Rape is Not Only Hilarious; It’s No Big Deal

One of the key components of rape apologia, whatever its application (that is, from defending rape jokes to defending extreme anti-choice policies), is minimizing the seriousness of rape. Routinely, the rape of women across the board is minimized; men’s rape is taken more seriously, unless it happens in prison, in which case it considered both hilarious and minimized to the point of near total triviality. For victims of rape and victim advocates, one of the most difficult barriers to get past is that rape is either spoken about in the hushed tones of grave shame or the casual flippancy of inconsequence.

To wit, within the past few days there have been three examples I thought were worth pointing out. The first was at the Republican debate the other night in which Senator Sam Brownback (R-Middle Ages) argued against legalized abortion even in cases of rape and incest:

We talk about abortion, but abortion is a procedure. This is a life that we’re talking about. And it’s a terrible situation where there’s a rape that’s involved or incest.

But it nonetheless remains that this is a child that we’re talking about doing this to, of ending the life of this child. Will that make the woman in a better situation if that’s what takes place? And I don’t think so, and I think we can explain it when we look at it for what it is: a beautiful child of a loving God.

Brownback engages one of the most typical minimizing tactics of rape apologists when he describes it as “a terrible situation…but.” Many rape apologists will issue the requisite caveat that Rape is Bad, then continue on to speak about it in terms that clearly indicate they don’t really think it’s actually all that bad. It means nothing to say Rape is Bad if the argument that follows isn’t remotely demonstrative of any comprehension that is quite genuinely is bad.

In this example, Brownback is speaking specifically to a pregnancy resulting from rape and speaks about it as though it’s no different than a pregnancy resulting from choice—which most certainly minimizes rape, not only by equating it indirectly with consensual sex, but also by utterly ignoring that a child who is a product of rape will also be a reminder of that rape. To then suggest that he doesn’t think “the woman” who chooses to end her rape-induced pregnancy could possibly be “in a better situation” proves he has absolutely no idea what it means for many people to be rape victims. Not everyone is willing to live with a daily reminder of that horror, and no one who understood the tragedy of rape would have the unreasonable audacity to question those who aren’t.

Worst of Brownback’s bullshit, however, has got to be calling a rape-induced pregnancy “a beautiful child of a loving God.” Forget for a moment that a pregnancy isn’t a child, which is bad enough; worse yet, he’s actually removing the rapist from the procreative equation and replacing him with God. I’m quite certain Brownback attributes all pregnancies to “a loving God,” but it is particularly careless to use such terminology when beauty and love had absolutely nothing to fucking do with the conception. It’s the pregnancy of a rapist and his victim—and it’s both obnoxious and juvenile to refuse to talk about it in those starkly honest terms.

That he would minimize rape in order to justify a position which robs women of their personal autonomy just as surely as rape does makes him a despicable bastard to boot.

Moving on…

Shaker John D. forwarded me this video of a guy discussing another hilarious rape joke made by a guest on The O’Reilly Factor.

Discussing the case of the woman who was raped (except not, according to the court) by her boyfriend’s brother, O’Reilly’s guest, Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly says: “As soon as the lights went on, and she saw the guy leave the, uh, room—and, by the way, allegedly it was only a two-minute exchange, ah, so she lost on all ends.”

Ha ha—get it? She lost on all ends, because she was raped and it only lasted two minutes! Ha ha! Her rapist is a two-pump chump, yo! Oh, snap!

Bill O’Reilly, naturally, says nothing. Immediately afterwards, he cuts to a segment on—I couldn’t make this shit up—Opie and Anthony.

And moving on again…

Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town calls out MSNBC (or perhaps WYFF4.com in Greenville, South Carolina) for titling a story Man Pleads Guilty To Impregnating 10-Year-Old. Well, no. William Edward Ronca, a man in his twenties, pleaded guilty to “criminal sexual conduct with a minor” because he raped a child when she was nine years old. He did not plead guilty to impregnating her, which implies, as Lauredhel points out, that it was some zany contraceptive failure, as if raping a nine year old who couldn’t possibly give consent wasn’t the issue, just that she got pregnant.

Ronca was arrested after the girl was found to be seven to eight months pregnant. A school guidance counselor told the girl’s mother that the child was acting withdrawn and was not participating at school. The girl was taken to Abbeville County Memorial Hospital, where the pregnancy was confirmed.

Arrest warrants said that Ronca had been having sex with the girl for more than a year, and told her not to tell anyone.

Says Lauredhel: “The FUCK? ‘Having sex with’ a nine-year-old? How do you ‘have sex with’ a nine-year-old? Don’t mention the rape!”

The story goes on to note that Ronca “admitted that the sexual relations with the child had been going on once or twice a week for about two years.” Rape is not ‘sexual relations’ and the suggestion that it is serves no purpose other than to minimize the truth about its ugliness. There’s no earthly reason to try to “pretty-up” a story about a little girl who was repeatedly raped, impregnated, and delivered via C-section a baby then given up for adoption. It’s an ugly goddamned story; that little girl’s life will never be the same.

Rape is a big deal, and the very least we can do for those who have suffered its excruciating indignity is talk about it with the honesty and gravity it deserves.

143 Comments

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143 responses to “Rape is Not Only Hilarious; It’s No Big Deal

  1. But it nonetheless remains that this is a child that we’re talking about doing this to, of ending the life of this child. Will that make the woman in a better situation if that’s what takes place? And I don’t think so, and I think we can explain it when we look at it for what it is: a beautiful child of a loving God.

    ‘Cause a Loving God will violently rape you every time…

  2. Sam Brownback is the poster child for retroactive abortion.

  3. mac

    Brownback engages one of the most typical minimizing tactics of rape apologists when he describes it as “a terrible situation…but.”

    You have a great point about the minimizing of rape in our culture, however, I can’t agree that Brownbeck’s statements show him to be a rape apologist.

    He is being consistant. Accomodation of rape in abortion policy is problamtic to the pro-life position as it is inconsistant with the premises of this position, similarly to the way supporting charging an assailant of a pregnent woman for assault on, or murder of, the unborn child undermines premises often cited in support of a pro-choice arguement.

  4. I can’t agree that Brownbeck’s statements show him to be a rape apologist.

    He defends the concept of rape by minimizing it. Did you read her post?

  5. And if you didn’t catch it “pro-lifer” and “rape apologist” are obviously not mutually exclusive terms, Brownback being a shining example.

  6. I can’t agree that Brownbeck’s statements show him to be a rape apologist. He is being consistant. Accomodation of rape in abortion policy is problamtic to the pro-life position…

    None of that changes the fact that he is minimizing rape, which is indeed rape apology. Consistency with other positions makes absolutely no difference as regards whether he is minimizing rape. Sorry, you’re just flatly wrong here.

  7. PortlyDyke

    What really gets me is that, if you actually tell the details of a real rape (as you did so bravely last week), many people absolutely freak out.

    The minimization factor serves, I think, as a potent tool for distancing one’s consciousness from the brutal and horrifying truth. I consider it a symptom of the mass dissociative disorder of our culture.

    As a person who was raped and physically tortured as a child, I can barely stand to read posts like this. I do so because I don’t want to become numb to the fact that these attitudes still exist and are so common. It keeps me alive to confronting them when they crop up in my life.

    Even some close friends, who know my childhood history, seem to have a very hard time with hearing me actually recount any of the details.

    I wish that every time a pundit spouted the word “rape” or “torture”, they had to give equal time to a survivor of these horrors, telling the true tale of their experience.

    Rather than (or in addition to)suspending Opie, etal, how about requiring them to listen to actual accounts from rape survivors, face to face — one story for every “joke” they made or allowed on their show.

    I believe that we can change these attitudes in our culture, but I think that it requires that we get up close and personal with the reality of survivor’s stories.

    A suggestion — if you don’t think you know a survivor, ask ten of your friends directly — ask them to tell you their stories.

    And don’t flinch.

  8. Jesus Christ.

    I am so sick…SO FUCKING SICK…of people minimizing this brutal crime via the judicious use of language subterfuge.

    Using the passive voice “she was raped”, which removes the RAPIST from the equation.

    Or worse, the “alleged rape victim”, as if she wasn’t really raped, only that she alleges she was. The accused should be called the “alleged rapist” until he is proven guilty, yes, but the victim–whose rape may or may not have left her bruised, beaten, semen-soaked, or otherwise physically traumatized but definitely violated and psychologically traumatized, at the very least–should always be referred to as the rape victim. No “alledged”.

    And then there are the minimizing words and complete omissions of the crime, as you describe. “It’s terrible that she was raped (there’s that passive voice again!), but…” as though she should remember there are worse things. Or something.

    Don’t even get me started on bringing God into the whole mess. When will it dawn on these fucking morons that God, in whatever form or shape she takes, holds a very dim view of those who hurt other human beings–particularly human beings who are less powerful, like women and children and slender male prisoners–as well as those who fucking apologize for them.

    And the MSM must be taken to task for this egregious use of our beautiful language to dismiss the pain and suffering wrought by rape and rapists. You know, rapists: those missing components in headlines since time immemorial: County Woman Raped; Police Baffled.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!

  9. I just had to vomit at that last story. I am physically ill. My baby just turned 10, and the thought of someone her age being abused…..

  10. Tart

    Atheist Guy: Unfortunately, the whole “loving God” argument doesn’t travel very fair with us; we just concentrate on the terrible nature of the rape.

    Repubs: Who said that? Get back in your closet, slave!

  11. rabbittime

    I was kind of thinking the same thing as Mac up above as I was reading: I’m not sure his positions make him a rape apologist. If a fetus is a baby when conceived through a broken condom, its still a baby when conceived via rape and it really irritates me when people take the position that they’re ‘pro-life, except in cases of rape or incest’ because it makes it so obvious that its not about the babies, but about who’s proven themselves properly worthy to not be punished for their slutty ways. His attitude, phrasing, entire delivery? He’s minimizing and dismissing rape and the horror of actually getting pregnant as a result. I agree wholeheartedly that he’s being a total jackass. But there are people who are pro-life who do not believe in rape and incest exceptions but then also don’t dismiss how awful it is to become pregnant as a result of rape or incest (yea, okay, not a lot)…and though I disagree with them, I wouldn’t say simply taking that position would label you a ‘rape apologist’ in my book. Unless you also, you know, were being a rape apologist, like Brownback.

