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Oct 10 2012

The context that fails to justify “some girls rape easy”

Trigger warning for rape culture justification, gaslighting, and bitches be lyin’.

Paul Ryan has really picked a winner to back in Wisconsin, where State Rep Roger Rivard (R, natch) has been strongly criticized for having claimed that his father told him that “some girls rape easy” — a stern warning from father to son that women who get pregnant after premarital sex will turn around and claim to be raped. He was upset that he was taken out of context, so he provided more context to make it all better.

On Wednesday, Rivard told the Journal Sentinel the article did not provide full context of his comments and that his father’s exact words had been slightly different from how they appeared in the Chetek Alert.

He told the Journal Sentinel that his father had advised him not to have premarital sex, and he took that seriously.

“He also told me one thing, ‘If you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,’ ” Rivard said. “Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she’s not going to say, ‘Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.’ All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she’s underage. And he just said, ‘Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,’ he said, ‘they rape so easy.’

“What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, ‘If you’re going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.’ So the way he said it was, ‘Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.’

“So it’s been kind of taken out of context.”

Um… that didn’t change the context of what people are upset about at all. Just FYI. They’re upset at the advice because in a culture already so protective of a young man’s right to rape without repercussions, this just adds to the difficulty in getting real rapes taken seriously. There’s already an underreporting problem with regard to real rape, so suggesting that this is somehow a fact that young boys have to deal with lying bitches trying to ruin them to protect themselves, it’s just blinkered. Just, fractally wrong.

Do girls sometimes lie about their pregnancy? Well, yes. In a culture that also shames sex to the point where the only education some young folks in sexual matters get is “abstinence-only”, and where birth control is not widely available or affordable, teens will get pregnant. And when there are dire social ramifications for getting pregnant, and no easy recourse to abortion for unwanted pregnancy, it’s no wonder kids might lie about the origin of their pregnancy once they can’t hide it any longer. I mean, hell, if the Virgin Mary was a real person, it sure seems likely she was lying about her pregnancy too, right?

Only lying about rape is pretty fucking rare, considering the terrible public scrutiny you undergo as a rape victim. And even more rare would the accused actually get in any sort of trouble, considering how hard it is to prove real rape (by which I mean not-imagined, not the hair-splitting dogwhistle Republican meme). And the advice given, not to have premarital sex at all, is not going to stop a person hellbent on lying about the origin of the pregnancy from lying about who did it, so you’re not safe either way. I mean, look at who got blamed for Mary’s rape. Certainly not her husband!

So Paul Ryan… yeah. He picked a real winner of a rape culture apologist here. I mean, sure, it’s Rivard’s dad who gave him (and us all, by extension) that advice, but Rivard obviously internalized the meme to pass it on.

I’m being a bit facetious because one must laugh to keep from crying. There are a few more arguments that can be made to tear this apart, about which I’m sure I couldn’t even do justice, so feel free to pull out the long knives in the comments.

Update: You might also enjoy Alyson Miers’ take.

21 comments

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  1. 1
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Damn good post.

  2. 2
    michaeld

    But…. context! Context fixes everything right???

  3. 3
    Jason Thibeault

    I don’t have the context to make sense of your comment, michaeld. Perhaps you could add some? Perhaps a framing story about it being advice from a relative?

  4. 4
    Context

    You really do need to go back to the beginning of the original article and see what Rivard actually said:
    “Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 2:48 pm

    by Anita ZImmerman | 0 comments

    Note: As promised in the Nov. 23 issue, we sat down with Rep. Roger Rivard (R-Rice Lake) to discuss statutory rape, juvenile sexual assault, Romeo and Juliet laws and the sex offender registry. This includes his responses and does not examine issues individually or impartially.

    “If it’s rape, it’s rape. If it’s not, it’s not,” said Rep. Roger Rivard, sipping decaf in a booth at Rice Lake Family Restaurant.

    http://www.chetekalert.com/news/community_news/article_8115bc1a-2c15-11e1-b5c7-001871e3ce6c.html

  5. 5
    Jason Thibeault

    The Chetek Alert Print/Online Subscribers Only!

    This content is available to subscribers only.

    Online-only subscriber rates: Three months for $15, six months for $20 or annually for $25.

    Call (715) 924-4118 to subscribe!

    For the benefit of those of us who don’t want to subscribe to the paper to try to find something, anything, that actually modifies the “fuller context” I published in the original post, why don’t YOU tell us what is actually contextually important?

  6. 6
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Black humour alert :

    Reminds me of the ‘Earth girls are easy’ movie title.

    Also reminds me how truly riddled to the core with misogyny and vile rape culture thinking the scumbag Rethuglicans are.

  7. 7
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    D’oh! Italics fail obviously. Only the movie title was supposed to be in italics.

    (Yeah, very bad D-grade SciFi flick that un..)

  8. 8
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    “If it’s rape, it’s rape. If it’s not, it’s not,”

    And we all know that everybody is against rape and everybody thinks that rape is wrong. You usually don’t meet anybody who says “yeah, cool, rape!”
    Only what is rape, that’s where the real discussion starts.
    Obviously, for many conservatives it’s not rape if she was black out drunk, or wore a miniskirt, or kissed him before, or had sex with him before and then fell asleep, if she knew him, if she ever had sex before.
    It’s only rape if she was a virgin on her way to a catholic school in a good part of town wearing a loooong floursack and looking to the ground.

  9. 9
    Bill Openthalt

    Summary of Rep. Rivard’s blathering:

    I have no brains and need to eat, so please give me this government job, because I’m really very good at pandering to your base instincts.

