How the Republican Party’s Real Agenda Is Revealed in Their Nasty Rape Comments

How the Republican Party’s Real Agenda Is Revealed in Their Nasty Rape Comments October 31, 2012

This excellent article / letter on Alter Net was put on to me by a colleague and is well worth a look. There has been so much talk from the Republicans about rape over recent time as to make them a little bit of a laughing stock – at least to us non-Americans. See what you think.

The umpteenth rape comment reveals the real agendas and beliefs of the GOP as a whole.

October 25, 2012
Dear GOP candidates and party members,

I’m going to give you some free campaign advice:  stop talking about rape.

The latest Republican rape commentary comes from Romney-endorsed Indiana senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock, who tells us:

“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Cue outrage, then cue “apology” from Mourdock – not for his comments, but for “any interpretation other than what I intended”. National Republican senatorial committee chairman John Cornyn voiced his support for Mourdock and added that he also believes “life is a gift from God.”

I would hate for Mr Mourdock to think I’m misinterpreting him here, so let’s be clear about what he said: he did not say that rape is a gift from God. He did say that an unwanted pregnancy is a post-rape goodie bag from the Lord. And that the Lord intended it to happen that way.

Perhaps God should rethink his delivery system. And perhaps Mourdock should rethink his interpretation of divine will.

What this umpteenth rape comment tells us isn’t that the Republican party has a handful of unhinged members who sometimes flub their talking points. It reveals the real agendas and beliefs of the GOP as a whole.

These incidents aren’t isolated, and they aren’t rare. Sharron Angle, who ran for a US Senate seat out of Nevada, said she would tell a young girl wanting an abortion after being raped and impregnated by her father that “two wrongs don’t make a right” and that she should make a “lemon situation into lemonade“. Todd Akin said victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant – an especially confusing talking point, if God is giving rape victims the gift of pregnancy. Maybe God only gives that gift to victims of illegitimate rape?

Wisconsin state representative Roger Rivard asserted:

Some girls rape easy.”

Douglas Henry, a Tennessee state senator, told his colleagues:

“Rape, ladies and gentlemen, is not today what rape was. Rape, when I was learning these things, was the violation of a chaste woman, against her will, by some party not her spouse.”

Republican activist Phyllis Schlafly declared that marital rape doesn’t exist, because when you get married you sign up to be sexually available to your husband at all times. And when asked a few years back about what kind of rape victim should be allowed to have an abortion, South Dakota Republican Bill Napoli answered:

“A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.”

Rape lemonade. Legitimate rape. The sodomized virgin exception. A rape gift from God.

Some Republicans, like Mitt Romney, have tried to distance themselves from their party’s rhetorical obsession with sexual violation. What they’re hoping we won’t notice is the fact that their party is politically committed to sexual violation.

Opposition to abortion in all cases – rape, incest, even to save the pregnant woman’s life or health – is written into the Republican party platform. Realizing they can’t make abortion illegal overnight, conservatives instead rally around smaller initiatives like mandatory waiting periods, transvaginal ultrasounds and mandated lectures about “life” to make abortion as expensive, difficult and humiliating as possible.

Republicans bow to the demands of “pro-life” organizations, not a single one of which supports even birth control, and the GOP now routinely opposes any effort to make birth control or sexual education available and accessible. They propose laws that would require women to tell their employers what they’re using birth control for, so that employers could determine which women don’t deserve coverage (the slutty ones who use birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancy) and which women do (the OK ones who use it for other medical reasons).

Mainstream GOP leaders, including Mitt Romney, campaign withconservative activists who lament the fact that women today no longer fully submit to the authority of their husbands and fathers, mourn a better time when you could legally beat your wife, and celebrate the laws of places like Saudi Arabia where men are properly in charge. Senate Republicans, including Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan and “legitimate rape” Todd Akin, blocked the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. And Ryan and Akin joined forces again to propose “personhood” legislation in Washington, DC that would define a fertilized egg as a person from the moment sperm meets egg, outlawing abortion in all cases and many forms of contraception, and raising some serious questions about how, exactly, such a law would be enforced.

Underlying the Republican rape comments and actual Republican political goals are a few fundamental convictions: first, women are vessels for childbearing and care-taking; second, women cannot be trusted; and third, women are the property of men.

Mourdock’s statement that conceiving from rape is a gift positions women as receptacles, not as autonomous human beings. This view of women as vessels – vessels for sex with their husbands, vessels for carrying a pregnancy, vessels for God’s plan – is a necessary component of the kind of extreme anti-abortion legislation most Republican politicians support.

Comtinue readin this article / letter on Alter Net

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  • Vic

     The only thing I disagree with is the opening campaign advice. Republicans, don’t stop. Please tell us more about your views on rape, really….

  • Republicanism is a cult for bible thumpers.

    • Vic

      Republicans have experienced a severe shift towards the social right and reference a nebulous americhristian dominion. This will fortify their position with the nutters, but moderate conservatives are thrown under the bus.
      I feel kinda bad for the numerous conservative thinkers of who see their party reduced to this sorry state.

      For example, the trial against Intelligent Design was headed by a conservative judge.

      So, despite how much I like to leap to every occasion where the right wing can be criticised, I have to ackknowledge the good work of level headed republican judges, senators and representatives of the past and the present, who seem helpless against the blaring of their radical peers.

      …I feel dirty now. Gonna read the communist manifesto to clean my thoughts.

      • Good points. With a ridiculously narrow two party system (the closest you can get to non-democracy) where do all the moderate republicans now vote? I think they must feel alienated by the polarisation of politics and their party.

  • Richard Edwards

    I’m glad you put “pro-life” in quotes. There’s a campaign to take that term away from the Republicans, who are anything but:

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