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'I was roofied:' MSUM grad shares story of rape and abortion she kept to herself until Roe v. Wade decision

She was 21 and had just graduated from Minnesota State University-Moorhead, and was working at a local TV station.

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Becca Johnson with her husband, Ron, son and daughter.
Contributed / Becca Johnson
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FARGO — When the U.S. Supreme Court decision came down to reverse Roe v. Wade one week ago, Becca Johnson wrote a post on Facebook that rocked her closest friends and family.

For the first time, she told the story of a rape that led to a tough decision of abortion that was kept quiet until now.

When Johnson left MSUM in 2008, she was already an experienced reporter and anchor for the university weekly news program called Campus News. Working at a local TV station, Johnson was out with friends on a Sunday night when her life changed in seconds.

"We were sitting at the bar and these guys come up and said that they were construction workers from out of town, and they asked if they could buy our drinks. And being the poor news reporters fresh out of college that we were ..." she said.

Johnson's drink had been drugged. She remembers nothing except waking up and realizing she had been raped.

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"The next thing I remember, I woke up in the front seat of my car outside my apartment and I had been sexually assaulted and left naked from the waist down. ... Then I ran into my apartment. My roommate wasn't home at the time, and I never talked about it again," she said.

Once Johnson realized she was pregnant, she said she weighed all her options and made an appointment for an abortion at the Red River Women's Clinic in downtown Fargo. Still, nobody else knew, but she remembers the day like yesterday.

"I had been so afraid (of) what everyone would think, like, who am I going to let down," she said.

Today, Johnson is married with a beautiful young family and is a candidate for the city council in the Twin Cities suburb where she lives. But following the Supreme Court decision just one week ago, she shared her story to the surprise of family and friends.

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PLAM Action, an anti-abortion coalition, held an event across the street from the Red River Women's Clinic at its new Moorhead location.

"Now is the time that I am finally going to share this, because I know how to speak up for myself now," Johnson said.

After sharing her story, the support was immediate. And with that support came stories from others who had been through the exact scenario.

"I was sad for how long I had been holding this story in and didn't feel safe enough to say it until that right has been removed," Johnson said.

She thought long and hard about publicly sharing her private story, but as a mother, she felt she had to.

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"Ruby and Lincoln, they're just that extra motivation for me," Johnson said of her children. "I want them to see me do hard things. I want them to see me do things that scare me, things that make me cry, and I just want them to see that when people are not treated fairly, that even if you don't know them, you have an obligation to speak up.

Increases in violence again women

The Rape and Abuse Crisis Center says it has concerns about the rolling back of other laws or policies that protect women from abuse. Violence against women in dangerous relationships often increase when they become pregnant.

Those who advocate for survivors of domestic violence say limiting access to safe abortions will create a danger for women who are pregnant and in abusive relationships.

"We see violence at a rate now that looks far different than what we saw prior to the pandemic, so the coupling of this decision with an already increased rate and intensity of violence, we are concerned," said the center's executive director Christopher Johnson.

"It's one thing to make decisions based on a belief system, but when your responsibility is to serve a community, beliefs are somewhat irrelevant. This is about what is our ethical responsibility to the community," Christopher Johnson said.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
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