I’ve worked very hard this election season to stay relatively apolitical- sharing things with only a few people in private messages, rather than posting on my own feed.

But the comments revealed over the last few days scare me, and I feel compelled to say this:

It TERRIFIES me that people in leadership in this country are trying to redefine rape. Atticus Finch said it well: “Carnal knowledge by force and without consent” and dictionary.com seems to have it well defined, too: unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse; any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.

Rape is Rape.  Well, rape was  rape until last year when Paul Ryan and Todd Akin and 170 others co-sponsored House Resolution 3– it passed by the way, but stood no chance in the Senate. The point of the resolution was to further restrict a woman’s right to choose, but fundamental to the resolution was language that would have changed  rape language in the Hyde Amendment for  “no federal funds for abortion” exceptions from “rape, incest, or mother’s life in jeopardy” to “forcible rape”.  Thankfully, after pressure that “forcible”rape was removed from the language, but the damage has been done.  While I have much to say on the issue of choice, I’m talking about rape and pregnancy here.  So, had these congress people had their way, Rape would have been forcible or non-forcible- I’d love to  see how on earth they planned to ever differentiate between the two.

Then this week, along comes Akin, with his comments about “legitimate” rape, and how women who are “legitimately” raped won’t get pregnant. Sigh. Although Akin now says he “misspoke” I think we all know that he believes some rape just isn’t rape. That in some cases, the victim is asking for it. And this man sits on the House Science Committee.  Which, given his gullibility in believing a rape can’t result in pregnancy, is completely absurd.

Enter Representative Steve King, who in his support of Akin, commented that he’s never known of a case of a young girl becoming impregnated through rape or incest, but that he’d be open to the discussion if someone brought it to his attention.  Representative King says his comments are “out of context”.

I’m appalled, angered, and insulted  by the comments of Representatives Akin and  King. Their comments are ignorant and undermine victims of rape and incest. And by attaching labels like “legitimate” and “forcible” to rape, they- intentionally or not- engage in victim blaming and the belief that some victims are asking for it.

I spent summers in college working at an OB-GYN office. I will never forget the pair of teenaged sisters who came in. They were in their young to middle teens, and both were victims of rape by a family member. I recall that one of them, perhaps both, was pregnant by her stepbrother.

So, Mr. Akin, and Mr. King and any other congressperson or Senator who doubts it or wants to redefine it, rape happens. And rape is rape regardless of how it occurs or who the victim is and no matter the victim’s history.  And sometimes, women and girls get pregnant from it. Don’t insult us with your pathetic renderings of “legitimate rape” and forcible rape and your deplorable lack of understanding of basic human biology- perhaps if  sex education were more robust, you would have understood how pregnancy occurs from your health and biology classes.

This comes down to a veiled- or maybe not so veiled – attempt to control women (I know that women are not the only victims of rape, but they are the larger proportion of victims). This kind of language makes it even harder to talk about rape because suddenly we’re having to talk about what Rape is again, or if a woman can “deserve it”, and  what, exactly, constitutes forcible? Was she really raped? Akin and King don’t represent me. I don’t want anyone who thinks like they do- regardless of gender or political party- attempting to be my leader. I don’t want them as friends, I don’t want them in my life at all.  These men should be ashamed. And while there’s been a general backlash against Akin, I’m more concerned that it’s politically motivated rather than an honest angry reaction.

Well, I’m angry. And women and men I know are angry. And we’re going to do our best to make sure that no one with these archaic and hateful and hurtful views ever serves in public office. If you’re angry, too, please do your part as well.

The bracelet pictured here is my own, and I got it here, if you’re interested. Alex and Ani + Energy are in no way associated with this post and the picture of this bracelet imply their endorsement (or even knowledge) of this piece.