Legitimate Rape

I’m a far cry from being a news junkie, but you’d probably have to be living under a rock to have missed Akin’s dialogue about “legitimate rape.” But, just in case you have decided to reside under the aforementioned boulder, I’ll update you:

On Sunday, August 19th, Todd Akin, Missouri’s Republican nominee for Senate, said this:
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare.” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.” Mr. Akin goes on to say that he simply is trying to protect all life.

Okay, I understand that Mr. Akin feels strongly about his anti-abortion stance. And while I agree that terminating an embryo is a horrible thing, I have to think that there are worse things. Things such as creating an unwanted life. A life that the mother may not be physically, financially, or emotionally able to support.

And what is this noise about legitimate rape? As apposed to what? Illegitimate rape? Is he saying that if a woman didn’t fight hard enough to have bruises that she therefore condoned intercourse? If she didn’t have those bruises photographed and recorded by the authorities, she must, therefore have welcomed the assault?

And then we get to the part about the female body having mysterious ways of ‘shutting the whole thing down.’ What? I’m no scientist, but I do know that an egg’s an egg. And a sperm’s a sperm. Women who have been raped have a lower probability of using any form of birth control since they would not necessarily have been planning on sexual intercourse. Maybe that’s why rape victims have a whopping 5-7 percent probability of becoming pregnant. Maybe that’s why there is an excess of 32,000 women in this county alone who become pregnant annually because of rape. And that’s not even considering the thousands of Middle Eastern and African women who are forced to carry the children of their attackers as a way of perpetrating the rapist’s line.

If Mr. Akin is so set on preserving life, perhaps he could concentrate on building a lasting peace in the Middle East, or reducing our dependence on foreign oil or even cleaning up the environment so that future generations won’t be poisoned by our polluted air and toxic drinking water.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Mr. Akin has a ‘legitimate’ point that I’m just not understanding. Any thoughts?

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41 Responses to Legitimate Rape

  1. My thought is that Mr. Akin could best serve the nation by getting out of politics. Maybe retire and spend the rest of his life with his mouth shut and his ears open.

  2. Mary Louise says:

    Lois.you and I are on the same page — you go, girl! I guess there is such a thing as consensual rape…. who knew? The fact that this idiot is still in the race is stunning.

    • Lois Greiman says:

      Similar to consensual murder probably…when one is guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time on the wrong end of a weapon.
      Do you suppose this man has a daughter? Or a wife? Anyone with the organs necessary to tell him he’s an idiot?

    • Teri says:

      I agree my first thought was is there any other kind

  3. leannebanks says:

    This man’s comments make my brain explode.

  4. Brynna Curry says:

    Politicians constantly amaze with the level of idiocy they are able to achieve.

    • Nora Braun says:

      I couldn’t agree more! And then these idiots try to make excuses that what they said wasn’t really what they mean. I think Freud would agree that the unthinking comment reveals more about ones true character than all the practiced and rehearsed phrases they can utter!

  5. Pat Van Wie says:

    It’s amazing anyone can be that stupid — BTW, I love the sign in the background. “You can’t fix stupid. But you can vote them out.” I don’t know if it was meant for Akin, but it shoudl be. 🙂 I certainly hope the Missouri voters are smart enough to send this man packing.

  6. superauntkx9 says:

    I love that sign.. You Can’t Help Stupid”.. and this guy fits the words perfectly… Rape is Rape. If you say NO you mean NO and if a preganancy is the result of rape, a woman should ALWAYS have the say if she wants ot have that baby or not. My body is my body and no one is going to tell me what I can and cannot do with inside or out of it…
    Okay I will get down of my soapbox now….

  7. Linda says:

    I must say I have calmed quite a bit since I first heard about this. There was a mind set like this in the 1950’s and I would have thought people had evolved since then. I am sure he is also of the belief that a husband cannot rape a wife. I am sorry but no man should ever try to legislate how women control their bodies. Until a man can be forced to carry a child in his body and take the risk of child birth they should shut up and sit down.

  8. Pat Van Wie says:

    But the stupist part of his statement– and it doesn’t matter whether your pro-choice or pro-life– is that he claims a woman’s body shuts down and doesn’t get pregnant if she’s raped. I mean, did he really say that? Can he possibly believe it?

  9. Mr. Male, you’ll have every right to decide what to do with a fertilized egg or a fetus on the day the conception happens inside your body.

    Mr. Politician, how dare you presume to mess with my daughter’s and my granddaughters’ bodies? Make no mistake, that is exactly what you are trying to do.

