There are many things in the world that are controversial, two-sided, and argumentative. Yet, some topics seem to be confrontational and for the life of me I can't understand how. For me, legitimate rape, is a topic that should never be controversial. Rape in whatever form is wrong. However, I was shocked to learn that several individuals can actually say they believe that rape is legitimate. I can almost guarantee that these individuals have never been raped or sexually assaulted or know someone that has suffered the cruelty of the crime. If so, they would never have any use of the word legitimate when talking about rape.
Recently, Representative Todd Akin, an elected official, no less, ignited a firestorm when he released this statement: "It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down." (Moore) He said that he misspoke and shortly afterwards releases this statement: "I believe deeply in the protection of all life, and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion, and I understand I may not have their support in this election." (Moore) I strongly think that Representative Akin was not flustered in his interview. I think that he said what he believed and then his staff members told him to recant his statement or risk losing his reelection.
Representative Akin is not alone in his beliefs. "Clayton Williams, a multimillionaire businessman, who had never sought public office invited a group of reporters to his West Texas ranch." ('Legitimate rape' gaffe evokes a Texas campaign) It was a weekend that the reporters will never forget. "Standing around a campfire on a rainy day, Williams revealed an unattractive side of his character by making a joke comparing rape to bad weather. "If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it," Williams said. Like Williams, Congressman Todd Akin, and Paul Ryan sadly don't get that rape is a violent crime anyway it happens. And though Ryan recently denounced Akin's comments and suddenly reversed his long-time no-exceptions position on abortion, an early version of a bill he co-sponsored with Akin attempted to redefine rape as "forcible rape," which the authors apparently believe doesn't get a woman pregnant. Tell that to women who have been traumatized by rape and become pregnant, causing them to relive the trauma. There is no such thing as a magic uterus that shuts down ovulation, even though a growing number of pro-life advocates and far-right tea party types want you to believe it." ('Legitimate rape' gaffe evokes a Texas campaign)
Rape in any case is awful. I have dealt with the life-altering pain of rape in regards to a friend of mine. She was only a teenager and had her dreams of future success to look forward to. The most horrifying thing that had ever happened to her was not having a date for Friday night. This is how our interview unfolded. "I went to visit a relative and was alone with a much older, stronger, and deviant male family member. I was so naÃ¯ve and yet, I did not feel right. Something told me to leave, but I ignored it. Before I knew it, the door was shut and locked and he was grabbing me. I started to scream, but he covered my mouth. I tried to fight, but I couldn't escape. I could not understand what was going on. I had never had intercourse. I was a virgin and wanted to be until I got married. He started to violate me and all I could do was feel his sweat. It made me sick. Then, after he was done he let me up and said, "You come back and see me soon. Don't tell anyone or I will kill myself." After that comment I hoped he would die. I went home and did tell my father. You're not going to believe what I was told. Father said, "Do not tell your mother. She will be too upset." I was stunned. I was lost and needed a shower. I went into the shower and cried. Not only was my innocence taken, but my faith in my father was destroyed. I realized that the bruises on me were just minor compared to the emotional assault that I had endured. I moved out of my parent's house in a year and still have a horrible relationship with my father. My mother has never learned the truth. For myself, I still hold people in general at a distance for fear of being hurt. The lowlife that raped me did shoot himself after he called my house and I answered the phone. I nearly lost my breath when I heard his voice. He said, "If you don't come back right now. I will shoot myself." My reply was, "Go ahead." I hung up the phone and just sat there. When I learned of his passing, I was relieved and hoped he went to Hell in the devil's hand basket. However, as I have aged, I have come to understand more about life and of myself. I realized that I was not at fault and that no one was going to take away my future happiness. Not only am I a victim of rape, but I am a conqueror of fear." (Friend) After I heard this story, I was proud to be a friend of hers, heartbroken that she endured this cruelty, and fuming that individuals of a civilized society would condone such an awful act. I would like to hear Representative Akin's response to my friend's story. What part of it would he consider to be legitimate?
Another female rape victim was Martha Byars. She gave an interview that was in response to Representative Akin's comment. "Now that I know the truth, I realize none of the telltale signs of legitimate rape were there at all," mused Byers, noting that her body did not in any way shut down but in fact continued to register excruciating pain throughout the entire cruel ordeal. "I must have at least subconsciously wanted it-otherwise, the sperm wouldn't have been able to enter my body." "Not only is this knowledge a blessing for me," she continued, "but it will no doubt bring great hope to the tens of thousands of women who are forcibly and savagely impregnated in the United States every year." (Pregnant Woman Relieved To Learn Her Rape Was Illegitimate)
However, rape is not solely a women's issue. Men often fall victim to rape as well. Men are supposed to be strong, take-charge, and the supreme gender. This long believed and totally wrong description of men has often let the suffering of male rape victims go in silence for fear of being laughed at or for being seen as weak. Some facts about male rape are:
1 in 6 adult men will be sexually assaulted in his lifetime.
Men are usually raped by other men, although females can be perpetrators as well.
Rapists who rape men and boys generally consider themselves to be heterosexual.
Both homosexual and heterosexual men from all parts of society are raped (not just in prisons).
Men are even less likely than women to report rape.
Sexual arousal or orgasm during a sexual assault does not indicate a "willing" participant. (Rape Victim Advocacy Program)
It is outrageous that we live in a society that instead of reporting a crime we victimize the victims more by not being supportive and just believing them when they tell of a crime. It is a shame that the most powerful nation in the world elects officials that are naÃ¯ve and holds victims as second class citizens.