Flash Fiction · Horror · Politics · Social Justice · Trauma

Zuzu Grimm’s The Legitimate Rape

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Along with The Rape Babies, I also wrote this piece of flash fiction in 2012 to highlight the absolute absurdity of the ignorant Republican notion that a “legitimate rape” doesn’t result in pregnancy. As reproductive rights are under threat now in 2021 in a way they haven’t been before, this story feels newly relevant, especially to explain the kind of misogynistic mentality that drives the anti-choice movement.

Davis Willard is the ultimate Republican. He walks the talk. He has a perfect Barbie wife. Four teenage children, two boys, two girls, well-behaved, virginal, intelligent: ticky-tacky mini conservatives. When their daddy gave speeches condemning Roe v. Wade and his tireless crusade to overturn it they beamed in the background. When presidential nominee Willard rewrote science to say that a woman who is legitimately raped will never get pregnant because her body shuts it down, his children stood behind him and cheered. When Davis Willard closed all of America’s Planned Parenthood sites, the children were present as they were razed, collecting souvenirs from each toppled building.

Sunday night dinner. Pot roast and apple pie from scratch by Barbie. The family sits together in the living room to watch Glen Beck. Davis sips a vintage cognac. His wife a glass of Chardonnay. The children drink glasses of milk and occasionally dunk an Oreo. An insistent knock on their front door. For a moment they are all at a loss. Nobody comes to their home on a Sunday. Ever. It’s an unwritten Willard Family rule. Davis makes sure he sets his drink on a coaster. His family watches him walk to the door and out of sight.

A bang and a thud. Barbie screams. The boys jump from their seats as three masked men with assault rifles storm the room. Now the girls scream, cowering behind their mother who would rather it the other way around.

—The money and jewelry is upstairs! Take it! I know the combination of the safe!, Barbie wails.

—We don’t want your money. We want your girls.

The fourth masked man enters, dragging a bloody Davis Willard behind him, unconscious. The men tape up Barbie, the boys, and Davis, lining them up on the couch so they can see. Davis Willard wakes from his stupor in time to watch his daughters violated. Gunmen point their rifles at the family, screaming at them to watch as they avert their eyes.

The intruders leave as quickly as they came. Pun intended.

Two weeks later Cassie misses her period. A week after that Debbie’s is also absent. A trip to the doctor confirms the Willard women’s fears. Davis is furious.

—You must have enjoyed it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be pregnant.

His voice is cold.

—But daddy! You saw what they did to us!

He locks them in their rooms. Barbie brings them pre-natal vitamins and nutritional meals. When Cassie refuses to eat Davis force feeds her through a tube. When Debbie attempts a clothes hanger abortion and injures the fetus Davis puts cameras in her room he monitors all day from his iPhone.

Barbie sits in front of their doors after her husband sleeps, weeping and wanting to do something, anything. Unable. While she’s grateful that the babies’ fathers were white, she’s terrified of the day they’ll claim fatherhood. Davis just passed a law that gives rapists parental rights. He insists the girls weren’t legitimately raped. She knows he’s wrong. She wonders if he even knows he’s wrong anymore. She never argued with him because there was no way this could happen to her or her children. Now, every time she closes her eyes she sees the men heaving over her daughters as they screamed in pain. The blood, the tearing she doctored at home. Her two beautiful, ruined girls.

Presidential hopeful Davis Willard is the ultimate Republican. He’s on the pulpit. Now he claims there’s no such thing as rape at all, it’s just another form of conception. He thinks about his daughters as his children less and less. They are examples. They are his proof. He walks the talk. This is why you can trust him.

Lighthouse Point
November 2012

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