The thing is, you know people who have been raped. They may not be telling you for whatever reason they choose. The least of these reasons should be shame. I don't want people to be told that what happened to them really didn't happen. That is cruel. It also can be deadly.
I resent the Republican party for trying to erase my history and the history of every woman that has ever been raped. How we choose to go forward should be our choice, not defined by a radical ideology that I would call rape deniers. Don't let them do that to us.
Since Thursday, women have unfortunately seen an even uglier side to the views held by people in the Republican party. I cannot in good conscience let this go. I didn't want to write about rape for a second time in a week, but I have to.
VP Candidate Paul Ryan said of Todd Akin's comments:
REPORTER: ...Specifically where you stand when it comes to rape, and when it comes to the issue of should it be legal for a woman to be able to get an abortion if she's raped.
RYAN: I'm very proud of my pro-life record, and I've always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn't change the definition of life. But let's remember, I'm joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the president makes policy. And the president, in this case the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.
In this case, when Ryan says "the method of conception" is irrelevant, he's talking about rape. In other words, the Republicans' vice presidential nominee clearly believes the government should force women to take their pregnancy to term if they are impregnated by a rapist. Republicans can only distance themselves so much from Todd Akin before we realize they share his views.
There is no parsing this when it comes to Paul Ryan's position on abortion: rape is just a form of conception.
Let me make this clear as I can: Rape is not a form of conception. Rape is an act of violence. Rape is a crime. Rape is not about sex. Rape is an abusive act of power to belittle, dehumanize and humiliate the victim. It is always ALWAYS wrong. NO EXCEPTIONS.
The Acute Stage This stage occurs immediately after the assault. It may last a few days to several weeks. During this stage the victim may: • seem agitated or hysterical or s/he may appear totally calm (a sign that s/he could be in shock) • have crying spells and anxiety attacks • have difficulty concentrating, making decisions, and doing simple, everyday tasks • show little emotion, act as though numb or stunned • have poor recall of the rape or other memories
In the second stage, it seems that survivors begin to resolve their issues. This stage is also called the "flight to health." But denial frequently masks the under lying problems as survivors make an effort to re-establish the routines of their life and bring back some semblance of control. Sometimes, in an effort to feel back in control, rape victims make dramatic changes in lifestyle or environment. They may quit a long-standing job or move to a new location to get a fresh start. They may dramatically change their appearance; cut their hair or perhaps change the colour. None of the changes brings about the security they search for as nightmares and phobias emerge. They work hard to suppress the feelings because dealing with them is so very painful.
The Outward Adjustment Stage During this stage the victim resumes what appears to from the outside her/his "normal" life. Inside, however, there is considerable turmoil which can manifest itself by any of the following behaviours: • continuing anxiety, sense of helplessness • persistent fear and/or depression • severe mood swings (e.g. happy to angry, etc.) • vivid dreams, recurrent nightmares, insomnia surface at that time.
The stages are not linear and can vary as the victim works their way through. Survivors find themselves taking one step forward and two back as they vacillate between stages and labour to find their way.
The Resolution Stage • physical ailments • appetite disturbances (e.g. nausea, vomiting, compulsive eating) • efforts to deny the assault ever took place and/or to minimise its impact • withdrawal from friends and/or relatives • preoccupation with personal safety • reluctance to leave the house and/or to go places which remind the victim of the rape • hesitation about forming new relationships with men and/or distrustful or existing relationship • sexual problems • disruption of normal everyday routines (e.g. high absenteeism at work suddenly or, conversely, working longer than usual hours; dropping out of school; travelling different routes; going out only at certain times)
When I wrote my post last week, I spoke of how the Republican party is trying to take away my history. Ryan's comment makes this point even more clear, they are still trying to redefine rape. I love men, but you guys have a pretty bad history with this....
What is being messaged here is that rape is wrong, unless a woman is impregnated -- at that point, according to the Republican platform, abortion is even more wrong then rape. For myself, this isn't about getting or becoming pregnant as it is about impregnation. There is a difference. Couple that with the GOP history of trying to defund Planned Parenthood, attempting get rid of access to contraception -- and you may see where I am going. The view taken here is that men should decide what and how women should treat their health. For them, abortion is more horrible than rape. One commenter at the Benen piece makes a very astute observation. Ankhtraveler writes:
I'm trying to understand the day to day consequences of Ryan's position. A woman is raped - she reports it to the police, not an insignificant decision by any means. She becomes pregnant realizing that she can't get an abortion. Authorities know she was raped and someone who knew she was pregnant tells the police she is no longer pregnant, for whatever reason. The police are now compelled to investigate the chance that an illegal abortion may have taken place so the woman who was the original victim, is now the suspect in a crime and could be charged with murder?
Other consequences? Women stop reporting rapes and so more and more rapes occur because rapists realize that the crime wont be reported. Is this where Ryan and his ilk want this country to go?
Hypothetically, these positions, if implemented, would make a rape victim a criminal. This isn't nonsense here, this is a very real reality should the GOP be allowed to put their platform into law. It's already begun in Kansas. This platform and what they are doing is deadly to women.
I am deeply concerned. I am angry. I am a woman. So how has the GOP responded to me and other women who have been raped? It's just a detail. You read that right. The governor of Virginia and the Republican Party Platform chair said the following this weekend:
McDonnell: We’re affirming that we’re a pro-life party.The details certainly are left to Congress and, ultimately, to the states and the people on how they ratify such an amendment. More importantly, what they do at the state level.
Stephanapoulous: So is the party for a rape exception or not?
McDonnell: The party didn’t make any judgment on that. It’s a general proposition to say we support human life. The rest of the details are up to the states and the people respectively, George. That’s simply not covered.
So, there you have it. Rape is a State's right. That's the Tenth Amendment and it seems like they are using it as an excuse for the party platform they voted on and embraced in advance of their national convention, happening this week. According to the GOP, how a woman handles a rape that has the aftereffect of impregnation, you'd better hope you are living in the right state in order to be able to choose what to do.
I am a woman first, a citizen of the United States of America next -- What the GOP is doing sounds very UN-United to me. This is an aftereffect of the Republican view of women and the people who love us. It's almost impossible to imagine such a conception, but it's true.