IT MUST NOT BE RAPE IF A WOMAN GETS PREGNANT,By Louise Annarino,August 20,2012

20 Aug

It Must Not Be Rape If A Woman Gets Pregnant,By Louise Annarino,August 2o,2012

As I write this I am listening to Tchaikowsky’s Sleeping Beauty Suite via Spotify, thanks to a helpful young nephew who downloaded it to my computer.Little girls love the story of Sleeping Beauty. Even those of us who are feminists to the core dream the most beautiful dream of all, finding our prince.  A few of us are lucky enough to have found him. Then there is rape, the stuff of nightmares.

Students moved into residence halls at The Ohio State University this week-end. Some of them will be raped; 1out of 4 is a commonly cited statistic. Another is that 90% knew their rapist; and yet another that 60% of male college students “indicated some likelihood of raping or using force in certain circumstances”(see more at http://www.crisisconnectioninc.org/sexualassault/college_campuses_and_rape.htm).

As a 19 year old student and Resident Advisor or RA at OSU I spent many nights in the University Hospital emergency room comforting such young women; and, sometimes comforting those who were hemorrhaging from a back-alley abortion. Abortions were then illegal. Sleeping Beauties, these young women, who sought to make a dream come true, woke up in a nightmare. Every 21 hours a woman is raped on a college campus.

It is not only college women, those uppity females who believe they are as smart and as competent as men, and able to compete with them who face sexual assault. Rape crosses all economic and sexual barriers. In a department of Justice Study 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men experienced rape or attempted rape. Yet, a 1992 report from the National Victim Center ( see more at http://www.911rape.org/facts-quotes/statistics )called rape the most underreported violent crime in America; with one in six victims reporting the rape. The 2000 FBI Uniform Crime Report states that a rape occurs in the United States once every 5 minutes.

The young are more likely to be sexually assaulted than adults. In the 1992 study the National Victim Center reported the following breakdown by age of victims:

29.3% were less than 11 years old
32.3% were between 11 and 17
22.2% were between 18 and 24
7.1% were between 25 and 29
6.1% were older than 29
3.0% age was not available

Getting lost in statistics? Each one is a human being just like you,your wife,daughter, mother,sister,niece. Rapists live among us as family, friends, neighbors. Rape is a violent crime not because of the nature of penetration, the level of force used, nor the behavior of a woman prior to the rape. It is because sex is used as a weapon to injure,maim,even kill a woman; body, heart and soul. Rape is meant to denigrate and defile a woman. To show her how worthless she really is. It is not a sexual act but a violent act using sex as the weapon.

While working on a graduate level project at a maximum security men’s prison in Ohio I discovered that most rapes are planned; inmates often described to me how they selected their victims. The reason most women report knowing their rapist is because he sets up potential victims by making innocent and deceptively friendly contact with her hours,days,weeks in advance; often, by simply asking for the time or directions and making conversation. Those women who respond favorably and kindly are selected. Those who ignore or showed distaste for the man’s advances are bypassed as likely to be a “problem”. I was told (women in the helping professions) teachers,nurses and social workers are particularly sought out. Since then, I am most unfriendly to any man I do not know and give a glaring look if asked for directions etc. Not very ladylike; I have no illusions about, nor dreams of being a princess.

I understood rape,finally, despite the hours I had spent with women who had experienced it, when I was nearly gang-raped while walking across the OSU campus in daylight, walking with two female roommates. I had taken several self-defense courses and like many women mistakenly believed I could take-down or escape a rapist, never imagining the possibility of pair or gang-rapes. 85% of rape survivors report they tried unsuccessfully to reason with the man who raped her. 55% of campus gang-rapes are committed by fraternities,40% by sports teams,and 5% by others.(http://www.oneinfourusa.org/statistics.php) In my case it was the intervention by the OSU football squad which saved me. GO BUCKS!

Which brings me to the Teapublican fraternity of men in the House and Senate who show their disdain for women by submitting bills to control them, deprive them of needed health care, and pay them less than men doing the same job. Recently, Representatives Todd Akin (R-MO) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) co-sponsored H.R. 3“No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which initially included language which changed the definition of rape to forcible rape. Later,public pressure forced the bill’s supporters to remove that unacceptable and narrow definition. Perhaps Mr. Akin meant to say forcible instead of legitimate while defending his extreme anti-choice view because he believes some rapes are legitimate, and/or not all rapes are forcible. Either way the idea of rape held by Mr. Akin, Mr. Ryan and other Teapublicans is misguided. They discuss rape as if it were a sexual act, as if some sex is legitimate and some not; as if some sex is forced and some not. Rape does not illustrate a woman’s willingness or unwillingness to exert her sexuality. It can never be legitimate. It is inherently a use of force meant to denigrate and harm a woman. Rape is a weapon against women.It is a criminal act; and they don’t get it.

His very words over during a recent interview illustrate the Teapublican Akin’s failure to understand the problems women face: “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Why is he talking with doctors about rape? Why is he not talking with criminal experts? Why is he talking about pregnancy resulting from rape? Why is he not talking about the injuries sustained by women resulting from rape? Why? Because he is not interested in rape. He dos not respect a woman’s right to be free of criminal attack when sex is the weapon.He is interested in stopping ALL abortions, even those resulting from rape. Abortion is his raison d’etre. SInce a woman who gets pregnant could not have been raped, there is no need to add an exemption for rape victims in legislation denying funding for abortion. This was no slip of the tongue;this is Teapublican policy espoused by candidates running on the Republican Party tickets across the country.

How would Akin and Ryan decide which rapes are legitimate or forcible, and which are not? If Akin’s scientific analysis is correct, any rape resulting in pregnancy would NOT be a legitimate rape since a legitimate rape “would shut that whole thing down”. If “that whole thing” did not shut down, then the rape must not be legitimate rape. The woman should not be protected nor her abortion/health care needs funded.

I resent having my female reproductive health system described as “that whole thing”. Akin and Ryan talk about God and religion so much one would expect a little more sanctity and appreciation for God’s design of women’s bodies. One would expect them to respectfully learn the truth about sexuality and reproduction. One would expect them to respect women and protect them from criminal violence;not parse such violence against women for political gain.

The Akin-Ryan denigration of women from the floor of congress and their campaign trails is painful and frightening to all women, but especially to those of us who have had to learn to overcome the hatred and disdain of the men who attacked us. Now,  presidential candidate Romney selects Rep. Paul Ryan to run as Vice-President. Mr. Akin, Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney wound us anew. Of course they frighten us. They are the stuff of nightmares which have never gone away.

 

 

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2 Responses to “IT MUST NOT BE RAPE IF A WOMAN GETS PREGNANT,By Louise Annarino,August 20,2012”

  1. Karen Boltz August 20, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    I was amazed at Akin’s reference to “that whole thing”. What is wrong with these Republican men?! Are they so terrified of women that they can’t even talk about us as human beings? They can’t see rape for what it is, a hate crime against women? They don’t even care about the people in their own lives who happen to have “that whole thing”? Just when I think the Republican “leaders” can’t get any lower, they do. Where is their shame??!!

  2. Yo Momma August 21, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    You do realize that not all republicans feel the same way, correct? And do you realize that you sound as though you are stuck in medieval times with your views on women, no? Rape is bad; fairly obvious. The fact that an article on this has to be written is very sad…mainly because it doesn’t need to be. Everyone knows how bad rape is and no one denies it. I recommend focusing on the point of what you write, instead of narrowing in on one side of the debate to make them out to be evil.

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