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As a victim and survivor of rape I am appalled and disgusted with the statements that have been made and although it is a very difficult thing to talk about I decided that I could not remain silent any longer.

Written by Cindy Harding for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

This is one of a series of powerful stories from survivors of rape, you will find them all here.

Twenty -two years ago I gave birth to my lovely daughter who was conceived as a result of rape. This rape was a "legitimate rape," just as all rapes are. It was a horrible, degrading experience. I did not report it because I did not want to have to go through being treated like I was somehow to blame for it, I didn't want to hear that I was the one in the wrong and the rapist was the victim as often happens.

As a victim and survivor of rape I am appalled and disgusted with the statements that have been made by members of the GOP and although it is a very difficult thing to talk about, especially to strangers, I decided that I could not, nor would I remain silent any longer.

Today, I wonder what kind of world we live in. Richard Mourdock, a U.S Senate candidate in Indiana, this week said, "if a woman gets pregnant as a result of rape, well it is what God intended."

It is clear that these men have no clue what it is like to be assaulted in such a horrible disgusting way, to be raped. It is also clear that they have no idea what a woman struggles with after a rape, and then what she goes through if she becomes pregnant as a result of that rape.

I knew it was not my baby's fault but I struggled with how to raise a child without spewing the hate I felt for that man. I thought about how my child would feel, and as a mother I hurt so much for my child and what feelings she would have to live with her entire life. I can tell you it hurts a whole hell of a lot.

There is nothing anyone can say that justifies the statements that have been made about sexual assault, rape, abortion, and women in the last month. I believe Richard Mourdock, Todd Aiken, and others like them who've spoken out against women in the last month do not belong in public office.

For GOP leaders to continue to endorse Mourdock and for them to say that the Senate needs Mourdock in office shows that they agree with the disgusting statements that have been made. They have no clue what a woman who has been raped goes through, and now they are showing that they don't care what she has gone through.

These statements have set us back years, they are degrading to women, and they are part of the reason women do not report rape, and part of the reason I did not report my experience with rape. Women are sick of being treated like a criminal instead of a victim. We are sick of the shame and the blame.

I chose not to abort my pregnancy but I can find no fault with any woman that chooses an abortion if she becomes pregnant as a result of rape. That choice is essential.

I am a rape survivor, I am a strong, and I am a woman with a voice and a vote and I will do what I need to do to be heard and to alert people that the GOP platform is one that cares nothing for women nor their feelings. I will stand up and be heard, and I need you to stand with me.

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