Lianna Rebolledo was only 12 years old when she was kidnapped and raped by two men while on her way to a shopping mall. She got pregnant and was told to abort the baby. But she decided to keep the child, a daughter whom she now considers her savior.
Looking back at the experience, Rebolledo remembered asking the doctors if abortion would take away the pain of the rape. When they said no, she found no reason to punish her baby for something that she didn’t do.
“I wouldn’t heal by punishing my baby. We need to fear rapists, not our own child. Why should we give her the death penalty when we are trying to rescind it for criminals?” Rebolledo said in an interview with Life News.
Learning from her experience, she now visits shelters where victims of rape reside and they are between the ages of nine and eighteen. Some are pregnant while others have already given birth. Rebolledo wants to urge women not to abort their baby because the child is innocent of the crime. She called the act of killing the baby “a double rape.”
“Now I see that my experience was meant to bring a message of hope to others who have suffered the same way,” she said.
She travels parts of Latin America to share messages of hope to the women who went through the same trauma as she did through her non-profit organization Loving Life. The organization provides programs for the prevention of violence and support for victims of such violence.
Rebolledo has been to Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, the U.S., Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina talking to members of Congress and their National Assemblies with regard to abortion becoming a right under humanitarian law to help women survivors of rape in conflict.
“I ask the politicians, ‘What does a life cost?” And I tell them, ‘When you take away one life, you change the world. When you save one life you change the whole world.’ I tell them, ‘You are here because your mother said yes to life. You don’t have the right to decide who has the right to live or die.’”
As for her child, Rebolledo said her daughter saved her life. She may have struggled in bringing her up as a single mother but she never regretted not aborting her. “Keeping her was saving two lives —hers and mine,” Rebolledo said her daughter Jeanette keeps her going.