  10. Thank you, Lois. This is a conversation women need to have out in the open. And I’m happy to have this discussion with other writers. When we talk about the “rape fantasy” my response is, that’s romantic? I write fiction, but I firmly believe that fiction “holds a mirror up to nature.” Of course we can write about “forced sex,” but call it what it is and deal with it honestly.

    Yes, we can “shut that whole thing down” if by “that whole thing” we’re talking about the notion that “she asked for it.” In some countries a woman can be stoned to death for having a sexual encounter, whether she chose to or not. In others she’s laughed out of court if she was wearing tight clothes when she got raped. And it wasn’t that long ago that it happened regularly in this country. We have a few more laws in place to protect us now, but idiots like Aiken–no understanding of biology whatsoever, but he holds an office and a microphone–would take us back to the bad old days in a heartbeat.

    Let’s be clear, ladies. We’re not going back.

    • shirleen Miller says:

      you said it, many of us have said it. What strikes me as so out there is if we female bodies
      could stop a rape pregancy why can we stop any pregance we can not handle. Why do we
      have to take birthcontrol, why do we have to have right to life and right to choice, why do we
      Why do we have Roe V Wade, why even a discusion on this topic. Why are people still trying
      to over turn Roe V Wade, why do we have to go back to the way it used to be to get permission
      to get a surgery from the men in our lives or our lives were extendable. This is a hope full
      wake up call for all women or all ages that we have to step up to the plate and leave laws
      in place that give each of the choice to make our own decisions about our own bodies. And
      those decisions are not just about pregancy but so many other things we had no rights over.
      And one more thing if you think it won’t go back, so wrong as people still vote in the idiots
      Aiken who want to have power over someone. It was a hard won fight to have our own rights
      do not throw that right away.

    • This is not necessarily a female atrocity. Over 40% of all boys are also rapes, and the world turns their face and looks away. Rape of anyone, adult or child must be a capital offense.

  11. catslady says:

    Don’t you just love the part that he “misspoke.” He wouldn’t have said it if that wasn’t how he thought! I am glad he didn’t drop out so his opponent can win. And if she doesn’t win – we are doomed!

  12. As the mother of a rape victim, I find Akin’s comments obscene and offensive. He clearly has no understanding about what a rape victim (regardless of gender) experiences or what the consequences of rape are. It’s equally clear Akin has never had a conversation about rape with a rape victim. And as for the term “legitimate rape?” “Legitimate” means lawful; since when has rape been lawful in this country? Akin’s ignorance and lack of compassion speak for themselves.

  13. Donna Weitz says:

    What horrifies me is how many other men in power think the same way!

  14. Jody Vitek says:

    I agree with every comment made here. When I heard what this idiot said, it angered me to know end. He needs to step out of office and let someone, hopefully, more competent do the job. Republican or Democrat, man or woman, it doesn’t matter, as long as they understand we as women will not stand for this. We are women, hear us roar!

  15. ladies, some of us men are in your corner too, rape is rape no matter how you define it, that’s my opinion,and should never be tolerated in any society, but especially not in ours..we should have a mandatory law where by any man found guilty of rape would have his jewels removed., that is the way I see it!,

  16. Mia Fisher says:

    We need to bring public flogging back just for this guy…

  17. librarypat says:

    He must be related to our congressman. He proposed a change in the law that would change the rape law. Two glaring sections pertained to fighting back. If the female did not fight off her attacker, it wasn’t rape. This applied specifically to women who had been drugged (the fact that they couldn’t move let alone fight back didn’t count) and children. He basically wanted to eliminate statutory rape. If a 10 year old child doesn’t fight off an adult (how many even know what is happening), it isn’t rape. The really frightening thing is, this man is an OB/GYN doctor.
    I am not an advocate for abortion.
    It is a terrible decision that no one should have to deal with. In most cases the women who make this decision have gone through hell to do it. They don’t need a bunch of self-righteous individuals getting in their face about it. My husband had a customer who was going on and on about the evils of abortion and that it shouldn’t be allowed. (We live in the South in a very conservative area.) My husband looked her in the eye and said, “Suppose your daughter was raped by a black man and got pregnant, what would you do?” She was speechless then nodded and said “I’d want her to be able to get an abortion.”
    As with most things, rhetoric is cheap. Put it on their doorstep or subject them to the problem, and they usually change their position. At least our congressman and Mr. Akin never have to worry about getting pregnant from a rape- legitimate or otherwise.

