Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Feel free to throw horse manure

Comments made just in the past week by US & UK politicians on the issue of rape indicate not only their remedial need for the sex education programs they oppose; they also exhibit an unspeakable misogyny & cavalier disregard for violence against millions of women & children & encourage people to take the crime of rape as just a misunderstanding:

George Galloway, the liberal British politician disgraced himself beyond measure when he said, “A reign of intellectual terror has descended on this subject {rape}." Rape charges against Julian Assange "might be really sordid & bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning." And again, “I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.” So rape is equated with picking your nose at the dinner table?

In defending his no-exception view of abortion, Missouri congressman, Todd Akin said: “From what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something....the punishment ought to be on the rapist & not attacking the child.”

While interviewing Todd Akin on his radio program, US politician & former presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee pointed out the upside of rape: “From those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable & indefensible, life has come & sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things." True enough, if  he weren’t using this to justify his anti-abortion stance.

Not to be outdone by male politicians, female Fox news commentator, Liz Trotta said of US military women who are assaulted & raped, “What did they expect?”

Despite the rancid misogyny of politicians & media, rape is a personal & political weapon of control & terror. In many places it is used by the dominant nationality to subordinate the oppressed (as against Dalits in India); in many places it is a weapon of war (as the armies of the blood diamond & mineral merchants do in DR Congo); in the US military, rape statistics of enlisted women are staggering while commanders turn a blind eye; in US prisons, filled with thousands of Black & Latino youth on minor drug charges, rape is a fixture & has become a popular joke. But there is nothing funny about it; it is a horrific, violent crime even if political misleaders do not care. Contrary to Galloway’s claim, a “reign of intellectual terror” has not descended on this subject. But it needs to. Prior to the women’s liberation movement, rape was an unrecognized crime; victims were not protected by law, perpetrators were not prosecuted. Feminism dragged it out of the shadows, exposed that sexual crimes were against children as well as women--& women began making inroads in legal protection for rape victims. After the women’s movement was railroaded into the Democratic Party, much of that progress  ended. Nevertheless, as a result of that groundwork, rape victims, including child victims, have legal redress. But it is high time women & our supporters go on the march again & in fact, create that “reign of terror” against those who would violate the bodies of women & children--& those who would defend it.

Postscript: The uproar against Akin has compelled him to make a public apology. It won’t be accepted, not even if he crawls on his belly like a reptile. His photo is posted so you can recognize & avoid him--& to make it easy for you to throw horse manure at him. (Photographer not identified)

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