Hard Cases: Heather Gemmen Wilson


A stranger raped me in my home. I was asleep in my bed when he attacked me at knifepoint; and, to control me, he threatened the lives of my two children who were in the next room. Rape is as ugly as it sounds and not a story anyone should tell.

I did tell, even though the man threatened to come back and kill me if I did. After he left me trembling and terrified, unsure whether he was still in the house, I tore off the nylons he had used to restrain me. The kids were silent, and I didn’t know if it was because they were sleeping or worse, and I had to get to them. I touched their sweet, sleeping faces and then took the horrible risk of creeping downstairs to find the phone. My husband was at a meeting at church just a few blocks away. “Come home,” I said, crying and shaking when someone put him on the line. “I’ve been raped.” I could hardly say the words, and I can’t imagine how it felt for him to hear them. He rushed home and found me cowering in a corner. But I had told, and then he told the police, and then we told our loved ones — and the slow process of healing began.

I became pregnant as a result of the rape; after much prayer and struggle, my husband and I chose to welcome the baby into our family. I can see now that God gave me my daughter as a constant reminder of His faithfulness. I have gained so much more than I have lost.

That was over sixteen years ago, and God has brought me to complete healing. Back then, I wouldn’t have believed I would one day write a book about my journey from rape to restoration — and that I would be glad to speak about it! I’m no longer ashamed to admit that rape is a part of my life. And if my restoration will give hope to even one other person, I’ll tell it one more time.

Ms. Wilson is the author of the book Startling Beauty, My Journey from Rape to Restoration