The religious elephant in the rape room

The GOP elephant in the rape room is this: among the socially conservative base of the Republican Party is a core group of faith-based misogynists who believe 1) women lie about being raped, and 2) that it’s the women’s fault when she gets raped. The code words and dog whistles about “forcible rape” and the jihad against birth control that have come to dominate the GOP are all fueled by that very real fundamentalist sexism. 

I have this to say to conservative and independent voters who are as appalled as the rest of us: you can say you are going to vote for whoever you wish, and once in the privacy of the voting booth you can actually vote for whomever you want, and no one will ever know the difference unless you say so. Pass it on.


  1. jacobfromlost says

    A piece in the nytimes suggested that conservatives know it will be difficult to pass laws to ban abortions in cases of rape–most people just don’t like the idea of legally forcing women to have rapists’ children.

    But conservatives also want to ban all abortions and think a rape exception would be a “loophole” through which any woman could claim rape simply to get an abortion. This is one reason why they wanted the words “forcible rape” in the language–so perhaps they could take legal action against women who don’t look beat up enough?

    I don’t know how far down the conservative mindset one has to go to get to this point, but if they are willing to go that far…why not suggest that women who are visibly beat up did it to themselves simply to meet the “forcible” status? Why not suggest it is impossible a family member raped them because that is “icky”, against god’s law, or just unimaginable (and therefore you must have the child)? Why not suggest a woman who miscarried as a result of new prescription meds should have known she was, or could have been, pregnant and try her for manslaughter? Why not try her doctor also?

    It doesn’t take much thought to see that going down the road of banning some abortions and not others is not feasible, and the implications (when made explicit) are understood by even the reddest of states. Even Mississippi roundly rejected the personhood amendment.

    If corporations are people, and zygotes are people, are zygotes corporations? I don’t think it takes much to draw a venn diagram to discover the problem. Conservatives are just playing with words to get there way–or trying to.

  2. Stevarious says

    you can say you are going to vote for whoever you wish, and once in the privacy of the voting booth you can actually vote for whomever you want, and no one will ever know the difference unless you say so.

    Besides, if you are already a conservative, you probably have that cognitive dissonance thing down pat, so you won’t even feel guilt!

  3. jnorris says

    So there appears to be a limit to how slimy and lowlife the Republican Tea Party will go publicly. we haven’t seen bottom yet but I think it is getting nearer.

  4. TxSkeptic says

    Well, there actually may be something to the assertion that some women may claim rape or incest in order to get an abortion. WAIT A MINUTE. Don’t jump my shit just yet.

    In an oppressive environment where abortions are not legal at all, women would resort to the back alley or ‘coat hanger’ abortions. When abortions are only available, because of legal or social pressures, to victims of rape or incest, they may resort to these claims in order to obtain one.

    If abortions are available on demand with no legal or social restrictions, they will be obtained at the earliest possible time, without any specious claims of rape or incest, and when there is a legitimate case of rape or incest, there will be much less of a counter-argument available that the claim is specious and only for the purpose of obtaining an abortion.

    The end point is that it is the woman’s body and should be solely her choice whether to have a child or not. The males contribution is significant genetically, and emotionally only to the extent that a couple is consensually attempting to create an offspring.

  5. Crudely Wrott says

    As far as I know, the word “rape” means “sexual congress in which at least one party is unwilling to engage” with said unwillingness being demonstratively and actively expressed and demonstrated. Because of such resistance it is necessary that, in order to obtain the congress, some other party or parties must use force. Therefore, rape not only implies force but requires it.

    Therefore, “forcible rape” is at best a redundancy. In terms of its current usage it is no less than diversionary rhetoric intended to divert responsibility on the one hand, to propagandize and obfuscate on the other hand and to slyly proselytize on the gripping hand.

    I can only regard this as yet another example of the lengths to which some true believers will go to force their twisted morality into the fabric of law and into the lives of others without regard to anything other than their own smug assurance of divine inspiration and self righteousness.

    I am a peaceful man but when I observe such behavior, especially so blatantly and widely practiced, I cannot help but imagine clubs upon skulls. Since such is impractical, I must imagine people of reason and good will resisting such evil. Continuously and vigorously with much pointing and noisome waving and not a little derision.

  6. maureenbrian says

    No, Crudely Wrott! That’s an old-fashioned sort of definition.

    This is what the law says in England and Wales, from the Rape Crisis Centre’s website.

    “The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (the Act) came into force on the 1 May 2004. It repealed almost all of the existing statute law in relation to sexual offences. The purpose of the Act is to strengthen and modernise the law on sexual offences, whilst improving preventative measures and the protection of individuals from sexual offenders.

    Under section 1(1) SOA 2003 a defendant, A, is guilty of rape if:

    _ A intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of B (the complainant) with his penis;

    _ B does not consent to the penetration; and,

    _ A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

    The new offence of rape in section 1(1) SOA 2003 includes oral and anal penetration with a penis. This is a change from the previous law which was only concerned with vaginal penetration and used other offences to criminalise these forms of sexual violence (such as indecent assault). The person who commits the offence of rape must be a man (as the penetration has to be with a penis). However, both women and men may experience rape. If the penetration is with something other than a penis then the offence is assault by penetration

    For the offence of rape to have been committed the defendant must have penetrated you without your consent, or continued to penetrate you after you withdrew your consent, and the defendant must not have reasonably believed that you were consenting.

    It is not relevant what relationship, if any, a defendant has or had with you. Nor is it relevant if the act complained of occurred within a relationship. If the defendant intentionally penetrates with his penis the vagina, anus or mouth of the complainant without her consent where he does not reasonably believe in her consent the defendant has committed rape.

    N.B. The wording regarding the law on our website uses the terminology that is commonly used in Law and legal proceedings. The offence of Rape (Sec 1(1) SOA 2003) can only be committed by a man; however, a woman can be charged with, or convicted of rape as a secondary party. For example, a woman may be convicted of rape where she facilitated (helped) a man who has raped another person.”

    Other jurisdictions have slightly different definitions but nowhere that you would want be a complainant insists on physical violence. If the rapist beats him/her up in addition to the rape the authorities have the option of adding “grievous bodily harm” or attempted murder or whatever it’s called where you are.

    One of the things that makes us uppity women so mad with the Akins and Galloways of this world is that they are legislators who either do not know or feel they can cheerfully disregard the law.

  7. jamessweet says

    WAIT A MINUTE. Don’t jump my shit just yet.

    You rape apologist!

    No, yeah, what you said at first sounded really bad, but basically you are just rehashing (more or less) the rationale for Roe v. Wade. Forcing a woman to prove all sorts of things about herself in order to get an abortion is a violation of Due Process. Fair ’nuff.

  8. reynoldhall says

    For those who want to see a real ugly example of religious misogyny, I would invite you to go the the Fundies Say the Darndest Things site and check out Vox Day.

    Some examples:


    These are really bad:


    Be proud, christians, this guy is one of yours. At least with all the trouble that us atheists and skeptics are having with misogyny, we are at least trying to fight it. I’ve heard nothing from the religious community that criticizes this kind of shit from people like him.

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