Monday, August 20, 2012

for shame

Recently a candidate for the US Senate in Missouri said that "real rape" hardly ever results in pregnancy because a woman's body "shuts down" during forcible rape to prevent pregnancy.

Of course this has no basis in scientific fact as any doctor can tell you.

Of course the purpose of saying this is to restrict access to abortion as anyone with an analytical mind can tell you.

But what you might not see at first is how enormously disrespectful and cruel this is to women who have become pregnant by rape. I've known two such women and they are the very bravest people I've ever known.

Both had strong pro-life viewpoints.
Both struggled with the decision of whether to place the baby for adoption. One did, one did not.

Both struggled with well-meaning people who inquired happily about their upcoming "blessed event"

Both were honest with friends and family about what had happened.

Both deserve better from all of us than "you weren't really raped."

Both had their religious convictions tested in ways most of us can't imagine.  To hear their pain dismissed so cavalierly, and for political gain, disgusts me.



Update:

As you might imagine there's been a firestorm around this event.  Good.  And other women who have become pregnant from rape are speaking out.

24 comments:

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

And now he says he misspoke. He didn't misspeak, he put his foot in his mouth and told us what he really thinks about women. That people like him get elected is frightening.

Richard Gibson said...

I can only hope that instead of "political gain" it will be political loss. But far too many Americans (by which I mean one or more) will probably vote for this guy despite (or worse, because of) this.

Richard Wiseman said...

Yeah I read that too. Seems to me that political bigots' brains shut down when discussing real human experiences. There should be an intelligence test and an empathy psychometric test for anyone who wants to have the power to help form a country's legislation. You'd think that these people would do some research into the subject up for senate legislative discussion wouldn't you? Even a cursory reading of available documentation on this issue would have made the guy feel stupid for thinking that before he read any research and glad he'd found out how wrong he was and pleased he wasn't going to make an absolute arse of himself putting that view forward. What arrogance to not even read research and available documentary accounts of the matter. What a moron and I bet he isn't kicked out of office and even if he is some global corp will take him on as a silent CEO. Scum really does float to the top in politics doesn't it.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

This is beyond pathetic, it is ignorant and cruel. It is an attack against all women everywhere. We CAN NOT allow this sort of speech to go unchecked. And, this particular politician created a bill with GOP VP nominee, Paul Ryan regarding: "forcible rape" (as if there is any other kind. http://www.pensitoreview.com/2012/08/20/paul-ryan-co-sponsored-forcible-rape-bill-last-year-with-missouri-tea-party-senate-candidate-rep-todd-legitimate-rape-akin/

Laurel said...

Thank you for this post. I have seen people raging all over the internet about this quote and nobody has taken it to the logical conclusion...

This guy basically said that if the woman gets pregnant then she couldn't have been raped. What is that? Oh, really she must have wanted it or she couldn't have conceived? I thought the "she was asking for it, dressing like that, going to that party/club/bar, acting all slutty" was as bad as it got but I guess I was wrong.

It's surreal. Like the stories of women who publicly accuse their attacker being stoned for adultery.

Writer Chick said...

Janet, thank you for posting this. And your commentators, as well, thank you for speaking up. This is horrifically shameful, and one can only hope that the jackass will in fact lose his political power over it.

Sara said...

I read that too and was absolutely sickened. I remembered that similar beliefs existed hundreds of years ago in England...of course that was back when they thought disease was caused by "bad humors" and witchcraft because they didn't understand things like bacteria and viruses.

I was absolutely horrified that someone in 2012 (in the U.S.!) could not only think but SAY something so incredibly stupid and ignorant. For Pete's sake even Afghanistan just reversed the ruling on making the jailed rape victim marry her attacker (at least that one woman, sadly, others are still jailed for being raped!). This jackass and others like him are an affront not only to women but to intelligent people everywhere. This ignoramus should not only NOT be elected to office, he should be shunned by the public at large.

Marsha Sigman said...

There is no excuse for that level of ignorance.

Stephsco said...

I can't believe in 2012 we are still dealing with this. If this was any Joe-Schmo on the internet, fine, but a politician? Shameful.

Wry Wryter said...

And to think there are women out there who will still vote for the man. That's not just disgusting, it's just plain wrong.

Robin Ruinsky said...

No one who is aware of the far right turn this country is taking should be at all surprised by Akin's comment. The House of Representatives, controlled by the Republican Party has put forward 59 anti choice bills. 1100 bills nation wide in states the GOP took over in the 2010 election. Paul Ryan not only co-sponsored the bill to "redefine" rape. He also sponsored the Person Hood bill giving a fertilized human egg more rights than the woman who carries it. It would make all abortion under any circumstance illegal and make the woman and doctor subject to murder charges. It would also make miscarriages come under legal scrutiny, you know, in case the woman "Purposely" did something to cause it. And many forms of birth control would also be banned.
So this remark doesn't surprise or shock me. It's where we are today and we're on the verge of it getting worse if more right wing zealots are elected.

