Marion's StoryMarion Syverson had a chaotic childhood. Her father beat his wife and kids with a belt; at the age of thirteen Marion, the eldest, broke up a fight and commanded her dad to leave, which he did. After the divorce, Marion's mom embarked on a new life: promiscuity, bars, and drugs. She treated her daughter to explicit descriptions of her sexual activities and tokes of marijuana.
Here is Marion's story, in her own words.
"When I was fifteen, I started being really desperate for affection that was more normal. I discovered that I was able to get it from a boy, if I wanted to. I got pregnant; I had made a decision to do that. I wanted to get out of the house, but I couldn't leave my younger brothers and sisters in the hands of a lunatic, with our abusive dad still living up the street. The only noble way was if I had my own baby to take care of. So, although my mother had given me birth control pills when I first got my period, I didn't take them. I knew exactly how to get pregnant, because she'd told me. Actually, she'd told me how not to, but I wasn't stupid. I figured it out."
I went to Planned Parenthood because they gave a free test; I didn't know about any crisis centers. I blurted out my story - 'My dad's a jerk, he beats us up'-and not in pretty language.
The counselor ripped off a sheet of paper and wrote on it the address of an abortion clinic. But as I was going home on the bus I was thinking, 'I don't want to do this.' Abortion was killing. I wanted to give the baby up for adoption. But who would pay for everything? What about school? Who'll tell my parents?
So I decided to go to a church for help. I thought, 'Okay, I'm going to get yelled at, and then they'll help me take care of it.' I picked this church because it was pretty; it had stone and vines and window boxes and I thought, 'If God lives, he'd live here.' So I went in, sat down in the minister's office, and blurt, blurt, blurt.
Well, he hit the roof. Got up and started like Jimmy Durante, 'what's this generation coming to' kinda thing. Then he sits down, opens the bottom drawer of his desk, and hands me $150.
I'm fifteen, I don't ask any questions. That would imply that I don't understand, and that would be not-adult. So I took the money, put it in my pocket, and he shoves me out the door. I was standing outside the church thinking, 'What does he want me to do with this?' Then I realized. God wants me to have an abortion.
I was surprised that this was what God wanted. But it was what every adult I talked to told me was best. I was sad and I couldn't go home right away. So I walked by the river and sat on the bridge. I swung my feet and talked to my baby.
I think about that little girl sitting there and I get upset. In my high school there were two thousand people, but nobody told me about God. I was the whore, I was the girl they called when the football team wanted to have a party. Nobody told me about God; it was going to take more than $150 given to me in five minutes to solve my problem. I was going to be a problem for a long, long time. And we don't want to deal with people like that. We care about people getting saved, but we don't care that much. Not enough to inconvenience ourselves.
So I sat there and swung my feet and told my baby, 'I've wanted to have you since I was five years old. I wish I could have you - but I can't. 'Cause there's crazy people at my house, and they'll hurt you. And I wonder if you're a girl, or a boy, and I'm really sorry - that I have to kill you - but God wants me to.'
This is not a matter of me not being healed. I'm thirty-eight now, I have my own life, nobody victimizes me like that anymore. Just try it! I'll be right in your face. But somebody's doing it to somebody today. So we each have to do our part.
So a friend drove me into Manhattan for the abortion. It was in a converted house; I don't remember anybody wearing medical whites or gloves, and they didn't mention anesthesia. I was screaming. They're going in with something like the jack to put up your car - Unbelievable! Afterwards I was bleeding and I hurt, but I was still walking and talking, so they gave me orange juice and put me out the door.
On the way home I started feeling sad about my mom and thinking about how I wanted to make up. So when I came in she was lying on the couch in her Sarah Bernhardt pose, and I came around to her face - always a dangerous place to be - and I said softly, 'Mommy, I'm so sorry. I killed my baby.'
She jumped right up screaming, 'You've been nothing but trouble since the day you were born; you're a slut, you're a this, you're a that - ' and I went -click- 'Mom, you're a jerk, I hate you, I hate you.' I went up to my room and got high, wrote in my diary holding the pen like a knife, slashing through pages, 'I hate you, I hate you.'
Everything went downhill from there. A year later my mom brought guys home from the bar for me, guys ten years younger than her and ten years older than me. She told them what a slut I was, how I'd sleep with anybody. And by this time it was true. They raped me, and the school psychiatrist said there was nothing I could do about it because of my reputation. I was taking drugs, too. I went to school carrying wine in a bottle shaped like grapes - this was the expensive stuff - and I'd sit out in the parking lot, taking barbiturates and drinking wine. The only friend I had was a dealer who wouldn't let me have acid because he was afraid I would go out a window.
When I was seventeen I decided to try again to get out of the house by getting pregnant. I told my mom, 'I'm pregnant and you can't do anything about it - Tom is going to marry me.' She didn't say anything, and I thought that was alarming. She usually had something to say immediately, with her hand moving at the same time.
So she had Tom meet her at the bar, and he told her, 'I love her, I want to marry her, she's having my baby; what a lovely way to say how much,' and all that. So my mom says, 'You don't even know if it's your baby. You see those guys in the corner? It could be their baby.' She had him sitting there in the bar crying. He called me up sobbing, 'I can't marry you, sorry, I can't marry you, bye!'
I just sat there going, 'I'm going to kill her. I'm going to kill her.' Writing in my diary, 'I hate you, I hate you.' Everything was fine till he met with her.
So it was back to the Manhattan abortion clinic. What else was I going to do? Who could I turn to? The minister who didn't have the time of day for me? Somebody at my school? There's nobody. So my mom takes me to the clinic. When it's time for me to sign the form I whisper to the nurse, 'I don't want to have the abortion, my mother's making me, she's somewhere in the building, but please don't make me have the abortion.' The nurse just said, ' Look, there are people waiting. Do you want it or don't you? Make a decision or get out.' The thoughts were flying through my head: Where would I live? Who would pay the doctor? Who could I turn to?
I couldn't think of any answers. So I said, 'Okay. I'll have the abortion.' And I did.
A year later I got pregnant by Tom again. This time he contacted his priest and they decided to get me to a maternity home in Illinois where I would be safe. But before I left I tried one night to stop my dad from beating my brother. I said bad words to my father, and he came right after me, and pounded the tar out of me. I was swinging back and he banged my head into the front door and gave me a concussion. He threw me in the street and a car stopped right before hitting me. I did make it to Illinois, but it was too late; I ended up having a miscarriage.
My life didn't get a lot better soon. I got pregnant again, this time by Mort. At first he thought that maybe it wasn't his baby. He told me to have an abortion and I said, 'Are you kidding?' So he came to his senses and we got married. I was taking Quaaludes all the time, and got in the habit of just dropping the baby into the crib so he'd cry and need me.
Then one day two people came to the door, and said they were doing a Campus Crusade survey. They told me about Jesus and showed me in the Bible that he loved me. I said, 'Well, he couldn't love me.' They said, 'Sure! He forgives everybody.'
I bought it hook, line and sinker, and so did Mort. We were saved together, and that was fifteen years ago."
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