Purity Culture Is Rape Culture #Vaw #delhigangrape #1billionrising


E.J. GRAFF, prospect.org

JANUARY 4, 2013

The shocking assault in India reveals that rape isn’t about sex—it’s about controlling women’s lives.

AP Photo/ Dar Yasin
Indian women offer prayers for a gang rape victim at Mahatma Gandhi memorial in New Delhi.

Her intestines were removed because the six men used a rusty metal rod during the “rape.”That fact—the rusty metal rod—is what’s haunted me about the violent incident that has outraged India and the world. Six men held a 23-year-old woman and her male friend in a private bus for hours while they assaulted her so brutally that, after several surgeries to repair her insides, she died. What happened to this young woman was a gang assault. It can be called a sexual assault because among other things, they brutalized her vagina. Or it can be called a sexual assault because it was driven by rage at the female sex.Since Susan Brownmiller first wrote Against Our Will—the landmark feminist reconceptualization of rape—feminists have worked on clarifying the fact that rape is less about sex than it is about rage and power. Too many people still conceive of rape as a man’s overwhelming urge to enjoy the body of a woman who has provoked him by being attractive and within reach. As is true in many “traditional” cultures, much of India still imagines that the violation was one against her chastity, as Aswini Anburajan writes at Buzzfeed. But conceiving it as primarily a sexual violation places the burden on women to protect their bodies’ purity. It means that the question that gets asked is this one: Why was she out so late at night, provoking men into rage by being openly female?But seen from a woman’s own point of view, rape is quite different: It’s punishment for daring to exist as an independent being, for one’s own purposes, not for others’ use. Sexual assault is a form of brutalization based, quite simply, on the idea that women have no place in the world except the place that a man assigns them—and that men should be free to patrol women’s lives, threatening them if they dare step into view. It is fully in keeping with bride-burnings, acid attacks, street harassment, and sex-selective abortions that delete women before they are born.I’ve now read a number of commentaries exposing India’s, particularly New Delhi’s, culture of street violence against women. The most memorable, by Sonia Faleiro in The New York Times, talks about the fear that was instilled in her during her 24 years living in Delhi:

As a teenager, I learned to protect myself. I never stood alone if I could help it, and I walked quickly, crossing my arms over my chest, refusing to make eye contact or smile. I cleaved through crowds shoulder-first, and avoided leaving the house after dark except in a private car. …Things didn’t change when I became an adult. Pepper spray wasn’t available, and my friends, all of them middle- or upper-middle-class like me, carried safety pins or other makeshift weapons to and from their universities and jobs. One carried a knife, and insisted I do the same. I refused; some days I was so full of anger I would have used it — or, worse, had it used on me.The steady thrum of whistles, catcalls, hisses, sexual innuendos and open threats continued. Packs of men dawdled on the street … To make their demands clear, they would thrust their pelvises at female passers-by.

Such endemic street harassment is not about sex; it’s about threatening women for daring to leave the private sphere. It’s a form of control over women’s ambitions and lives. And when such a culture is widespread, it gives men permission to use women as the target for any excess anger they might have.

A culture in which women are expected to remain virgins until marriage is a rape culture. In that vision, women’s bodies are for use primarily for procreation or male pleasure.

“Rape culture,” as young feminists now call this, isn’t limited to India. It lives anywhere that has a “traditional” vision of women’s sexuality. A culture in which women are expected to remain virgins until marriage is a rape culture. In that vision, women’s bodies are for use primarily for procreation or male pleasure. They must be kept pure.While cultural conservatives would disagree, this attitude gives men license to patrol—in some cases with violence—women’s hopes for controlling their lives and bodies. In October, responding to Richard Mourdock‘s incredible comment about rape, I mentioned an absolutely essential piece by The Nation’s Jessica Valenti in a way I want to reprise here, if you’ll excuse the self-quotation:

As Tennessee Senator Douglas Henry said in 2008, “Rape, ladies and gentlemen, is not today what rape was. Rape, when I was learning these things, was the violation of a chaste woman, against her will, by some party not her spouse.”

