Amanda Berry, center, with her sister and her daughter Jocelyn.

One good thing came from Amanda Berry’s kidnapping, and her name is Jocelyn

Amanda Berry, center, with her sister and her daughter Jocelyn.
Amanda Berry, center, with her sister and her daughter Jocelyn. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

The facts are still being sorted out in the case of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, the three women who escaped from their kidnappers in Cleveland this week, with the help of natural-born comedian and neighbor Charles Ramsey, who came to Amanda’s rescue clutching a Big Mac.

According to Ramsey, after he and another neighbor kicked in the bottom of the front door, Amanda came through the hole holding a little girl. Ramsey described her as being about nine or ten, but she was actually six, and Amanda’s daughter. Her name is Jocelyn, and she was born on Christmas Day. In Ramsey’s account, Amanda described the girl as “his daughter,” referring to her kidnapper, Ariel Castro.

From the little we now know, it appears that the three women were kept as sex slaves for the three brothers, Ariel, Pedro, and Onil Castro. According to USA Today:

Police Chief Michael McGrath said Wednesday that the three young women, during their ordeal, had been “bound and there were chains and ropes in the hall.”

With three women being raped repeatedly for a decade, there were bound to be pregnancies.

The Castro brothers allegedly forced all three women to have sex, resulting in up to five pregnancies, according to a report by Cleveland’s WKYC-TV. The station, quoting unnamed law enforcement sources, reported that the Castros also beat the women while they were pregnant, with several fetuses not surviving. Police did not publicly confirm the report.

In addition, Khalid Samad, a former assistant safety director for the city, said law enforcement officials told him that the women were beaten while pregnant, with several miscarrying, and that a dungeon of sorts with chains was in the home.

If true, this is perhaps the most unfortunate and repulsive aspect of the kidnapping of these women: not only were they abducted, restrained, and raped repeatedly for ten years, but they were beaten until they lost their children.

Abortion is a handy method for covering up the results of sexual assault and incest. Its legality has no doubt saved many a perpetrator from discovery over the years. The fetus, after all, is evidence, and her destruction vital to keeping a rapist free from punishment, or free to rape again.

In the case of Amanda, Gina, and Michelle, the Castro brothers had to resort to other methods, since taking them out of the home to a clinic was out of the question. So they allegedly beat them until they miscarried the babies. It’s not a surgical abortion, but it’s also not a natural miscarriage. These were induced abortions in their most primitive form.

Fortunately, none of the women died from this treatment, and Amanda and Jocelyn survived pregnancy and birth, ostensibly without medical care.

We know very little about this case yet, and certainly many new facts will be revealed. But I am wondering about this girl, Jocelyn, allegedly conceived in rape, born of a captive mother, and rescued by that mother. In the photo of Amanda and her sister in the hospital, one of Amanda’s arms is around her sister, the other around Jocelyn, who lies in a hospital bed, smiling. She is a lovely child. She looks content. She looks like she knows she is safe.

Did Amanda’s love for Jocelyn keep her motivated to survive and escape? Did Jocelyn’s rapist father come to love her? Or did he abuse her, too?

To me, Jocelyn is the most intriguing aspect of this case. She brings up questions that haven’t yet been answered, and hopefully will be soon. But whatever we discover, two things are clear:

  1. Amanda loves her daughter. She could have left her behind. Instead, she came out of her captor’s home holding Jocelyn, and on the 911 call can be heard comforting her. “Sweetheart, it’s okay,” you can hear her say to the crying girl.
  2. Jocelyn, a child conceived in rape, has a chance at a good life now. She is a perfect illustration of the point the pro-life movement continually makes about so-called “unwanted” children and those born into “impossible” circumstances: nothing is impossible.

I have high hopes for Jocelyn, and for Charles Ramsey. When most of us think “hero,” we think of a soldier or a firefighter, yet not only did this regular Joe go to the aid of a stranger, he also eschewed the idea of a reward. “I tell you what you do, give it to them,” he said of the victims in an interview with CNN. “Where are them girls living? Right next door to this paycheck. So yes, take that reward and give it to — that little girl came out the house and she was crying.” He couldn’t sleep, he said, knowing he’d been living right next door to the victims for a year and hadn’t helped.

