I feel the need to address some of the idiocy I’ve been seeing in the news, especially regarding Todd Akin and his medieval attitudes in regard to sex, conception, rape and the female body. Rape is defined (at least at Dictionary.com) as the “unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse”, or “an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation”. You see all these words here? Violation, force, plunder, abuse… all of these are violent words. The idea that a woman should suffer something of this nature, conceive, and then be unable to choose whether or not to keep the resulting offspring is just – gross. What’s worse is this literally medieval idea that a woman who endures rape will not conceive unless she “enjoys it”. How, in this century, can this idea endure? Honestly, if women could choose when they conceived in the first place, abortion wouldn’t even be a fucking issue because there would never be an unwanted pregnancy.
Talk about holes in your argument Mr. Akin.
Now, I’d like to clear the air a little on the concept of rape. I hate how the arguments around this seem to be based on the idea that a woman “asked for it” either by the way she dressed or acted, and how it’s impossible for a man to control his libido to the point where he is compelled to force himself on an unwilling partner. Seems absurd doesn’t it? That whole thing in Ethiopia from Senator Morgan Femai about how they should take measures to prevent aids by making women shave their heads, bathe less and even get circumcised (don’t even get me started on that topic) to make themselves unattractive to men is along the same vein. I know that women would sometimes cut off their noses in the middle ages in order to facilitate their chastity but in this day and age such measures are barbaric. That whole virgin/whore dichotomy seems to pervade everything it should not. We can thank our major religions for trying to pack women into two neat little boxes of good and evil. Virtuous and polluted. If a woman likes sex then she’s a whore and by Akin’s standards, is going to get pregnant. If a woman is chaste, and dresses in an unattractive manner she’s going to be safe from the predatory actions of every barbaric man living. (And I’m not discounting the rape of men here, I’m sure it happens a lot – the fact remains that the enormous percentage of rape perpetrated by men simply outweighs those perpetrated by women. And those are just the ones we know about – never mind how many of these offences never get reported. Ever.)
And the idea that some rape is not legitimate simply because it did not require physical violence is ridiculous. If you have to coerce someone, no matter how: guilt trips, manipulation – including that reprehensible phrase “if you loved me, you would…”, that means it is rape. If she says no, her eyes are not saying yes. If she says no, her clothes do not give you permission. If she says no, she fucking means no. Even if she doesn’t say it, but pushes you away, that’s a no. And if she can’t say it then you probably shouldn’t be trying to have sex with her in the first place. Douchebag.
To address the clothing issue: women dress to attract a mate. It’s much like male birds flaunt their glorious plumage to attract a female who chooses her mate based on his display. In primates, even if a female is part of one male’s particular “harem” (a right won through sometimes fatal battle with other males), it is not until she presents herself to him that he’s allowed access to her. If he tries to without her consent he’s chased off by several of the females at once. Watch any nature show, I’ve seen it dozens of times. So why is it that within the human realm that rape is an issue? In no way do we “ask for it” and I don’t believe that men are incapable of controlling themselves. This is why they learned how to jack off. It’s our capitalist society (sex sells!) that has made provocative clothing the norm for this social dance we go through to find ourselves a partner and is in no way an excuse to behave worse than fucking monkeys do.
Is rape a method of control? I can see how a rebuff from a desirable female would wound male pride – but I’d like to think human beings are refined enough not to resort to forcible violence in order to assuage said wounded pride. In a relationship, obviously a dysfunctional one, I can see how this could be used as a form of control. But relationship status does not make rape any less legitimate. Rape is used to exert dominance certainly, since “mounting” of lesser males by more dominant ones is common throughout vertebrates. But our social structure has lead us away from the need for public displays of male dominance – at least in this manner. We have sports, debates, and gods forbid, wars for that.
But the debate on abortion continues. So long as we live in a society where people are not enlightened enough to treat others with respect, then we will need access to safe and legal abortions. The bottom line is that we’re talking about a woman’s body. It’s hers, and belongs to no one else – certainly not the government. It’s not like we are lacking in births here – in fact one could argue that the planet is overburdened with us. The survival of our species is clearly not dependent on saving every unwanted pregnancy. Especially not unwanted pregnancies resulting from rape.