Victoria was just eight years old when her stepfather began sexually abusing her. By the time she was 16, she had endured years of abuse and became pregnant. The last thing she wanted was to have the baby, but today she is grateful to have her daughter because she says being a mother got her through some of her darkest times.
Like most abuse victims, Victoria was afraid to tell anyone. Her step-father played on her emotions, telling her that if she told her mother about the abuse he would take his two sons — her half-brothers — and go to Mexico. The thought of losing them terrified her. Convinced that her mother was aware of the abuse the entire time, Victoria believes that her mother blamed her for the abuse and the pregnancy.
“She didn’t believe me until he told her that’s what happened,” Victoria told Live Action News. “He said I didn’t object. […] Even when my daughter was born, instead of calling the cops, instead of protecting me, [my mother] blamed me and said I was gonna lie about it. I was gonna say we had gone away on vacation over the holidays and the baby belonged to some boy I met.”
Victoria told her mother that she didn’t want to have the baby, but her mother told her she couldn’t have an abortion.
“I’m very much against abortion, but for a 16-year-old kid, the thought of having his baby made me sick,” she said. “I was angry that I had to have the baby because I felt like I didn’t have a choice.”
After her daughter was born, life didn’t get easier for Victoria. Her step-father wanted to spend time with the baby, but Victoria wouldn’t allow it.
“He wanted her to call him ‘Dad,'” she explained. “I didn’t want him around her. I didn’t want him touching her. I didn’t want him to change her diapers or give her baths. I wanted him to leave her alone. And my mom’s like, ‘You should have thought about that. That’s your fault. That’s his baby too.'”
Victoria and her daughter continued to live in the house with her step-father for a year. Then, after she graduated from high school, her mother and step-father split up. Victoria was enrolled at the local college and had financial aid to help cover the cost. She found an apartment, but the pressure of work, school, and parenting was too much. When her financial aid was withheld, she lost all confidence in her abilities and her strength.
Eventually, she moved to another state to be near family. Her daughter was not quite two when she began seeing a man and became pregnant.
“I thought this is gonna be okay,” she said. “He says he loves me, says he loves my daughter. We got a little apartment. We both worked. We got a car. It was gonna be easier.”
After the baby boy was born, Victoria’s boyfriend suggested they move closer to her mother so she could help. Victoria was skeptical but agreed to go. They were there for just a month when one day her boyfriend said he was going to work and after he left, his mother came to see the baby. She said she wanted to bring him to see his grandfather… and Victoria never saw her son again.
“They [her boyfriend and his parents] filed for emergency custody on the basis that I was neglecting him. And by the next morning, she had convinced the judge that I had abandoned him, and they got temporary orders for custody. And it was really a rough few months. I couldn’t find him. Nobody would listen to me,” she said. “I really came to realize how much my daughter saved me during that time. She was all I had. Everybody took everything else from me. My daughter just loved me. If I didn’t have her, I couldn’t have dealt with all of it.”
It’s been over ten years since her son was taken, and Victoria has kept all of the court papers, missing child reports, and baby outfits so that someday when she sees him again, she can show him that she tried. “I have faith that he’s gonna come home,” she explained. “He’s gonna want to know who he is. And I hold onto that. And my daughter really keeps me sane.”
Now married with two little boys, Victoria looks back on the hardest times of her life and is grateful she wasn’t able to abort her baby. Having someone else to take care of forced her to keep going when all she wanted to do was quit.
“At that time, when you’re 16, that’s a scary thought to have a baby, especially if it’s not something that you’re not actively out there having sex,” she explained. “It wasn’t that I was in love with some boy or anything. So now, I know even though [abortion is] not something I believed in, it’s not something that I would have normally wanted for myself, but the circumstances made me feel like I didn’t want her. It was an ugly situation to be in. But now, I’m glad my mother told me ‘No’ because of the person that my daughter has become and the person she has made me.”
Victoria doesn’t have any contact with her step-father, and she rarely sees her mother. She misses her son, and to get through the tough days, she reminds herself of something her grandmother once told her.
“She said everybody has a situation that tests them, and it’s how you deal with it that tells what kind of person you are,” explained Victoria. “If you have faith, and you always have faith, and you remain strong in your faith, you’ll get through your situation. Whatever it is. When you’re having the worst times, and it’s the hardest thing you ever have to do, just hand it to God and He’ll help you. Sometimes you have to just let it go. It will all be okay. Sometimes that’s what I have to do.”
Editor’s Note: Please call OptionLine if you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, and they will help you find resources in your local area.
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