  12. PortlyDyke

    To those who are having a hard time finding the “rape apology” in Brownback’s statement, let me put it clearly:

    Rape and incest are not “terrible situations”. They are horrific, awful, repugnant, and criminal acts.

  13. I swear, every time Sam Brownback speaks I want to hold up a big sign that says, “I did not vote for this moron!” Ugh.

  14. The last case in particular is pretty sickening.

  15. Anonymous

    What really gets me is that, if you actually tell the details of a real rape (as you did so bravely last week), many people absolutely freak out.

    Well sure! Do you think so many people would be in favor of us adopting torture as a policy if they had regularly read detailed descriptions of what it is and what happens to people who experience it, or what characterizes the societies that practice it?

    No, they wouldn’t, and when you try to do that, they freak out in the same way.

    (Fingers in ears – “I CAN’T HEAR YOU! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! …. “)

    It’s the only way they can maintain the cognitive dissociation necessary if one is going to function as a moral being in a society like ours, yet still hold those points of view.

    Doing otherwise is untenable.

    At the end of WWII the Allies forced German citizens to personally visit and witness the concentration camps, so that they themselves knew – first hand what their dissociation had permitted among them.

    We are allowing ourselves to walk down the path the Germans walked when Hitler rose to power.

  16. oddjob

    WHY DOES THIS SYSTEM KEEP FORGETTING MY IDENTITY WHEN I ROUTINELY ASK IT NOT TO DO THAT?

    (The previous post was me, not “anonymous”.)

  17. jeanne marie

    Maurinsky, I was thinking, too, of my nine year old daughter. How dare they call the crime “sexual relations”!

    PortlyDyke, it wasn’t until last year (I’m 47 years old) that I realized that what I endured as a fourteen year old was rape. I thought rapists had to be strangers. Who knew that the sixteen year old thug who hung with our group, who took me behind a bush to rape me, and then laughed when I went home crying, had committed a crime? Instead, I had managed to consider myself a “bad girl” for many years.

  18. Rape and incest are not “terrible situations”. They are horrific, awful, repugnant, and criminal acts.

    I think that’s a powerful point that needs to be reiterated.

    Rape isn’t just something that you find yourself in, you don’t go “oops, lookie, I’ve ended up raped” as though it’s a town you just arrived in because you look a wrong turn off the expressway. Rape is an ACT, it is something someone violently DOES to you.

    Brownback’s language consistently removes the man, the rapist, from the act. In fact, by denying any act actually took place, he can focus on the fetus/blastocyst, and then shame the woman into being pregnant, and ignore the fact that we have a rape culture that produces men who rape.

    This is rape apologia at it’s most subtle and insidious level.

  19. Arrest warrants said that Ronca had been having sex with the girl for more than a year, and told her not to tell anyone.

    Arrest warrants said that Ronca had been raping the girl for more than a year….

    Why is that such a hard sentence to write, that a reporter cannot write it?

  20. I agree that the term rape is minimized by calling it an unfortunate situation, molestation, or whatever. It is rape! Rape is rape! Children do not consent to sexual activity and it is therefore rape! What is so hard to understand about that? I was “molested” at age six, (and this “molestation” went on for a good year in spite of trying to tell others about the abuse), but I say I was raped instead, because goddamnit, I was! And you bet your bottom dollar that no one wants to hear about it and yes, it upsets other people’s tidy little world. And, as I have maintained before, a lot of women have been abused in this country. Most women have been abused in this country. Let me say that again in capital letters for morons who don’t want to know about it…
    MOST WOMEN HAVE BEEN ABUSED IN THIS COUNTRY!

  21. The last (repugnant, horrific) story gets to something Spudsy often writes about, the way that pedophile is dressed up to be gawked at by our culture.

    Because it’s not really taken seriously. And I’ve seen this in incest survivor groups I’ve been a part of, that it’s no big deal because it’s not “real” sex, it’s not intercourse. And then, look at this news story, once it is intercourse, it’s no longer child molestation, it’s “having sexual relations.”

    Fucking fuck. I could kill them. I could rip out their newspaper articles and shove them down their rape apologist throats.

  22. WHY DOES THIS SYSTEM KEEP FORGETTING MY IDENTITY WHEN I ROUTINELY ASK IT NOT TO DO THAT?

    Oddjob – I don’t think the system is forgetting you. I think it might be an instance of the page not having fully loaded by the time you submitted your comment. I believe that your saved commenter info is the last thing that gets loaded on the page.

  23. redlegphi

    I tend to agree with mac on this. First off, Brownback isn’t talking about rape specifically, he’s talking about the effects of rape on the morality of abortion. During a debate in which he has limited time to speak. So, I suppose he could stand up there and go off for a minute and a half about how awful rape is and never get to the actual point he was making, though that wouldn’t make a hell of alot of sense. So, he said that rape is bad and then went into his actual point, which is that rape still ends in the creation of a life (from his viewpoint) and that the ending of that life is not justified by the rape. You don’t have to agree with that perception, but I don’t think we can sit here and honestly pretend that Brownback is trying to minimize the impact of rape (in this instance…i can’t speak for what he’s said on other occasions). As for the issues with the phrase “terrible situation”, isn’t this just getting into semantics because this is a guy we don’t like? If he had said “rape is really bad” would we be sitting here saying “he should have said ‘rape is the most awful occurance on the planet'”? Once again, he wasn’t debating that rape is good or bad, he was discussing the morality of abortion following a rape, based on his perception of biology, ethics, etc.

  24. MisFit Farm

    Maybe Brownback should clarify that it is his position that rape is only bad insofar as it DOES NOT result in the birth of a “beautiful child of a loving God.”

    WTP?!?!?!

  25. but I don’t think we can sit here and honestly pretend that Brownback is trying to minimize the impact of rape

    Er, did you not read the post, and all the comments after, that specifically showed HOW this is rape apologia?

    Because, you know, that’s the only way you could have written what you just wrote.

  26. PortlyDyke

    Actually, here’s the question that Brownback was asked:
    Since you’ve opposed abortion in every instance except to save the life of the mother, how would you explain to a rape victim . . . why her trauma should be compounded by carrying the child to term?”

    So how does his answer address her trauma, and why it should be compounded? It’s “a terrible situation”.

    Oh, I’m sure she feels better now.

  27. bluestockingsrs

    This is a great post, Melissa (and not just because you used “to wit” in it).

    I imagine you must feel like a broken record about this, but I never grow tired of reading about the connections you are making about this topic.

  28. redlegphi

    I think there’s a difference between not discussing rape as much as some posters here might like it to be discussed whenever it is mentioned and minimizing the impact of rape. I don’t think Brownback said anywhere up there that rape isn’t a big deal. He didn’t specifically say “rape is an awful and hideous crime”, but he didn’t say “rape…pbth…5 minutes and it’s over, so what’s the big deal?” either. What he did say is that, from his perspective, a man raping a woman doesn’t make the baby inside that woman any less of a human.

  29. PortlyDyke

    My point about the question Brownback was asked is this — he was asked to explain this to the rape victim.

    AFAIC, He didn’t encompass the sense of speaking to the rape victim at all — he didn’t demonstrate any connection to a “her” in his comments — which is the WHOLE FUCKING POINT OF THIS POST!

  30. redlegphi

    oiy, focus less on the specifics of what he said, but how he framed it all … it’s not that complicated really, and it’s what we have been saying here.

  31. redlegphi

    I wasn’t aware of the question, and knowing it now, I’d say that while his answer was poor in that he didn’t address the rape victim as he was asked to, I don’t think that makes him a rape apologist as much as a poor debater. He got focused on defending his policy instead of focusing on the special nature of the question, which asked him to specifically address a rape victim.

  32. bluestockingsrs

    What he did say is that, from his perspective, a man raping a woman doesn’t make the baby inside that woman any less of a human.

    That’s right –it just makes the woman less human, because she is again, not going to be allowed to control what happens to her body.

    Being pregnant does not make a woman cease being an autonomous human being, regardless of how that pregnancy happened.

  33. PortlyDyke

    I don’t think that makes him a rape apologist as much as a poor debater

    Oh, okay — as long as he’s only a poor debater.

    So, do you find the use of the words “enhanced interrogation techniques” in substitution for “torture” offensive and torture-apologist, or do you just think it’s “poor debating”?

    Must go lay down now. I actually shouted in my last post. Sorry. That’s uncommon for me.

  34. redlegphi

    Could you explain better how he “framed it all” and how that makes him a rape apologist? I’m still not quite getting it, I think.

  35. David K

    Rabbittime wrote: if a fetus is a baby when conceived through a broken condom, its still a baby when conceived via rape

    A conception is not a fetus is not a baby. That said, a pregnancy resulting from a broken condom is not the same as a pregnancy resulting from rape. The former refers to an unplanned pregnancy resulting from an otherwise mutually agreed upon act of choice while the other, as Melissa notes, is the result of a rapist and his victim. Nevermind for a moment that the pregnancy was not wanted in either circumstance or that the purported moral superiority of the anti-choice position is not really up for debate in this comment thread. By focusing on the baaayyybeee to equate the result of the two acts, you dismiss the existence of the woman whose life has been forever after altered by the rape, you remove the RAPIST from the equation as noted by litbrit, you ignore that a man raped a woman, and you turn a blind eye to the fact that the pregnancy resulted from an immoral, criminal act. You can engage in as much circular reasoning as you want. It doesn’t change the fact that you are minimizing rape.

    The reason you can’t see the rape apologist in Brownback is because you refuse to see it in yourself.

