Rape and the Good Ole Boy’s Club
ABORTION, MEDIA, POLITICS,
Dori Hartley | VenusBlogs Managing Editor
One almost has to thank Todd Akin and his verbal calamity of ignorance for showing us what Eve Ensler so brilliantly calls “a window into the psyche of the GOP”.
Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
His blunder was of the kind that will never merit forgiveness, nor will it ever endear anyone who is associated with him. What a job he did by cementing the word rape to the Republican party.
I think Ms. Ensler put it best, in her article, “Dear Mr. Akin, I Want You to Imagine… “.
You used the expression “legitimate” rape as if to imply there were such a thing as “illegitimate” rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape. The underlying assumption of your statement is that women and their experiences are not to be trusted. That their understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority. It delegitimizes and undermines and belittles the horror, invasion, desecration they experienced. It makes them feel as alone and powerless as they did at the moment of rape.
A “higher, wiser authority” refers to the good ole boy’s club, of course. She then goes on to say:
Now you want to say that you misspoke when you said that a legitimate rape couldn’t get us pregnant. Did you honestly believe that rape sperm is different than love sperm, that some mysterious religious process occurs and rape sperm self-destructs due to its evilcontent? Or, were you implying that women and their bodies are somehow responsible for rejecting legitimate rape sperm, once again putting the onus on us? It would seem you were saying that getting pregnant after a rape would indicate it was not a “legitimate” rape.
Isn’t amazing that someone needs this spelled out for them? And yet, his bold-faced callousness must be made into an example — before it becomes the norm.
Ensler asks him to engage in a little creative visualization, as an experiment in empathy:
Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you are on your bed or up against a wall or locked in a small suffocating space. Imagine being tied up there and imagine some aggressive, indifferent, insane stranger friend or relative ripping off your clothes and entering your body — the most personal, sacred, private part of your body — and violently, hatefully forcing themself into you so that you are ripped apart. Then imagine that stranger’s sperm shooting into you and filling you and you can’t get it out. It is growing something in you. Imagine you have no idea what that life will even consist of, spiritually made in hate, not knowing the mental or health background of the rapist.
Then imagine a person comes along, a person who has never had that experience of rape, and that person tells you, you have no choice but to keep that product of rape growing in you against your will and when it is born it has the face of your rapist, the face of the person who has essentially destroyed your being and you will have to look at the face every day of your life and you will be judged harshly if you cannot love that face.
Ms. Ensler, we all applaud you for your efforts. I personally cannot believe that a letter such as this one will ever be forgotten. Let’s just hope that “good ole boy” seeks help for his blurting problem.