- Politics and Social Issues
"Legitimate" Rape, Congressman Akins, a Woman's Bodily Reponse, Pro-Life, and Pro-Choice. [164*12]
DOESN'T THINK "FORCIBLE" or "LEGITIMATE" RAPE WILL CAUSE PREGNANCY
WHAT A POOR CHOICE OF WORDS AND PROBABLY A FRUEDIAN SLIP
CONGRESSMAN TODD AKIN (R-MO) TOLD THE WORLD he believed a woman's body has the capacity to reject pregnancy if she were "legitimately" raped. He later walked that back and said he meant "forcibly" raped; but everybody knew what he meant, so it didn't help. Akin is now definitely sticking his finger in everybody's eye, Conservatives and women alike, by staying in the Missouri Senate race, much to the delight of Democrats.
Before I go any further I need to make crystal clear my belief that rape is rape. Even though under the law there are "degrees" of rape, it is nevertheless an unwanted, forced, and often violent sexual assault on another person. Date rape is no different than "forcible" rape or any other kind of sexual activity which is against someone's will. I emphasize this because the next thing I going to write may seem like a contradiction, but it is not; it has to do with Akin's claim that doctors told him a woman's body knows how to prevent a pregnancy when "legitimately" raped.
When I talked with my wife about this, my knee-jerk reaction was bull-s... pucky, not in a thousand years is that true. Then she, being of more rational mind said no, not necessarily true, at least in all instances. She went on to offer the following logic which I buy until offered scientific evidence to the contrary; I buy it because it makes sense to me. When a woman is violently assaulted and then raped very much against her will, her body is going through an entirely different physical reaction than if she were into a pleasant heavy petting exercise on the backseat of a car but then decided it wasn't such a good idea to have sex after all. The problem, of course, her partner, who is all worked up and ready to go, doesn't see it this way and forced himself on her anyway, raping her.
In the former case, the woman's physiology was probably 100% oriented to fighting off her attacker from the outset, with huge roiling of emotions going on doing who knows what to the hormonal balances with her body in addition to the adrenaline coursing through her veins. Conceivably, there may be a point that where, in some cases at least, her body might protect itself from an unwanted pregnancy; heavy on the "some" and "might". I am betting that this is what Todd Akin might have heard say. Of course, Akin would have translated that into "most" and "probably" rather than "some" and "might".
In the latter case, the opposite is true, until the very end. Here, the woman is basically preparing for sex at some level before deciding that this was not the time and or place. She is emotionally engaged with her partner and until it becomes obvious that "no" isn't meaning "no" to him that her defenses finally go up and resistance starts. In this situation, it would seem plausible to me that her body's internal reactions would be way behind the power curve and if there is a protective mechanism going on, the chances of it stopping a pregnancy at this point in time are much smaller. Again, I am only musing about the mechanical operation of the body, not about this guy who should be going to jail for a very long time, regardless of which situation is being discussed. Even if the Akin hypothesis is true, and it is reasonable to assume it might be so long as you substitute the words "initially violent" for "legitimate", in some cases, it is just as reasonable to assume it is not true in many others.
Whether what my wife suggests is true or not remains to be seen, but to me anyway, it seems plausible and something Akin may be getting a bit of bum rap for, but only on these "very narrow grounds." Narrow grounds or not, this is only an academic exercise for me, a man, there is nothing academic about it for women, I am sure, and especially for those who have been raped; and I am heart-broken to know how many women have been, especially as children.
What Todd Akin cannot get a pass on, however, is the "legitimate" or later "forcible" characterization of rape. As soon as he says that, then he creates "illegitimate" and "non-forcible" rape, which, by definition cannot exist. What he might have been thinking of, and this is only a possibility, are those cases where the rape accusations are false. Those cases aren't "illegitimate" rapes because they weren't rapes at all, they were simply crimes of a different nature.
What is another possibility is that he believes an "illegitimate" rape is my second situation above, except his belief is the girl's "no" really means "yes, I am just being hard to get". There are plenty of men who take that view. There is no telling, however, what he meant, but, regardless, he was between a rock-and-a-hard-place because any interpretation would be wrong; it was just a matter of degree of "wrongness".
THE UNDERLYING ISSUE
TO ME, THE UNDERLYING ISSUE is the age-old, male chauvinistic belief that women often asked to be raped is still alive and well in America. The more you believe there is a natural hierarchy in society, the more you believe this old adage (not so old really in some parts of the country). What do i mean by "hierarchy"? I mean the worldview that one gender is naturally superior to the other, that one race is naturally superior to another, that one income group is naturally superior to another, etc. Further, sociologists have shown that the more conservative you are, the more you believe this these things are true and simply can't understand other who believe otherwise (sometimes calling them socialists or communists); and Representative Todd Akin is very conservative. I suspect he would score very high on the Right-wing Authoritarian (RWA) and Social Dominator Orientation (SDO) surveys of Professor Altemeyer.
Am I surprised Akin made such a comment? No, not really, it is something I believe is a common belief among conservative males and to some degree, the conservative females as well, judging from a few of them I have run into. The Bible and Koran, of course, feed into this mindset with their insistence on a submissive role for women in society. Consequently, the more fundamentalist one is, the easier it is to blame the woman for her own victimization, just as they blame Eve for the downfall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. With this kind of background, I am not surprised at all.
Even though most conservative politicians are more circumspect in what they say publicly, it is hard for them not to feel and express the Akin view privately. Here in rural Florida, I am surrounded by conservatives and I hear these private thoughts constantly, it makes my stomach turn to know I am still living in the Dark Ages, regarding this issue.
Will society ever get to the point where the right for a woman to control what happens to her own body? I don't know. What I do know, it has taken mankind 6000 years to make what small improvements that have occurred and where it has taken the most hold is in this dastardly "socialist" hell-holes and only for the last, what 30 years out of 6000?
What Do YOU Think?
Do you believe that Todd Akin thinks that "Date Rape" is very serious form of rape or even rape at all?
Do you believe that conservatives, as opposed to other political orientations, in general thinks that "Date Rape" is very serious form of rape or even rape at all?
DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY #1
Do you cosider yourself more closely aligned to
DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY #2
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