Charles Ramsey proves the same thing as Jocelyn: the victim can be rescued, the poverty can be beaten, the abuse can be overcome. Circumstances do not dictate what kind of life a person will lead. A black dish-washer from Cleveland with a Big Mac in one hand can be a hero, and a child born of rape can be anything she wants to be.

As long as there is life, there is hope.

  • cyfairparentscare

    Great story, Kristen, it will be maddening to see how the liberal media spins this, I will continue to share LAN to let others know the truth. God bless the healing of the women and the little girl.

  • Twisted that you think this is a blessing. To be biologically or genetically bound to your rapists forever is beyond the pale. . .abortion in rape cases is, in my opinion, the only smart choice. But keep fighting for the rights of rapists over their victims and we liberals will keep winning presidential elections. . .you help us in so many ways.

    • curious and prolife

      Can’t quite follow your logic. How does respecting the life of the baby a “fight for the right of the rapist”? Can you expand on your logic?

      • I was referencing the honest comments by some in the GOP in the last election that said rape and its pregnancy was god’s choice. And in utero there is no baby, rather a fetus and in this case violently interjected against a minor. That you can call this outcome a blessing says horrible things about your worldview.

        • And your world view is to repay violence with violence?

          • What violence. . .oh, the abortion. . .a quick procedure chosen by 40% or so of all women in this country. Hardly a “violent” act.

          • Sierra

            Oh you mean that quick procedure that can leave women depressed, have regret that eats them alive, have medical complications as a result from the abortion, not be able to have children later, and that can sometimes KILL a woman? Yup that one. By the way Fetus is Latin for little one…..I’m curious….what little one? Oh yeah! HUMAN BEING. It’s been shown that women who keep their children from rape heal quicker from the horrible sexual violence than the women who abort. It’s called turning a horrible situation into something beautiful. Children shouldn’t have to pay for the actions of the father. Go tell someone conceived from rape their life doesn’t have value. I dare you!

          • Their conception has no value. . .and if any of the were molested and impregnated I would tell them they have every right not to birth, and could/should terminate that violently imposed pregnancy. The degree of meaning to their lives comes at the expense and victimization of their raped birth mothers.

          • Sierra

            My guess is any child that was conceived out of rape or incest values their life and is glad they weren’t aborted. If they became pregnant by an act of sexual violence they probably wouldn’t abort knowing that they came into this world under the same cercumstances. Jussssst saying. I have a family member who was raped and became pregnant. She aborted and has regret it her whole life. She hasnt found healing from either tragic events. The abortion also caused her to miscarry often. But really you need to talk with people who have been conceived in an act of violence. I can garuntee they disagree with you

          • Abb

            I would also love to hear where you are finding that 40% of all women have abortions.

          • Sierra

            1 in three women get an abortion however less than one percent of those abortions are performed because of a rape or incest. And three percent are because of medical issues. The rest are because the time is inconveinient, financial issues ect. And to be fair there were some GOP candidates who said stupid things about abortion in rape cases.vbut the message was suppose to be that human life should be valued and have the most basic right which life, no matter how a child is conceived.

          • Okay so you’d be fine with being burned alive with saline or dismembered with suction device or scalpel or even shot through the heart with a needle? Beading is a quick procedure too but violent nonetheless. You know what Mr. Rodriguez, with all due respect, even if 100% of the women in this country choose to do something doesn’t necessarily make it right.

          • blueshanna

            Please re-read this again to yourself. 40% can’t be wrong? Nothing supported by that many people could be construed as violence? Think of some violent things humans in the majority have accepted. If I cut off your arms and legs quickly, would you consider that non-violent? You were once a fetus. Yes, even you.

        • Abb

          Just saw this… Which GOP said rape was Gods choice? Can you tell us where we could hear this or see it?

          • He’s talking about Todd Akin who said something about ‘legitimate rape’ — what he was saying was referring to, I think, albeit poorly was that some women will cry rape after willingly having sex with the person they accused. After the fact — rape. Rape accusations as an aggressive act of hostility. I think that is what Todd Akin meant. But you know what I find interesting? If anyone cares — is that certain people feel they can define “life” and don’t want to be questioned but refuse to allow Akin to define “rape.” Just saying.

