BIRMINGHAM, England (Gray News) - Whether it’s fulfilling a dream or satisfying curiosity, it should come as no surprise when someone who was adopted wants to find their biological parents.
Unfortunately, sometimes the answers long sought after just bring about more pain.
Take what happened to an English woman. Her search began when she was 18. A social worker located records that confirmed that she’d been conceived by rape.
In 1975, her mother had gone to babysit at the house of a family friend in his 30s. She was just 13 years old at the time.
“It says in seven different places in the files that it was rape,” the woman told the BBC. "It states his name and address, that social services, police, health workers knew - but nothing was done about it. It made me feel angry, devastated for my birth mum, for me.”
Eventually, she reunited with her birth mother, a moment she called “very surreal.”
Years later, a high-profile sex abuse case planted a thought in the woman’s mind. Her biological father had never been brought to justice.
“I’ve got DNA evidence because I am DNA evidence. I’m a walking crime scene. And it’s all written in the files. Surely people are going to take me seriously,” she told the BBC. “I wanted him to be held accountable. I wanted justice for my mum. I wanted justice for me. The ramifications of what he chose to do have shaped my entire life.”
The woman tracked down the man she believes fathered her. Sporting a secret camera, she confronted him about the circumstances of her birth.
While he did not confirm engaging in intercourse with her mother, he didn’t deny it either.
In the United Kingdom, there is no statute of limitations for any criminal offense. Even so, her desire to bring her mum’s attacker to justice faces major legal roadblocks.
Although she’s supportive of her daughter’s pursuit of charges, the birth mother has declined to participate. She felt let down by authorities when she originally reported the rape.
But West Midlands police are telling a different story. Chief Superintendent Pete Henrick, who leads the public protection unit, said the department has no record of the mom’s rape allegation in 1975.
He also said the law would only recognize the mother as the rape victim, not the daughter.
Still not deterred, she wants police to consider bringing about a “victimless prosecution” for statutory rape, citing birth certificates and DNA as evidence.
“This could be one of the few historical cases where there’s actually irrefutable DNA evidence,” the woman said. "I want the police to demand a DNA test. I want the police and social services to apologize for their failures, and to learn. And I want the definition of victim to be reviewed.”
Whether or not the case proceeds is up in the air. Still, the woman at the center of it has made an ally in the British Parliament.
Jess Phillips, who represents Birmingham Yardley as a Labour Party member, told the BBC children born of rape should “absolutely” be considered victims.
“I thought we had won this argument, the idea you don’t have to be a direct victim of abuse - we would never suggest in a domestic violence situation that a child who had never suffered any violence themselves was not a victim of the crime happening around them - to me it’s exactly the same test that is met,” Phillips stressed.