Legitimate Rape

The dangers of patriarchy.

I’m sure we all know by now of the jackass Republican who claimed that women’s bodies can somehow protect themselves against rape…if it’s “legitimate” rape. [No word on how that might be defined. Only by someone who’s not a bastard…? I dunno, I’d call all rapists bastards…but I digress.] In case you managed to miss this insanity, here it is, in all its asinine stupidity.

In his own words, Rep. Todd Akin (on abortion in cases of rape):

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.

I know, right? I’ve read/heard this statement so many times over the last couple days and still it makes me go wtf.

Today this happened:

The platform committee for next week’s Republican National Convention today approved a strict anti-abortion plank…“Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” said platform language obtained by CNN. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

I still have trouble believing that not only are these guys for real, but that enough people agree with this bullshit to vote them into office.

One of the links that I have in my sidebar, right at the top, is called Schrödinger’s Rapist. I often point people to it, as it explains, far more clearly than I ever could, why men are almost always presumed dangerous.

Before I quote the salient points from the piece, I’d like to remind you of the statistics.

  • Nearly one-fifth of women (18 percent) reported experiencing a completed or attempted rape at some time in their lives
  • 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted by age 18
  • One out of every three women will be raped in her lifetime.
  • The overall probability that a rapist will be sent to prison for his crime: 16.3%.
  • The average sentence: 128 days.


One of the worst things about a patriarchical system, is the way we excuse rapists. Things like questioning the victim’s morals, the way in which she was clothed, chosing to walk home alone…any number of things that try to give the rapist an out, a way to blame the victim.

Last week I had jury duty. The case was a rape of a developmentally delayed women. She was asleep in her bed, in her room at a group home, when the guy broke in and forced himself on her. I had something similar happen to me years ago. In my case, I was sleeping on the couch, and my pajamas weren’t covering much, and he saw an opportunity through the open window. The authorities suggested that I wear more clothing to bed and make sure the curtains were closed.

I can offer up countless stories; the friends who were raped or molested as children, the ones who were forced by boyfriends or husbands, the ones who were taken advantage of when they were under the influence, the ones who were attacked on the street or in the mall or on the bus. In fact, I can’t think of one single woman I know that hasn’t had something along those lines happen to her.

She is never asking for it.

It is never her fault.

And yet, when we are given suggestions for preventing rape, they go something like this, “Don’t be alone with someone you don’t know.” or “Protect yourself by staying sober.” and my favorite “If you don’t want to have sex, it’s okay to say “no” at any time.” [Source]

There is no way to prevent getting raped. That’s what so many people just do not seem to understand. The only way to not be assaulted, is for your attacker to decide not to rape you. There is no safe place, and no way to know who the rapist is. Could be the guy who works at the gas station you stop at every morning. The guy who makes your coffee at Starbucks. The cashier at the store. Your mechanic, your postman, your brother’s friend, your dad’s friend, your boyfriend, your husband…

Now, from the piece I was mentioning (and you should really read the whole thing):

Is preventing violent assault or murder part of your daily routine, rather than merely something you do when you venture into war zones? Because, for women, it is.

If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.

When you approach me, I will begin to evaluate the possibility you will do me harm. That possibility is never 0%.

Every woman I know has a built in assessment threat analyzer. When you are the victim of a sexual assault, as a good chunk of the female population is, the threat level is higher, and every man is dangerous. Most rapes are by someone you know, someone you might have thought was on the safe side of the equation.

Somewhere between 4% and 8% of the men in America are rapists. That’s somewhere between 6 and 12 million men. (The population of Michigan is somewhere around 10 million by comparison.) [And that’s just adult men attacking adult women. I haven’t even gotten into the 1%-5% of the population that attack children. Or male rape. Or lgbt victims.]

This is why the Republican party scares me. This asshole and his “legitimate” rape isn’t the only example. Google Paul Ryan’s positions on women’s rights sometime. [I’ll give you a head-start: He wants to ban anything and everything that would let a woman have control over her own reproductive health, from in-vitro to birth control to abortions.] Google Republican positions on rape.

Rape is rape, and there’s never an excuse for it.


One Response to “Legitimate Rape”

  1. A couple of additions to this topic: A woman talks about her rape and a woman who got pregnant from rape talks about the legal issues.

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