  36. I’m still not quite getting it, I think.

    Imagine a hospital took your kidney while you were in their care. They gave it to someone else and didn’t tell you. That person can no longer function without that needed kidney, so taking the kidney back is tantamount to killing that person.

    Now let’s say someone finds out what the hospital did, and exposed the hospital for their actions. And then, when the presiding doctor is asked to give you your kidney back, he/she refuses because “We know this is a terrible situation, but think of that poor man who needs that kidney!”

    Get it now?

  37. redlegphi

    “So, do you find the use of the words “enhanced interrogation techniques” in substitution for “torture” offensive and torture-apologist, or do you just think it’s “poor debating”?”

    No, though I don’t think Brownback used a euphemism for rape, so I don’t see how that analogy applies.
    Melissa (and many of the rest of you) are labelling Brownback a “rape apologist” based on his statements above, which I think is unnecessarily harsh. The argument that I think is being made is that, because Brownback equates a baby conceived of rape and one that is conceived through consensual sex, he is equating rape with consensual sex. This is a leap of logic I just can’t make with the rest of you. Brownback’s argument seems to be that, biologically, there is no difference between the two babies (is this incorrect?), therefore, killing either of them is immoral. While we may not agree with him, this is at least logically consistant.

  38. oddjob

    Maybe “apologist” isn’t as accurate an adjective as “enabler”, only if enabler is the right word it only is in a subtle way.

    He’s so focused upon the fetus that he’s dehumanizing the raped woman. Rape is dehumanizing in the first place since the motive of the rapist is to do what he (or very, very rarely she) wants to do at the expense of someone else’s informed consent. Brownback is compounding that by insisting that society’s collective interest in a successful pregnancy also must come at the expense of her informed consent.

    Then he goes and makes it worse by saying this is the will of God!

  39. redlegphi–

    He framed it all as “a terrible situation”, not as the violent and very specific crime against another human being that it is. Big difference. By saying things like “a woman was raped, and that’s a terrible situation” instead of describing it honestly and authentically, as in “Mr. X raped this woman, and as a result of his criminally violating her, she is now pregnant against her will, too”, Brownback is tossing a very real, very serious crime into the fuzzy-description bin of “terrible situation”, removing the perpetrator’s culpability from the equation, and minimizing the crime itself.

    Rape apology, plain and simple.

    I don’t know how else to explain it to you, but then, I’m one of the many here who’ve been there, you know, in that “terrible situation”.

  40. oddjob

    The argument that I think is being made is that, because Brownback equates a baby conceived of rape and one that is conceived through consensual sex, he is equating rape with consensual sex.

    I don’t think that’s his issue here. I believe his issue is that society has a sacred collective interest in making sure almost all pregnancies that can continue successfully do so.

    Therefore, even though the pregnancy from rape comes at the expense of the woman’s consent, her consent is also of no consequence once she is pregnant.

    I can’t imagine a situation in which Brownback himself would tolerate living in a society that forced him to do that, but he has no problem requiring it of a woman.

    No. Not good enough.

    It becomes a support of rape in that it unavoidably teaches the lesson that a woman’s consent is an unnecessary thing.

    After all, if society disregards it in the very serious matter of her own pregnancy, why should a rapist worry about it in other, lesser circumstances such as taking her into the bushes and having his way, regardless of how she feels about it?

    It’s all of a piece, and the piece is that an adult woman is not fully an adult. In Brownback’s world she isn’t allowed a say in what happens to her life. If I was a betting man I would bet $$ that he would never, ever tolerate the same being inflicted upon him.

  41. redlegphi

    OK, Brownback’s argument/belief system in a nutshell:
    1) A conception/fetus/baby that results from rape is still a conception/fetus/baby with as much right to live as any other conception/fetus/baby.
    2) Therefore, while rape is an awful traumatic experience and the baby will not make that experience any easier, it remains immoral to abort that baby, just as it’s immoral to abort any other baby. Just because aborting the baby would make it easier for the rape victim to psychologically deal with the trauma doesn’t make it moral or mean it should be done.

    I don’t think Brownback is minimizing rape by focusing on the fetus. He was, basically, asked to justify how he could tell a rape victim that she could not abort the fetus that resulted from that rape. The policy is about the fetus, not the rape. I think he did a fairly good job of justifying his position, based on his own belief system (that the fetus is a baby that has a right to life).

  42. So basically, it’s all good because Brownback is misogynist scum. OK, I guess that’s one way to look at it.

  43. Anonymous

    I think he did a fairly good job of justifying his position, based on his own belief system (that the fetus is a baby that has a right to life).

    I’ll accept that, but still point out that what his belief system does is make the world a safer place for rapists by negating the autonomy of an innocent adult human.

  44. negating the autonomy of an innocent adult human.

    Well, that would entail seeing women as human, which of course, Brownback and his little toadies on this thread cannot or will not do.

  45. redlegphi

    It becomes a support of rape in that it unavoidably teaches the lesson that a woman’s consent is an unnecessary thing.

    After all, if society disregards it in the very serious matter of her own pregnancy, why should a rapist worry about it in other, lesser circumstances such as taking her into the bushes and having his way, regardless of how she feels about it?”

    I think you’re looking at this from the perspective of “the baby is part of the woman’s body and the right of the woman to govern her body supercedes that right of the baby to live”, which, I think, is pretty close to the perspective most of us have. Brownback has a different perspective. Most of us draw the lines at where the baby gets a right to life at somwhere between 6 and 9 months after conception. Brownback draws that line earlier, which is why he has a radically different view on the matter. Basically, the fetus is always a life in his view, and therefore, its right to life always supercedes the right of the mother to make her own choices about what’s going on in her body. That doesn’t minimize the right of a woman to choose, it puts something ahead of it (the life of the conception/fetus/baby), which makes perfect logical sense, given Brownback’s views of biology and ethics.

  46. Again, so, basically you’re point isn’t that Brownback isn’t a rape apologist in the real world, he just isn’t one in his own misogynist Never-Never Land.

    Which isn’t exactly refuting things. We know he’s a misogynist, and we know he’s a rape apologist, if you refuse to accept that women are walking incubators with no free will or body autonomy or, for that matter, rights of their own.

  47. Ugh, I am aware that “you’re” != “your”. Blargh

  48. evilchemistry

    how would you explain to a rape victim … why her trauma should be compounded by carrying the child to term?”

    The morons answer was “a beautiful child of a loving God” now deal with it.

    Hey pal, what if it was your wife or daughter? Think he wouldn’t choke on his own tongue? You know sure as shit that he would abort.

    And that is why he is a rape apologist. Because he decides what is best for you and uses a fucking invisible sky fairy to do it.

  49. redlegphi

    Well, that would entail seeing women as human, which of course, Brownback and his little toadies on this thread cannot or will not do.

    Ad hominem attacks are such a great way to support your argument. Also, for the record, I don’t agree with Brownback’s position, I just think calling him a “rape apologist” is unjustified.

    He framed it all as “a terrible situation”, not as the violent and very specific crime against another human being that it is. Big difference. By saying things like “a woman was raped, and that’s a terrible situation” instead of describing it honestly and authentically, as in “Mr. X raped this woman, and as a result of his criminally violating her, she is now pregnant against her will, too”, Brownback is tossing a very real, very serious crime into the fuzzy-description bin of “terrible situation”, removing the perpetrator’s culpability from the equation, and minimizing the crime itself.

    I see the point you’re making, but I don’t agree. Brownback wasn’t asked to talk about rape in general or a specific rape, he was asked to talk about the situation following the rape, specifically, the potential pregnancy and abortion. He summed it up as a “terrible situation”, and then went on to discuss his views on why aborting the fetus doesn’t help the situation. I don’t think that if he described it as “Mr. X raped this woman against her will, resulting in a pregnancy that she doesn’t want and additonal psychological trauma”, that that changes the logic of his argument. The crime isn’t minimized, it just isn’t discussed in depth, because, from Brownback’s perspective, the facts of the rape or incest make no difference in the outcome.

  50. Lizard

    The policy is about the fetus, not the rape.

    You say that like it’s a good and logical thing. In other words, it’s about the fetus, not the woman, because once again, Brownback and his kinfolk care far, far more about an embryo than about a living, feeling, tax-paying human being.

    I find it interesting that this fundie piece of shit gets the vapors whenever he speaks about abstinence education, gay marriage, or gay parenthood, because SEX IS FOR MARRIAGE AND MARRIAGE IS ABOUT MAKING BABIES AND BABIES NEED MOMMIES AND DADDIES….but if you’re a traumatized single woman raising a child conceived via rape, you’ve got all the tools you need, apparently. So much for “consistency,” mac.

    And, by the way, when these “beautiful children of a loving God” (hang on, gotta go puke….okay, I’m back) grow up to be an enormous financial strain on the mothers who never intended to have them in the first place, I’m guessing that the Brownback defenders will be the first in line to snark about “welfare queens.”

  51. evilchemistry

    Lizard, that was awesome.

  52. redlegphi

    The policy is about the fetus, not the rape.

    You say that like it’s a good and logical thing. In other words, it’s about the fetus, not the woman, because once again, Brownback and his kinfolk care far, far more about an embryo than about a living, feeling, tax-paying human being.

    I would say it is logical from his perspective . In that, I assume he sees the fetus as a fellow living, feeling, human being with rights to life equal to the mother’s. Which basically comes back to the “where do you draw the line on where a woman’s rights over her body supercede the right of the fetus to live” question. He sees a fetus as no different from a baby outside the womb, therefore, if you can’t kill a baby for whatever reason, you can’t kill a fetus for whatever reason either. Incorrect, from our perspective, but good and logical from his.

  53. Ad hominem attacks are such a great way to support your argument.

    Well, since being a misogynist is crucial to Brownback’s “logic”, it is nowhere near ad hominem. As to toadies, you give me precious little to go in you favor, lip service “oh but of course I’d never agree with this! It just makes sense logically.”

