

I haven’t been through this, no* … but I did want to say I’m glad your mom chose to have you :slight_smile:

Pour away.

*my dad was a total dick and a convicted felon several times over, if that helps

Yikes, olives! I’ve got to give a ‘+1’ to ‘pour away.’ I can’t offer a similar experience, but I can offer a sympathetic ear.

My Dad… the only emotion I can feel about him full-force is guilt that I don’t love him more. I do love him, but he was such an irresponsible father and so deep into his alcoholism that it’s like he wasn’t even there. I figured out I had my shit together better than he did when I was about seven. My emotions are just all blunted when it comes to him.

My Mom has always hinted that the details around my conception are kinda sketchy… heavy drinking and her drifting in and out of consciousness. But when she told me the full truth… well, it’s a little less grey. When he was seventeen and my Mom was kinda dating him, he threw a party. He drugged my Mom’s drink and raped her. The story is corroborated by my uncle, who saw my Dad spike the drink and told my Mom she just got slipped a mickey. She had no idea what that meant.

I’m not surprised that he did this, because it’s just the sort of impulsive, reckless thing he would have done at that age. He felt so bad about what he did that he married my mother and wanted to be a good father. But he had whiskey problems back then and became abusive, so my parents were divorced inside of a year. My Dad has always called my mother his one true love and I can’t remember him ever speaking badly of her.

I spent a lot of time in bars with my Dad as a child, which isn’t as bad as it sounds, but the point is that my entire childhood experience with him was defined by his alcoholism. He felt so invulnerable when he was drunk that he would do crazy, dangerous things, and put me in danger with the belief that he had everything under control. When I was 13 I just had enough and asked for his parental rights to be terminated. He missed the worst decade of my life.

We’ve been in touch for the last five years (I’m 28 now.) I still don’t really feel anything, but he was really messed up by my absence, and has tried to overcompensate for his crappy parenting ever since we’ve rekindled a relationship. I see him once or twice a year and probably talk to him on the phone once a month. Our relationship is mostly pleasant, until he starts talking about how much he loves me, then the guilt kicks in.

My Mom doesn’t want me to hold this against him.

The tricky part is, my Mom had a really, really rough time as a single parent. Eventually she descended into mental illness and became abusive. I always sensed that she resented me so much, and she was always so bitter about her pregnancy and the social ostracism that came with it. I can’t help but feel like my Dad took away her chance at having a normal life - and therefore mine. But the irony is that I wouldn’t even have a life if he weren’t for the way he hurt my Mom.

I’ve thought about talking to him about it, but he’s so sad and old and broken down. I don’t really know if it’s worth harassing him about something he did 30 years ago and ostensibly feels awful about.

There’s a reason laws have statutes of limitation. Judge him as the man he is, not the idiot child he was 30 years ago.

Or not. I mean, I’ve never been in your situation, so what the hell do I know?

Yow. That’s quite a lot to deal with.

I have to ask, though: your uncle saw your mother’s drink getting spiked, told her, but then didn’t either take the drink away and pour it down the drain or stick around your mother and prevent her going off with anyone?

This can’t be said often or clearly enough: this is not your fault. None of it. Not your mother’s difficulties or her mental illness. Not your father’s shortcomings as a husband and parent. None of it.

The world is a better place because you are in it.

Don’t forget that.

Maybe it really doesn’t matter anymore. I dunno. I’m mostly over my childhood. My relationship with my mother is the strongest it’s ever been. I don’t really get anything out of my current relationship with my father, and sometimes I wish I had an easy excuse to walk away again. I just don’t like to deal with that part of my life. For some reason I can deal with my Mom’s mental illness and all the fallout from that, but my tendency with my Dad is avoidance. He’s offered to talk to me about the past before, but I guess I just don’t want to, because all I’d have for him is criticism and maybe some anger (not that I feel much anger now… I really dont.)

