“Legitimate Rape”

A few days ago, when I read the title of an article on AOL talking about Montana Republican Representative Todd Akin‘s remark about what constitutes as “legitimate rape“, I wanted to pretty much rip my hair out. In what seems to be a completely unnecessary digging up of an old issue (birth control) it has sure spiraled out of control.

I would first like to address what Akin said: that in the case of a “legitimate rape” a woman’s body will recognize it and prevent her from becoming pregnant. Now, I don’t know about any of you, but this to me this sounds like archaic thinking. Like, this man was picked out of the dark ages and dropped onto the face of this planet in this day in age. I mean seriously. How fucking stupid can you be to think such an absurd thing and then publicly voice it in 2012 when we have science and we know how sperm and eggs work? Really? Really? And we can’t get pregnant from pre-cum either? How about we trust the pull-out method too?

I read these 2 posts (here and here) on Thought Catalog  in which the author talks about “rape culture” and how people always ask questions like “well, what were you wearing?” “how much did you have to drink?” and so on. And like her, I am infuriated by these questions. I find them to be oppressive to rape victims. Victimizing the victim and asking questions like this does not help the situation. To assume that rape happens because of the way someone is dressed or how many drinks they’ve had is wrong and ignorant.

Rape doesn’t happen for those reasons. Rape is never and has never been something that people ask for – whether by way of dress or body language or otherwise. Rape is the fault of those who do the raping, and not those who are raped. And for some reason, this concept seems to fall by the wayside. For some reason, too many people like to think that the victim is the cause of the rape – even if they won’t admit it consciously!

This is completely illogical, since as far as I know, no one ever asks for rape. No one goes out drinking or partying or having fun with the intent to get raped that night. No one gets into a relationship with someone with the intent of having non-consensual sex with that person. No one explicitly trusts a family member and expects to be raped at night.

The fact that people try to somehow blame the victim is the worst part, aside from the actual rape itself. That someone can be so cruel as to try to make it the victim’s fault is the worst thing to possibly conclude or allude to. It is never the victim’s fault. And we need to stop trying to make it out as such.

We also, apparently, need to educate people that there no such thing as like, a magical vagina, that can detect whether or not you’ve been “legitimately raped” and prevent you from getting pregnant. Because that doesn’t exist. Rape is rape, no matter how you twist it, and no matter whether you get pregnant from it or not. It is a violent crime and there is no debating about whether it is “legitimate” based on whether you became pregnant or not.

Which rolls into the whole abortion issue. As I was searching for a picture on Tumblr in regards to the Todd Akin situation, I came across a guy who put it all in a pretty good perspective, quote: “if women could shut it down, why the fuck would they be advocating for abortion in the first place?” Yes indeed, why would we? I’ve already mentioned in previous posts my opinions on the abortion issue, but let me expand them by saying that rape victims should have first priority and say in whether they get an abortion or not.

Making abortion illegal will, as my favorite abortion billboard says “make your closet space shrink as fast as her right to choose.” If abortion is made illegal, women will find alternatives – and they will not be safe. One of my favorite foreign movies, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days is a film from Romania that deals with the tragic truth of communism and abortion in the 1980s. Due to the oppressive society and government, the main character’s best friend is forced to get an illegal, backstreet abortion.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that although the two issues are not mutually exclusive, they are related on a certain level. But perhaps the biggest picture we should look at is the oppression of women and the sudden changes and voices that are speaking up against it. I think people are beginning to wake up and smell the decaying roses. We are not happy with the way things have been for far too long – at least I know I’m not. I find it positively preposterous that women are still denied full equality, that we are still paid less for doing the same jobs as men, and that we must be subjected to men telling us what we can and cannot do with our bodies.

If you’re a woman, be proud of yourself. Speak up. Be a part of the change, even if you think it’s inconsequential and makes no difference because it does make a difference. Stand up for your rights and don’t ever, ever let anyone define your experiences for you.

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