    Point is, no it doesn’t, and your argument has been addressed as to how it only makes sense if you are coming at it via misogyny.

  54. oddjob

    I’m guessing that the Brownback defenders will be the first in line to snark about “welfare queens.”

    When comes the snarky rejoinder that for these folks life begins at conception and ends at birth……..

  55. he was asked to talk about the situation following the rape, specifically, the potential pregnancy and abortion

    In describing a rape-induced pregnancy as “the situation following the rape,” as though it were separate and distinguishable, as opposed to a continuing thread of the violation itself, you’re doing the same thing Brownback did, which is why I’m not surprised you’re failing to understand the point lots of other people are making.

    When a pregnancy results from a rape, you can’t just draw a line after the rape and then say “Okay, now there’s this pregnancy.” The pregnancy is inextricably linked to the rape; it is a direct result of the rape; it is part of the trauma.

    Casually attempting to wrench the two apart rather than acknowledge their intimacy, asking a rape victim to separate her rape from her rape-induced pregnancy, is one of the most obvious examples of minimizing rape there is. And the minimization of rape for any reason is classic rape apologia.

  56. oddjob

    (That was SUPPOSED to be “Whence”, not “When”!! )

  57. evilchemistry

    He sees a fetus as no different from a baby outside the womb, therefore, if you can’t kill a baby for whatever reason, you can’t kill a fetus for whatever reason either.

    Right up until his family is involved, then that shit goes right out the window. So much for logic.

  58. Lizard

    Melissa beat me to it. Brownback seems to think that pregnancy is the “bright side” of rape–hell, in his mind, probably some sort of twisted consolation prize.

    Paging Dr. Pangloss….

    He sees a fetus as no different from a baby outside the womb

    Yeah, that’s because he’s a fucking idiot.

  59. Lizard

    Melissa beat me to it. Brownback seems to think that pregnancy is the “bright side” of rape–hell, in his mind, probably some sort of twisted consolation prize.

    Paging Dr. Pangloss….

    He sees a fetus as no different from a baby outside the womb

    Yeah, that’s consistent with his position of being a fucking idiot.

  60. Lizard

    AAAGH. Why did that post twice? It wasn’t a good enough comment to be worth repeating. Sorry.

    But hell, as long as I’m here, let’s go for three: Sam Brownback is a fucking idiot!

  61. mac

    He defends the concept of rape by minimizing it. Did you read her post?

    Yeah, Jack, I did as a matter of fact. And I still disagree that his position is supporting rape rather than maintaining and assuming responsibilty for unerlying premise of his prolife position.

    He is maintaining that premise through to the application of it within the context of rape, rather than dropping the premise as most other prolifers do in this context, therby invalidating their prolife position.

    None of that changes the fact that he is minimizing rape, which is indeed rape apology. Consistency with other positions makes absolutely no difference as regards whether he is minimizing rape.

    Why? Because he is saying that even as terrible a thing as rape or incest is that he still must remain consistant in his beliefs and application there of? Because he follows his statement with a “but”. Life is full of buts. We would like it to be simple, but it is not where the application of our values to complex situations involving the rights of multiple individuals is concerned.

    If he bases his pro-life position on the fact that all unborn children are beautiful and worthy of life and protection under the law, then how can he not have issue with exceptions in any but the most extreme of circumstances without denying his initial premise?

    Or is his disagreement with you that this situation is extreme enough to warrant the exception that gets you?

    Given his position, would not it follow that the right to life of the child supercedes that of the victim to minimize or eliminate prolonged trauama resulting from carrying the perpetrators child? Perhaps he feels death is more extreme for the child.

    He is basically saying that after the most terrible experience in their lives, women should be asked to make an extreme sacrifice. I can’t see us having laws by which our society or government can force a women to make such a sacrifice. These are matters better left to the individual conscience rather than the collective will. However my disagreement with him the point of whether or not this application of values should be legislated does lead me to view him as a rape apologist.

  62. Yuri K

    I think the important thing here IS that this is the logical conclusion of a pro-life position that isn’t based on punishing sex. What Brownback does is demonstrate that the pro-life position means that abortion is worse than rape. Once you grant that, all sorts of things become logically consistent.

    This principle means, essentially, that if you’re willing to risk prison, you can reproduce yourself via rape. They can punish you, but they can’t stop your victims from giving birth to your spawn.

    The fact that Brownback is logically consistent isn’t something to his credit; it’s proof of the crushing misogyny of a consistent pro-life position.

    If you really believe that abortion is murder, you would be in favor of all sorts of terrible things: imprisoning women who have them, executing doctors who perform them, and practically martial law to enforce it. But they don’t really believe that. Instead, it’s just about providing enough squirmy positions that punish the right women for being sexually active, thus satisfying their base.

  63. mac

    continued… Just a theocratic bully.

  64. Lizard

    The fact that Brownback is logically consistent isn’t something to his credit; it’s proof of the crushing misogyny of a consistent pro-life position.

    AMEN!

  65. mac

    The fact that Brownback is logically consistent isn’t something to his credit; it’s proof of the crushing misogyny of a consistent pro-life position.

    So you are left with a choice between misogyny and misfetusy. It all comes down, then, to your view of the unborn. So does this view, which varies from individual to individual have the power to impart or strip humanity?

  66. I still disagree that his position is supporting rape

    I didn’t argue that it did. “Rape apology” doesn’t mean endorsing rape. It means trying to mitigate or excuse it.

    Why [does consistency with other positions make absolutely no difference as regards whether he is minimizing rape]? Because he is saying that even as terrible a thing as rape or incest is that he still must remain consistant in his beliefs and application there of?

    It doesn’t matter what his reason is for minimizing rape. I don’t doubt that he’s doing it to “remain consistent,” but that doesn’t mean he’s not doing it. Whatever his justification for doing it is doesn’t change whether he’s doing it.

    By your logic, someone who shoots a person in self-defense not only didn’t commit murder, they also didn’t shoot anyone. But they did. Whatever their justification for doing it is doesn’t change that they did it.

    Rationale and context don’t actually change the underlying act.

  67. Kate217

    Lizard, I thought your comment bore repeating. That page to Dr. Pangloss made me laugh out loud both times I read it. (Of course, now I’ve got the Candide score running through my head.)

    Oddjob, I just assumed that anybody who correctly uses “dissociate” meant to use “whence.”

    As for the argument in progress, my POV has been so eloquently argued by Melissa, Lizard, Oddjob, and others that I needn’t repeat them less coherently.

  68. oddjob

    If you really believe that abortion is murder, you would be in favor of all sorts of terrible things: imprisoning women who have them, executing doctors who perform them, and practically martial law to enforce it. But they don’t really believe that.

    Some of them do believe it. One of them is in a maximum security prison in Colorado.

  69. misfetusy

    Yeah, that’s not a word.

  70. mac

    I didn’t argue that it did. “Rape apology” doesn’t mean endorsing rape. It means trying to mitigate or excuse it

    Yeah, I was responding to Jack there who said it “defends the concept of rape”. Maybee I missed a semantic nuance there, but that sounds like “supports”, to me.

  71. I’ve got high standards when it comes to Shakesville regulars and have come to expect a very sophisticated, articulate and relevant discussion on important topics of the day, but this thread kicks ass it is so good! I’m really impressed and so proud to be a part of this endeavor and the online community so humbly called Shakesville.

    I want to single out something PortlyDyke said, ’cause it resonated so powerfully:
    The minimization factor serves, I think, as a potent tool for distancing one’s consciousness from the brutal and horrifying truth. I consider it a symptom of the mass dissociative disorder of our culture.

    Right on.

  72. Brownback and those like him choose to see certain moral issues as either black or white and accept gray areas in others.

    They support war — which in black and white terms is MURDER!

    They support the death penalty — which in black and white terms is MURDER!

    Yet, they see no exception for aborting a fetus. In their view, it is always murder.

    Tens of thousands of innocent children have been killed, maimed, or orphaned by U.S. bombs. They don’t seem to have a problem with that.

    The U.S. killed tens of thousands of children and countless unborn babies when we dropped two atomic bombs on Japan.

    If you don’t allow exceptions for abortion, you shouldn’t be able to legalize murder in any form.

    If you believe life is always sacred, QUIT SPONSORING MURDER BY THE STATE!

  73. mac

    By your logic, someone who shoots a person in self-defense not only didn’t commit murder, they also didn’t shoot anyone. But they did. Whatever their justification for doing it is doesn’t change that they did it.

    Within the contect of my logic, minimizing is a goal of the statement, not a perceived after effect. Also to minimize is not the sanme as “not viewing in every respect the same as I do”. His not agreeing with you on the degree of accommodation for victims of rape is not the same as minimizing, either by goal or side effect.

    And by the way, yes I know I made up misfetusy (which can be a variant misogyny, should the child be female).

  74. Maybee I missed a semantic nuance there, but that sounds like “supports”, to me.

    Someone who tries to minimize rape doesn’t have to be overtly endorsing rape to be defending the concept, or, to put it another way, normalizing it.

    Obviously, there’s an easily discernible difference between:

    “I believe women should be raped.”

    and

    “I don’t think women being raped is as bad as all that.”

    But the problem is that when you’ve got enough people saying the latter, or variations thereof, it creates a culture wherein many people (including rape victims) internalize the idea that raping women isn’t all that bad, which inevitably opens the door to the former idea. After all, if raping women isn’t all that bad, why not?

    If you need any evidence of this theory in action, I recommend going to the Opie & Anthony thread linked in the post, where listeners of a radio show on which rape is routinely “joked” about, swarmed this site and filled not one, but two comments threads with comments about how I should be raped and/or killed and celebrations of the fact I have been raped. My inbox was full of the vilest filth I’ve ever read, as well.

    What a shocker: People who don’t take rape seriously, don’t take rape seriously. Imagine that.

  75. mac

    If you believe life is always sacred, QUIT SPONSORING MURDER BY THE STATE!

