The rapey news trend of late

Posted on August 23, 2012

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The news has been awfully rapey lately.  And I mean awful.  Obviously it began with Todd Akin’s comment about Legit Rape and women’s superawesome magical defense against pregnancy in such cases of Legit Rape.

“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.”

I know, i still can’t believe it. It has spurred some great conversation and pictures around the interwebs – there’s always a silver lining (yay information-sharing!).. some of my favorites are:

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now i need to find a good analogy for legislating women’s bodies and restricting autonomy….

Image(pretty grainy but it’s a snippet from Eve Ensler and info for the new “campaign” – that word sounds cheap.  Check out onebillionrising.org )

and

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Humor aside, it really is disheartening that we are still having these conversations, that we still are trying to define what constitutes unwarranted invasion of someone’s body, all in the name of curtailing a woman’s right to choose.

I rather appreciated this article from the New York Times, of all places:

In asserting that women have the superpower to repel rape sperm, Akin ratcheted up the old chauvinist argument that gals who wear miniskirts and high-heels are “asking” for rape; now women who don’t have the presence of mind to conjure up a tubal spasm, a drone hormone, a magic spermicidal secretion or mere willpower to block conception during rape are “asking” for a baby.

Which is a scary thought.. if you’re a woman, or a human being capable of empathy. And let’s not forget that the GOP is all for small government, unless you have a uterus.

Akin, Ryan et al. have made it their business to designate which rapes are legitimate, joining up to push Orwellian legislation last year to narrow the definition of rape to “forcible rape.”

In which case these men would like to define that experience for you. And as this woman points out, their definition and magical tubal spasm science shockingly delegitimizes her rape:

You see, nine months after my rape, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. You could say she was conceived in rape; she was. But she is also so much more than her beginnings. I blissfully believed that after I finally had decided to give birth to and to raise my daughter, life would be all roses and endless days at the playground. I was wrong again.

It would not be long before I would learn firsthand that in the vast majority of states — 31 — men who father through rape are able to assert the same custody and visitation rights to their children that other fathers enjoy

furthermore she makes real the nuances and shades of grey that so often escape our discussion of these topics:

Having fought this injustice for the past several years, I have come to believe that ignorance is to blame for this legal absence. Opponents argue no woman would ever choose to raise the child she conceived through rape. The only two studies to analyze the choices made by pregnant raped women indicate otherwise — at least 30% of women who conceive by rape make this choice.

Others argue that no rapist would ever seek parental rights. Not only does my experience and that of others I know prove otherwise, but it is not surprising that a man who cruelly degrades a woman would also seek to torture her in an even more agonizing way, by seeking access to her child.

To be fair, the comments section show that the story needs more research and corroboration.  Not because i believe that even if she was married to said rapist there’s no way she could have been raped, because that’s a completely realistic possibility.  But because I wouldn’t want to perpetuate this as fact when I don’t truly know for myself. But it’s late and i’m tired, so there’s my disclaimer.

So there’s been all of that happening. And of course the stuff about how the GOPs “human life amendment” (also a great explanation of why this isn’t an isolated incident but a political party on a fucking mission to regulate your uterus!) which is disgusting but (as usual) not surprising given what we’ve seen happening in State Legislatures over the last two years:

Last week, a pregnant teenager from the Dominican Republic died after being refusedchemotherapy until it was too late because of the country’s abortion ban. Do we really think we’re that far from this reality? When 55% of women of reproductive age live in states hostile to abortion in the U.S.? When so many states already have bans that don’t include an exception for rape or incest?

This is not about Todd Akin. This is about a presidential candidate who touted the endorsement of the same doctor who told Akin the bunk science he parroted this weekend. It’s about a VP pick who worked closely with Akin and so many other senators on bills that would put women’s health in direct danger.

And this was another great counter to the war on abortion rights:Does It Matter Why Women Have Abortions?

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It’s been a whirlwind, and I’m with Erin over at Jezebel :

I’m trying to process and react to a veritable blizzard of ignorant, rape-related bullshit flowing unabated from the mouths of conservative lawmakers in America. Reading story after story of how, say, a cranky old coot of a doctor peddling medically dangerous misinformation has somehow informed half of the American public’s views on women’s health care, or how, say, another dude — always a fucking dude — is saying that he doesn’t think that pregnancy from statutory rape or incest is really A Thing since he personally doesn’t know any pregnant kids or how, say, the GOP is condemning this sort of Wingnut Real Talk while quietly inserting a mandatory ultrasound hat tip/constitutional amendment that would force all rape victims to carry their assailant’s child to term into their official party platform has worn me down.

….

Akin’s statements didn’t surprise me, but the depth of his ignorance and the extent to which people with a lot more power than I have back him up did, no matter how many times it’s reiterated to me (Remember this? Or this? Or this?).

….

But even though I wish it would, it doesn’t stop. Rep. Todd Akin still leads Claire McCaskill in the polls by a point and refuses to drop out of the race. Voters — millions and millions of them — will still cast their ballots for people like Akin and Iowa Rep. Steve King this election, even though they’ve made it their business to deregulate the hell out of banks and regulate the shit out of women.

Akin, King, and the rest of the GOP that supported a WIRE HANGERS ALWAYS! constitutional amendment aren’t simply destructive assholes — they’re actively harmful, ill-intentioned. Evil. And before you condemn me for being overdramatic and premenstrual for choosing the word “evil” to describe guys who wear suits and America flag pins, consider what that word means — profoundly immoral and malevolent. People who truly believe that rape cannot lead to pregnancy because of *~uTeRuS mAgIc~* or that women who become pregnant under any circumstances must stay pregnant are using information that they know to be wrong in order to promote laws that cause bodily harm, physical punishment, and distress to women. Doesn’t get much eviler than that without getting weapons and uniforms involved

Eventually a person gets to the point where they can longer withstand the constant blitzkrieg of bullshit. So, Steve King, Todd Akin, and shouty Twitter conservatives: you win. Rape outrage limit reached. I have given this all of my fucks, and the fucks I have given are still not enough fucks. So many more fucks need to be given, and I have exhausted my fuck supply. The fucks are on backorder. Employees are working overtime to restock my fucks, but in the meantime, please accept this 10% off coupon while we wait for the fucks to arrive via FedEx. I’ll be over here, drinking wine from a Pac Man mug and watching cartoons.

Luckily, I have not run out of fucks to give, because it is not my job to report all the misogynistic bullshit that goes on in our political sphere – it’s just a sadistic hobby and is helping build a great argument for anarchofeminism (note to self, include in thesis).

I did, however, almost almost hit my tipping point with this gem about the British MP’s defense of Assange:

“Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100 per cent true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape,” Mr Galloway reportedly said. “At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it. And somebody has to say this.

“Woman A met Julian Assange, invited him back to her flat, gave him dinner, went to bed with him, had consensual sex with him, claims that she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen, you know. I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.”

emphasis mine, because ARE YOU fucking KIDDING ME?  Again with the blurring of what constitutes unwarranted, unjustified invasion of another person’s body.  The fact that in this day and age, after how many billions of dollars have been spent on education campaigns worldwide, how much hard work has been put in by community organizers, activists, educators, etc. to make the world a safer place for people with vaginas – after all of that, this wanker’s best defense is “well, you know, yes once is yes forever”.  I wonder if he’d feel the same way if it was his ass hole, or mouth, or any orifice of his. And of course my outrage and exhaustion is compounded by the fact that this could be a tactic against a man who pissed a lot of powerful people off. COULD be.  We just don’t know. Divide and conquer is their favorite tactic.

All i Know is we have a lot of work to do before women are free.

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