Republicans and Rape

*Sigh* Really? Really?! Can’t a woman have a bit of peace and quiet and get a chance to write about something fun and fluffy? Here I was, after my epically long diatribe about the presidential debates, thinking I’d get a chance to do something nice and light. Maybe I’d tell a fun travel anecdote or give an update about my efforts on eating at home more and bringing my lunch to work as originally talked about in “A Penny From the Past.”

You know, day-to-day things that make me happy.

Then, some ASSHOLE named Richard Mourdock, who happens to be the Republican candidate in the running for one of Indiana’s US Senate seats, had to go and say that after “struggling with it himself” he’s come to “realize life is a gift from God and even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Woah. First off, how exactly did you “struggle with it yourself?” Have you been in a situation where rape was a legitimate concern? Have you had to alter your behavior or experience the natural fear that can occur while walking down a dark street? Please, do tell us how you can at all relate to how someone in this position might feel.

Frankly, I guess I shouldn’t be so flabbergasted that we are, once again, hearing of another GOP candidate talking about shit that they could have absolutely NO understanding about in order to justify their position against abortion.

Obviously, there are a number of things wrong with his statement that a pregnancy resulting from rape is God’s will. To begin, I don’t think it’s a good idea to act as if you’re channeling the word of God in a political debate. It’s especially concerning, as we are supposed to have a separation of church and state in this country and religious freedom (to choose whatever religion we want, or to be free FROM religion if we want.)

Secondly, saying that the pregnancy is an act of God is implying that the rape itself was an act of God. Otherwise, how would that pregnancy have occurred? Or, did God come during/ after the rape act and then put the baby into the poor, suffering woman. (As a sidenote, if he WAS there during the rape, why didn’t he help her?) Wait, didn’t you say that your God was compassionate? Hypocritical much? I digress.

I hope it’s apparent that by implying God sanctions rape, it would have serious implications to the overall safety of women’s health and well-being in this country. It’s the same logic that allows the Taliban to say “God decrees that little girls should be shot in the head for wanting an education.”

Isn’t it funny how the word of God and “His will” all happen to be exactly how the candidate feels and thinks? Man, they must really have a direct line! Maybe God can make their football team win the next game for them, too.

In a funny twist of fate, the only candidate that Mitt Romney happened to personally endorse this campaign season is Richard Mourdock and the television ad that he filmed started to air on Monday…just a day before these remarks were made.

Yes, Mitt Romney endorsed Mourdock and filmed a television ad prior to the remarks he made in the debate. Some people are saying that because it was before Richard said these things, it shouldn’t reflect back onto Romney.

However, when asked if he would rescind his support, or even take down the TV commercial, Mitt said no. Actions speak louder than words. If he says, “I don’t agree with what he says,” but then turns around with a wink and a nod and verbally confirms that he wants the TV ad to continue running and that he still endorses the candidate….then he is implicitly supporting Mourdock’s position!

I think we’re seeing the type of discourse that results when people start believing it’s their right to dictate what women do with their bodies. This is a dangerous and slippery slope.

First it’s banning abortion. Then it slides into smudging the lines of a woman’s value and proper place. Then it creates an atmosphere that opens the door for people to moderate and gloss over the horrors of rape.

I’m truly scared of the extreme discourse that is coming from GOP’s mouths these days. Not simply because it’s atrocious. It also has the unfortunate effect of moving the “center” of this conversation to the far right. Which, I feel, is the ultimate goal.

Think about it, after listening to this tripe, someone like Mitt Romney (who believes abortion should be illegal, but is willing to concede exceptions in cases of rape) seems downright reasonable!

This is a trap, people. It is the standard operating procedure of the GOP party to frame and re-frame the conversation until we start thinking the unreasonable sounds reasonable. If there is one major and persistent frustration I have with the Democratic party it is the fact that they STILL fall victim to this tactic. This isn’t a new strategy! It’s been around for a handful of elections! Yet, we still manage to fall for it everytime. (Can you say “entitlement programs,” anyone?)

One of the things that’s been bothering me about this election cycle is that while the Republicans are trying to encourage people to make their decisions based on “about the economy, not social issues,” they are SIMULTANEOUSLY saying some of the most backwards, offensive, and misogynistic remarks in our modern history. Oh, and let’s not forget also ramming draconian and extreme laws through state legislation.

