Say it out loud. It’s a hard, definitive word, isn’t it? One syllable, a word you spit out because to hold it too long inside feels like a travesty, a violation, something so repulsive that you don’t want to be contaminated.
The legal definition of rape may differ from your personal definition, but in most places it’s defined as forcible sexual relations with a person against that person’s will. However, before the 1970s, many courts in the U.S. viewed the element of force from the standpoint of the victim. A man would not be convicted of rape of a competent woman unless she had demonstrated some physical resistance. In the absence of physical resistance, courts usually held that the sexual act was consensual.
The italicized part of this paragraph illustrates how, before 1970, the victim – usually a woman – was viewed as guilty right from the start. Before 1970, any woman who brought rape charges against a man was sometimes advised by the police to not press charges because if it went to trial, her sexual history would be ripped open to public view.
Here we are in 2012, nearly 40 years after Roe v Wade made abortion legal, and we’re still having this conversation? Todd Akin, a six-term Republican Congressman from Missouri, now a candidate for the senate, actually said: “ If it’s a legitimate rape the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
Huh? A legitimate rape versus – what, exactly? An alleged rape? A pretend rape? An illegitimate rape? And the female body has ways to shut the whole thing down? Never mind that his biological facts are wrong. From the NY Times: “There are no words for this — it is just nuts,” said Dr. Michael Greene, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School.
There are now calls for Akin to step down, to give up this race, to get out while the getting is good. That’s a distraction. The bottom line is that Akin and Paul Ryan, Romney’s VP running mate, co-sponsored a bill that would confer personhood on a fertilized egg, which means that even an egg fertilized during a rape is a person and to abort that egg is tantamount to murder. A woman who conceives a child during rape or incest must carry that child to term.
Wow. It’s not enough that a rape victim is traumatized beyond belief. In the Republican scheme of things, if you’re impregnated as a result of this incomprehensible violation, you must carry that child to term and spend the rest of your life being reminded of that violation every time your child nurses, every time you look into that child’s eyes.
Paul Ryan and Todd Akin are cut from the same cloth. They’re no different than Saudi men who can do anything to their wives because their women are chattel, owned and operated by husbands, brothers, fathers, men. When Romney chose Ryan as his running mate, it was a clear message that he doesn’t know that women now have the right to vote. And yes, Repubs, good luck winning an election without the female vote.
Today, August 21, in Tampa, Florida, the Republicans made this travesty part of their party’s official platform – no abortion, not even in the event of rape or incest.
Please, tell me why ANY woman – why ANY man – would vote for candidates who hold such extreme and spiritually corrupt views about life.
Is there a synchro in all this? There are actually two. Both are dark tricksters:
Todd Akin is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Science, got that? You would think he would know that the female body doesn’t distinguish between friendly and hostile sperm.
And: the current track for Tropical Storm Isaac, which is predicted to become a Cat 1 hurricane by the time it hits Florida on Monday, is headed very close to Tampa. That’s the location of the 2012 Republican convention – beginning on Monday - where Romney will be officially nominated as his party’s presidential candidate.