I’m Sorry But Getting Pregnant Out Of Wedlock Is Absolutely Nothing Like Getting Pregnant From Rape

rapeThings I never knew that we needed to explain to politicians:

  1. Rape is never “legitimate” or illegitimate. It’s just rape.
  2. Women’s bodies are awesome, but they are not magical.
  3. Forcible rape” is redundant.
  4. And the newest addition to this list, getting pregnant from rape is not the same thing as getting pregnant out of wedlock. Those two experiences are not comparable at all.

The reason we needed to add a new line to this ever-growing list is Tom Smith, the Republican nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania. Now either Tom Smith is trying to overcome his completely forgettable name or he learned absolutely nothing from the struggles of his peer Todd Akin in Missouri.

In fact, the Akin controversy was the impetus behind the entire deplorable comment. Smith answered a question about his feelings on Akin’s comments like this.

“’What that congressman said I do not agree with at all,’ Smith said. ‘He should have never said anything like that.

‘I lived something similar to that with my own family,’ he went on to say. ‘She chose life and I commend her for that. She knew my views but fortunately for me … she chose the way I thought. Now don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t rape.’

Smith was then asked if his daughter’s unwed pregnancy and rape were similar. ‘No, no, no. Put yourself in a father’s position, yes, I mean it is similar,’ he said.

Asked again to clarify his statement, Smith said he wasn’t comparing the two.

‘No, I didn’t not say that,’ Smith said. ‘I said I went through a situation (with a daughter). It’s very, very difficult. But do I condone rape? Absolutely not. But do I propose life, yes I do. I’m pro-life, period.’”

Now I think it’s obvious that Smith immediately realized the really horrible thing that he’d said. I think he knew right away that he’s in trouble because he walked it back and said that he wasn’t comparing the two. But the fact of the matter is that he was. He called them similar. And he was saying that his daughter’s pregnancy outside of marriage proposed a moral quandary for him and his family. They made the choice that worked for them. He just wouldn’t like other families, other people’s daughters, to be able to do the same thing.

Even worse, I think that Tom Smith showed that he doesn’t truly see a difference between a possibly troublesome pregnancy and a pregnancy that results from rape. He doesn’t understand that a pregnancy from rape is more than just a potentially problematic experience that people at Church or the country club might judge you for. Pregnancy from rape means that you’re carrying the child of a person who victimized you. It means that your choice has been taken away not once, but twice. It means that you’ve lost your free will, and there’s now a physical representation of that moment growing in your abdomen.

Pregnancy from rape means that you have experienced the horrors of rape. It means that someone else stripped all your power and used you at the most very basic level.

Getting pregnant out wedlock means that you chose to have intercourse with someone you weren’t married to.

These two things are not alike. They are not “similar.”

Now, after Akin’s comment and the strict GOP platform have been unveiled, Smith’s comment might not even make a big splash. It might not get the media firestorm and general condemnation that “legitimate rape,” caused. But this comment deserves to be denounced and discussed. We should all be offended. Not just women who actually got pregnant from rape, not just women who got pregnant before marriage, not just women in general, we should all be offended. Every man who respects women and realizes that rape is not just inconvenient, it is traumatic and soul-crushing, should be offended. And Tom Smith should never be able to represent anyone our nation’s Senate.

(Photo: sharpen/Shutterstock)

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    wow what a bunch of crybabies with this stupid “”legitimate rape” comment…how is it that EVERYONE is misunderstanding, is everyone really that stupid and sheep-like? he meant legitimate rape as in, an actual RAPE occuring…not some dumb bitch saying she was raped when in fact it was consensual…cuz guess what?! girls do that something! i went to high school with a girl who would say after every break up that her boyfriend “raped” her. i mean come on, how stupid can you be? RAPE is RAPE, a lying chick saying she was raped, not rape…hence legitimate rape…………duuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Ipsedixit

      Someone saying they were raped when they weren’t….isn’t rape. There is no such thing as “legitimate” rape. There is either a rape or there is not. Adding a qualifier makes no legal sense, and if he’s running for Senate, I would hope he would at least have some basic grasp of the law.

      CUZ (sic) you know that happens something (sic)!

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      like duh (with 100 u’s and h’s) I’m glad you commented, the above comment gave me a real bad headache.

    • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

      You said exactly what I thought.

    • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

      Anyone who lies about being raped needs mental help. I don’t think that is a common occurrence. Do people often lie about being robbed? No. Even if it were made up, like Ipsedixit said, it’s NOT rape! Therefore, all rape IS “legitimate”. I really can’t say I put a lot of stock into people who insult my intelligence that overuse elipses and can’t spell or punctuate.

    • canaduck

      Apparently the stats for the number of people who lie about being robbed (and other similar crimes) are about the same as those who lie about being raped–e.g., very, very low.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carmen-Finnigan/841528248 Carmen Finnigan

      Lying about rape is extremely uncommon. Oh and it is against the law. And that is not what Todd Akin said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

    Had he clarified better that he was making a correlation regarding his pro-life stance, I wouldn’t have much of a problem with it. It sounded, at first, like he was trying to say that if a woman gets pregnant out of wedlock or if she is raped, she should choose life (not saying that is MY belief, I absolutely believe a woman has a right to abortion if she is raped). The fact that he SAID they ARE similar…he’s an idiot. How are they similar? How, in his mind, are those two things alike besides the common factor of pregnancy?

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  • alicia

    I saw this on the news last night, and even the reporters were horrified. I wonder why the concept of rape is too hard for some of these older men to grasp. It’s not like this is a recent crime. I did understand from his comment that he believes that no pregnancy should end in abortion. I wish some of these republicans would remember that one of that basic tenants of being a republican is that you believe in little government, and little government power. Why on Earth are they trying so hard to allow the government to control or have a say in so much of our personal lives??

    • Serena

      Little government is not a tenant of being a republican. Republicans demand different things than Democrats, but both parties want government involvement in our lives. The Libertarian party calls for small government, although Ron Paul deviates from that in many ways.

    • canaduck

      Yeah, and he hates women too, so we aren’t really any better off with him either. :/

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