Well, fuck that. I reject the bifurcation fallacy that says this is a choice between either the economy or social issues.  Why can’t we have intelligent discourse on both? Yet, the Republicans insist that I should only be basing my vote on the economy and our national debt. I refuse to bend or apologize for the fact that I’m basing my vote to include social issues. If the GOP doesn’t want this election to be based on them, then they should stop legislating them.

And, another thing. As much as I wish I could have written about other things, I will not shut up about this stuff. We need more people speaking out against this type of extremism. We need to let these people know it is unacceptable. People who disagree with this barbaric way of thinking need to band together and remember we’re not in this alone. THEY are not the majority, regardless of how vocal they may be. There’s still hope, but we need to push back on this attitude together.

I’m not just talking about and referring to women, either. Men, who respect women, who have mothers and sisters and daughters that they see as equals, also need to be voicing their dissent to this backwards way of thinking! This is not just a feminism issue. This is a societal issue.

Above all, we need to VOTE THESE ASSHOLES OUT!

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18 comments on “Republicans and Rape

  1. emmawolf says:

    This post is full of so much “f*** yeah!”

    “I reject the bifurcation fallacy that says this is a choice between either the economy, or social issues.”

    Yes! Not only that, but some of the social issues would effect the economy. Example: health care. If we had real options other than employee-based health care, then people wouldn’t be as afraid to go off on their own and start a business and boost the economy that way. A public option for health care is an idea that would boost small businesses.

    “If the GOP doesn’t want this election to be based on them, then they should stop legislating them.”

    Inorite!

  2. Janyaa says:

    Hi, Emmawolf! I completely agree with you that social issues and the economy are intertwined. The fact is, none of these issues are either/ or issues. It’s wearisome that the media and our social discourse continue to insist on black and white (or in this case red and blue) framing.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  3. eteokretan says:

    You’re exactly right: “This is not just a feminism issue. This is a societal issue.” Exactly right.

    It’s frightening how dismissive they can be about rape. Sure, once they’re called out on it, they go on and on about how horrible it is, but it’s just not convincing. “Legitimate rape”? “Rape easy”? They really have no clue.

    Jill Filipovic had an excellent piece recently in the Guardian newspaper, “The Real Republican Rape Platform,” arguing that this isn’t random assholes “misspeaking,” it’s systemic.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/25/real-republican-party-rape-platform

    • Janyaa says:

      Their mock horror and outrage is absolutely not convincing. Not least of which for the simple fact that if they had EVER actually been sexually violated, or even experienced the serious fear of that happening, they would NEVER be able to speak so flippantly or dismissively about it.

      Thank you for the link! I’ll definitely be passing that on.

      I appreciate you swinging by and commenting. 🙂

  4. Matthew John says:

    While I agree with almost all of what you have wrote (realistically everything associated with the thesis of your post). The one thing I do have to disagree with is the comment regarding separation of church and state. Let me preface this with the fact that as an apathetic agnostic I have no “horse in the race” if you will on this particular issue, however I feel that this statement tends to be over used, as a fall back to any time someone in public office makes mention of their religious views.

    Firstly, the purpose (in most western societies) of the separation of church and state was to prevent the persecution that would invariably result, and thus infringe on a person’s rights to worship as they wish. It was intended to prevent things such as public funding to religious institutions (something which seems to be more or less forgotten, or intentionally ignored, given the number of “charities,” that spend ridiculous quantities of untaxed, or in some cases government provided, money on missions), and penalizing people in public situations for not conforming to religious requirements (such as the numerous cases in different countries, notably Canada around a decade ago, of children being suspended, etc. for not bowing their head in classroom-guided morning prayer).

    Separation of church and state is not something which in anyways prevents politicians, public figures, or anyone else, from mentioning their religious views, or even acting on them, so long as they don’t do so by providing public funding, or legislating certain religions. The fact that this man mentioned his god in a speech which outlined his view on an issue should have absolutely no baring on the conversation, and is a red herring on the issue. Lets completely remove the discussion of religion from this type of debate, allow him to invoke his deity as often as he likes, and focus on his views on rape and abortion.

