Politicians, with a particularly large percentage of them coming from the Republican party, have been having a bit of a word vomit problem lately when it comes to the subject of rape. You probably remember Representative Todd Akin discussing the differences of legitimate and illegitimate rapes, which sort of kicked off the parade of GOP politicians being unable to shut up about rape. Then you had Richard Mourdock talking about rape babies being a gift from God or some such… Both went on to lost their elections. But the GOP realized the whole rape thing was a bad idea to talk about and decided to stay quiet.
Ha, just kidding. No, not only did they not stay quiet, but Georgia Representative Phil Gingrey decided not just to bring rape back up, but to specifically bring up Akin’s comments. And then to attempt to defend them by saying Akin was partly right.
Now, I understand what Akin and Gingrey are trying to suggest… Gingrey flat says it.
“[…] and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape.”
But here’s the problem: Discussing rape in those terms is ridiculous and makes it seem like it’s a common occurrence. It might be somewhat common, but you know what’s even more common? Rape. Gingrey and Akin want to talk about not wanting to punish non-rapists, but they remain silent on how to improve punishment on actual rapists. Not to mention, I’m pretty sure their medical defenses are a load of crap. Gingrey says adrenaline can hinder the possibility of pregnancy, suggesting that rape is the primary type of sex adrenaline is secreted during… which is stupid, because he defends it by talking about couples consensually trying to procreate having too much adrenaline, thus entirely nullifying his point.
The discussion of “legitimate” rape is toxic on every level. It makes the subject turn to “Is the victim lying or not?” Now, I know we have an innocent until proven guilty system, so it’s up to the accuser to prove things, but rape is such a very iffy subject in court when it comes to evidence, and we’ve got a culture that loves to pin rape on the person that was raped. What we should do is make punishments for both rape and lying about being raped intensely severe. Make it so people aren’t as willing to falsify a rape claim, which has happened from time to time, as well as maybe deter rape and make any accusations of rape that much more serious, as the accuser is putting themselves on the line. Seriously, that’s the only type of political discussion that should be had. Treat rape as a terrible crime. Don’t attempt to justify or categorize. Even members of the GOP are saying that. Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster, and Kevin Madden, a Mitt Romney campaign adviser, have basically both said that GOP politicians need to shut up about rape.
Of course, that’s not going to happen. Not when “moral crusaders” like Representative Paul Ryan are going to try to pass bills allowing rapists to sue the women they’ve raped. And make many forms of in vitro fertilization illegal… for some reason.
Yeah… the day the GOP decides to stop being morally reprehensible while claiming to be the moral representatives in government may be the day the world ends.