In the midst of the whole Todd Akin induced furor over rape, several posts came to my attention that I wanted to highlight. The first reveals from personal experience that Akin’s ideas about rape are not as uncommon as some would have us think. The second uses this as an opportunity to talk about how fundamentalists generally deal with rape. And the third discusses the conflation of rape and, well, sex, much like I did in my post on rape and premarital sex.
A Rape Survivor’s Story, on Dispatches from the Culture Wars
Some family members saw the pregnancy as some kind of gift from God. Some felt it was punishment for something I must have done that was horribly wrong. My family believed God had bestowed me with a way of seeking closure.
Meanwhile, the officers who were investigating the case were not getting anywhere. I had thrown away my clothes and they were likely lost in a landfill, miles away. The area where it happened wasn’t composed of things that made the investigation any easier and when it was discovered that I was pregnant, the police officer told my mother that I must be lying. “You can’t get pregnant from rape,” he told her. They dropped the case.
Fundies and Rape, on Katy-Anne Wilson
The final straw in leaving fundamentalism for me came with the 20/20 story aired about the rape of Tina Anderson, and the subsequent trial and conviction of Ernest Willis. This program opened up my eyes to the fact that the things that I and others I knew had experienced in fundamentalism concerning rape were typical experiences, not abnormal ones. I had already become disillusioned with fundamentalism, but hadn’t had the courage to escape until then. I finally figured that if this is what fundamentalists thought of me as a rape victim, I didn’t want to be hanging around, and I didn’t want my daughter to be taught such things about herself.And just take a look at the current fiasco surrounding Dr Jack Schaap, former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. He had sex with a 16 year old girl and the accusations are that she was a slut and she seduced him. You can’t tell me that a 54 year old man can’t resist the charm of a 16 year old young girl, even if she did seduce him. Sadly, in these circles, slut-shaming is the common defence; I believe they tried to do the same to Tina Anderson.I say that to say this: the common ways that fundamentalists dealt with the rape of people I knew as well as myself were slut-shaming and cover-ups. A lot of us were even disbelieved entirely and were told that we were trying to tear down God’s work and God’s men.
The way we talk about rape is important and we must always make sure to not conflate rape with consensual sex particularly when we are talking about things like pregnancy, abortion, and child support. You don’t have rape with someone.
When Todd Akin says, women can’t get pregnant from rape we all do a collective #headdesk, but part of the reason he’s even forced to explain why he thinks rape victims should be forced to give birth to their rapists babies is because he isn’t drawing a bright line between rape and sex.