    The moment that people that disagree with statements such as this start to invoke topics such as “separation of church and state,” as a reason for disagreeing with him (even if it’s the minor reason for disagreement), is the moment it allows figures such as this to garner support by invoking the image that we are “anti-christian” or “anti-religion” or any other number of “anti-something,” and as a result portraying themselves as the “only choice for people who are christian/religious/etc.” In my opinion, this is the major reason why the GOP (and in fact most right leaning parties in most western countries) tends to be seen as the obvious choice for Christians, as opposed to their actual stances on the issues. It’s not that they invoke religion in their speeches/platforms/etc., it’s that their opposition MAKES the debate about the fact that they mentioned their religion.

    TL;DR complete agreement, but lets focus on the issue of what his argument is, and not how he says it.

    • Janyaa says:

      Hm, I have to think about that. While I understand your point about focusing on the issue rather than his justification of it, I still feel pointing out the religiously motivated basis for his argument is important to note as also a violation.

      You say, “the purpose of the separation of church and state was to prevent the persecution that would invariably result…”

      So, my protesting that not only do I find his remarks about rape offensive, but also, as an agnostic who doesn’t necessarily believe in God, I find his justifications offensive should be equally valid. I feel this IS a persecution of my choice to be non-religious. Especially since he has proven he is more than willing to LEGISLATE according to his religious beliefs. It’s that last part that crosses the line and makes this matter a point of contention for me.

      He could believe, and state for the record, that he thinks unicorns exist and are living in his shoes for all I care. But, the minute he starts trying to rule what shoes I wear, or how to wear them, based on his belief of unicorns, I’m gonna have a problem.

  5. Matthew John says:

    Apparently I can’t reply directly to your reply…
    I always love the Unicorns in Shoes comparison 🙂
    The problem as I see it with protesting specifically his motivation for why he wants to legislate something (and not directly the issue itself) is that it tends to be a slippery slope. Everyone has some sort of motivation for their reasons, religion just tends to be the more obvious and I suppose more “in vogue” one to pick out (not to mention, look at how double standard this is, you have no issue with focusing on his Christianity, but if someone were to focus on a candidates Gender or Race as a motivational reference, I know that you specifically would be outraged 😛 *yes that was tongue in cheek* ).
    I suppose this comes back to my desire to have a more direct, issues focused debate in politics. I see most of the reason for politicians being elected now as them being the “least terrible choice,” as platforms tend to consist mostly of why your opponent is a bad choice, instead of why you are a good one. My belief is that the political system of (most) countries could be best served by more emphasis on policies and more punitive voting when promises are not followed through with, than the focus on “who that candidate is” that seems to be focused on most. Is a leader’s motivation and personality important? Yes, but is WHY a person wants to offer a universal healthcare system as important as the fact that he wants to? I personally don’t thinks so.
    If two candidates/parties/platforms are so similar that the only difference between the two becomes their motivation for their platforms, then I think it’s time to look at a third choice.
    This is not at all to say that I don’t agree with your point that when someone shows they are willing to legislate based on a religious belief (which then results in persecution of a different group, in this case, I suppose the case could be argued that group is women in general and rape victims in particular), that their religious views in general should become part of the discourse. I just believe in this particular case, him saying “I don’t believe there is a substantial difference between offering abortion for women who are the victims of rape, and those who aren’t,” and saying “I don’t believe that God sees a difference between abortion for women who are raped, and those who aren’t, and hence neither do I,” are substantially different statements in terms of public policy.

    • Janyaa says:

      “… you have no issue with focusing on his Christianity, but if someone were to focus on a candidates Gender or Race as a motivational reference, I know that you specifically would be outraged…”

      But, this is the thing. I’m not the one choosing to focus on his Christianity, he is! And, by bringing it into the conversation, he opens it up to discussion and opposition.

      “If two candidates/parties/platforms are so similar that the only difference between the two becomes their motivation for their platforms, then I think it’s time to look at a third choice.”

      I agree with that. The problem is that the two candidates in this case are different in their platforms. One wants to actively take away the choices of women to do what they see fit with their health and bodies, the other wants to protect their choices.

      “I suppose the case could be argued that group is women in general and rape victims in particular), that their religious views in general should become part of the discourse. I just believe in this particular case, him saying “I don’t believe there is a substantial difference between offering abortion for women who are the victims of rape, and those who aren’t,” and saying “I don’t believe that God sees a difference between abortion for women who are raped, and those who aren’t, and hence neither do I,” are substantially different statements in terms of public policy.”

