Friday, October 26, 2012

An open letter to Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and any other whacko who insists on blaming the women or involving God in rape


I address this letter to Reps. Akin and Mourdock specifically, but more generally to the bat-shit-crazy male religious wingnuts who insist on attributing rapes, the results of rapes, and violent crime to God.   I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you tend to be men.

Rep. Akin, you have stated that women legitimately raped cannot get pregnant.  Extrapolating from your statement, every pregnant “victim” of rape is a liar by virtue of the fact she is pregnant. 

First, you are an idiot.  But more importantly, I don’t believe for a minute that you believe that.  Why would you say such a thing that you can’t possibly believe?  It seems far more plausible that your idiocy is predicated on fear.    

Let me lead you on a journey.  A woman becomes pregnant by a man not her husband.  Perhaps he is a philanderer.  Perhaps he is a boyfriend who doesn’t want to marry her.  In a world of DNA testing, science has him backed in a corner; the father cannot deny paternity.  If the man and woman are friendly, it is up to them to negotiate the terms of this stroke of bad luck.  If the man negotiates in bad faith, attempting to escape his responsibility for example, he risks angering the woman.  An angry woman’s ultimate weapon is to accuse her partner of rape.  This appears to be Rep. Akin real fear.  In Akin world, women accuse men of rape as just another weapon in the gender wars.

This is not a terribly common fear among men, but heightening the fear is the near impossibility of defending against it.  Paternity is established.  The man clearly had sex with the woman.  But was it rape?  In cases of “He said, She said” where paternity is fact, the only defense is to undermine the character of the accuser.  If the sex was consensual, there was no rape.  An unmarried woman having sex or a woman having sex with a married man is a woman of low morals.  She's not a good girl.  And we all know that bad girls are asking for it.  They lure good men to do bad deeds.  And girls who have forbidden sex are equally as capable of lying about it.  In fact, they are more likely to lie to cover up their bad behavior.  They might even lie because they didn’t get their way. 

Where is the man in this scenario?  He is a assumed to be a victim.  He engaged in consensual sex with a bad girl who then lied about the nature of the dalliance.  Despite his best efforts to do right by the child, the woman became angry and unjustly accused him of rape.  Our man is a victim.  That is what Rep. Akins’ statement is all about.  He would rather disparage the character of all women than to ask men to “man up”.  In Akin world, no man rapes, and all women are liars.  He attempted to inject bad science into the argument as proof. 

But let’s be clear.  Belief that a woman scorned would falsely accuse a man of rape is an extreme fear.  It is not something that happens with such regularity that a generalized fear of women is warranted.  This fear attributes to all women a willingness to engage in the most extreme behavior imaginable:  a willingness to falsely accuse someone of a violent crime and to send them to jail for a long time out of spite.

Wow.  Really?  Rep. Akin, do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a rape conviction?  Do you know the social isolation that comes with accusing someone of rape?  Women know that without physical proof or an eyewitness, they are unlikely to get justice.  They also know that their past behavior, sexual history and general  character will presented for public consumption in court, that the accused will attempt to undermine their character, and that they will be assumed to be lying simply because they have reported a crime.  Reporting and pursuing legal recourse for rape is not something that any woman takes lightly.  Statistics indicate that only a tiny fraction of rapes are ever reported.  As a general rule, the law has failed to protect women against rape.  The law fails women victims of violent crime.  That this statistic is admitted by police departments across this land should cause greater concern than the highly unlikely event that a woman would falsely accuse a man of rape.  Rep. Akin, if you were a man of character and one worthy of your office, you would be addressing this problem instead of contributing to it. 

Rep. Akin, in your single idiotic statement, you paint women, as a class, as untrustworthy, manipulative liars and you do so to allow men to cover up their misdeeds.   Trust me.  These men don’t need any more help than the law already provides.  Your statement is insulting to women, nearly as great in its magnitude as the assaults they condone and legitimize.  You are unfit for public office.  Go back to your district and find another job. 

Rep. Mourdock, you have said that a woman victim of rape becomes pregnant because God intended it.  When asked whether you intended to imply that God preordains rape, you said that was “sick and twisted”.  You also are an idiot and a really, really misguided Christian. 

Let me break this down for you, Rep. Mourdock.  One quarter of all women will be victims of rape at some point in her life.  25%.  That means me.  That means women you know.  One in four.  Any God that intends a woman to get pregnant as a result of rape MUST intend that woman to be raped.  Do you honestly believe that a benevolent God would not intervene as a woman is brutally attacked and then say, “I intend as a product of this violence that a child should be given to this woman as my gift”?  You are the sick and twisted one.   If the act of rape is not “of God”, how can the results of rape be “of God”?

Further, you must remember that men and women can be victims of rape.  Both adults and children can be victims of rape.  But only adult female victims of rape possess the second terror of this horrific crime: the possibility of pregnancy.  If God intends one biological result of rape, the pregnancy, then God must also intend the other inevitable biological results of rape.  So long-term psychological damage to the victim, damage to the reproductive organs of children, torn rectums, humiliation, pain, and so on are the express intent of God.  No, you say?  Really?  Why is one inevitable biological result the intent of God, but not another?  Why is God so inconsistent?   Did he tell you which things he intended and which he did not?  How do you know? 

Rep. Mourdock, your statement clearly illustrates why we separate our religious beliefs from our public policy.  I do not believe in your inconsistent, punitive, misogynistic God.  I would never believe in a God that singled out women victims of violence for extra punishment.  I would never believe in a God that *could* protect women, men and children from violence but chooses not to.   Either your God is involved in our everyday lives or he is not.  Rep. Mourdock, you do not get to pick-and-choose for the lot of us when and under what circumstances your imaginary daddy in the sky gets to intervene in our lives.
Either you keep your idiotic religious beliefs out of your professional life or stay home and preach your doctrine to your children.  You have no business bringing that kind of bat-shit crazy thinking to the public square.  If I was a believer, I’d pray your constituency rejects you.