In other words, only virgins can be raped—sweetly white-gloved, white-skinned virgins. Any woman who ever wanted sex—yes, that includes married women who unconditionally give permission when they put on that ring—deserves what she gets. Valenti’s piece is a brilliant and absolutely essential manifesto on what still has to change to get from “What about ‘no’ don’t you understand?” to the more advanced concept that women have a right to enjoy and control our own bodies. In this “traditional” vision of sexuality, it’s not rape if you’ve already had sex, ever—except if you’re married and another man violates his property. Your only role is to protect your purity for its future owner. If you don’t do, you’re fair game. A culture in which women must cover up or be threatened is a rape culture. You’re thinking of hijab and burquas, right? Think also of the now well-known SlutWalks, which were launched after a Toronto police officer told young women that they could avoid rape by not dressing like “sluts.” The protests, which have spread worldwide, make the point that no matter how we dress, women are at risk; and no matter how we dress, our bodies are our own.  Let me be clear that we have plenty of rape culture here in the United States. When I told my wife the prosecutor how shocked I was by the India case’s rusty metal bar, her response disturbed me terribly: She laughed at my naïveté. She sees it all the time, she explained. She started telling me about one recent case in which a husband had shoved a broom up his wife so far it ripped out through her chest. I was so upset I stopped her before she could tell me more.Or consider the recent rape in Steubenville, Ohio, allegedly by members of the football team, which was reported on in excellent detail by the Times—primarily because of the shocking way it was was celebrated via social media. Here’s how Prospectcontributor Amanda Marcotte summarized the case at Slate:

The alleged crime: Witnesses, some also on the football team, testified at a probable cause hearing that Mays and Richmond spent most of the night of Aug. 11 standing over, directing, transporting, and otherwise controlling the blacked-out drunk victim, who they carried to three separate parties. According to the New York Times, witnesses claim that Mays and Richmond tried to coerce the victim into oral sex, exposed her naked body as a joke to other partygoers, penetrated her digitally, and exposed themselves to her. Other Steubenville students on Twitter and YouTube say they witnessed even worse violations, including urinating on the victim and anal rape, though these are not official statements. (And sadly, these students were more delighted than upset by what they allegedly saw.) While it appears that multiple students taped and photographed the alleged assault, officials claim they haven’t been able to turn up much in the way of evidence, because the evidence has been deleted.

Football players like these two can almost always find young women who will have sex with them willingly. Taking a drunk and helpless girl and urinating on her, humiliating her, fingering her publicly, violating several orifices—that’s about rage and power, not sexual pleasure. That’s sexual assault and enforcement of the rape culture’s idea that a woman’s job is to protect her purity.At CNN Opinion, Lauren Wolfe writes that women are rising up against rape and rampant street harassment in places as disparate as Egypt and Somalia. I hope she’s right—and that the horror in India spurs genuine change, complete with international coalitions, like those that came out of the Beijing women’s conference and that work across borders. We do know that protests have spread beyond India to Nepal. Slutwalks have spread around the world, as my regular google alert tells me, with recent incarnations in such places as Hong Kong, Lubbock Texas, Mandurah, Australia, and Plymouth, Massachusetts.

I can only hope that the response to the attack in India includes outrage at congressional Republicans’ astounding refusal to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), one of the most effective tools to help prevent such violence, which the Prospect’s Jamelle Bouie has already told you about. In its past 18 years, it has funded tremendously useful projects ranging from a stalking help line to statistical research to law-enforcement training in responding to intimate-partner violence. According to the National Organization for Women’s reading of Bureau of Justice statistics, in the first 15 years after VAWA was originally passed, intimate-partner violence homicides dropped by 53 percent, and female homicides dropped 43 percent. While of course that cannot all be attributed to VAWA—homicide deaths in general have fallen during that period, for a myriad of reasons—VAWA has been an important tool in training, educating, funding, and helping to enforce new norms. If this were called “domestic terrorism,” far more of the nation’s budget would be dedicated to end it.

