Republicans Propose “Rape by the Government” Legislation

Please, somebody, remind me what do you call the action of penetrating a person against their will?

And on a 63-36 vote, the House passed a bill that requires women to have a “transvaginal ultrasound” before undergoing abortions. . .

The ultrasound legislation would constitute an unprecedented government mandate to insert vaginal ultrasonic probes into women as part of a state-ordered effort to dissuade them from terminating pregnancies, legislative opponents noted.

“We’re talking about inside a woman’s body,” Del. Charnielle Herring, a Democrat, said in an emotional floor speech. “This is the first time, if we pass this bill, that we will be dictating a medical procedure to a physician.”

Once again, penetrating people against their will in return to giving them access to a medical procedure. What is the correct terminology for that?

Think of the most recent medical procedure you have had. How would it make you feel if the doctor had told you, “I’m sorry, the government doesn’t allow me to tend to your medical needs until I insert this device into your vagina / anus. There is absolutely no medical need for this violation but our legislators think it will be cool to stick things into you in response to you daring to request this completely legal medical procedure.”

And the most hilarious thing that this legislation is being introduced by the very people who yell and scream about how intrusive the government has become. Somebody wake me up because this has got to be an especially bad nightmare.

Who Wants to Control Women’s Bodies?

Here is a completely shocking story about a horrible vile monster of a woman who refuses her raped daughter a Plan B pill in order to brag about it online to her equally monstrous friends.

Now repeat after me: the anti-choice movement is not about men wanting to control women’s bodies. It’s about a bunch of vile freakazoids wanting to control women’s bodies.

Eve Ensler’s Article on Rape

Eve Ensler’s recent anti-rape manifesto puzzled me. I fully support Ensler’s sentiment that rape is a horrible crime that should never be tolerated. However, I find some of her assertions to be very troubling. Take this one, for example:

 I am over women getting raped at Occupy Wall Street and being quiet about it because they were protecting a movement which is fighting to end the pillaging and raping of the economy and the earth, as if the rape of their bodies was something separate.

First, we saw progressive journalists drop hints as to the possibility of sexual harassment occurring at #Occupy rallies. Why such suggestions had never been made about the Tea Party protests is a mystery to me. Is there any evidence that progressively minded people are more likely to rape than conservatives?

Then, these suggestions about sexual harassment among the #Occupiers transformed into hints that women might fear being raped during the protests. Now, Ensler talks about rapes taking place during the protests as if they were an established fact.  Several questions arise, however. If, as Ensler says, women are keeping quiet about the rapes to protect the movement, then how did Ensler find out about these crimes? Did the raped victims share their stories with her? This makes no sense because if the goal of these rape victims is to protect the #OWS, letting Ensler write about it in such a charged format is probably the worst thing to do.

I also have no idea how Ensler arrived at her statistic of 1 billion of women on the planet having been raped. The OCCUPYRAPE term she introduces is very disturbing to me, too. Rape is a horrible crime and I see nothing positive in “occupying” something like this. And what is the “escalation” that Ensler is proposing? If this is a legitimate attempt at political activism, why not be a bit more specific about what the plan here is. This “let’s end rape by February of 2013” reminds me of the promises endlessly made by the Communist Party of the USSR to create a fully communist society by the year 2000.

It would be great if Ensler’s impassioned but hopelessly vague verbiage included references to the fact that the rates of violent crime (including rape) in this country have been on a steady decline in the past 40 years. The legalization of abortion in the US was a significant contributing factor to this phenomenon. Now that we know this, any anti-rape activism needs to include efforts to guarantee that all women have the right to control their procreation when and how they see fit.

This will do a lot more to end rape than passionate manifestos that make wild claims and operate on the basis of unsubstantiated statistics.

Relationship or Rape?

There is a really nasty double-standard in the way child rape cases are reported. I did a search and immediately alighted on the following report (emphasis is mine):

A 36-year-old village woman has been charged with first-degree rape, a Class B felony, after being accused of raping a 12-year-old boy.

Police arrested Tara Porter of 3 Bartlett St. on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 8. An intensive investigation followed a report early that afternoon from the Child Abuse Hotline, which was notified anonymously that a sexual relationship was going on between the two, Ellenville Police Chief Phillip Mattracion said. . .

The relationship had reportedly gone on for about six weeks.

