Worthwhile Reads: Rape Roundup

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.

Rape Is Not Sex, on Feministing

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.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://louisebroadbentfiction.wordpress.com Louise Broadbent

    And let’s not forget that according to Paul Ryan, rape is just another method of conception.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cat5SyMBSpk
    How’s that for not drawing a line between rape and sex?

  • Sarah-Sophia

    In times (and societies) where one of the greatest aspects a person can have is their sexual reputation, sexual blackmail is much more prevalent. (Sexual Blackmail by Angus McLaren). It seems to me that in such societies rape is also a form of sexual blackmail, and is less likely to be reported, because to them rape=sex and sex=sullied goods.

  • Sarah-Sophia

    Also, if a just and fair Creator did create the human body, why couldn’t he make it so a woman’s body COULD stop conception from rape?

  • Zme

    @Sarah
    Because it seems as though rape is the purported creator’s favourite method of impregnation.

  • smrnda

    As I’ve said before on other posts, religions do an awful job handling rape. Looking at the Jack Schaap, I think it points to a problem with the whole notion of the sin, repentance and forgiveness cycle. Schaap gets a monopoly on telling the story of what happened since he is, after all, both male and a pastor. In his version of the story, he’s a man of God seduced by an evil temptress, or else she *might* be acknowledged but is always told that the real important thing is that the church is not hurt, so she should stay quiet on the issue.

    If Christianity is about protecting the weak and vulnerable, that’s not the way to do it.

  • http://thewordsonwhat.wordpress.com/ Rob F

    The conservative/fundamentalist view of sexuality causes rape and sexual abuse. I have a set of links to such infohere, some of which some of you might already know about. (I really hope Libby doesn’t mind me linking to one of my own posts).

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Nope, so long as its relevant, I don’t mind at all!


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