      • I was referencing the honest comments by some in the GOP in the last election that said rape and its pregnancy was god’s choice. And in utero there is no baby, rather a fetus and in this case violently interjected against a minor. That you can call this outcome a blessing says horrible things about your worldview.

    • Obviously, you have no idea how blessings and joy can be birthed from pain and sorrow. I feel sorry for you.

      Amanda Berry is a hero for possessing fearlessness rooted in being a woman strong and wise enough to treasure her baby girl regardless of how she was conceived.

      The world could learn a lot from such a strong and unselfish woman.

      • If it is such a blessing, why make it a crime? Indeed, why not encourage it if such “blessings” are birthed?

      • If it is such a blessing, why make it a crime? Indeed, why not encourage it if such “blessings” are birthed?

        • No one said rape is a blessing. What I said was out of the horror of rape a child was conceived that obviously is a blessing to this woman.

          It takes no courage to repay violence with more violence.

          As for Jocelyn not being a baby — take a look at some of the not babies that had their necks snipped in Dr. Gosnell’s clinic.

          Moreover, if you think that little girl in the picture there is the result of a lack of wisdom, what do you think her mother should do with her now? Hmmmm?

          • Debbie

            she obviously did not have a choice for an abortion. She did the best she could with her circumstances. She is a hero to this child. I applaud her. Amanda Berry lived in a horrible place for 10 years imagine what you would do? live by yourself with a crazy rapist? or have that child. Jocelyn was somebody for Amanda to love and care for. She was one of Amanda’s sources of hope so yes she was a blessing. Abortion is murder a fetus will grow into a baby therefore, it is most definitely murder. If people think they can talk about this situation in this way i dont know what will happen to this world. I can only hope my generation will bring some sense into it. Yes, Jocelyn was a blessing to Amanda and to everybody. Jocelyn was a gift from God and should be treated as such. If you are going to say a child is not a blessing, think if this child reads what I say about her will she be proud? Or will this haunt her for a while. That she is just an insignificant rape born child and not loved. That you are saying she is a mistake. What if your mother was raped and people said you werent a blessing? How would that make you feel? People like that disgust me. No innocent child will ever be a mistake. She was a blessing most definitely. I could never say something like that about a child and her mother. They were just trapped for 10 years they do not need people like you bringing them down. Cant you be happy that Jocelyn was a healthy child and that now she is finally safe? Away from that horrible man? Bobby, If you cannot speak of life as a blessing, even a rape child then i doubt you can even think of your life as a blessing. If you do not get my point then you go be an abortionist and kill innocent lives if you think it should be okay

        • Debbie

          Also, Mr.Rodriguez, rape is the crime. Not the birth of the child. We should not encourage it because it is violent behavior. Also, some women are not mature enough to handle a child just yet. So their immaturity leads them to abortion. Tell me Mr. Rodriguez if your child was a rape child would you want to kill it now?

          • Elise77

            Yes, he would want to kill it, because that’s what he does with children that are inconvenient. That’s what he did with the twins that threatened his comfy retirement and his daughter’s opera lessons. People only matter to him as long as they are satisfying a need of his. They have no inherent value as far as he’s concerned.

      • And she is not fearless, just unwise and victimized

      • And she is not fearless, just unwise and victimized

        • Kylee

          Hmmm, so this is your logic?

          You’re “pro-choice”, saying that a woman should have a choice to have an abortion if she wants it. Yet, if a woman chooses to keep her baby, she’s “just unwise and victimized” because “abortion in rape cases is, in [your] opinion, the only smart choice.”

          That does not sound truly “pro-choice”. That sounds like you support abortion, not for the woman herself, but because you know who should live on this earth and who should not. Thank you for your eye-opening commentary.

        • Amanda Berry is the one who got herself, Jocelyn, Gina and Michelle out of that place. You have a lot of freaking nerve saying she’s not fearless and that she’s unwise.

    • “abortion in rape cases is, in my opinion, the only smart choice.”

      So you’re saying that Jocelyn should have been killed? Would you say that to her face?

    • Abb

      Keep fighting for the rights of rapists? Lets discuss this….tell me what you are referring to. Who is fighting for rights of rapists and how are they doing that? Please show us all you can back up your allegations.

