He came out with one of the most outrageous, insensitive and, frankly, ignorant comments this writer has ever heard, saying that in cases of “legitimate rape,” pregnancy is rare – that “the female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down.”
My first thought, when I read it, was, “what is ‘legitimate’ rape? And my second question was, “the female body has a way of shutting what “whole thing” down? The movement of a sperm to an egg? What?
I was astounded; in fact, I still don’t know what to think, the comment was so outrageous. It was so sexist, so insanely sexist and ignorant, that words almost cannot suffice.
Now, the good Congressman from Missouri is trying to clean his statement up. He has said he “misspoke.”
OK. Another question. What does it mean to “misspeak?” The American Heritage Dictionary says that it’s to “pronounce or speak incorrectly.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says it’s to express oneself incorrectly or imperfectly. Akin would probably refer to the latter definition.
But it is doubtful that he “misspoke.” Akin, resting in the ignorance and arrogance that so often accompanies patriarchal thinking, most likely said what he has been thinking and saying in private along with his “good ol’ boys” for some time. Riding on a Tea Party security blanket, it feels like Akin got a little too comfortable, and let some really twisted beliefs out of the chicken coop.
What bothers me most in what he said is the “legitimate rape” comment. For the life of me, I cannot understand what he means. WHEN, exactly, is a rape legitimate? Was he referring to cases where rape can be proven? In legal history, isn’t one of the reasons so few rape accusations were brought to trial, or have been brought to trial, because rape could not be proven…that the victim was often blamed for her own rape?
And, even in cases where rape has not been “proven” in court, hasn’t it been the case, over and over, that a rape had occurred, but the legal system was ill-equipped, or maybe unwilling, to treat rape as a “legitimate” crime?
Hasn’t it been the case that women have been second class citizens for far too long, and have been viewed as objects for the pleasure of men? So, if that is the case, what, pray tell, is a legitimate rape?
And in terms of the female body being able to “shut that whole thing down,” I am beyond perplexed. Anatomically and physiologically, what knowledge does Akin have that I am missing? I was never taught that I should worry about getting pregnant if I were ever raped, because my body would somehow know the difference between a “legitimate” rape and a rape not so legitimate …or, for that matter, a night of consensual sex.
Is Akin’s line of thinking one of the underlying reasons rape has had such difficulty being considered a “legitimate” crime? Should we applaud Akin for bringing out some of the thought-patterns of people in positions of power who help make policy?
Whatever we are to think, this is one thing I do not think – and that is that Akin “misspoke.” That’s like making a racial slur and then saying it’s a joke. Nope, Mr. Akin. You have egg on your face and you just need to own it, disgusting as what you said was.
A candid observation …