You’d think that their November loss at the ballot would’ve educated Republicans about the fact that women actually vote. But some people learn very, very slowly.

Here’s the key point: It is not acceptable that more than 50 percent of the world’s population live in fear of violence solely because they are female. I do hope that India will turn around the male rage seething through its streets—and that here, we see an uprising against Congress’s appalling failure to reauthorize the bill that fights domestic terrorism—the terror that women feel at home.

 

What the Bible Says About #Rape #Gender #Vaw


Christians of many stripes are scrambling to distance themselves and their religion from Republican comments about rape. But a literal interpretation of the Bible is quite disturbing.
November 1, 2012  |

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (left) and U.S. Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock greet supporters at a campaign event at Stepto’s Bar B Q Shack on August 4 in Evansville, Indiana.

Christians of many stripes are scrambling to distance themselves, their religion, or their God from Republican comments about rape. The latest furor is about Washington State congressional candidate John Koster, who opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest and added for good measure that “incest is so rare, I mean it’s so rare.”  Before that, it was Indiana candidate Richard Mourdock, who said, “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen” backed up by Texas senator John Cornyn insisting that “life is a gift from God.” These men share the January sentiment of Rick Santorum:  “the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you.”

Those Christians who see the Bible as a human, historical document have the right to distance themselves. Those who see the Bible as the unique and perfect revelation of the Divine, essentially dictated by God to the writers, do not. The fact is, the perspective that God intends rape babies and that such pregnancies should be allowed to run their course is perfectly biblical.

I am not going to argue here that the Bible teaches that life begins at conception. It doesn’t. The Bible writers had no concept of conception, and no Bible writer values the life of a fetus on par with the life of an infant or an older child. One does say that God knows us while we are developing in the womb, but another says he knows us even before. Levitical law prescribes a fine for a man who accidentally triggers a miscarriage. It is not the same as the penalty for manslaughter. Therapeutic abortion is never mentioned, nor is the status of the fetus that spontaneously aborts. Under Jewish law, a newborn isn’t circumcised and blessed until he is eight days old, having clearly survived the high mortality peri-natal period. For centuries the Catholic Church believed that “ensoulment” occurred and a fetus became a person at the time of quickening or first movement, sometime during the second trimester.

However, if we take the viewpoint of biblical literalists and treat the Good Book as if it were authored by a single perfect, unchanging Deity, then a man is on solid ground thinking that rape babies are part of God’s intentions. Consider the following Bible teachings:

The Bible never teaches that women should have a choice about sex. The Bible makes a clear distinction between forcible stranger rape and other forms of nonconsensual sex, condemning the former while sanctioning the latter in many, many circumstances. The fact that conservative Christians – or politicians who are pandering to a Conservative Christian base–keep fumbling with these distinctions is no accident. According to the commands of Yahweh, a man can give his daughters in marriage, keep concubines, have sex with his wife’s servants, or claim a desirable war captive as his own sexual property after a series of rituals to purify her. In no case, including in the New Testament, is the woman’s consent required for sexual contact.

Male female relationships in the Bible are determined by a property ethic. The punishments for rape have to do not with compassion or trauma to the woman herself but with honor, tribal purity, and a sense that a used woman is damaged goods. A woman herself may be killed for voluntarily giving up her purity. A rapist can be forced, essentially, to buy her. In the Ten Commandments, the prohibition against coveting a neighbor’s wife is part of a broader prohibition against coveting property that belongs to another man: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17NIV).

God’s purpose for women in the Bible is childbearing. Martin Luther, who brought us the concept of “sola scritura” meaning Christianity based solely on the authority of the Bible, had this to say: “Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house and bear and bring up children. If a woman grows weary and, at last, dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing; she is there to do it.”  He drew his scripturally informed opinion from the biblical record broadly but most specifically from the words of Paul’s letter to Timothy: “Women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety” (1 Tm. 2:15).