      • You seem to believe that a woman raped and impregnated should be forced to carry the spawn of her attacker. . .am I right?

        • Hannah Mallery

          You seem to believe that two wrongs make a right.

        • Debbie

          Mr.Rodriguez, honestly Amanda Berry had no choice of an abortion. If she was taken to an abortionist they would have found out who she was and that horrible man would have been arrested right there on the spot. Obviously he realized that why on earth would you think Amanda had any sort of choice? you do not seem to understand these circumstances. Obviously this man took drastic measures to keep these girls there without him getting caught. If you think God’s decision is the wrong decision what on earth would you have done? Oh, I know.. you would choose to kill the baby wouldnt you? God would not have let that happen. Yes these girls have had a horrible past but now they can look forward to a wonderful future. Who knows, Jocelyn may become one of the greatest people in history. Maybe she will cure cancer, maybe she will create world peace. You do not know what she is capable of and you say Amanda should have had an abortion? Say it to jocelyn’s face. Tell her she was never born. Jocelyn may be the spawn of her attacker but she has a chance to be great, unlike her biological father. Nobody should just refer to Jocelyn as the spawn of Amanda’s attacker.

        • blair miller

          Its not just a spawn of her attacker is her spawn to. Yes there some fathers who are rapist. But also some fathers are murders , some are thieves, some are liars. Should children of them be aborted too? Because of what the father did, should children just be killed on the spot. Because of the wrong things there parents did. Acourse not and if my father was a rapist, I wouldn’t be happy about that, but I would not wish I was dead either!

        • Abb

          Ummm.maybe you replied to wrong post. Mine says “who is fighting for the rights of rapists and how are they doing that? Your post said ” But keep fighting for the rights of rapists over their victims and we liberals will keep winning presidential elections. . .you help us in so many ways.” I’m trying to figure out where in this article you see someone fighting for the rights of the rapists.

    • Mel

      So you are not “pro-choice.” You are pro-force the woman to have an abortion whether she wants one or not. As someone else asked HOW does allowing a woman to keep her child fight for the rights of the rapist. The rapist will be in jail with even more evidence against him because of the presence of the child. There is already one victim of violence. Why does there need to be two? It’s not “liberal” to be pro-abortion. Liberty means freedom. What about the baby’s rights to his/her own body? What about the baby’s freedom? How is a fetus not a baby? I’m currently pregnant. At 9 weeks I had an ultrasound where I could see my baby’s legs kicking and arms flailing. I could see a head and a nose. How is this not a baby? How is a fetus not a human being? What is it? A tree? A cow? What? Your logic is very illogical. And abortions may be quick but do you realize many are performed by dismembering a child while they are alive? If in-utero surgery is performed (yes this happens. Check out Boston Children’s Hospital website), the surgeon uses anesthesia for the baby as well as the mother because the baby has pain sensors long before birth. I really hope you are just ignorant of fetal development and how abortions are performed. I really hope you don’t think death by dismemberment or by being burned alive from the inside by saline should be acceptable. We wouldn’t do this to our worst criminals.

      • I suspect you would obligate a rape victim to carry to term the spawn of her attacker?

        • LCM

          Calling the child of a rape victim the “spawn of her attacker” is equating the child with the rapist. The child did not ask to be there. The child did not ask to have a criminal for a father. The child did NOTHING to harm the woman. Why should the child be punished?

          I ask you, would you punish a child, innocent of any crime, because of the crimes of her father? If a man strikes his wife, should his wife have the right to strike their child?

        • Mel

          It’s also the “spawn” of her. And two wrongs don’t make a right. Especially when murder is the second wrong. You are killing an innocent human being who cannot defend itself. How is this not murder? The means of conception doesn’t justify killing. There have also been multiple studies on depression after abortion. The rate of depression is higher in women who have had abortions than those who have not. She is already going to struggle with the trauma of the rape, she doesn’t need something else to increase her risk of depression. And I’ve been raped. I did not get pregnant, but I would not have aborted the baby had I been pregnant. I know what it is like.

    • So, by your logic, we should help Amanda recover from her ordeal by killing her living child and removing the evidence so that she is not reminded on a daily basis of the crimes committed against her.
      Your logic is by no means sound.