That question would be totally reasonable for a non-insane family. My uncle’s been seriously messed in the head all of his life. This would have been around the time of his first major psychotic break. Who knows what was going on in his head? If it was only my uncle’s word I guess we could just mock the crazy person, but my Mom remembers parts of the rape. And according to her, my Dad admitted what he did afterward and felt like absolute shit about it. My Mom has done a lot of crazy shit, but lying isn’t one of those things. In fact, I’m 99% certain if I asked my Dad tomorrow whether he drugged and raped my Mom that night, he would admit it. He would say he didn’t realize at the time that he couldn’t handle whiskey, and he never meant to hurt anyone, and after all it created this beautiful person that is me, and he would be right.

I know it’s not my fault. But I thank you for the sentiment.

From what you said about his stupid decisions when drunk, this is just one *more *incredibly shitty thing he did while drinking. It doesn’t actually change who he is.

Sometimes even the worst choices have consequences better than could be expected, that’s you.

It’s OK not to love your father (or not to love him as much as you think you’re supposed to). Some fathers aren’t lovable. Mine wasn’t, and I didn’t love him, and I don’t miss him now that he’s gone.

There’s no need for you to feel guilty because of his flaws.

Nothing personal. But I did find out that an acquaintance’s daughter was conceived as the product of a rape. Her husband had wanted her to abort, but she refused–and he ended up divorcing her over it. The rapist/biodad served [an unknown amount of time], and since his release has repeatedly gone to court for visitation rights, which–amazingly, IMO–have been denied.

The daughter, now in her teens, is pretty much the total package: tall, beautiful, intelligent, overachiever. I have no idea what kind of relationship, if any, she has had with her mom’s divorced husband.

I’m coming to terms with a concept I never would have considered in my 20s: the idea that sometimes, you just can’t figure something out, and that’s okay.

What you have on your hands, olives, is a mess that would make a Shakespearean tragedy shake its head and give up. The people involved, their flaws, their value as human beings, their needs, and their connections to you . . . it’s such a convoluted, complex tangle, there is no way to sort it out. There’s no algorithm, no equation, no set of lists or categories or little boxes to divide things into. It doesn’t fit into any sensible narrative. It doesn’t have an answer or a resolution. Don’t bother trying to figure it out, because no one can.

It just is.

The good thing is, you don’t have to do or feel anything about it. Any emotion you have regarding it is completely valid. There is no right or wrong. There’s not even a “normal” anymore.

But, it’s going to sit there, taking up room and attracting your attention until your mind figures out how to integrate it. Until then, when it bugs you, just look at it and remember, it just is, and you have no obligation to it.

There are some things that don’t help to think about. This is one of them.

You’re a positive force in the world. You’re the silver lining of this dark cloud. Live. Be happy.

Having read your other threads here about your family, I do not see any reason to think that your mom would have had a “normal” life if not for you.
It’s far more likely that whatever genetic or environmental factors contributed to your uncle being mentally ill have a lot to do with why your mom is the way she is.
As you’re probably aware, most patients with personality disorders, ESPECIALLY those with Borderline personality disorder, have a history of childhood trauma that contributed to their illness. It sounds like your mom’s life probably wasn’t some ideal Leave It To Cleaver world before she became a parent. The reason that she ended up so ill probably has a lot to do with things that happened long before you were ever conceived.

Genetics isn’t everything, as you know from your plans to adopt a child. It’s ok to not love or want a relationship with someone just because you share some DNA with them. Just because your parents are both very troubled people doesn’t take away from the fact that you seem to be such a good hearted person.

Olives, I am really sorry to hear that on top of everything else you’ve been through.

While I wasn’t, my second older sister “Jane” was the result of spousal rape. My mother had lost a pregnancy, immediately then had my older brother, then my oldest sister when my brother was 18 months and then my oldest sister was about six months old, and exhausted, and had a yeast infection, and absolutely did not want to have sex that night, my father decided he was going to anyway.