Virtually all Bible books, like almost all Hollywood movies fail to pass the Bechdel Test (Are there two named female characters who talk with each other about anything other than men?). In the Bible, as in Hollywood, women exist largely as props in plotlines about male protagonists. Biblical plotlines are even more homogenous than Hollywood, however, in that the vast preponderance of females exist simply for the purpose of producing male offspring. It all starts with Eve, who, after she defies Yahweh and eats from the Tree of Knowledge, is punished thus:“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). After Eve’s curse, we encounter Abraham’s wife Sarah and the slave girl Hagar who Sarah sends to “lie with” her husband when she herself cannot conceive. Then come the pathetic deflowered daughters of Lot who get him drunk and have sex with him so they can fulfill their purpose. Then come the archetypal bitch sisters Rachel and Leah who compete over Jacob’s bed and pump out the twelve tribes of Israel with the help of a few mandrake roots. The New Testament leads with the story of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist who is barren in her old age until an angel promises her the best thing that can happen to a woman. Her unborn son leaps in her womb when the pregnant Mary comes into her house, prompting one of the most repeated songs of joy in the whole Bible, the Magnificat (Luke 1:40-55). And then, of course, there is the Virgin Mary herself. They are made to do it. It is as God intended.

In the Bible, children are counted as assets belonging to men. Children, like women, in the Bible are treated primarily according to a property ethic. In the Old Testament stories of Jepthah’s daughter and the sacrifice of Isaac, scholars glimpse a residual of child sacrifice in the early Hebrew religion. This in turn leads to the New Testament notion of God giving his only begotten son as a sacrifice—all of which make sense only when we think of children as property which a father can dispose of as he pleases.  When Yahweh is pleased with men he multiplies their flocks and their offspring. When he is displeased, he may kill their firstborn sons, as he does to the Egyptians in the Moses story. When Yahweh and Satan agree to play out their cosmic competition in the life of Job, Satan tests Job’s loyalty to Yahweh by taking away is riches including his livestock, children and wives, and Yahweh later replaces them with new ones.

There is no sense, ever, in the Bible, that a woman might prefer a choice about having a child; that wise parents might think about when is best to bring another child into their family or how many children they can nurture; or even less that bringing a child into the world should be an matter of thoughtful and mutual decision making. The only Bible story in which someone declines to produce a child is the one about Onan refusing to father a son for his deceased brother. He spills his seed on the ground instead, and God kills him for it. Whether the widow wanted the seed inside her plays no part in the account whatsoever.

The Bible is loaded with divinely sanctioned rape babies. The Bible both depicts and scriptsa world in which women have no choice about who they are given to. Daughters can be given in marriage or sold outright, slaves can be sent by their mistresses to bear proxy babies, virgin war captives can be claimed as wives, widows can be forced to submit to humping by their brothers-in-law until they produce sons. Presumably any of these women can be laid at any time, at a man’s discretion, much as is the case in parts of Afghanistan or analogous Iron Age tribal cultures today. In such a world, a significant portion of babies conceived will be the product of non-consensual sex. In other words, rape.

Christians who like to retroactively sanitize the Biblical record because they insist that it is the literally perfect word of God often sanitize it quite literally. They want to think of these women as willing participants in sexual unions with benevolent, high status patriarchs. What slave girl wouldn’t want one? In reality we are talking about forced sex with primitive desert tribesmen whose cleansing rituals mostly focused on their hands and feet rather than their genitals, armpits or teeth. Airbrushing the Bible to the point that it doesn’t condone rape requires that we deny much of what we know about human history and biology.

If we are ever going to move on from Iron Age conflicts, it is imperative that people understand the Bible in its own context, not as a literally perfect prescription for how we should live today but as a record of our very imperfect ancestors struggling to live in community with each other, instinctively seeking patterns that worked within a given ecological and technological context to create a stable, functional society in which men, women, and children could thrive.