On what planet is it acceptable to refer to a rape of a 12-year-old child as “a relationship”? We have become enlightened enough as a society to stop referring to little girls who are raped as being “in a relationship” with their rapists. Isn’t it time to recognize that when this crime is perpetrated against boys it is just as horrible and unacceptable?

Until such crimes are defined strongly and exclusively as rapes and not “relationships”, we can’t expect victimized boys to report being raped more often.

The reason why there is such a reluctance to refer to sexual abuse of boys with the word rape is the long-standing patriarchal belief that women are always passive objects of sexual acts and can never be active subjects of sex. This is one of several issues where the beliefs of so-called radical feminists and anti-women defenders of patriarchy coincide.

Are Horrible Acts Always Horrible?

Reader Kinjal says:

People ought to be judged according to the times and social mores they lived in.

I disagree with this statement profoundly. I believe that horrible acts such as rape, murder, torture, abuse of children, and pedophilia are always horrible. Their evilness is immanent and does not depend on when the perpetrator lived and what his or her society sanctioned. If you abstain from doing horrible things only because you are afraid of retribution, what is the value of your morality?

Tolstoy raped his wife. In my eyes, he is as much of a vile rapist as anybody who lives today and does the same thing. He saw a human being in pain, crying, begging him to stop, suffering because of what he was doing to her. And he somehow didn’t know that it was wrong because nobody told him that it was? And then he continued doing it many times over because he kept not knowing? I just can’t buy that.

Major crimes like the one I listed are not relative. Some people are capable of them and some aren’t. Different times and changing social norms are just an excuse used to justify perpetrators and disgusting creatures who mask as human beings.

Past Crimes and Justice

Llama, a new reader from Australia whom I am very happy to have on this blog, has left a link to an article about a case that has provoked a lot of debate in Australia:

Lawyers for an elderly man who has been ordered to stand trial for raping his then-wife almost 50 years ago have argued in the High Court that he cannot be tried for something that was not illegal then.

The man, 80, was ordered to stand trial in the South Australian Supreme Court accused of raping his wife in the 1960s.

He took his legal fight to the High Court, where his lawyer David Bennett QC argued the courts could not criminalise conduct that was not illegal at the time.

The court was told that in the 1960s, a long-held common law principle meant that marriage amounted to consent and it was a wife’s duty to obey her husband’s demands for sex.

The question is, of course, whether it is reasonable to bring to trial a person who committed a crime when it was not yet considered a crime. What we have to remember when discussing such a case is that there are two goals a criminal trial aims to achieve: meting out punishment and preventing this particular individual and other individuals from committing the same crime in the future.

I think we can all agree that punishing this man in the court of law for doing something that at that time was perfectly legal would be unfair. This rapist deserves to be shunned and scorned by everybody he knows because no matter what the laws were at any time, most people were still incapable of inflicting this kind of violence on anybody. Obviously, this person is a jerk and there is no doubt in my mind that he had to have known that what he did to his wife was morally (if not legally, at that time) wrong. But putting him in jail as a form of punishment for this rape would be neither legal nor reasonable.

However, there is another aspect to the criminal justice system: crime prevention. A rapist can’t be left roaming the streets because this puts other people at risk. A person who is capable of raping somebody is a scary individual of the kind I don’t want anywhere in my vicinity. (And please don’t start offering me the ageist argument of “Oh, but he is too old to rape.” A well-functioning legal system should not, at any point, take into account the age of anybody who is legally an adult. Just like it shouldn’t take into account anybody’s gender.)

At the same time, locking up criminals is supposed to function as a deterrent to other potential criminals. The only way of combating spousal rape is by placing a few spousal rapists (ideally, of both genders) in jail in order to demonstrate that this crime will not be tolerated by any of us.

I come from a country where street harassment of women is a daily reality. After I moved to North America, I could not believe how amazing it felt to be able to walk down the street or get onto a bus without being groped, grabbed, and told nasty things. Of course, all of this still happens in the US and Canada but the amount of this kind of harassment in my country is on a completely different level. And all it took to make people think twice about harassing others sexually in the streets was a few attention-grabbing trials. The same strategy could prove useful in areas such as spousal rape and female rape of men. For people who are still not convinced that you can rape a spouse and that a woman can rape a man, a few well-publicized trials could be an eye-opening experience.

Semi-Open Thread: Rapist or Not?