    Damn straight!

  76. However my disagreement with him the point of whether or not this application of values should be legislated does lead me to view him as a rape apologist.

    Gee people are getting hooked up on that one word “apologist”.

    Nobody’s actually accused Brownback of consciously deciding to minimise rape, y’know. It’s been pointed out that he’s so fully immersed in a rape-enabling culture that minimises the trauma of rape routinely that he utters the standard dehumanising tut-tuts about rape without even thinking about it.

    Anyone who just verbally glides past the trauma of rape whenever it comes up in discussion is being a rape-enabler and a rape-apologist. It doesn’t matter if they don’t mean to enable and defend rapists by gliding past rape trauma because the thought makes them uncomfortable or they’re just copying the discussion habits of those around them unthinkingly or they really want to get past discussing rape to make an argument about their hobbyhorse.

    You can be an unconscious rape apologist simply through not bothering to think about what you’re saying.

  77. PortlyDyke

    Lizard — I think that your post bears repetition, too.

    And the mere fact that you would cite Pangloss is enough to make me fall madly in love with you.

    If snake had not seduced our lot,
    And primed us for Salvation,
    Jehovah could not pardon all
    The sins that we call Cardinal,
    Involving Bed and Bottle
    Now on to Aristotle.

  78. Maybee I missed a semantic nuance there, but that sounds like “supports”, to me.

    Go read up on the definition of “apology”.

  79. Lizard

    Huh. Look what Sam “Consistency” Brownback says about children of criminal fathers:

    “Children of those who have been incarcerated are five times more likely to go to prison than children of parents who have never been incarcerated. The sins of the father visiting the child.”

    But in this case–if not in his position on abortion–there’s a rape exception. Next he’ll be arguing that rapist dads should be living at home with their victims.

    A marginal comment: A few of the Brownback apologists (I didn’t say “supporters”) on this thread are, either craftily or unconsciously, interchanging “baby” and “fetus,” and “dying” and “not being born,” and I wish to god they’d knock it off.

    Kate217, if I ever meet Sam Brownback, I promise to sing him the syphilis songs.

  80. My local paper does the same thing — never use the word “rape.” At worst it’s “sexual assault,” but generally in the stories it will say something like, “According to the police report, the victim says that the accused started having sex with her.” I seriously doubt that a woman reporting a rape to the police uses the words “he had sex with me.”

  81. mac

    But the problem is that when you’ve got enough people saying the latter, or variations thereof, it creates a culture wherein many people (including rape victims) internalize the idea that raping women isn’t all that bad

    Melissa – I have no arguement with this at all. I totally agree. And I think that the quality and content of discussion in this thread is quite high.

    What I’m not in agreement with is the interpretation of Brownbeck as saying “It’s not so bad” as cited support. He is saying, life sucks sometimes and you still have to do what is right.

    I don’t agree that this “doing the right thing” needs to be law.

    The fact that he would see this legislated makes him a theocratic bully, which in itself disqualifies him as a potential president.

  82. His not agreeing with you on the degree of accommodation for victims of rape is not the same as minimizing, either by goal or side effect.

    Can you please point to the place in the post where I assert that Senator Brownback is minimizing rape because he doesn’t share my opinion?

  83. mac

    A marginal comment: A few of the Brownback apologists (I didn’t say “supporters”) on this thread are, either craftily or unconsciously, interchanging “baby” and “fetus,” and “dying” and “not being born,” and I wish to god they’d knock it off.

    Semantic tyranny!

  84. bluestockingsrs

    He is saying, life sucks sometimes and you still have to do what is right.

    Are you serious? Bearing a child that is the result of rape might be the right thing for YOU to do, but it is certainly not the right thing for EVERY woman to be expected to do.

    But somehow I doubt that you are a woman.

  85. Lizard

    PortlyDyke, love you right back. Just imagine Sam Brownback in the role…..

    Though Rape’s a vile and nasty thing
    That blights our Christian nation,
    It’s nonetheless a clever way
    To keep the feminists at bay
    By forcing procreation!
    Now on to my salvation.

  86. I’m not nearly as articulate as most of the commenters here, but one thing does strike me regarding Sen. Brownback’s position: if, as he says, all life is a beautiful gift from a loving God, then I would like to know where he stands on the proposition of providing contraception and birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies (if God truly wanted a child to be born when a couple was having sex, he would see his way to it; after all, anyone that can create the universe in six days can make a Trojan spring a leak) and providing state-of-the art prenatal care to every woman who wants it at no charge. After all, every life is a beautiful gift from a loving God and therefore no price is too high to pay for preserving God’s precious gift, right? He would also support universal medical care for every child.

    As for his “minimizing” the crime of rape because the result is a beautiful gift from a loving God, that’s like saying it’s okay to commit an armed robbery because you intend to use the proceeds to provide food for an orphanage… except that the intention of the rapist isn’t to create a beautiful gift from a loving God. It’s the most horrific crime one human being can commit against another short of murder. That the outcome may result in a beautiful gift from a loving God is a bizarre interpretation of the act of procreation, and I find it breathtakingly hard to believe that a loving God would intend for that to be the result.

    Yes, Mr. Brownback is consistent in his views, but consistency isn’t always admirable; it’s also a sign of fanaticism.

  87. oddjob

    He is saying, life sucks sometimes and you still have to do what is right.

    Are you serious? Bearing a child that is the result of rape might be the right thing for YOU to do, but it is certainly not the right thing for EVERY woman to be expected to do.

    But somehow I doubt that you are a woman.

    Brownback isn’t a woman as well. Having once been a fundy and held his position, I agree with mac about where Brownback’s thinking is likely coming from.

  88. except that the intention of the rapist isn’t to create a beautiful gift from a loving God

    Right on. And, more importantly, it’s not the intention of the woman he rapes, either.

  89. His not agreeing with you on the degree of accommodation for victims of rape is not the same as minimizing, either by goal or side effect.

    As Melissa said, Brownback’s gliding past rape is what is offensive, not his reasons for doing so. Let’s try the same phrase in a few other situations, shall we?

    And it’s a terrible situation where there’s a rape that’s involved or incest. But it nonetheless remains that Vicki’s wedding is next week, and we’ve had the dress fitted so she’s got to be a bridesmaid.

    And it’s a terrible situation where there’s a rape that’s involved or incest. But it nonetheless remains that we’re running a business here and she should still be able to smile nicely for our customers.

    And it’s a terrible situation where there’s a rape that’s involved or incest. But it nonetheless remains that the team is depending on her and she should go win one for the Gipper.

    And it’s a terrible situation where there’s a rape that’s involved or incest. But it nonetheless remains that rape trauma must never be discussed truthfully and anyway whatever I’ve been talking about needs to be stated again

  90. PortlyDyke

    Here’s the real “bite me” moment that I have in Brownback’s statement: “We talk about abortion, but abortion is a procedure. This is a life that we’re talking about.

    Okay, I’m going to type s-l-o-w-l-y and c-l-e-a-r-l-y so you can follow along.

    If he implies that minimizing abortion into a “procedure” is a “bad” thing, and indicates that we should look at the life of the unborn child, but then he minimizes rape into a “terrible situation”, rather than addressing the life of the rape survivor, this means he’s just a “poor debater”, or just standing up for his principles and being “consistent”?

    That’s what we’re talking about when we talk about how he “frames” the issue.

    So, now I’m going to talk about one of those icky things we don’t talk about in polite company.

    I spontaneously miscarried the “beautiful child” of my abuser into a toilet at middle school when I was 12 years old. I didn’t even know what sex or pregnancy were, thanks to the bigots who banned sex-ed in my school district.

    It was a “terrible situation”.

    Honestly — I’m tempted to say, to anyone who hasn’t been raped: Bite me and shut the fuck up until you have some experiential knowledge. However, I will attempt to govern my temper and instead, I’ll say:

    I want to reiterate my suggestion — ask any woman you know about her experience with “sexual assault” — ask the partners of people who have been “sexually assaulted” — listen without flinching — and if you can still come here with the balls to tell me that these subtle and not-so-subtle rape-apologist/enabler attitudes and statements (both public and private) don’t damage men, women and children every single day, I’ll listen with an open mind.

  91. evilchemistry

    life sucks sometimes and you still have to do what is right.

    Bullshit, he is saying life sucks sometimes but you still have to do what I think is right. My God told me that you will go to hell for not doing as I say. See bonus fearmongering too, joy!

    bluestockingsrs beat me to it.

    Does anyone remember the rape means you are married thing Melissa wrote about awhile ago?

  92. oddjob

    Well said, tigtog!

  93. PortlyDyke

    Oooo Lizard — that lyric!! Voltaire would be proud.

  94. oddjob

    Bullshit, he is saying life sucks sometimes but you still have to do what I think is right.

    His mindset assumes his values are eternal (& so he himself won’t see it that way), but yes, you are correct.

  95. evilchemistry

    His mindset assumes his values are eternal

    Exactly, he can never be wrong. That is why hypocrisy never registers with him and those like him. The self-delusion it takes these people to get through the day is staggering.

  96. He didn’t specifically say “rape is an awful and hideous crime”, but he didn’t say “rape…pbth…5 minutes and it’s over, so what’s the big deal?” either. What he did say is that, from his perspective, a man raping a woman doesn’t make the baby inside that woman any less of a human.

    Which means that, regardless of what he said out loud, he does NOT understand what rape is. He may know on an intellectual level that it’s a serious crime — obviously, it’s a crime — but he clearly does NOT know what rape IS to the woman who is raped. If he did, he would never be capable of saying that a raped woman should not be allowed to get an abortion if the rape results in a pregnancy.

  97. The policy is about the fetus, not the rape.

    Exactly, redlegphi!

    Think about the implications of what you just wrote.

  98. Sorry, I forgot to close the ital tag after the quote from redlegphi.

  99. I just want to say something here. I agree with redlegphi that ad hominem attacks don’t advance the discussion; and I also agree that referring to redlegphi as “a toadie” is an ad hominem attack.

