Cool Party You've Got There, Republicans

[Content Note: Rape culture; reproductive rights.]

So, over the weekend, Republican Senate candidate and current Congressional representative from Missouri Todd Akin, who is running against Democratic incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill, defended during an interview his anti-choice position even in cases of rape by saying:
"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."

Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.

"Let's assume that maybe that didn't work, or something," Akin said. "I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."
In response to the resulting firestorm, Akin claims that he "misspoke," of course: "In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year."

Listen, buster: You don't get to claim that you've got empathy for women who are raped while also denying them the right to terminate a pregnancy resulting from rape. You're a woman-hating nightmare who uses inflammatory language like "attacking the child" to describe terminating an unwanted pregnancy, and you clearly have about as much empathy for survivors as the fuckheads who raped us in the first place.

And if Representative Akin doesn't enjoy being compared to a rapist, then perhaps he shouldn't be publicly and repeatedly defending his desire to force women to use our bodies the way he wants us to use them, irrespective of our consent.

In his statement explaining that he "misspoke," Akin calls rapists "the lowest of the low in our society," without a trace of irony. Personally, I'm really hard-pressed to see why I should be any less contemptuous of a man who sits at a big mahogany desk in Washington making decisions about my body without my consent than I should be of a man who used physical force to make decisions about my body without my consent.

Undoubtedly, the good Congressman would be outraged and horrified to be compared, even obliquely, to sexual predators.

As well he should be. I am horrified to have to make it. But anyone who holds the position that zie should be able to legislate away my bodily autonomy and supersede my consent about what happens to my body shouldn't be too goddamned surprised by the comparison.

Lowest of the low indeed.

* * *

Last night, when we were talking about this guy and his shitty comments, Iain snarled, "What century is this guy from?" To which I replied, "Considering that throughout history, conquering men would rape women with the specific intent of impregnating them, I would say it's a very modern convention to indulge the pretense that violent rape cannot result in pregnancy."

The Republican Party: Willfully less enlightened than raping marauders, in order to defend their anti-choice position.

* * *

So, yeah. Akin's a d-bag and his "science," such as it is, is demonstrable garbage. (Good thing he sits on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Congress obviously has the best men on the case!) He's promoting faulty theories by doctors who should lose their licenses if they're not wholly constructed fantasies who practice medicine exclusively in Akin's terrible brainpan.

He's also a rape apologist.

Setting apart some category of "legitimate rape," as opposed to all the rest of the rape, which isn't really legitimate, presumably because the victims "asked for it," in some way or another, or because it was only sorta rape, by virtue of the victim being a sex worker or a seductive child or her rapist's wife, is classic rape apologia.

Men like Akin don't define rape by the lack of consent. They define rape by its victims. They have a detailed vision of the perfect rape victim: A traditionally pretty young, virtuous, straight, cis, white Christian woman, who was raped by a stranger in the bushes while she was walking home from her job as a nurse or a teacher or some other caregiving profession in her conservative wardrobe and sensible shoes. She was left suitably bruised to prove her rape, but not so much that it will permanently ruin her luminous beauty. A perfect victim of the most terrible crime.

Women who are coming home from bars a little bit (or a lot) tipsy; woman who are wearing revealing clothing; women who are sluts; women who are unattractive; women of color; trans* women; lesbians; women who are sex workers; wives; girlfriends; coworkers; acquaintances; girls on the brink of womanhood—these are women who are not "legitimately" raped. That is not a comprehensive list.

These women, the ones who deviate from Akin & Co.'s detailed vision of the perfect rape victim, most of us, are not "legitimately" raped. We "cry" rape. We "claim" rape. We are torn to shreds in the public sphere for failing to conform to the model of the perfect, acceptable victim of legitimate rape.

We're the women who try to ruin good men's lives by making vindictive accusations.

Akin claims to have empathy for us. What a terrible fucking joke. No one who has a modicum of empathy for survivors of rape tacitly silences us by setting apart as "legitimate" only the rapes that virtually never happen.

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