Since when is it acceptable for a man with no medical training to go on television and perpetuate a lie and further slander the honesty of women who are victimized in a shameful, painful, brutal way?
These past few weeks the issue of rape has been tossed around after a Senatorial Candidate attempted at sugar coating or stratifying that rape (that is if it really happened to the "supposed" victim-- according to Akin) is not a situation that would result in a pregnancy. With those comments, Akin legitimized the fear of rape victims who refuse to report out of shame or because they have seen fellow victims painted as liars or exaggerators.
Additionally, there are people in jail (namely men like Jerry Sandusky) who got away with years of sexual assault and raping children because people around him did not want to admit the lengths of depravity and shame inflicted on multitudes of children. But how many people would question those children if they chose to speak up? How long were victims holding themselves silent because they did not want to admit to the shame or the guilt of being involved in such an act? There are many victims of sexual abuse of all ages and genders who refuse to speak up not just out of shame, but also fear-- fear that is often instilled in them by their aggressors. One of the fears is that they will be portrayed as liars, or that they will be ostracized by their loved ones or peers.
Bearing this in mind, is that not exactly the type of attitude embodied and perpetuated by the statements made by Todd Akin?
My question is this: With regard to females -- at what age do our girls become people who we should protect from predators to people we label as liars, sluts, or as "asking for it," in their behavior or merely because of our reproductive assets? When do we as women no longer have the right to draw boundaries when it comes to our bodies and the protection of our decisions when it comes to our bodies? Is it when we reach the age of puberty? Is it when our bodies can conceive?
If a man claimed he was raped, he may not become impregnated, but he would rarely be questioned in his claim. Why? Because it is such a demeaning and painful experience; males who would be brave enough to come forward, men who would be willing to shoulder that shame and humiliating act would rarely be seen as someone who would create such a story.
Frankly, I am angry. I am incensed that there are enough people who are misinformed or who are lost in the midst of their generational, political or cultural paradigms who believe that women don't deserve to have the same considerations in intellect, freedoms, and protections under the law. We as women have a right to be treated equally, and not doubted merely because we are vulnerable in physical and emotional makeup.
It's enough that women who suffer from rape have to deal with the shame and often do not report it --and there are women who bear children of such acts.
What are we doing in the media but perpetuating the continuance of a cycle of behavior merely by our attitudes, cynicism, and public (as well as private) stances because we refuse to face that we should be working to protect the vulnerabilities of those who stand to be victims?
The fact that rape is questioned, and classified in a ranking of legitimacy has now led to the discussion being tied to the abortion and birth control argument and it is frustrating.
Pregnancy is a highly personal and intimately life altering, especially for women.
I firmly believe that no woman in her right mind with any sort of compassion, or religious and cultural influence would consider abortion in a flippant manner or see it as a convenient preferred option. Such a procedure is painful, scary and terribly intimate. It involves surrender and complete invasion of a very fundamental part of our being-- where a woman has to electively grant control of her body to another human.
For media to perpetuate the argument and the fervor to which so many strangers feel they have a more rights over an individual woman than she has over her own body and her reproductive cycle is a sad argument, especially when she has to make the decision based on a sexual act that she did not consent to in the first place.
To demand that a woman relive and shoulder the trauma of rape because society places her value below the perceived morality of the nation is a sad degradation of the liberties on which we were supposedly founded.
To believe that women have magical powers that can terminate fertilization of her egg if it occurred in a time when it was a traumatic event is an especially misinformed and misleading belief. Furthermore, to infer that women in general would lie about rape in order to go through traumatic invasion of her uterus, shows that there are men who still refuse to understand the complexities of reproduction and child rearing beyond the implantation of their seed and that women are the vessel to perpetuate their progeny.
As a woman, I am sick of the assumption that because I do not think it should be the position of any lawmaker to tell me what I am allowed to protect when it comes to my eggs, my uterus, my pregnancies, my sexuality and my gender that I am some "left wing nut liberal."
I'm not. I'm a woman.
I believe I have rights under the law that should protect me as equally as it would someone opposite my gender. Period.
To say that women should have a choice in their health and reproductive rights automatically places me in some categories and minds of some that I am someone "who approves of killing babies"-- simply because I do not think that a group of people or strangers should have a say over my own reproductive rights merely because they think they do. Has the law ever told a man he was required to wear a condom, or be sterilized? Beyond pursuit of child support, has there ever been a law which forced a man to be responsible for a pregnancy or to participate in the life of a child he did not mean to conceive?
Isn't that an offhanded form of violation to us as women in a milder form?
When it comes to governing my body: I would be just as angry if the government told me I could not have more than one child or forced me into abortion or birth control.
The fact of the matter is, I should be allowed to have domain over my body. As a woman, I should be allowed to speak out against being victimized without the fear of being labeled, disbelieved, or becoming a soapbox for some politician who wants to question my integrity because of what he believes about rape, pregnancy and women.