    Redlegphi’s position is infuriating to me, but I don’t think that makes her or him a toady or a rape apologist or any other thing like that. Personally (just speaking for myself), I know that redlegphi does not agree that a woman who is pregnant as the result of rape should not be allowed to get an abortion, so it’s not that that’s infuriating to me. What’s infuriating to me is that redlegphi is so determined to see this issue from Brownback’s point of view. In one way, I find that admirable. But feeling as I do that Brownback’s position is insupportable, no matter how deeply or sincerely he believes it, it’s very frustrating to have someone defending the *integrity* of his position (as opposed to defending his position), which is what, I think, redlegphi is doing.

    All of that said, redlegphi has the right to make her argument and not be attacked personally, no matter how enraged we might feel (and I do feel enraged).

  100. When a pregnancy results from a rape, you can’t just draw a line after the rape and then say “Okay, now there’s this pregnancy.” The pregnancy is inextricably linked to the rape; it is a direct result of the rape; it is part of the trauma.

    Beautiful, Melissa. That’s the bottom line.

  101. Anonymous

    What do people think about the work of sharon marcus? She, in addition to arguing that we need to shift the focus from rape ‘victim’ to the rapist, also argues that we should change our understanding of the meaning of rape. In a sense, rape has the power it does because we provide it power. So, if we understand rape as a language of power, rather than focusing on what it means to be a victim, we move from blaming the victim to discussing prevention–how do we keep rape from having power? We examine it as a language through which power differentials are expressed.

    I ask because I am uncomfortable with statements such as: rape is the worst thing that can happen to a person, except for murder. Is rape one of the worst things that can happen to a person, or does it only appear to be because we assign it that power? What happens if we don’t look at women as being violated, as being victims, as having lost something irretreivable? Does rape lose its power then? Is the question moot because we are not at the point where we can remove the power rapists, and the threat of rape, hold over women?

  102. What’s infuriating to me is that redlegphi is so determined to see this issue from Brownback’s point of view.

    The thing is, as I’ve said to Mac, Brownback’s point of view doesn’t actually matter as regards whether he is minimizing the severity of rape and rape-induced pregnancy as continuation of the trauma. I see and understand his view, but it’s ultimately relevant only as an explanation as to why he’s minimizing rape; it doesn’t change the fact that he’s doing it.

    it’s very frustrating to have someone defending the integrity of his position (as opposed to defending his position), which is what, I think, redlegphi is doing

    Redlegphi certainly went beyond merely defending the integrity of his position into denying that Brownback was acting as a rape apologist (“labelling Brownback a ‘rape apologist’ … is unnecessarily harsh” here and “calling him a ‘rape apologist’ is unjustified” here, as examples). Objectively, he is, irrespective of his motivation or how much continuity or integrity his positions have, as I tried to explain in response to one of redlegphi’s comments here, as did many other people.

    Trying to excuse rape apologists by saying, “They just have different beliefs,” even when qualified with “and I don’t share those beliefs,” isn’t any more objectively acceptable than those who would deny equality to same-sex couples because it’s “against their religion.” It’s actually a dangerous position redlegphi was taking, which is why there are so many strong reactions to it, particularly among survivors of sexual assault.

    Anyway, not trying to be disagreeable; just wanted to point out that there was a little more nefarious (even though perhaps unintentional) edge to the argument redlegphi was making.

    Beautiful, Melissa. That’s the bottom line.

    Thanks, K.

  103. Is rape one of the worst things that can happen to a person, or does it only appear to be because we assign it that power?

    Uh, being physically violated until I was bleeding out multiple orifices didn’t seem bad to me because of linguistics or social theory.

    But maybe that’s just me.

    Although, I have to say, I’ve never heard any other victim of violence, or even a physically devastating accident, be asked to consider whether it was really something terrible that happened to them, or if it only just appeared terrible because we assign being punched in the face / getting stabbed / crashing into a tree / breaking one’s legs / having one’s arm amputated that “power.”

    So, then again, maybe it’s you.

  104. Eric Paulsen

    Maybe the problem the other side has in seeing the injustice of forcing a rape victim to bear her rapists child is because 1) it isn’t happening to them and 2) it isn’t about their money (well not directly). Let me try something that might help the R’s get this issue:

    Imagine that I was able to steal your identity and use your credit to buy a house, go on a sweet Carribean vacation, and totally trick out my computer system (all Macs so you know its gonna cost). When the bills come in you scream bloody murder, and rightfully so, but some politicians have decided that rather than the poor credit companies taking the loss that you have to pay off the debt since everything was purchased in your name. Without a doubt I have honestly wronged you and you will suffer for it, both financially over many years and in your loss of trust, your feelings of betrayal by your government, your fear that it might all happen again. I on the other hand am a sociopathic jerk who cares not one bit for the suffering of others so my attitude – suck it. I had my fun now you deal with the damage.

    Now I might wind up in jail, or I might not but the fact remains you will have to pay off my debt either way. In what way or in what world is that fair? You are not only wronged by me but then punished by your own government who has decided that other parties interests are greater than your own.

    Imagine that this has happened to you. Now imagine that I beat you half to death while sniggering and laughing and treating you like a toilet, threatening your children, oozing sweat and stink all up close and personal. Imagine that I have taken all of your dignity and feelings of safety and broke your self image into a million little pieces and you would just about know what rape is. Tell me again why a woman should be forced to bear a child conceived in this manner or any other.

    Her body, her choice.

  105. PorlyDyke

    Anonymous: “I ask because I am uncomfortable with statements such as: rape is the worst thing that can happen to a person, except for murder.”

    Weirdly, when I was undergoing therapy for childhood abuse, I didn’t consider rape the “worst” thing that had happened to me, and (I puke to think of this now, but it’s a true story), I actually began thinking of my sexual abuse as the lesser of some of the evils I had survived.

    The day I actually heard myself speak the words — out loud, and casually — “and then there was the garden-variety sex-abuse” in reference to myself — I had to bend over and put my head between my knees.

    But to me, this is only another cruel indication of how internalized the minimization of rape can become.

    “Is rape one of the worst things that can happen to a person, or does it only appear to be because we assign it that power?”

    Personally, I don’t refer to myself as a victim, but as a survivor.

    Rape it’s not something that “happens” to you. It is something that is perpetrated upon you. Against your will. That’s the definition.

    That’s why it is routinely used in torture routines. If it wasn’t one of the “worst” things you could experience, glow-sticks at Abu-Graib would not be an effective “enhanced interrogation technique”.

    Personally, I would die fighting before being raped again, so for me, yes, it’s one of the worst things that can happen to a person.

  106. Although, I have to say, I’ve never heard any other victim of violence, or even a physically devastating accident, be asked to consider whether it was really something terrible that happened to them, or if it only just appeared terrible because we assign being punched in the face / getting stabbed / crashing into a tree / breaking one’s legs / having one’s arm amputated that “power.”

    Here’s another analogy, outside of the realm of physical violence. It is said that losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to a parent. But is that really objectively true, or does it just appear to be the worst thing that can happen to a parent because we assign that kind of power to that particular experience?

    Maybe that analogy came to mind because it has particular personal resonance to me, as my ex-husband and I *did* lose a child, many years ago.

  107. But Eric…TEH BABIEZ!!!

  108. Personally, I would die fighting before being raped again

    And the fact that there are people who do not recognize that THIS IS THE CHOICE THAT THIS PRICK (BROWNBACK) WANTS TO BE THE ONLY CHOICE FOR WOMEN.

    Get that through your head. He wants women to have no other option than violence, so as to minimize what rape does to people, at least, according to law. Been raped, well that horrid, yes yes, oh but you’ll be having that baby, of course. Even if you do not want to. Regardless of the fact that you are having your rapist’s child, ffs. Holy hell, what is wrong with you?

  109. PortlyDyke

    But Eric…TEH BABIEZ!!!

    You crack me up, Sis!

    And may I say — Melissa, you are the BOMB in all respects.

  110. Ugh, I should proofread, yeah?

    First sentence should be:

    And the fact that there are people who do not recognize that THIS IS THE CHOICE THAT THIS PRICK (BROWNBACK) WANTS TO BE THE ONLY CHOICE FOR WOMEN is why he’s a goddamn rape apologist.

  111. Okay, I will stop trying. I’m too pissed off right now, it seems.

  112. you are the BOMB in all respects

    Right back atcha, PD. Every time I see your handle, btw, it makes me grin. I totally dig it.

  113. Okay, I will stop trying. I’m too pissed off right now, it seems.

    We get ya, Jack. We speak Goffese. No worries, doll.

  114. Anonymous

    I thank Melissa and Porlydyke for their answers. Even though embarassed to elicit such strong (negative) reactions from people I respect so much, it was good for me to know the disconnect between the theory I spend so much time studying and the reality of the experience of rape. I think people like me, who spend too much time in theory, miss the true import of the discussion. Moreover, I think theory and reality are too often at odds, and that theorists of rape, like myself, would benefit from a reality check. I particularly appreciate the question–why is rape the one act of violence we discuss as a matter of linguistic power: what is it about rape that makes theorists ask: does it have power, or do we only give it power? Why do we not ask this question of other kinds of violence? What is it about rape that makes it acceptable to ask this linguistic question? I think that says something about rape theory that theorists need to address. We can spend as much time in our heads as we like, debating the validity of terminology, the power of language; but the reality of violence is something we need to understand before we can consider ourselves true scholars, like Melissa, in any sense of the word.

