So Rape Me, Maybe?by Arielle Schussler on Oct, 29 2012
I am a very simple girl with very simple tastes. I like my cupcakes with buttercream frosting. I like my skirts with excessive tulle petticoats. And I like my rights. Period.
I have never been one to get involved with politics. The subject matter couldn’t bore me more. What can I say, a bunch of well- dressed men with Messianic Complexes arguing among themselves from iron towers just never appealed to me the way an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer did. Then, some enlightened individual by the name of Todd Akin spoke the prophetic words, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” and thus, I was inducted into the land of politics.
After just five minutes of personal research (outraged, yes, lazy- equally so), I discovered that Todd Akin comment actually was just the most recent edition of bullcrap politicians spew about rape. I am not going to make a genealogy of said bullcrap, but I will definitely share some of the highlights.
“Even when life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
-Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock
“The facts show that people who are raped —who are truly raped—the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.”
—Former Rep. Henry Aldridge
“These Planed Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness…We are not going to have our men become subservient.”
—Rep. Allen West
“I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
—Rep. Steve King on never hearing of a rape-induced pregnancy before
And of course, my personal favorite:
“As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”
—Former Rep. Clayton Williams
(More quotables can be found at http://www.dayswithoutagoprapemention.com/)
So I know that I have excluded the context of each of these quotes and that there is a possibility that these politicians misspoke or Freudian- Slipped or were under the influence of a Twinkie induced sugar high. Quite frankly, I don’t give a damn. What we can see is that people honestly think this way and not only that, but these are people who were voted into positions of power. In other words, for each one of these politicians, there are thousands (if not millions) of people who share these sentiments.
But what these sentiments really boil down to is anti- Abortion stances or in other words, Pro- Life.
The primary claim made by Pro- Lifers or Pro- Life politicians is something to the effect of, “It is never permissible to have an abortion.” This claim, in turn, can be understood as saying, “There is not a single circumstance in which it is permissible for a woman to have an abortion.”A common objection made on the behalf of Pro- Choicers is the case of rape; for surely in such cases where the woman did not actively choose to participate in the sexual interaction that resulted in conception of a child, she shouldn’t be held responsible for said conception.
And thus, in order to adequately counter this objection, Pro- Lifers must demonstrate how cases like rape are no exception. How do they do so? By comments like the ones above. From what we see, there are two lines of argumentation commonly appealed to in order to justify the primary claim given by Pro- lifers in response to the rape objection. Either:
a) That it is physiologically impossible to conceive as a result of rape. This, in turn of course, means that if you DID conceive, then it couldn’t have possibly been from rape, or
b) That it was God’s will.
I understand the point of view of Pro- Lifers to a certain extent. No one thinks it is “ok” to kill children/ infants. I am pretty sure that everyone is equally as grossed out by the idea of a fetus in a jar or whatever. But as a result of this blind tirade against abortion, we have some pretty hefty consequences, one of which is the indelicate and thoroughly disgusting handling of rape. What do politicians think rape is? A “Get- Out- Of- Jail- Free” card from the scheming hussy that must have been asking for it? A way in which God can put the bun in the oven if the chick refuses to get down and dirty of her own accord? But even more importantly, what are the consequences and implications of presenting rape as an action of God or a woman’s way of “sterilizing” men?
The fact of the matter is that the lengths that politicians are willing to go to in order to justify anti- Abortion stances are inexcusable. The rape comments are only the beginning; through these comments, there is communicated a view in which a woman is reduced to an oven devoid of agency, a vessel made to be “impregnated” by the will of others, a being with no consent or will of her own. On the one hand, she is a liar, an irresponsible slut who wanted it and then refused to deal with the consequences. On the other, she is a victim of circumstance, but the scapegoat for a higher cause.
Through all this, I am not saying be pro- Abortion. What I am trying to say is be pro- Women. Be pro- Human. If a consequence of harboring anti- Abortionist sentiment is THIS, namely a depreciation of the horrors of rape, then I cannot, and will not, remain nonpartisan. I understand the values that these politicians are trying to uphold. I hope they understand mine when I say that “no means no.” No to my rights to choose being taken away. No to politicians that make light of rape. No to the degradation of the female body and agency as a result. And no to whatever Kool-Aid they are selling- I’m not buying.