As we now know, many traditional gender scripts and sexual rules once served to ensure that men could invest their energy in their own genetic offspring. The saying, “mama’s baby, papa’s maybe” reflects the reality that humans are only partially monogamous, that both men and women have reason to cheat, and that at the level of evolutionary biology males gain advantage if they can control the sexual behavior of females in whose offspring they will then invest their time and energy. The Abrahamic virginity code, which evolved before the time of contraception and paternity tests, ensured a greater degree of confidence that men were in fact raising their own children. A woman who bled on her wedding night was unlikely to be carrying another man’s sperm or fetus or to have formed an emotional bond that would result in an ongoing extramarital liaison. By increasing male confidence that the offspring of their wives were their own, the virginity code may have increased the investment of men in pregnant women and dependent children, helping both to survive in a harsh desert environment where producing food was hard work.

The harshness of this environment and human frailty within it probably contributed to another aspect of the Mourdock mentality that so plagues many Abrahamic adherents. From the time we humans have first been able to understand our plight as suffering, mortal creatures we have struggled to transcend it. But much of life’s hardship cannot be transcended; it must simply be endured. In the time before modern science this was even more true than it is today. Consequently all of the world’s great religions cultivate acceptance or resignation as a virtue. Islam literally means submission. Buddhism centers itself on the absence of desire, on “living into” what is. Christianity teaches that God’s actions are not for us to question. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.” “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” Submit, accept, don’t question. In all cases, submission has a hierarchy: men are to submit themselves to the will of God or to the divine flow; women are to submit both to the will of God and to the will of men.

In a world where what’s done is done, accepting a rape pregnancy and falling in love with the resulting child is an unmitigated good. Seeing all pregnancy as God-intended and all childbirth as a blessing from a loving heavenly father helps to make this possible. But we live in a world where we have far more knowledge and choices than did our Iron Age ancestors. And with knowledge and choices comes responsibility. We now have the ability to stop a rape from developing into a pregnancy or an early pregnancy from developing into a person. Consequently, we also have a responsibility in this situation to activate such moral virtues ascompassionforethought, discernment, and, where appropriate, action—just as our ancestors had a moral responsibility to employ these same virtues in situations where they were equally empowered. As the popular Serenity Prayer reminds us, what we should do depends in part on what we can do: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.  As conditions change, our responsibilities change. The kind of resignation or submission that once enabled women and children to flourish may now be a barrier to flourishing; a virtue applied wrongly, out of time, can become a vice.

This is where John Koster, Richard Mourdock, Rick Santorum, anti-contraception Bishops, and so many other devout conservatives have gone wrong. They have elevated a virtue, devotion, in this case devotion to a sacred text and tradition, to the point that it appears a vice to everyone but those who are caught in their retrogressive thought spiral. The consequences are there for all to see:  Instead of pointing the way toward wisdom—humility, prudence, discernment, kindness, insight, knowledge, and effectiveness—their devotion to the traditional subjugation of woman under man under Church under God (as embodied in a Golden Calf known as the Bible), simply makes them cruel.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington and the founder ofWisdom Commons. She is the author of “Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light” and “Deas and Other Imaginings.” Her articles can be found at Awaypoint.Wordpress.com.

 

#America- Shocking Facts about Rape #WTFnews #Vaw #Torture


Number of States in Which Rapists Can Sue For Custody and Visitation Rights — 31 — and Other Shocking Rape Facts

For months now we’ve been subjected to surreal revelations when it comes to what people think about rape. Here is some real, fact-checked information.

October 28, 2012  |   Alternet .org

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Oleg Golovnev

Remember facts? Remember facts about rape? Because it turns out that a whole lot of people know less than nothing about the subject. Indeed what they think they know is a whole lot of something that is wrong and dangerous to our heath, safety and well-being. Republican Representative Richard Mourdock‘srecent ” misspeaking” is unexceptional. Despite what he may have meant when he said “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that… is something God intended to happen,” he is unexceptional. He’s not an outlier. Not a radical. In no substantive way different from his conservative peers in this regard (see below if you disagree).