  115. redlegphi

    First off, let me apologize for pissing so many people off here. I’d like to assure you all that I’m not some kind of troll here just to cause trouble. I’m honestly trying to both put forth my own views and learn about yours. I think some of my phrasing may not have been the best, not to mention that this is an extremely sensitive set of subjects (both rape and abortion) to begin with, so I suppose trouble was inevitable.
    That being said, I’m going to try to explain my position (“defense” of Brownback) once more.
    So, the argument, as I understand it, is that Brownback is a rape apologist because he “is speaking specifically to a pregnancy resulting from rape and speaks about it as though it’s no different than a pregnancy resulting from choice—which most certainly minimizes rape, not only by equating it indirectly with consensual sex, but also by utterly ignoring that a child who is a product of rape will also be a reminder of that rape”, to quote Melissa’s original post. From our point of view, this does, in fact, minimize rape, because the fetus is “just” a fetus and doesn’t have the rights of a fully formed and birthed human being. Therefore, it is little more than an awful souvenir of an awful experience, and we can look at it and say “if it helps the woman overcome her trauma to abort it, than so be it.”
    Brownback’s perspective is that the fetus isn’t just a fetus, but a human life, equal to yours or mine, that has a right to live. Saying that a woman has to keep the fetus alive until it is born isn’t minimizing rape, given this perspective. As mac said above, it’s saying, “Rape is awful and it sucks that you’ve had to go through that experience, but ending the life of a fetus is still ending the life of a human being, and we can’t allow that, even if it will help you get past this awful experience.” He could no more allow a raped woman to “murder” the fetus than he could allow her to “murder” her assailant in order to help her get past her trauma.
    In short, to take this, once again, from the rights perspective, he’s not minimizing the rights of the woman to govern her own body or to deal with her trauma, he’s saying that the right of a human being (even a fetus) to live supercedes all other rights. While he may be misogynist in other respects, his argument, in this case, seems firmly rooted in his concepts about what human life is and when we gain a right to it, which isn’t misogynist, in my opinion.
    I hope this has helped explain my views of this better.

  116. redlegphi – you seem to be under some misapprehension that Brownback can’t be both advocating for the rights of the fetus above all and minimising rape trauma while he does it. This sentence of yours, for instance:

    From our point of view, this does, in fact, minimize rape, because the fetus is “just” a fetus and doesn’t have the rights of a fully formed and birthed human being.

    Your “because …” clause has absolutely nothing to do with why we are saying that Brownback is minimising rape trauma. It doesn’t matter what the “but” is in Brownback’s “rape is bad but”, statement, Brownback’s view minimises rape trauma because he glides past it as a “terrible situation” instead of a violent act committed against a human person. Melissa summed it up in her post:

    It means nothing to say Rape is Bad if the argument that follows isn’t remotely demonstrative of any comprehension that is quite genuinely is bad.

    He could still have argued that the rights of the fetus trump all without being so dismissive of rape trauma. It’s a given that pro-choicers are going to disagree with him on that anyway, but if he had spent a few more sentences acknowledging the humanity and suffering of the women whose pregnancies were conceived through an attack by a violent rapist then we wouldn’t be discussing his pro-life stance on a thread where all the other examples are also people not getting it about minimising rape trauma.

  117. “Brownback’s perspective is that the fetus isn’t just a fetus, but a human life, equal to yours or mine”

    No. He is saying that a fetus [1] is a human person, with greater rights than a human woman.

    [1] or embryo, since forced-birthers rarely distinguish between the two

  118. Everything Tigtog and Lauredhel said.

    Plus: I don’t think anyone’s confused about your position, redlegphi. I’m pretty sure most of us get what you’re saying; it’s just that, as I keep saying, Brownback’s motivation doesn’t actually matter. Being consistently fetus-centric may explain why he diminishes rape, but giving reason to it doesn’t change the fact that he does, nor does it excuse it.

  119. nj progressive

    Back in the day, when I was raped (1974), during the first wave of clerical reaction to Roe v. Wade, a Roman Catholic bishop was quoted, “A victim of rape survives. A victim of abortion does not.” I think that this is the place that Brownback and other right-to-lifers come from: yes, rape is a terrible thing, but aborting the fetus produced by that rape is an even worse thing.

    At the time when I read this quote, I was still a practicing Catholic. But I recognized the lack of empathy for a rape victim by the all-male hierarchy, and that was my first step away from the Church.

  120. hmmm. Let’s try this framing it this way instead:

    A criminal robs you at gunpoint, beating the crap out of you in the process. He takes your wallet, and starts charging on your credit cards. Instead of allowing you to cancel you cards right away, the government instead lets him continue to charge for nine months, and at the end of that time, you have to pay the $300,000 charge he’s incurred, because the government believes that it will stimulate the economy.

    Is that more clear?

    And I’d like to propose that we stop using the words “abortion” and start using the language of “Forced birth” more frequently – because that’s what it is.

  121. “Is rape one of the worst things that can happen to a person, or does it only appear to be because we assign it that power?”

    Perhaps instead of calling it “rape” – which most people who haven’t been just associate with sex – we should be calling it “aggravated assault”

    so, it would be:
    “forced childbirth after aggravated assault”
    instead of :
    Birth of “a beautiful child of a loving God” after being raped.

    …and why is it, in these days of population explosion where we have about twice as many humans on earth as this world can sustainably support, that they keep talking about the “state’s interest” in having more and more and more babies???

    I would think it would be in the “State’s interest” to limit the production of babies to those women and families who could most lovingly support and nurture any new children who they were blessed with.

    Forced pregnancies too often result in maternal rejection of the baby, and too often produce offspring who are not cared for and end up in the criminal justice system. To force a family to procreate against their will and over their objections, when they are not physically, economically, and emotionally ready for it would seem to me to be blatantly against the interests of the state.

  122. redlegphi

    but if he had spent a few more sentences acknowledging the humanity and suffering of the women whose pregnancies were conceived through an attack by a violent rapist then we wouldn’t be discussing his pro-life stance

    OK, I think I see your point a bit clearer now, though I still don’t agree. What “few more sentences” would have been enough? Is there really any way for him to have satisfied the requirement of describing just how bad rape is before he went into his discussion of how rape shouldn’t be a reason to abort a fetus? Somehow, I don’t really think so, so I think he was kinda damned either way on this. Or so says my gut anyway.

    Perhaps instead of calling it “rape” – which most people who haven’t been just associate with sex – we should be calling it “aggravated assault”

    I wouldn’t say most people who haven’t been raped simply associate the term with sex. While we certainly don’t know, firsthand, the physical, psychological, and emotional trauma of the event, I think most normal, rational people can understand that rape is something other than sex and something more than an assault. I think calling it aggravated assault would actually remove some of the perception that it is such a horrible event, which is the opposite of your goal, I think.

  123. mac

    A wonderful continued discussion proceded here in my absense. Sorry I missed it but I had obligations to my extra-uterin fetuses.

    I hate to have left Melissa unanswered:

    Can you please point to the place in the post where I assert that Senator Brownback is minimizing rape because he doesn’t share my opinion?

    I was simply pointing out that his differing opinion on the degree of accommodation for rape victims, in terms of justifying exceptions to the ban he would like to see on abortions, from your position that this is an obvious exception seemed to be the crux of your position that his is minimizing rape and therefore an apologist.

  124. Therefore, it is little more than an awful souvenir of an awful experience, and we can look at it and say “if it helps the woman overcome her trauma to abort it, than so be it.”

    Redlegphi, the fetus is not a “souvenir” of the “awful experience” of rape; it IS the rape. When a woman has been raped, and discovers that she is pregnant as a result of that rape, the pregnancy is *part* of the rape, inseparable from the rape. If that woman is forced by law to continue carrying that fetus for nine months, and then giving birth to it, it’s like forcing a woman to carry the rape, or the rapist, inside her for nine months. The rape is not over. The rape continues for nine months.

    This is what you’re not getting, and it’s certainly what Brownback does not get.

    I have not — thank God — been raped, and I pray to God I never will be, but I can identify with a rape survivor on an emotional level because as a woman I am no vulnerable to rape. When I think about it, maybe the fact that I have a cousin who was gang-raped, and the horror I felt when I found out about it, plays into it, too. That happened over 30 years ago, but it was a searing experience, even though indirectly.

    I cannot imagine being told I could not abort a fetus conceived through rape. I would feel as though the rapist’s penis was still inside me for the entire length of the pregnancy.

  125. CORRECTION: … “because as a woman I am SO vulnerable to rape.”

  126. Lizard

    A commenter on Feministing’s thread notes that Brownback’s biggest campaign supporter (to whom he’s been demonstrably in thrall as a legislator) is a manufacturer of benzene, which has been linked to leukemia and stillbirths. (I italicize those because we already know he’s not terribly moved by the deaths of post-birth human beings.)

    So basically, he’s got no trouble taking heaps of money from–and voting to ensure the security of–a corporation whose product is robbing the world of wanted “beautiful children of a loving God.”

    More proof that we can’t even credit Brownback with a consistent pro-fetus position–only with a consistent anti-woman one.

  127. Actually, here’s the question that Brownback was asked:
    Since you’ve opposed abortion in every instance except to save the life of the mother, how would you explain to a rape victim … why her trauma should be compounded by carrying the child to term?”

    So how does his answer address her trauma, and why it should be compounded? It’s “a terrible situation”.

    No kidding. If his goal was to really address her and acknowledge her as a person he would have found some way to gently say “two wrongs don’t make a right”. Ignoring the fact that something had been done to and that (from her point of view at the very least) the state was about to do something to her as well, just shows how much he is ignoring her as a person and the fact that the rape itself was a crime committed by another person.

    >I don’t think that if he described it as “Mr. X raped this woman against her will, resulting in a pregnancy that she doesn’t want and additonal psychological trauma”, that that changes the logic of his argument.

    No, but being accurate would certainly make his argument weaker. After all, two wrongs don’t make a right, but reminding everyone that the rapist committed a wrong reminds everyone of that we are talking about the competing rights of two victims; that it’s a question of which is more wrong, forced pregnancy for abortion, not just whether the first wrong justifies the second.