  18. Peggy says:

    I’ve always been pretty proud of my state of Missouri. This fool makes us all look bad. I was going to vote for his opponent anyway(Love Claire McKaskill), but when he opened his trap with this nonsense, I will tell anyone that will listen to think very strongly about giving their vote to Claire!! Between this idiot,Akin ,and Yoder (from Kansas) who apparently went skinny dipping in the Sea of Gallilee, I’m in the middle of Stupid! Please don’t think bad of all Missourians,we aren’t all fools. 😉

    • Nora Braun says:

      As a new fellow Missourian (born here and just moved back last year after 32 years in Minnesota) I am also proud to see that current statistics show Missouri voters almost even between Republicans and Democrats. And I am with you on supporting (and doing our best grass roots effort) to get Claire McKaskill into office. We may have a lot of rednecks here (some of whom I’m related 🙂 but many of them also see how outrageously stupid Akins and his kind are. Remember to let you outrage be heard by your vote!

  19. BUT you have to realize that he’s big mistake was publicly giving voice to the Republican policy. Over 260 representative (including Ryan) signed an anti-abotion bill that would allow an abortion only in situations of “forcible” rape…as though rape would ever be anything but forcible! It kills me to see women’s rights being under attack again. I mean the THOUGHT that contraception was a topic for discussion in Washington this year blows my mind! If women don’t stand up for our rights, no one else will

  20. Kylie Brant says:

    Yes yes yes. He and his kind make my brain explode. Where did the celebration of ignorance come from? Don’t like science? Make up your own. Make up new definitions to words while you’re at it, like redefining rape, patriot, christian, american, so the new definition just fits a narrow narrow mindset. I feel like we’re being sucked into a giant time warp trying to suck us back into the 40s. I’m not going quietly!

  21. Robin says:

    Thanks for leading this discussion. I agree with so many others that the entire statement makes my brain and my heart hurt.

  22. Yes… his statement was beyond stupid. How baseless. He needs to be trained in the foundational concept of our writing craft: Engage brain before writing, or speaking, in his case. The only thing that can be said is that his “views” on this matter, are not those of the vast majority of conservatives and/or Republicans. He needs a uber time out from politics.

    • Debbie Walsh says:

      With all due respect, Jim, how do you “”know” that his “views on this matter are not those of the vast majority of conservatives and/or Republicans” ?? There seems to be a fair amount of evidence that the opposite is true, if the approval of the Republican platform statement regarding abortion is any indication. I think that’s the piece of this that people fear most.

      • Hi Debbie.
        I understand that if one listened to the news and pollsters, they could assume that what you infer is true. I live in rural America, in a predominately Republican/conservative area, and have also lived in LA (where there are many more Republicans than the pollsters/talking heads say). I have never heard a single person, anyone of any party or persuasion say what he said about rape and the body’s ability to be selective.

        He is a “fringe right” loon, period.

        About the Republican platform, I don’t think the term fear is appropriate. This is a discussion that needs to be had, and I will guarantee you that not all on any side will be very happy at all with any decision on this matter. There seems to be no compromise on either side, nor any room to negotiate. It is evident that both sides “believe” that they have the only and right answer. When it comes to beliefs, there is no trump card. Stalemate.

        If you are comparing the Christian Right’s position on rape (which is NOT what Akins’ statement was about) and their sanity of life position, that is another discussion, I have no position on that other than that to choose abortion is the singular decision of the woman facing her own dilemma.

        In closing, please don’t assume that the majority of Republicans think as the left has portrayed us, ore even what the GOP says. We are your neighbors, relatives and friends who are reasonable, considerate citizens who mostly just want to be left alone… like you.

        Thanks for allowing me to at least answer your comments.
        Respectfully, Jim Great Elk

  23. Please forgive the typos. I’ll do better next post.

    • librarypat says:

      Per your previous statement, I live in NE TN which is a very conservative, Republican area. See my comment above on the views of our local politicians. These views and many others are accepted by too many here. They believe what the party leaders are saying and rarely question it. They never fact check what is said about “the other side” and it is impossible to discuss anything with them. So many vote along straight party lines and don’t even question their facts or positions. Like the woman in my comment, they don’t think things through. They listen to FOX News, the party line, and their ministers and never put their brain in gear. You can put independent findings in front of them that disprove what they are being told and they won’t even look at it. Until a larger portion of the voting public looks at issues with an open mind and are willing to rely on the facts and not the party line, we are at the mercy of Akins and people like my representative on this and many other issues.

  24. The whole topic just makes me sick. No matter what some politicians say, I cannot imagine how a body could differentiate when it comes to that situation.

  25. Nicole says:

    I can’t believe that we still have to define what is a rape. I have two daughters and it’s really scary hearing what some politicians are thinking. Abortion used to be illegal but they were still performed, they just were made in an unsafe manner. Let’s not go back to that. There is a choice of birth control today but victim of rape or incest usually didn’t plan on getting pregnant in the first place so abortion is often there only choice.

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