Indeed, he and others, like Todd Akin and Paul Ryan , are part of an age-old tradition of men with power defining when women are raped. And others whoenable them to do it for their own gain. But, they are not just the Republican party’s legislative norm, they are a fair reflection of our cultural tolerance, one without party affiliation, for rape and its qualifications. For months now we’ve been subjected to surreal revelation when it comes to what people think and understand about rape, god and women’s magical bodies. Here is some real, fact-checked information from a list originally published last week inRHRealityCheck .

And this is trigger warning. You may want a strong cup of coffee. Or a drink. Or an empty stomach. There is nothing remotely divine about rape. But steeping our selves in denial or happy oblivion is hurting too many people and has the potential to hurt a lot more.

50 Facts About Rape

    1. Low estimate of the number of women , according to the Department of Justice, raped every year: 300,000
    2. High estimate of the number of women raped , according to the CDC: 1.3 million
    3. Percentage of rapes not reported : 54 percent
    4. A woman’s chance of being raped in the U.S.: 1 in 5
    5. Chances that a raped woman conceives compared to one engaging in consensual sex : at least two times as likely
    6. Number of women in the US impregnated against their will each year in the U.S. as a result of rape: 32,000
    7. Number of states in which rapists can sue for custody and visitation : 31
    8. Chances that a woman’s body ” shuts that whole thing down“: 0 in 3.2 billion
    9. Rank of U.S. in the world for rape: 13th
    10. A woman’s chance of being raped in college : 1 in 4 or 5
    11. Chances that a Native American woman in the U.S. will be raped : 1 in 3
    12. Percentage of women in Alaska who have suffered sexual assault: 37 percent
    13. Number of rape kits untested by the Houston police force: 6,000-7,000 (Texas ranked second in nation for “forcible rape”)
    14. Number of adult men accused of repeatedly gang raping 11-year-old girl in Texas: 14
    15. Quote in the New York Times regarding the rape: “They said she dressed older than her age.”
    16. Age of woman raped in Central Park in September, 2012: 73
    17. Number of rape kits left untested in Detroit , listed by Forbes as one of two the most dangerous places for woman to live in the US: 11,303
    18. U.S. state in which, in September 2012, mentally disabled rape victim was required to provide evidence of her “kicking, biting, scratching” in objection to her rape: Connecticut
    19. State seeking to reduce childcare welfare benefits to women cannot provide proof of their pregnancy-causing rapes: Pennsylvannia
    20. Percentage of sexual assault and rape victims under the age of 12 : 15 percent
    21. Percentage of men who have been raped : 3 percent
    22. Percentage of rapists who are never incarcerated : 97 perent
    23. Percentage of rapes that college students think are false claims : 50 percent
    24. Percentage of rapes that studies find are false claims : 2-8 percent
    25. Number of rapes reported in the military last year: 16,500
    26. Pentagon’s estimated percentage of military assuaults not reported: 80-90 percent
    27. Percentage of military rape victims who were gang raped/raped more than once : 14%/20%
    28. Percentage of military rape victims that are men : 8-37 percent
    29. Percentage of military victims who get an “involuntarily” discharge compared to percentage of charged and accused who are discharged with honor : 90 percent involuntary to 80 percent with honor
    30. Chances an incarcerated person is raped in the U.S.: 1 in 10
    31. Increase in chance that LGTB prisoner is raped: 15x greater chance
    32. Number of men raped that could be counted as legally raped before the FBI changed its definition in December of 2011: 0
    33. Number of rapes noted in commonly used World War II statistics: 0
    34. Number of rapes of WWII c oncentration camp inmates : Untallied millions
    35. Number of rapes of German women by Russian soldiers at the end of WWII: between 1m and 2m
    36. Number of women raped in 1990s Bosnian conflict : 60,000+
    37. Number of women raped per hour in Congo during war: 48
    38. Country where 12 year old was forced to participate in the rape of his mother: U.S.
    39. Country where women are imprisoned for being raped: Afghanistan
    40. Age of Moroccan rape victim who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist: 16
    41. Worldwide number of “child brides” under the age of 18forced to marry every day : 25,000
    42. Ages of girls forced to marry a 59-year-old at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministry in Arkansas : 8, 14, 15
    43. Estimated number of people, primarily children, sexually abused by priests in the U.S. versus the number of senior Catholic officials found guilty of sexual abuse related crimes in the U.S.: 10,667 to 1
    44. Chances that a woman in the U.S. is raped versus gets breast cancer : 2 to 1
    45. Chances that a victim is ” Emergency Raped ” by a strangerversus percentage of victims who consider their rapes emergencies: 7 percent versus 100 percent
    46. Percentage of victims of rape who report the use of a weapon: 11 percent
    47. Prison sentences for four men found guilty of participating in gang rapes of two teenage girls in France over two years: one year, six months, suspended sentence
    48. State where in 2012 a doctor is facing the loss of her medical license for providing an abortion to a pregnant 10-year old incest rape victim : Kansas
    49. Country where doctors (but not the rapist) were excommunicated for performing a life-saving abortion to nine-year-old incest rape victim: Brazil
    50. Country where major party’s vice-presidential candidate wants to criminalize all abortions including rape-related ones, because rape is just ” another method of conception “: U.S.

