Her mouth said no, but she got pregnant anyway.

So as you may have heard this week Rep. Todd Akin had some truly mortifying things to say about rape.

” First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Mr. Akin speaks of punishing the rapist and not attacking the child, but what sir of the WOMAN? Shall we punish her as well? I find it telling that Mr.Akin chooses to focus on both the rapist and the baby but completely ignores the woman stuck in the middle. In fact, Mr. Akin’s entire statement here reduces the very real victims of rape to “the female body”. Perhaps he needs to read the article I read today by  on the Huffington Post about how an actual rape victims felt upon reading his statement.

“Rape is so isolating — it ruined my world for a long time,” Law, now 43, said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “If I had had to carry that rapist’s baby to term, quite honestly, I might have taken my life.”

Law said she couldn’t believe her eyes on Sunday when she read that Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri declare in an interview that pregnancy from “legitimate rape” is “really rare” because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

“First of all, what is legitimate rape?” she asked. “Whether it’s date rape, whether the woman was beaten to a pulp, whether it’s a 14 or 15-year old kid carrying her father’s child, it doesn’t matter. Having to deliver the baby of a rapist — that’s torture.”

Another rape survivor in Missouri was so incensed by Akin’s comment that she called into St. Louis television station KTVI to share her feelings. “It was like I had been slapped,” she told the anchor. “I heard that comment and I just began to shake. I was fit to be tied.”

The second question that comes to mind is, how exactly does Mr. Akin think that the woman’s body differentiates between rapist sperm and consensual sperm?  Seriously?!?  I certainly hope he wouldn’t suggest that most of the 35k+ women who are impregnated every year as a result of rape must have actually wanted it or they wouldn’t be pregnant. My guess is he would say that is preposterous; however, it is the logical conclusion of his statement.

I find it fascinating that a man who will never have to worry about carrying a child who is the product of rape is presuming to tell women who have been how they should feel and what they should do. Don’t get me wrong, men can be and are raped. “About 3% of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime,” according to the National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey, 1998.  The number for women increases to about 1 in 6. The crime is just as violent and shame inducing for a man as it is for a woman however; the man will never be faced with having to carry to term and deliver the child of their attacker. There are 435 voting members of the House of Representatives and 100 members of the Senate. If the statistics were the same for them as it were for the female population 79 of them would be victims of completed rape, 15 of them would be the victims of attempted rape and 4 of them would be pregnant by their attackers. If this were the case I seriously doubt we would be having the same discussion.

This whole thing brings to mind another post I wrote a few months ago called “Raped Too Much”. In which I discussed Liz Trotta’s comments about how women in the military should stop complaining about being “raped too much”.  Statements such as the ones made by Ms. Trotta and Mr. Akin continue to add to what is referred to as “rape culture”. In her book Shakesville, Melissa McEwan defined rape culture this way:

Rape culture is 1 in 6 women being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is not even talking about the reality that many women are sexually assaulted multiple times in their lives. Rape culture is the way in which the constant threat of sexual assault affects women’s daily movements. Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.

Apparently now we must also worry about whether our body will betray us by not discerning the rape sperm from the consensual ones and allowing us to become pregnant. Or God forbid proving that a woman actually wanted to have sex with her attacker. The whole thing kind of gives new meaning to “her mouth said no but her [fill in the body part] said yes.”

Just for the record. I do believe in the sanctity of life. I am against late term and partial birth abortion except to save the life of the mother. I believe abortion should happen as rarely as possible. I do not believe people like Mr. Akin have any business criminalizing a woman who chooses not to carry and deliver the child of her rapist. How can that be justice?

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10 thoughts on “Her mouth said no, but she got pregnant anyway.

  1. I read your title, “Her mouth said no” was what the email displayed, and I knew you were writing on Todd Akin. Indeed, “women have ways of shutting that down” means the same as “if she’s pregnant she must have wanted it”.