Brenda said...

I consider myself a conservative and his comments sickened me. Worse, others tried to defend his statement. What. an. ASS!

Chro said...

He later clarified on Mike Huckabee's show that when he said 'legitimate' rape, he meant 'forcible' rape. So statutory rape, for example, isn't legitimate, because those girls were 'asking for it'.

A message to all the sane people out there: PLEASE VOTE.

Aimee L. Salter said...

Amen to that.

Jen Chatfield said...

So very ashamed to live in the same state as this terribly misinformed, needs-to-learn-to-think-before-he-speaks candidate.

This is the nice, cleaned-up version of what I really want to say, by the way.

Elissa M said...

I, too, am fairly conservative in my views, and I, too, was utterly dumbfounded by that man's remarks. I could not believe the interviewer didn't stop him right there and say, "Whoa! Did you just say women who become pregnant through rape were asking for it?"

It's easy to blame a political party or to say a person is ignorant because of where he/she lives and paint everyone with a similar background with the same broad brush. But that's as bigoted as this man (if not quite as horrifically stupid).

I wish more smart, sane people would run for office so we're not stuck voting for the lesser of evils (though in this particular race, I can't see how the man's opponent could be even half as bad).

nightsmusic said...

I rarely comment here because frankly, the Shark scares the sh*t out of me, but I wanted to say that I too, am a conservative. I lean to a moderate Republican POV, and this man made me ashamed of not only my political bent but the fact that there are others out there, from both sides, spewing idiotic rhetoric like this.

And yet, yes, there will be people who will still vote for him! I live in suburban Detroit and can't tell you how many times a day, some Detroiter is shown on the news stating how they feel Kwame just made a mistake and they'd still vote for him, even though he performed a rape of sorts on the city by stealing millions.

Go figure. You can't fix stupid.

But it is a pleasure to read the various comments by everyone here and not see anyone attacked for their political lean. Thank you!

Kristin Laughtin said...

@Laurel: Exactly. That IS the logical conclusion, and it used to be fairly widely held in the middle age. Well, a very similar belief was: a woman had to orgasm to conceive, and women can't do that if they don't want the sex, so clearly any women who got pregnant couldn't have been raped. Never mind the fact that women can orgasm from rape, because sometimes mental and emotional horror isn't enough to overcome physical stimulation.

The implications of Akins' statement are so horrifying. The lack of understanding of biology. The lack of compassion for women who have been raped, who may feel even dirtier if their body responds to such a violation that is in no way their fault and that they didn't ask for, or who become pregnant and have to decide whether to keep the baby and what to do with it. I'm pretty moderate to slightly liberal, but my religious views make me pretty pro-life, and still I think this is horrifying and disgusting. I'm scared for women in this country because of men like this who have power.

Michael Seese said...

Really, any man who talks about rape and does not use words like "heinous," "abominable," or "castrate the f--ker" is going to get pilloried. And deservedly so.

Scribble Orca said...

This is where I'm tempted to forget being a pacificist and make suggestions that sound like "have done unto you what you suggest is alright to do to others."

Sherryl said...

This idiocy even made the news in Australia! I know we probably just hear the worst of your politicians' "foot-in-mouth" stuff here, but truly, there is so much of it and so much of it comes from Republicans.

It astonishes me that you guys don't seem to really hear what it all sounds like - scary! Glad that this time at least you are all standing up and saying "Hang on a minute!" Please do it some more. Lots more. We're sure trying here.

Eileen said...

He's on the Science and Technology Commission- and he doesn't understand basic biology. Or he understands it and merely hates women. How he can say he "misspoke" is a mystery to me. What was he trying to say?

Robin Ruinsky said...

Sherryl, many of us have heard this fully for a long time, are well aware of the rise of the Christian Taliban. But still too many have their heads in the sand and cling to the belief the GOP is some kind of middle of the road conservative party when the fact is they're a group determined to turn the clock back. They're actively passing laws to suppress the vote in urban areas, to keep turnout down so they can steal an election.
As for wanting more smart, sane people to run for office? There are smart sane people who ran for office and were defeated by the Tea Party Republicans. I consider the GOP a hate group. And I have to wonder about anyone who still thinks it's sane to vote for them. The lunatics are running the GOP asylum and that isn't going to change anytime soon.

Theresa Milstein said...

Thank you for posting about this topic. We can't stand by and let people like Akin be our representatives.