    He’s not calling rape an unfortunate situation because he’s trying to argue that abortion is wrong as well; that bit of framing isn’t necessary for that line of logic. In fact, it changes it to something other than “two wrongs don’t make a right” because that cliche is generally reserved for actions committed by people, not life situations (such as tornados or bird droppings). What he’s trying to do is frame rape as an act of god/unfortunate part of life, and abortion as something people do. The only person the senator mentions doing bad things is the pregnant rape victim who wants an abortion. That framing is necessary to minimize the impact of rape in order to sway people who don’t already agree with him.

    The senator is not simply being a bad debater – in fact he’s making some very smart debate choices, they just also happen to be really creepy and highly questionable debate choices.

    rape is the worst thing that can happen to a person, except for murder.

    Anonymous, what others said. Plus, I’d like to add that I find it interesting that you added “except for murder” since the one issue I do have with “the power we assign to rape” is the not quite dead idea that rape is worse than murder. Which feeds into the argument that if you weren’t battered to a bloody pulp, if you can still mostly function, etc. then it wasn’t really rape. But the idea that rape is worse than murder has so much more to do with the idea of women as objects that are worthless unless they are pure than with anything else.

  128. What Mickle said, and I’ll just note the way that Anonymous framed this sentence, which is the usual way rape is framed and quite possibly not meant anything by:

    rape is the worst thing that can happen to a person, except for murder.

    Yet another free-floating rape, just dropping on a victim from a clear blue sky. Rapes and murders don’t HAPPEN to people, they are not forces of nature, rapes and murders ARE WRONGS DONE to people.

  129. Ack, I phrased that so convolutedly that it is impenetrable – I meant that I didn’t think Anonymous was deliberately framing his sentence to remove the rapists and murderers, just that Anonymous may have been unconsciously following the habitual way that rape is discussed that removes the perpetrator from the picture.

    More coffee.

  130. Interrobang

    As I’ve said before on other comment boards, I think the only way of making consistent sense out of these people’s political position is by starting from the premise that they believe people don’t really own their own bodies. Further, you can postulate that there is a hierarchy of ownership, for instance, that men’s bodies are owned by God and the state respectively, women’s bodies are owned by God, the state, and men, and children’s bodies are owned by everyone, which also makes a little more sense out of that “compelling state interest in pregnancy” argument. (Me, I’ve never been able to figure out why the state should give a crap whether people’s attempts at reproduction work or not, except in the sense of knowing whether and when to provide services they help fund.)

    If you don’t believe people own their own bodies, suddenly it becomes pretty easy to reconcile being pro-executions, pro-war, and pro-conscription, while simultaneously being anti-abortion and anti-contraception. It also makes rape apologetics a lot easier, because, well, what’s a bodily violation to someone if your body’s just this defiled old thing that you’re carrying around with you anyway? It’s not like, by raping you, they did anything to you, right, just to your body.

    *sigh* If I could snap my fingers and make Christian dualism go away right this minute, I’d be snapping so hard I’d sound like I was wearing castanets…

  131. Anonymous

    I don’t think Brownback used a euphemism for rape

    Thats one thing I suppose!

    I recently heard a news report where the reporter said “had unlawful sex with…” The story was about a girl that had her drink spiked, and the pervert had sex with her.

    surely having unlawful sex is more akin to a 16 year old boy having sex with his 15 year old girlfriend (UK), whereas this story was about a RAPE!

  132. I wouldn’t say most people who haven’t been raped simply associate the term with sex.

    I would, because I’ve read the comments following the O&A debacle and the Imus controversy. Nearly every comment that excused the three offenders minimized rape with the attitude that it was “just sex”.

    The idea that women can have sex multiple times a day every day and not be injured gives the rape apologist the idea that unless the woman is maimed or otherwise terribly injured that it’s “just sex”, and thus no big deal. I think there’s some jealousy of women’s capacity to enjoy sex multiple times in a row attached to this whole (rape/mysogyny) package.

  133. Mickle said:

    But the idea that rape is worse than murder has so much more to do with the idea of women as objects that are worthless unless they are pure than with anything else.

    I disagree. I have always felt that rape is worse than murder, for the sole reason that a woman who has been raped has to live with it afterward, whereas a person who has been murdered doesn’t.

  134. Well, perhaps I’ll feel differently if I’m ever murdered or raped, but at the moment I’m going with “at least I’m alive.” And I could be wrong, but I can think of a lot of rape survivors who I think, no matter how much they may have contemplated suicide, would find that insulting on a more personal level – as a cultural idea at least. As if society really thinks they would be better off dead – even for their own sake.

    I will conceed, however, that it depends on the extent of harm involved. Not that rape isn’t always harmful, not that all of it’s harm is physical, but, just as there are different degrees of getting beat up, there’s different degrees of rape as well. I’d imagine most women’s answer to that question would really depend on the extent of torture involved – both physical and emotional.

    In case it helps, my views on the topic are colored by things such as the attitudes and actual laws that make sexual harrassment harder to prosecute – rather than a more serious offense – if the victim of the harrassment gives in and has sex with the abuser. Is that not rape carried out through threats? And yet part of the problem with changing the laws to reflect this seemingly obvious idea is people’s insistence that rape is always so awful that no threats short of death – and sometimes even not that – could possibly compel a woman who does not secretly want sex to agree to it.

    All of which I think is tied to other attitudes like the fact that so many of the female christian martyrs committed suicide either before or after being raped. Which always struck me as a bit extreme, as a widespread phenomenom if nothing else.

  135. And I could be wrong, but I can think of a lot of rape survivors who I think, no matter how much they may have contemplated suicide, would find that insulting on a more personal level – as a cultural idea at least.

    Alice Sebold is one of them. She has said that anyone who says it’s preferable to die than be raped is a fool. (Or words to that effect; I’m paraphrasing from memory.)

    In case anyone doesn’t know, Alice Sebold is a writer who was brutally raped in her first year at Syracuse University. She subsequently brought her rapist to trial, and he was convicted. She wrote about the experience in her book, “Lucky” (the title coming from the fact so many people told her after the rape that she was lucky the rapist hadn’t killed her).

  136. Okay, look, and this has probably been gone over but I don’t know … 135 comments already? I’m probably an idiot to even open my mouth …

    First, I loathe Sam Brownback.

    Second, I’m pro-choice.

    But …

    I have far more respect for pro-lifers who don’t make the exception for rape/incest, than for those who do.

    Why?

    Because those who make the exception are, within their own terms, condemning a child to death for the crime of its parents.

    I don’t agree that “human life begins at conception.” But if it did, then abortion would be murder. Those who genuinely believe this and allow the rape/incest exception either are not thinking, or are allowing political convenience to override their moral stance.

    I don’t agree with the prolifers … but I can respect them when they are consistently true to their ethics.

  137. Oh, and:

    I want to tell you that I think you’re incredibly courageous putting yourself out there like this, especially in the wake of the incredibly hateful shit some “people” have posted to you. Stay strong.

  138. SL

    Did you bother to read all 135 comments? ‘Cuz you can make that argument without pretending that rape is an act of god and without ignoring the fact that you are, in effect, continuing the rape.

    What you can’t do without either of these is make sure as few people as possible realize that you are not just advocating that saving a soul is the best choice, you are advocating that the best option is taking away autonomy from a woman simply because someone else also took control over her own body away from her.

    There are people who believe this, and I can respect their opinion (even if I disagree with their belief that they get to make such decisions for me). But there are a lot fewer people who would be swayed by the “save a life” argument if the Senator had not argued that it was something other than what it was.

    Again – great debate tactic – Bravo Senator! But really callous and creepy attitude – Shame on you Senator!

  139. Bmore

    Is it possible that I, as a victim of rape, can be OK with the fact that it happened? Let’s face it, it was brutal, and violent, and it left me physically scarred, and probably did change my mentality overall, but it was a very long time ago. I would very much like the opportunity to say, though it was a terrible thing that happened, that it was JUST a terrible thing that happened… not a life ruining event, but a terrible event that I’ve overcome.

    Is it possible that I can discuss it casually, without breaking down in tears or screaming? Can I have a calm conversation about what it was, and how it hurt, without pitying eyes making me feel like a victim all over again?

    Can I get over it, or is that not feminist?

    I don’t want to pine over it, and cry, or be shameful. I’m not ashamed, I was a fighter then and I’m a fighter now. Can I talk about it factually, or does that make me a minimalist?

    I’m just curious.

    If I make a rape joke at my own expense, am I giving in to misogyny, or am I defeating the man who stole humor from me for nearly ten years of my young life. I want to laugh, and I want every rapist to know exactly what they are, and just how little it means. I want to take the power back by taking the STIGMA away.

    Being raped never made me any less of a woman, and I don’t want someone outside of the situation to take away my strength by telling me how it’s life ruining act.

  140. Bmore

    I am, nevertheless, completely pro-choice. Rape is rape, and wrong is wrong. Forcing a woman to carry a child to term when it was forcefully, and without her consent, implanted in her will only result in more deaths due to botched at-home abortion.

  141. Really

    I completely agree with Bmore. I was raised as a Lutheran and us women weren’t allowed to vote or teach in the church because we weren’t good enough. Rape was taken VERY lightly and abortion was looked down on extremely. In fact, rape was almost viewed as the female’s fault “for putting herself in notice in such a way as to tempt a male”.

    Fucking rubbish.

  142. Father Time

    So wait a minute if we think that making jokes about rape we’re rape apologists?

    Fuck you. Hey how many times have you laughed at someone getting injured, whether it be a banana peel or the three stooges? I’m guessing you do but oh no now you’re a pain apologist.

    How about laughing at someone doing something stupid? Well now your insensitive to the dumb.

    *cue sappy music*
    If only you knew the pain and torment that the stupid people have to go through all the time, be made fun of have their feelings hurt. Not so funny is it.
    *end sappy music*

    I hope you feel better about yourself trying to diminish those who disagree with you to the types of people who would be OK with rape.

    You truly are pathetic.

  143. Mrmessy

    Saying that male rape is taken more seriously is a huge generalization.

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