Cori Bush: ‘Men shouldn’t be allowed to abuse women’ – the latest

Pro-life author says ‘women are not prostitutes’ and she does not believe that it should be up to women to decide what kind of life they have

Cori Bush, who was sexually assaulted at age 14 by a man at a church he attended, has told the Guardian that women are not prostitutes, and that the decision to have an abortion should not be up to them.

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The 16-year-old pro-life writer was raped by a man she knew at a church she attended in Tucson, Arizona. When she informed her mother of the assault she said she was threatened by the priest at the church who said that she would have to pay for the subsequent abortion if she wanted her to continue the relationship with her attacker. Bush had both her feet pinned to the floor by the suspect. Her mother told her about an abortion clinic in town but the girl told her mother she would not go because she was not a “shameless whore”.

“What had I done? Why hadn’t I run? Why wasn’t I crying? Why weren’t I really upset?” Bush wrote in The Lipstone Press: Book III. “I had been violated. I was alone, in no way complicit, and I was not ashamed. Then I returned to the church with my little boy, having just told my mother about the horrible man that had sexually abused me.”

The man was then sentenced to six years in prison and Bush says she continues to struggle with the memory of that weekend.

“The little boy who came running home telling me he saw his father abusing another little boy at the children’s church that Sunday, that day when I went to a day care I thought would make him all right,” she said. “The man that it happened to me: nobody knows what he is really like, most of the time, let alone the kind of man I was told he was, the kind that would one day molest me and dump me on the porch in my blood as the moral stain he held on him would eventually swell to cover me. Nobody knows what he was like inside that church that day.”

Bush said that she thought that if she had not attended the church the man would have been in jail. “I was told that it was the last time he would abuse anyone,” she wrote. “He would be dead for sure.”

Bush is the author of three novels, called The Purpose Driven Life Bible and Raising Heaven, which detail the experience of having an abortion and the breakdown of her relationship with her attacker. Bush said that she chose to be in treatment for her addiction, rather than get an abortion because she was raised in a conservative Christian family. “The story was going to be told in the church, not the abortion room,” she said.

Bush said that she did not regret not having an abortion. “Everyone was anti-abortion, including my parents. We were the pro-life family, the family that had these laws that made abortion difficult,” she said.

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Bush’s mother, Kelli Corbin who runs the Breckenridge Independent School District in Arizona, told the Guardian that her daughter had known all about the sexual assault she suffered.

“We believe that in facing your own personal issues and your own abuse, that doesn’t limit your ability to be an active member of the church,” Corbin said. “The structure and our role as school principals and law enforcement does require that you answer questions related to abuse. But we believe you can have an active role in the church while dealing with your own private issues.”

Corbin said that the school board will look into the case further.

“I feel really bad,” Bush said, “That this isn’t bigger than the woman who didn’t want me. That I had a horrible experience that I don’t want other people to go through.”

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