The Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri is in hot water after some truly clueless and factually baseless claims made in an attempt to defend his harsh anti-choice stand on abortion. Congressman Todd Akin was explaining why he doesn’t approve of abortion, even in instances of rape. Here’s his head-scratching response:
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
I’m not quite sure which doctors Akin has been speaking with, but I’d love to hear their explanations. I’d love for them to stand by the statement in the face of rape victims everywhere. By the way, according to Planned Parenthood, more than five percent of rapes result in pregnancy. And considering that rape is still a serious problem in our country, that’s a lot of women who should be able to make their own choice about whether or not to continue a pregnancy that was forced upon them.
Congressman Akin’s opponent, incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill has already responded to her challenger’s disturbing comment, tweeting, “As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases,I’m stunned by Rep Akin’s comments about victims this AM.”
It’s not the first time that Akin has demonstrated some truly barbaric positions on rape. Talking Points Memo noted that, “As a state legislator, Akin voted in 1991 for an anti-marital-rape law, but only after questioning whether it might be misused ‘in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband.’”
The biggest issue with Akin’s statement is not just his restrictive abortion position. It’s the idea that some types of rape are “legitimate” and that others are merely… what? Not really rape? Weapons used against a husband you’re mad at? To Akin, apparently only some types of rape count as rape. The others are different, and by extension, less.
This is a huge issue with the rape apologist culture. There’s this believe that the only “legitimate” rape is the rare circumstance when a woman is attacked in an alleyway by a psychopath. Or that the only “legitimate” form of rape is one where the woman is physically restrained and beaten into submission.
This line of thinking ignores thousands of rapes that happen every year. Statutory rape that occurs when victims are too young to consent to the very grown-up act of sex. Date-rape that occurs when criminals drug their victims or wait until they’re not mentally capable of making such an important decision. These are still rape victims and those rapes can still result in pregnancy.
As a woman, Akin’s statement makes me sick. The insinuation that some women are just claiming rape when they really wanted to have sex is so dangerous and completely out-of-line for anyone attempting to represent an electorate that happens to include a whole lot of females. Suggesting that if you really didn’t want it, you wouldn’t have gotten pregnant victimizes the rape survivor all over again.
Congressman Akin’s statement will get press because he’s running for office. But the sad thing is that there are people out there who think this way, who qualify some rapes as “legitimate” and others as not. These people feel justified in stripping choices away from women, even those who were never given a choice to begin with. It’s disgusting and should not be acceptable for human beings to speak this way, whether they’re running for office or not.