Had enough? Me, too. And, believe me, this is the Cliff Notes version. Some people are offended by frank conversation about violence, especially sexualized violence. I’m offended by tolerance for these assaults, scientific denialism, entertainment at the expense of people’s safety and bodily integrity, and shame-infused legislation that hurts children and women and is based on the belief that all men are animals at heart .

Rape happens everywhere . All over the world rape acceptance, rape tolerance, rape denial and rape ignorance at best are used to restrict women’s reproductive rights and impede women’s equality. At worse, rape is used strategically and with violence and malevolence as a weapon in war and as a tool of active oppression. Keeping the reality of rape in the shadows has obviously done us a massive disservice and provided cover for rapists and their apologists. So, even though it’s not easy information to digest, it’s important. Maybe information is part of god’s divine plan.

In an excellent and thorough overview of our problem, Ending Rape Illiteracy,published yesterday in the Nation, Jessica Valenti, coauthor along with Jaclyn Friedman of Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, wrote: “Every day, the severity, violence and criminality of what rape is — its very definition — is distorted in a way that makes it more difficult for survivors to come forward and for anti-violence advocates to do their work, while making the world easier for victim-blaming and for rapists themselves.”

Akin, Mourdock, Ryan, et al are the distortions. If men like Mitt Romney really doesn’t agree with them then he should grow some ovaries, so to speak, and stop playing in the same political sand box. And, please, these men are not alone: “legitimate rape” versus non legitimate rape. “Forcible rape” as “stock language,” “lemons from lemonade.” Women “should make the best of a bad situation,” “horribly created gifts from God,” husbands can’t rape their wives,because of science and technology no woman ever needs an abortion, “emergency rape,” women lie about rape legislation, “honest rape,” rape blackmail“the sodomized virgin” raperape is like auto theft. But, again, all of this goes hand-in-hand with Facebook rape pages, Daniel Tosh rape jokes,Reddit rapist threadsmusic, videos, movies, ad infinitum. This recent political display of religiously convoluted rape “reasoning” in legislation is a national shame with deadly consequences for women here and abroad. But, just as these legislators want to decide for themselves when a woman is raped, they also want to control when a woman can and cannot be pregnant and they infuse the same level of malignant know-nothingness into those decisions, too. And, no, it does not make me feel any better that Republican Representative Steve King has “never heard of a girl getting pregnant from rape or incest.” At least he cleared this up for me, I used to think “ignorant buffoon” was spelled with 15 letters.
Resources
If you want to understand more about the continued use of rape and its role in culture here are some suggested books.

Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape
Jaclyn Friedman (Author), Jessica Valenti (Author)

Transforming a Rape Culture [ Emilie Buchwald (Editor), Pamela Fletcher (Editor), Martha Roth (Editor)

The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and and How All Men Can Help
Jackson Katz

The Color of Violence: The Incite! Anthology

I Never Called It Rape by Robin Warshaw

Voting is a resource, too. Please, don’t vote for these people who fundamentally believe that women are essentially incubators first and foremost and that our rapes are of marginal importance to our breeding capabilities. As Jill Filipovic put it in the Guardian:

“Rape treats women as vessels, disregarding our autonomy and our right to control what happens to us physically and sexually. The Republican position is that women are not entitled to make fundamental decisions about our own bodies and our own sexual and reproductive health. When that position is written into the GOP platform and is a legislative priority, can we really be surprised when it’s further reflected in Republican legislators’ comments on rape?

Soraya L. Chemaly writes about feminism, gender and culture. She writes for The Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, BitchFlicks and Fem2.0 among others.

 

#VAW -Raped by stepfather at 13, Forced to illegal abortion #Mexico


We must never forget!

RH Reality Check / By Dawn Hill

I Was Raped By My Stepfather at 13 and Forced to Get an Illegal Abortion in Mexico

I became pregnant, contrary to the “scientific theories” of many modern Republicans. Not only was the experience loathsome and painful, it was also impossible for me to deal with or talk about because abortion was illegal in the 1950s.

This is one of a series of powerful stories from survivors of rape, you will find them all here .

Last week, Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock argued in a debate that women who have been raped should not have access to abortion services because their pregnancies are a “gift from god.” As a survivor of childhood sexual violence, I disagree with him completely.

My name is Dawn Hill. Though I am old now, there was a time when I was young and carefree as you perhaps are now or can remember being in your childhood. Childhood should be a happy and carefree time for all our children, but my mother found her new husband, my stepfather, much more important. He forever took the joy away from my life when I was just 11 years old: He began molesting me and continued until he began raping me when I was 13.

Mr. Mourdock last night said: “I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”

I became pregnant, contrary to the “scientific theories” of many modern Republicans. Not only was the experience loathsome and painful, it was also impossible for me to deal with or talk about because of the times: in the fifties, abortion was illegal. Illegal in the same way the Republican Party platform states it wants to make abortion now by constitutional amendment and just as Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has suggested casually he would “be delighted” to return to.

Please, take a moment to travel back to the fifties with me.

My mother took me to Mexico, where anyone could get an abortion for a price. I have blocked out many memories associated with this entire experience, but I remember the pain. Illegal abortions are not the simple safe vacuum procedure used today by legal abortion providers. Oh, no: They were a “dilatation and curettage.”

This means that my cervix was mechanically opened by insertion of larger and larger metal “dilators” until it was opened enough to get a sort of sharpened spoon inside my 13-year-old uterus, while strangers looked at my exposed parts that were theretofore called “private.”

It was cold and dirty in the room, and then the true torture started. They shoved this curette into me and scraped away the entire lining of my uterus with the sharp side. I screamed the entire time even though no one had seen so much as a tear out of me before this moment because I had developed a stony stoicism to protect my mind from the molestation.

This pain was, however, like nothing I’ve ever felt before or since. Can you imagine what happened to those women and girls who couldn’t even get this barbaric abortion? They stuck wire hangers into themselves and bled to death or suffered other horrible complications. Then, too, I also got a terrible infection from the filthy conditions.

I can tell you, though, that I would have gotten a hundred illegal abortions before carrying that monster’s offspring and going through labor, even to give the child away. That would have been the unkindest cut of all.

For women and girls, safe legal abortions are essential. While many will choose a different path than I with their pregnancies, having that choice is essential. Any encroachment on that right is an encroachment on the life, liberty, and safety of the women and girls of America.