Here is  a story recently posted on The Good Men Project under the title “Accidental Rapist“:

“I don’t want to hurt your feelings,” she said, “but sometimes I really don’t want to have sex. Sometimes I do, but not as often as you want it. And sometimes I want to tell you ‘no,’ but I can’t bring myself to do it. So I try and send you signals, hoping you can just tell how I’m feeling. But that doesn’t work, so it’s… it’s just easier to say ‘yes’ or just say nothing at all.”

My face flushed. I felt nauseated. I thought instantly of the previous night, where we’d grabbed what I thought was a hot half-hour when my roommates were both gone. Katie had seemed so passionate when we’d been making out, but then gotten very quiet once all our clothes were off. I’d told myself she wanted to have one ear cocked for the sound of a key in the door. I hadn’t considered—or hadn’t wanted to consider—the more obvious possibility: she was trying to tell me that she didn’t want to have sex.

I looked out the window. I couldn’t meet Katie’s eyes. My gaze fixed in the distance, my voice trembling, I asked what seemed the only possible question: “Are you trying to tell me I raped you?”

So what say you, dear readers? Is the narrator of the story a rapist or not?

And if you followed the link and read the entire post, what is your reaction to it?

Let’s Spit on Eric Angell

I never heard the name “Eric Angell” before, and I’m sure you haven’t either. But we all need to find out who this guy is now because he is a vile, nasty jerk and, possibly, a criminal.

Here you can find his pseudo-comic monologue in which he narrates the hilarious story of raping a woman. You can see from the comments of other so-called comedians and the reaction of the audience that they are perfectly aware that this is a story of rape but they just can’t stop laughing.

The only marginally good thing about this horror show is that it has been taped, so now everybody knows who Eric Angell is and can spit on him whenever he shows his disgusting, ugly mug in public.

Women, beware! This is a predator who thinks rape is a huge, big joke. Of course, now he will claim that the story was invented but it doesn’t make him any less of a nasty loser who thinks that rape is funny.

I learned about this horrible story here.


Rape Victims and Child Support

An interesting post has been placed on ethecofem (which is a great blog that I highly recommend, by the way), and I want to address it here. Blogger Danny writes:

Kris Bucher is being held up for child support. However he says that he was raped by the mother of the child and should therefore not be held responsible for child support.

Alright we’ve seen cases before where under aged boys were held up for support of children they had with adult women. Or even worse sometimes said under aged boy’s parents would be held responsible to pay it (can you imagine being ordered by a court to pay child support to a woman that statutorily raped your son?). In this case though Kris is saying that the age difference is not the issue (and I’m inclined to agree since he was 17 and she was 18 at the time of conception) but rather that he said no to the sexual encounter that conceived the child.

As a quick reference I’ve laid out before that a woman can rape a man, so there is no need to try to question that. The hard part to think about is was he raped (he never pressed charges) and should he be held responsible for supporting a child that was conceived through rape?

I agree that a woman can rape a man, so for me, as for Danny, this is not something that needs to be questioned or discussed*. Now, my opinion on this issue is that such a person is, indeed, responsible for paying child support. I hope, of course, that every rape victim presses charges against the attacker and removes any possibility that a child would end up being raised by a criminal.

Child support, however, is not about either parent or the process of how they ended up being parents. It’s about ensuring that a child – a separate human being who never asked to be brought into this world and who in no way influenced the circumstances of his or her conception – has adequate means of support. It is the role of the justice system to defend the person who is the weakest and who cannot even speak for him or herself, namely, the child. A justice system that prefers to deprive a child from adequate means of existence in order to avoid being unfair towards an adult is no justice system at all.

The fact that a person was created during the commission of a crime in no way reduces that person’s need for food, clothing, medical care, and education. Imagine baby Anna and baby Jessica. Anna is a product of a passionate loving consensual sex act. Jessica is the product of rape (whether by a man or by a woman). Is Jessica going to eat less? Will she be less deserving of visiting a dentist? Should she have fewer toys than Anna? Can anybody reasonably argue that one of these kids should be punished because she has a criminal for a parent?

People seem to think way too often that child support is money that is given to the other parent instead of to the child. This way of thinking comes from their inability to see a child as a separate human being with rights of his or her own. What everybody needs to remember is that the moment a child comes out of a woman’s body and takes his or her first breath, s/he stops being a woman’s body part and becomes a person.

* Reader Christopher Marshall pointed out to me that the man went to the police 2 weeks after the incident and they refused to follow up on it. This is what we need to fight: the prejudice against men that positions them always as the perpetrators of violence and never as victims. Here is the real injustice in this case. A statement that a crime has been committed is dismissed by the authorities.