  • prolifeveteran

    too early to politicize. wait a week or two. two of the Castro brothers have been exonerated already.

    • LoveTheLeast8

      Politicize? Where does the article talk about political parities, politicians, laws? It simply says yay for a little girl making it.

  • How about we find out how Castro actually treated Jocelyn? He may biologically be the father, but that doesn’t mean he is a father.

  • melanie jean juneau

    great writing, subject and insights-thank-you

  • chinwuba

    This story is a living proof that love can overcome hate, and no woman needs kill a child because of rape or things done to her. Yes, love triumphs over hate and the raped can triumph over the rapist if she wants without staining her hands with the blood of an innocent.

  • Rebekah

    Life is beautiful. I’m glad that there are mothers like Amanda who recognize that.

  • midwestmomof2

    ProBirthers: if you REALLY thought abortion was murder, you would offer your uterus (and/or your female family members uteri) as a home for those fetuses other women want to abort. You could save so many fetuses! But, you won’t even consider this because you REALLY don’t want to save fetuses, you want to shame other people by imposing YOUR RELIGIOUS beliefs on to those who do not share them.

    You are NOT really pro-life people. You are pro-birth people and there is a big difference. Also, those of you asking if children born from rape should be murdered? Way to conflate the issue. NOT ONE PRO CHOICE advocate has EVER suggested such a thing. A fetus is not a baby and a baby is not a fetus. Get it straight.

    • Ingrid Heimark

      If I coujld save a unborn life by fetal transplant, I wiuld absolutrely fdo it, so would 90% of us, I am sure. Unfortunately, that is not possible

    • BobTrent

      You do nothing for the distressed women and their children but encourage them to kill their children. Blah, blah, blah. Many women do offer their uteruses to rescue abandoned frozen babies. But because they don’t hold parades and march blowing their trumpets, you pretend they don’t exist.

      Your blatant falsehood “A fetus is not a baby and a baby is not a fetus” has been abandoned by pro-abortion agitation leadership. Biology refutes you. Science (ultrasound) refutes you. They don’t want to sound like ignorant fools, so they try to change the terms of the arguments. Apparently you don’t mind sounding foolish.

      You seize on a bumble in the hastily typed words of a Pro-Lifer and treat that to “prove” to all, that is, all of your ilk, that ALL Pro-Lifers are illiterate ignoramuses.

      These WORDS are terms for different periods in the lives of HUMAN BEINGS (“persons”). An acorn is not an oak tree, etc., etc., blah blah. “Acorn” is a term for a stage in the life of an OAK. “Tree” (“oak tree”) is a term for another stage in the life of an oak.

      Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of NARAL Pro-Choice America and one of America’s leading abortionists, was an ATHEIST of Ashkenazic Jewish ancestry when he was “converted” from baby killer to baby saver. He became a Pro-Life Anti-Abortion activist on the strength of the Sonographs of babies, or fetuses, or children, or offspring, or little people, he saw in the mother’s womb during an abortion being perpetrated by another abortionist.

      “William’s Obstetrics, sixteenth edition, written in 1980. It is a standard textbook, used throughout every medical school in the United States. The preface of this book, published in 1980, cautions us as follows: ‘Happily we have entered an era in which the fetus can be rightfully considered and treated as our second patient. Who would have dreamed–even a few years ago– that we could serve the fetus as a physician.’ “

  • helovedthephonecompany

    “Emily Castro was convicted in Indiana in February 2008 of trying to kill her 11-month-old daughter Janyla, according to an Indiana newspaper and court reports.Castro, then 19, slashed the little girl’s neck four times and then sliced herself in the neck and wrists during a grisly attack at her Fort Wayne home in April 2007, a court document said”
    My point? The apple never falls far from the tree. Jocelyn may be a cute little kid now, but half of her brain comes from a monster, just like Emily’s did. I’m 57. Way past the age of this being an issue. However, in my younger years, if I were ever to find myself raped and pregnant I would abort without doubt to prevent another monster from being born into this world. I also don’t see how somebody could love a product of their rape. I certainly would not have kept that child with me once my captivity ended. That’s what foster care is for.