People who live in the Hoosier state are reacting to controversial comments U.S. Senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock made Tuesday night, during a debate.
Mourdock was asked to elaborate on why he opposes abortion in rape or incest cases.
“I struggled with it myself for a long time, and I realized that life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen," Mourdock said.
Lisa Wilken said she was upset when she heard the comment. She was listening to the debate online and turned off her computer. In 1993, Wilken said she was sexually assaulted by someone she knew while she served in the Air Force.
“I say to people, you can recover from the physical act of rape. What it brings with it, emotionally, is something that women carry with them all of their lives,” Wilken said.
“I thought to myself, you know, how can someone think of even re-victimizing someone who (has) lived through an event that’s going to change them forever?"
Wilken said she was surprised Mourdock did not support an exception for rape and incest.
“I think he needs to explain what he said and what he meant by it,” Wilken said.
Even before Tuesday’s debate, Wilken said she had been trying to reach the Mourdock camp because she wanted to get his thoughts on this same issue.
“When I got the answer from a staffer that he supports an exception for life of the mother, but feels the baby would be victimized for rape and incest, I was insulted,” Wilken said.
Meanwhile, the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IN CASA) voiced their thoughts on the debate.
“There is never an excuse, invitation, or any plausible reason to ever rape anyone. Survivors of these attacks must remember that it is never their fault, they are not alone, and that there is help,” said Anita Carpenter, IN CASA Chief Executive Officer.
“Rape is a social epidemic that is really sweeping the nation and especially here within the state of Indiana,” said Erik Scheub, Director of Media and Public Relations with IN CASA.
Scheub said they are focused on the impact Mourdock’s words may have on victims in the state. He said one in seven women and one and 12 men will be raped within their lifetime in the state.
“We just want them to know that there is help out there and our support for them on the road to recovery is unwavering,” Scheub said.
Wilken said she chose to take th emorning after pill following her sexual assault. She said the Department of Defense gave her that choice.
“I can honestly say, if I had become pregnant as a result of the sexual assault and was forced to carry that pregnancy to term, I wouldn’t be here today and neither would my two children,” Wilken said.
There are a number of organizations ready to help victims and survivors. People can reach out to a crisis center by going online or by calling 1-800-656-HOPE.