As President Obama said today, “rape is rape.” Why, then, are republicans trying to redefine rape by adding qualifiers to an act of power and violence in order to legislate women’s bodies? By redefining rape they can prevent rape victims who get pregnant from receiving an abortion.
Rep. Todd Akin’s reference to “legitimate” rape forced me to return to the dictionary to see what would qualify a rape as legitimate. According to Free Dictionary, a legitimate rape would consist of the following:
1. Being in compliance with the law; lawful.
2. Being in accordance with established or accepted patterns and standards.
3. Based on logical reasoning; reasonable.
4. Authentic; genuine.
5. Born of legally married parents.
6. Of, relating to, or ruling by hereditary right.
Let me get this straight, a legitimate rape would fall within the limits of some draconian law?! A legitimate rape would be in accordance with established patterns or standards?! A legitimate rape would follow logical reasoning?! A legitimate rape that results in a pregnancy would actually go against #5 and #6, since laws of inheritance were established to keep wealth in the family. Even so, most of the definitions of “legitimate” make Akin’s comment abhorrent! His slip-up provides us glimpses into the way republican men think about women’s bodies.
Because the media has been all abuzz over this gaffe, Akin later corrected himself after Mike Huckabee coached him that the word he probably meant to use was “forcible.” Yes, that’s it, so Akin added the qualifier, “forcible” to rape to try and step out of caca-storm he created.
Again, I turn to the dictionary to see how forcible rape might be better than legitimate rape. At Free Dictionary, forcible
1. Effected against resistance through the use of force.
2. Characterized by force; powerful.
Does changing the definition of rape by adding this new qualifier make a pregnancy that results from rape less horrific? What this new qualifier does suggest is that some forms of rape are consensual, right, or that a woman who got pregnant and then claimed rape was not really raped or she would not have gotten raped? The only time force might not come into play is if and when a rape survivor is drugged or intoxicated. Still, if a man has to resort to these methods to have sex or to feel powerful, then he’s not a man and had to use other means to make a partner more compliant, even if it means knocking her out. Pathetic!
I’m sorry folks, but I find this viewpoint very scary and insulting to women. What I find even more insulting and maddening are the men who cannot see that there is a war on women. If a majority of women tried to legislate men’s bodies, then I’m sure they would fight just as hard to keep female legislators out of their scrotum!