A rape victim who was raped five years ago is now being forced to co-parent her child with her rapist. Noemi, who is now 18 years of age, was violated by her co-worker and had a child. Today, Nebraska’s laws force her to agree on court-endorsed scheduled visits between her rather accidental child and the man who raped her.
Her biggest fear is that her child will “get hurt or something bad will happen to her,” Noemi told CNN’s Lisa Ling. “I can’t tell what he will do to my daughter.”
“Now, I have to text my rapist or email my rapist,” she said. “To leave my daughter with someone I didn’t trust. (I’m) forced to parent with him and to see him on a weekly basis … to talk to him about my daughter’s school activities and her health.”
Trying to find a way out, she said, nearly brings her to tears. “I think I’m stuck in this situation because he gets that right from the state, and there’s nothing that we can do.”
Noemi was — in her words — a “very naive” high school student with a part-time job at a fast-food restaurant in Norfolk, Nebraska. “I had no idea what sex really was,” she said. “I was just so inexperienced.”
One night after her restaurant shift, a co-worker invited her over to his house, she said, and raped her.
After discovering that she was pregnant, Noemi briefly considered an abortion. But “after I went to the doctor and I heard her heartbeat, it was kind of hard to say no,” Noemi said. It wasn’t her daughter’s fault that she was conceived in violence.
Her attacker was charged with first-degree sexual assault but was able to plead to a lesser charge of third-degree sexual assault.
Under Nebraska law, Noemi could terminate her attacker’s parental rights if he’d been convicted of sexual assault in the first degree. But because he was convicted of third-degree assault, his parental rights were safe.
When Noemi applied for state medical assistance for her daughter, she was asked to name the father, and the state requested child support from him. Five months after Noemi gave birth, her attacker began demanding regularly scheduled visits with his biological daughter.
Eventually, Noemi’s attacker won unsupervised visits with his daughter for a few hours every other weekend and two Tuesdays each month. Though horrified, Noemi really didn’t have much choice.