Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Only Rape"

Rape is a serious subject. It is touchy by nature and even bringing it up upsets many people, but like any other violence it cannot be ignored. We cannot pretend it doesn't happen or won't happen to those we love, we cannot pretend our culture doesn't justify and accept it, and we cannot excuse it when someone "good" does it. Rape is a type of incredibly invasive assault. It is not "lesser" when someone you know or have slept with before does it, it is not lesser when a rich white man does it compared to a poor black "hoodlum" and it certainly isn't justifiable because the victim was drunk, acting "slutty" or scantily clad. We live in a culture that justifies and excuses rapists and pretends there is some wide ranging issue of false rape accusations. We live in a culture that imagines dark alleys as the only place you can be "legitimately" raped, to paraphrase GOPer Akin.

In the news now is Ryan and Romney distancing themselves from Akin's comment about legitimate rape, but not long ago Ryan co-sponsered a bill with Akin which would have redefined types of rape, such as "forceful" rape, whatever the fuck that is supposed to mean. Ryan doesn't believe differently than Akin, although who knows what Romney believes, he just needed to distance himself from an unpopular statement. The new GOP backed by the various tea parties wants to control women completely. They push medieval myths like Akins rape victims magically don't get pregnant and social norms like blaming the victim.

To be fair, though, opposing abortion even in cases of rape is more consistent, if still vile. If a fetus is a life, then why should some measure of the woman's inconvenience matter, even if that inconvenience is actually trauma. They have shown no care for trauma to begin with, why start now? But the point stands that if a fetus is a sacred life then why do they get to draw the arbitrary line for the level of inconvenience that is appropriate to abort? That merely shows the truth, that it is about social control of women rather than "life." If they can draw a line somewhere why not just allow the woman to decide their personal line of acceptable inconvenience and trauma.

By typing rape these politicians only seek to exacerbate rape culture, which already differentiates between how bad they perceive rapes to be, so that while most rapes are by people the victim knows, often involving prior consent or drugs and alcohol, somehow they are lesser by cultural definitions, even while the violation and trauma are equal if not worse than stranger rape, considering the violation of trust involved as well. The victims are shamed, the rapists excused, all while imaginary plagues of false rape accusations abound and politicians seek to moderate rape types. Even still, rape is only defined federally and in most states to involve penetration, even if by an object. Sexual assault is sexual assault, regardless of penetration, but this is still part of a violent rape culture. The rape culture in turn is connected to the generally violent nature of American culture, where we see men threaten rape to silence dissenting women, the GOP threatening violent rebellion if they lose fairly in the democratic process this november and gun deaths exploding all over the country.

Bottom line, stop excusing rape, any type. Stop trying to weasel out of what constitutes rape, or how much the victim is blamed. If someone beats a woman then she is a victim, if he violates her sexually she is suddenly either out for attention or a slut. They are both acts of violence, of assault, but it only counts if the bruises are visible?

Logic Priest

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