Dearest Rep. Akin,
I hadn’t planned to write about your most recent comments on rape but I realized that maintaining my silence contributes to the stigma of rape. It’s interesting how quickly the victim becomes the defendant when it comes to rape. In a manifest destiny society we are quick to assert that there must be a reason to how you became a victim. We are quick to place blame on the raped by examining and re-examining their movements up to the rape and any action that they took after. Being preyed on by a sexual deviant is nothing in comparison to comments and speculation that happen after, casting any type of shade to categorize you as the “idiot who was raped” vs. “the victim of a sexual predator”.
Please try to understand the backlash against you. Rape for women is such a touchy subject because we know rape. It’s estimated that 1 and 4 women will be a victim of rape in their lifetime. I’m sure that you believe your status as a Republican Senator, as well as your strong moral fortitude, has protected your daughters against ever being a rape survivor. However for me the statistics around rape were insignificant until my mother sat me down to say: “this may happen to you, and if it does you will be given no pity by society; you will be asked to cover it up and move on; this cannot be what drives you to ‘hate’ in life; you will learn to love again.”
Maybe too many episodes of SVU or the explicit rape scenes in movies such as Showgirls, The Players Club and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, have desensitized us to the realness of rape. I must say that your comments on rape are another callous attempt to redefine this crime against the backbone of society (women) as an insignificant and infrequent occurrence. By placing blame on the victim there’s no need to trace causation. Instead, we shame the woman who was raped, and the child that could potentially result from such an abhorrent transaction. With victim blaming a common practice in rape cases, who would readily admit that as a society we create our rapists?
Rape is so misunderstood that we ignore the motive behind rape; that sexual gratification in itself is not the goal. The pleasure received from the act rests in exerting dominance over another weaker being, thus rebalancing the offender’s innate feeling of inadequacy; of being denied something he wanted and felt he should have. In a world driven by consumerism, where a man is defined by what he has or how he ranks, any twinge of imperfection could translate into an impotency that’s only reversed when he forces control on someone weaker.
Between you and I, Todd, let’s call rape what it really is, a horrific disregard and disrespect of women by men. Maybe as a man you need an example, consider this a case study: take your hand, ball it into a fist, at the crevice where you forefinger has folded into a perfectly lopsided 6, have someone else shove a wooden broom stick into it… repeatedly. While you cry out from the pain, have them muffle your pleas with their mouth, or hold down your struggling limbs with the weight of their body. Watch helplessly as that tightly constricted opening turns raw, then bloody, throbs painfully, tears again and again with the force of a foreign object jamming it’s presence without your consent. While you wait for the plundering to finish, count each minute. Bet each one will feel like an agonizing hour. When the perpetrator is done have him exit one last time without any regard to your misery. Or the consequences of leavings.
If you know your broom holder, have him say something verbally demeaning, magnifying the injustice, like “I’ve got your cherry now”, “Next time don’t struggle so much, you may actually enjoy it”, “you made me do this”. If your offender is a stranger change the phrase around to something even more degrading, like “I watched you, you were asking for it”, “that’s what you get you little B****”.
When the miscreant leaves, get up off the floor or the wall where he assaulted you and try to walk (or in this case flex your hand). Now let’s say your hand is a uterus, are you thinking about whether that whole ordeal will leave you pregnant? Or are you filled with hate? What if after everything your poor hand went through, the violation of your body, I as a legislator get to tell you what your response will be and how any repercussions from your trauma should be handled?
From now on, unless you want to repeal the rights of rapists (i.e. having future custodial rights to the child) or fund harsher sentences for rapists, please keep the female body politic out of your rhetoric. Just look down at your little hand, and think of me.