I want to start off by saying that I don’t watch the news because I find it too depressing, and I don’t follow politics because, quite frankly, politics kind of confuse me. I first learned about Todd Akin’s comments regarding rape and abortion while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed (let the eye rolling commence). My first reaction was complete disgust over his horribly limited and grossly skewed knowledge (or lack thereof) of rape. After reading the comments he made in his failed attempt at damage control, I found myself really angry.
Here is the statement he released after the fact:
“As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault. In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year. Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve…”
Mr. Akin seriously needs to 1) stop talking about rape, because he keeps digging himself into a deeper hole; and 2) fire whoever helped him write this statement. In the statement, he mentions that he holds a deep empathy for the “thousands of women who are raped and abused every year”. Someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. every TWO minutes. HUNDREDS of thousands of women, men, and children are sexually assaulted and sexually abused every year. This is an EPIDEMIC and it doesn’t discriminate. It could happen to anyone, and it can happen anywhere, and it is not something that anyone should being making “off-the-cuff” remarks about.
I have been a sexual violence crisis advocate for seven years. I have looked into the eyes of countless victims of sexual assault, and I have seen the agony, the shame, and the overwhelming sense of fear they feel following the arguably most traumatic experience of their lives. I have held their hands as they relived their attacks during their evidentiary exams. I have heard the disbelief and emptiness and pain in the voices of victims and survivors who are dealing with the aftermath of what has happened to them.
I have spoken with some victims who are ashamed at how their bodies responded to their attacks and feel as though their own bodies betrayed them. The body is an amazing machine in that it can adapt to different stimuli and events, and there are various mechanisms in place in order to protect it. Contrary to Mr. Akin’s uneducated comments, the truth of the matter is that the body often responds similarly to sexual assault as it would to consensual sexual activity.
ALL rape is legitimate.
“Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve…” What Mr. Akin obviously does not realize is that he himself tore open a wound in the heart of every victim and survivor of sexual assault with his insinuation that some rapes are more “legitimate” than others. By publicly speaking ridiculous untruths about rape and minimizing the impact rape has on a person, he has become no better than the rapists themselves. I think I can speak for victims and survivors everywhere in saying that Mr. Akin is the LAST person they would ever want advocating for them in the Senate.