My mother undoubtedly felt unhappy about it, and it could very well have added to her resentment. Apparently Jane was a difficult baby, and my mother had a really hard time with her anyway. After we were adults, my mother finally admitted to her that she just hadn’t loved Jane as much as she had the rest of us. (Of course, she didn’t love any of the rest of us as much as she loved her first born, the older son, but that’s a different story.)

Jane had it hard, even within a family that had it hard. Imagine being rejected by the rejects, and thinking about it now, this could have been a factor.

As far as dealing with your father, that’s entirely up to what you think is in your best interest. He’s forfeited any obligations from you, so decide how best to make peace with this one additional lousy bit of news and keep up the good fight.

Amazingly? You have no idea at all why a woman would not want to have to be in proximity to her rapist on a regular basis or have her daughter influenced by such a person or even possibly raped by him as he has already proven he has little control in that regard? Really? No idea?

I feel bad for you, Olive. Nobody should have to have that knowledge messing up their head. That’s why my wife and I never told our son that his biological father raped her on their first date when she concieved him. We left it up to him to figure out what sort of person his biological was. The man is dead now from liver damage (no surprise there) so I see no reason to ever tell our son. I say “our son” because we loved and raised him giving him the sort of love and guidance he could never get from the sort of person who had him learn to drive at 9 so he could get more drunk without having to drive himself home. I wish the court system had taken away the parental rights of that scumbag.

You don’t owe your biological a damn thing. You do what’s best for you.

I am a little concerned about you saying this. You don’t know he was messed up by your absence. If he was there, you might now be saying he was messed up by your presence, or you were messed up by his. I’m just getting a little flavor here that you feel some responsibility toward him, and maybe some guilt. And I know that if you feel these things , it doesn’t matter a whole lot if you have any good reason to feel how you do.

All I can say is, just keep an intellectual awareness in the back of your head that you are in no way responsible for either who he was or who he is now, and you don’t owe him. And if he somehow tries to burden you with something – think long and hard before you accept the burden. Don’t accept it because you feel obliged to, only if you want to.


First, you are under not required to love anyone if you don’t feel it, no matter what claims of kinship or obligation the person makes. Second, what phouka posted better expresses my thoughts on your situation than anything I can think of at the moment, so I’ll just +1 phouka’s post.

Slight off-topic digression:

Not trying to put words into Earl Snake-Hips Tucker’s mouth, just wanted to say that I interpreted the parenthetical “amazingly, IMO” as Mr. Tucker commenting on the courts, and not the rape survivor (or her daughter).

You give good advice. My husband and I had a conversation about this last night. Would talking to him about it change anything? No. Would it bring us closer together? No. Would it fuel my resentment about my childhood? Quite possibly.

I don’t regret being alive. I don’t even particularly regret my childhood. I’m happy with the way things turned out.

Well, what I meant by that is that is was very painful for him to lose me for all that time. It’s really clear by his behavior that he is terrified I’ll go away again. In some ways he’s the typical parent whining about how I don’t call enough. But coming from him it’s kind of irritating. Sometimes I have these feelings like, ‘‘Tough shit. This is what I’m prepared to give based on what you gave me.’’ I think I do a decent job of keeping my boundaries firm. But the guilt of not wanting to abandon him does make the difference between me calling once a month or not at all.

Our relationship is pleasant enough, I guess. I think all these threads about abuse have kind of put me in a backward-looking frame of mind. I can’t afford to spend too much time looking backward these days.

No offense, I hope, but if you are basing this on the word of your mother, and corroborated only by your uncle as he was suffering a psychotic break, it doesn’t strike me as being very well established.



Some things shouldn’t be told to children, regardless of whether or not they are adults now. This is one of them. I think it’s a manifestation of your mother’s mental illness that she even told you in the first place. Do you think she’s bothered by your relationship with your father and is trying to sabotage it?