Republicans and Their Obsession With Rape
7 months ago
Unless they've been victims of sexual assault, GOP men need to keep their mouths shut about it.
The views expressed in this Op-Ed do not necessarily reflect those of Loop 21.
John Koster, a congressional candidate in Washington State, is the latest politician to give his two cents about rape, because, well, middle-aged white Republican men are suddenly the self-appointed experts on the subject.
“I know a woman who was raped and kept the child, gave it up for adoption, and she doesn't regret it,” said Koster at a fundraiser, after he was asked about abortion rights. “On the rape thing, it's like, how does putting more violence onto a woman's body and taking the life of an innocent child that's a consequence of this crime—how does that make it better? You know what I mean?"
No, John Koster, I don’t. I don’t understand you, nor do I understand Richard Mourdock and Rick Santorum (rape and any resulting pregnancies are God’s will? Really?) or Todd “legitimate rape” Akin or State Rep. Roger Rivard (R-Wisc.), who says his father advised him to beware of wily women who might agree to consensual sex but then cry rape, by saying: “If you go down that road, some girls, they rape so easy.”
I don’t understand why these men think they have the right to classify rape as something other than what it is—a violent sexual attack. There is no “illegitimate” rape, or “easy” rape, or “enjoyable” rape. (In 1990, Clayton Williams, then Texas’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, joked about rape, saying: “If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”) Rape is rape. Period. End of story.
While I do not understand how these Republican men have the gall to make such glib comments about rape, I get what their obsession with rape is all about—abortion.
But really, I don’t think they should be offering this constant stream of rape-abortion commentary because they clearly aren’t empathetic enough to think through the issue clearly. I don’t think that Koster and his friends can even imagine what it is like to be raped, become pregnant and to then not have the option to make a decision about whether or not to have the rapist’s baby. If they could, I don’t think they’d be making such ignorant comments.
For almost three years, I have been reporting in Haiti. Many of my stories have been about rape in the camps for the internally displaced.