    A religion of rules is anti-abortion. A religion of compassion is pro-choice, not only in the case of rape but of whatever motive a woman might have for an abortion, even if she wants one but cannot articulate a reason- perhaps especially so then.

    Saying this again- from the UK, the US seems insane. God be with you. At least Mr Romney has condemned Mr Akin.

    • I have to disagree with your second paragraph there – it really flattens this whole issue out to two sides, and pre-supposes that if you are not pro-choice then you are not compassionate. Several friends of mine would have been aborted if their parents were allowed the choice… the world would be a slightly emptier place without them in it. Their parents weren’t rape victims, so it really doesn’t go along with the original post. But I guess I am really tired of both sides of the abortion debate accusing the other side of being uncompassionate, or of being whatever. People have many different reasons for taking their stance on this issue, but lack of compassion rarely ever fuels their stand. As a scientist, we mark the beginning of life at implantation, but we also recognize that death is a part of all life. Its not easy to draw lines in my opinion.

      • I realise that a lot of anti-abortionists will be disgusted by Todd Akin, and indeed the extreme cases make for poor debate: Todd Akin, or Partial birth abortion, in the UK with good abortion services and most abortions before 12 weeks, and no MPs expressing such idiotic views, we can be more rational. And- put it another way, those with a rules-based morality will be anti-abortion, those with a person-based morality will be in favour. Though that might get us on to a “Blastocysts are people too” argument and a debate about what time to draw a line.

        I think no woman has an abortion lightly.

  2. Nette0727 says:

    I think a hardy “what the hell?” is my first response. My 2nd is didn’t know my body could decode sperm godd to know. 3rd oh one in a million could be baby from rape…well my aunt was one and she to keep her baby but that was her choice but don’t understand how we can blame the woman for mans action. Crazy pants….thanks for the post!

    • Seeing that only 1% of abortions are usually connected to rape, I am not sure why this post keeps getting hijacked into that subject. But your comment displays a common confusion tactic that certain politicians use to confuse the issue. Pro-life is not about protecting every life from inception to the grave. Everyone has to die, and many of our choices put us at greater risk of death. For example: drinking and driving. So therefore, by the same logic, you are not pro-life if you support the sale of alcohol? Well, of course not, but it is the same logic. Pro-life is about giving unborn babies the chance to be born and that is it. If they grow up to squander that life, that is their choice. If they sign up to be a soldier, they know that the possibility of death is part of that package. It is their choice. But sending those soldiers off to fight (where statistically, a majority of them will still live), does not contradict pro-life in the same way that forcing universal healthcare on people that don’t want it contradicts pro-choice.

    • Seeing that only 1% of abortions are usually connected to rape, I am not sure why this post keeps getting hijacked into that subject. But your comment displays a common confusion tactic that certain politicians use to confuse the issue. Pro-life is not about protecting every life from inception to the grave. Everyone has to die, and many of our choices put us at greater risk of death. For example: drinking and driving. So therefore, by the same logic, you are not pro-life if you support the sale of alcohol? Well, of course not, but it is the same logic. Pro-life is about giving unborn babies the chance to be born and that is it. If they grow up to squander that life, that is their choice. If they sign up to be a soldier, they know that the possibility of death is part of that package. It is their choice. But sending those soldiers off to fight (where statistically, a majority of them will still live), does not contradict pro-life in the same way that forcing universal healthcare on people that don’t want it contradicts pro-choice.

  3. Having a uterus makes a large difference; to emotions and sensibilities. I guess, therefore, men (some, if not all), not endowed with one, don’t understand the full implications of having to bear an unwanted burden.

    Thanks for a very nice post.

  4. William Becker says:

    And to think, intellectual lightweights, morons indeed, are those who make the rules for the rest of us. Some of these idiots are really lucky we live in the modern era, when such ridiculous blathering would be met with tar and feathering, being run out of town on a rail, or worse. What a bunch of asshats some of these people are.

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