    I can only advise hime to “get a real job”.

  10. 10
    AnyBeth

    Wait, so his father told him even “consensual” sex may be called rape because she’s underage? That doesn’t actually take her lying, it simply means her consent was moot considering her age. At the very least, if the sex was illegal because of the age, age difference, or sometimes position of authority involved, the younger or more vulnerable party is right to call it rape. They wouldn’t be lying, because that’s what it is as defined by law.

  11. 11
    ThoughtfulOne

    Um… that didn’t change the context of what people are upset about at all. Just FYI. They’re upset at the advice because in a culture already so protective of a young man’s right to rape without repercussions, this just adds to the difficulty in getting real rapes taken seriously. There’s already an underreporting problem with regard to real rape, so suggesting that this is somehow a fact that young boys have to deal with lying bitches trying to ruin them to protect themselves, it’s just blinkered. Just, fractally wrong.

    I don’t think this is what was suggested. It doesn’t make what was said any more acceptable, but let’s do deal with the proper context. The context appears to be statutory rape of underage girls, not violent sexual assault of adults. There’s no claim the girl was lying about the sexual contact. He said this:

    All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she’s underage.

    What he should be beaten on the head over with is the implication that statutory rape isn’t a “real” crime, and it’s just the conniving girl and her parents making it so. And what his dad should be beaten over the head with not saying “Son, don’t have sex with underage girls because it’s a crime.”

  12. 12
    Jason Thibeault

    Fixed it for you, StevoR.

  13. 13
    Jason Thibeault

    That’s equally bad, ThoughtfulOne, but it doesn’t detract from any of the above post — all the implications are still there. Yes, sex with an underage girl is a crime because they can’t legally consent. But all the “bitches be lyin’” memes are still tightly packed in there, aren’t they? If not the girl (which you have to admit was still implied), then her mother (which he did say).

  14. 14
    Jason Thibeault

    Also why “violent sexual assault of adults”? When’d the line for “real rape” become violence, and adults?

  15. 15
    eric

    ThoughtfulOne @11:

    The context appears to be statutory rape of underage girls, not violent sexual assault of adults

    So, we should not interpret this as a father advising his son ‘be careful who you sleep with, some women may falsely accuse you of a heinous crime.’ Instead, we should interpret this as a father advising his son ‘be careful when you actually commit a crime, because some women victims may speak up.’

    Thanks for adding context. The statement is now much, much worse.

  16. 16
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I’m wondering where everybody gets this “underage girls” from.
    From the “her parents are mad”?
    Parents can be mad about the sexlives of their adult daughters, too, and quite often the age of consent is lower than 18

  17. 17
    ThoughtfulOne

    @13:

    The “bitches be lyin” meme would be present if he was saying that the girls or their mothers were lying, saying consensual sex was not consensual, and therefore rape. That’s not what he was saying. He’s saying that all they have to say is that it was rape because the girl was underage. IOW, he’s lamenting the fact that a charge of rape will be brought because they are telling the truth.

    @14: No one here is saying that.

    @15:

    Instead, we should interpret this as a father advising his son ‘be careful when you actually commit a crime, because some women victims may speak up.’

    Thanks for adding context. The statement is now much, much worse.

    Correct. And if you go through and click on the links, it’s absolutely clear that’s what he is saying.

    @16:

    You have to click on the links and read the context; this was in relation to a case involving a 17-year-old having sexual contact with a 14-year-old.

  18. 18
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    You have to click on the links and read the context; this was in relation to a case involving a 17-year-old having sexual contact with a 14-year-old.

    Yeah, and it still doesn’t change a fucking thing.
    Because, you know, you can’t have consensual sex with somebody who isn’t able to give consent.
    And the actual context is that the “girls” only cry rape if they become pregnant and can’t hide that they had sex. So, no, I’m not buying it. The advice wasn’t “Son, she may totally look 18, and she may totally want it, but always make sure that you’re dealing with an adult because looks can lie”.
    The advice was “keep your dick to yourself ’cause the bitches say yes and if they become pregnant they scream RAPE”

  19. 19
    Brad

    Since the advice was given to him as a child/adolescent, I assumed that they would both be underage at the time and that his father was referring to the fact her parents would be mad because she was underage, regardless of the whether or not her chosen partner was also underage. I could have interpreted it wrong, but that’s how I read it. And while some people may disagree with me, I see no problem with two underage people having sex; assuming they are of the same/similar age. Doubtless some people on this forum willingly lost their virginity before the age of consent.

    Of course, it still displays a certain suspicion of women on his father’s part that could be rooted in misogyny, but equally he could have just known someone it happened to and be advising his son on the strength of that. Because it does happen, I personally know someone it has happened to, though with nowhere near the frequency that most misogynists would have you believe.

  20. 20
    cc Diane

    @19

    Roger Rivera graduated from high school in 1970. Rivera didn’t say how old he was when his dad handed down that precious bit of wisdom, but it’s safe to assume it was before he graduated from high school.

    I cannot find a specific reference to the age of consent in Wisconsin prior to 1970, but in 1981 the age of consent was 18. There was an exception, however.

    This is from Wikipedia’s Age of Consent page:

    Prior to 1981, Wisconsin had an exception to the law that allowed adults who were guilty of sex with minors 15 or older to use as a defense that the victim understood the nature of the sexual act.

    The presumption was that the act was rape, but this argument could be made successfully.

  21. 21
    cc Diane

    @20

    My mistake: I meant to write “before 1981″, not “before he graduated from high school”.

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