      True, whether the motivation references God and religion or not, the public policy would end up being the same (and bad.) However, I still think that pointing out the stated motivations is equally valid and important.

      Don’t get me wrong, Matt, I do understand the point you’re making. You’re saying we should be focusing on the issue of their attitude against women’s choices, reproductive health and, specifically on their viewpoints towards rape and rape victims RATHER than the fact that they are using religion as their justification. The problem is that both of these issues are so thoroughly intertwined– and they are both wrong for different reasons.

      If we were to only focus on the one, without also pointing out the other, than we would be non-verbally implicit and willing to concede the point that religious justifications are a legitimate reason to legislate. Which, they aren’t.

  6. Matthew John says:

    Sorry..bored at work today: So I thought I would also mention that in response to your Unicorns comment (that you would be upset if someone tried to tell you what shoes to wear): http://www.endtheshoetax.org/. The US government DID try to do that through Tariffs 😛

  7. *Clapping Wildly* Yay! So, so well said. It is stunning, isn’t it? Glad I came over. I think I’ll tweet this.

    • Janyaa says:

      Thanks, Leanne! Please, feel free to share it via Twitter (or the rooftops.) I wouldn’t mind the traffic, and it I think the more we can get people talking about these issues, the better!

  8. Rawclyde! says:

    I made a study recently of the book of Hosea, one of the last books in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, in which God orders his prophet to accept back into his home his wanton promiscuous wife. Which is a major evolution ~ considering that, toward the beginning of the Old Testament, God would order a man to stone to death his adulterous wife. This particular religious advancement might have taken maybe 2,000 years.

    So you know as well as I that these thoughtful philosophers of the Republican Party are more or less dead in the water ~ along with a huge portion of the American population. Otherwise, why is the presidential race so close?

    So, I figure the best thing to do is roll with the punch and go eat lunch ~ even when these particular thoughtful ones are at the table ~ ’cause that’s where the food is. And, of course, while having lunch, be sure to utilize your freedom of speech and don’t forget your sense of humor. They’re goons.

    Amen.

    P.S. If you’re worried about hobnobbing elbow to elbow with these critters, bring a knife. That’s something they understand ~ especially if you stick them with it. I’ve personally never had to go that far ~ but then, I’m a guy.

    • Janyaa says:

      It’s interesting to hear from someone with a biblical reference and perspective. I’ll admit to not being very knowledgeable about the old testament and actively avoid most organized religions. It’s also encouraging to know that people can change and things can get better, even within the confines of the religion itself. Unfortunately, I don’t have 2,000 years to wait for it to happen!

      As far as utilizing my freedom of speech, I’ve never been accused of being too quiet. 😛

  9. ngnrdgrl says:

    What I don’t get is the idea that they are against abortion in the case of rape or incest, but then they throw in the line, “in the case of the life of the mother.” Every time a woman gets pregnant, she RISKS her life.

    “Every minute, at least one woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth – that means 529 000 women a year. In addition, for every woman who dies in childbirth, around 20 more suffer injury, infection or disease – approximately 10 million women each year.” – World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/features/qa/12/en/index.html)

    “…women in the USA have a higher risk of dying of pregnancy-related complications than those in 49 other countries, including Kuwait, Bulgaria, and South Korea… African-American women are nearly four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women… During 2004 and 2005, 68,000 women nearly died in childbirth in the USA. Each year, 1.7 million women suffer a complication that has an adverse effect on their health…” – Amnesty International USA (http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/campaigns/demand-dignity/maternal-health-is-a-human-right/maternal-health-in-the-us)

    • Janyaa says:

      “Despite this, women in the USA have a higher risk of dying of pregnancy-related complications than those in 49 other countries, including Kuwait, Bulgaria, and South Korea.”

      Thank you for the very informative links, ngnrdgrl. I didn’t realize the statistics were so high!

      That being said, I’m not sure I would want to make the case that ALL pregnancies and birth is subject to high risk and a threat to the mothers’ health in this debate. I’m afraid most people would hear that and discount any of the other numerous objections I have against their stance.

  10. […] an earlier post, I mentioned that there was a prevalent theme in the media, talking heads, blogs, and political ads […]

  11. […] know what I’m talking about, then please take a moment to read my past posts “Republicans and Rape” or “Females and Fair Sex” to get a taste of what I’m referring […]

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