Anaïs Nin once said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” In light of recent events, it’s possible to assume that Todd Akin does, in fact, possess a magical vagina of his own and is just speaking from experience. Or that he is a serial sex-forcer (note: not a rapist). Or that he has Magic School Bus skills and can shrink down to the size of a pea and roam around a lady’s private parts and tell us, as women, what’s really going on. Perhaps he wakes up every morning and zips himself out of his human-skin-suit and consumes nothing but small children and sucks all the rainbows from the sky. I can say all of these as facts, as long as I place the stipulation that they are “republican facts” alongside them.
And here is where shit gets scary. I’m sure we’ve all read/heard/watched the ignorant remarks made from one of our esteemed members of the House regarding “legitimate” rape and how women’s vaginas possess a special power to understand when such a brutal act is occurring, and as a result shuts down/creates spermicide/become mythical magical creatures and repel conception. I would like to point out that aside from the obvious atrociousness of this sentiment, if our vaginas could magically defend against rape I’m pretty sure it would be more like a water tight sealing of the lips to prevent it. Perhaps a jaws-of-life situation. At the very least, a dye like they use to catch bank robbers. I don’t know about his vagina, but mine would certainly not stop at simply preventing pregnancy. It would KICK. YOUR. ASS.
Let me say, for the record, what we all know to be true. To be fact. All rapes are legitimate. ALL of them. At any point in time, when one party does not want to have sex and the other just goes ahead and does it, it is a LEGITIMATE RAPE. To deny this basic truth is to knock us back as a civilization to the times when women were simply property to be used and disregarded and men and children of a “lesser class” were free to abuse. We are not property. I do not care if I am your wife, your girlfriend, your casual friend, a chick you met in a bar, your cousin, a stranger texting while I walk down the street. If I don’t want it and you do it anyway, it is rape. Guess what? The law doesn’t care either. Spousal rape is legitimate. Gender doesn’t matter. Women can rape. Men can rape. It’s a fact: rape, in all forms, against all people, is illegal and legitimate. To claim anything other is vile and reprehensible.
Oh, wait, that’s right. The recent Republican Vice-President nominee, Paul Ryan, co-sponsored a bill with Akin trying to limit abortion funding to rape victims only if they could prove they’d been “forcibly raped.” You know, instead of the consensual kind. Which is ironic, considering the fact that our magical vaginas stop conception during a “forcible rape” and thus would not need an abortion. Redefining rape into levels is fucking scary. The notion that our lawmakers are attempting to do so is abhorrent. ALL RAPE IS FORCIBLE RAPE.
Next point. There are just over 32,000 cases of pregnancy as a result of REPORTED rapes each and every year. Thirty-two thousand. In a recent study amongst college women, UCLA researchers unveiled that approximately only 12% of women reported their rape to authorities. That number dropped to 3% when drugs or alcohol were involved. So, let’s connect dots. 32,000 pregnancies from reported rapes, yet only a fraction of rapes get reported….let’s see, 1 + 1, carry the 2, add a decimal…errrrrm, ok, there’s a fuckton of pregnancies from rape. Maybe not fractionally comparable to intentional pregnancies in the US every year, but how dare they have the audacity to claim that these 32,000 women are of such minimal importance that their pregnancies do not count in the face of their understanding of science. Perhaps these “rape” victim’s magical vaginas had an off day. Or, more likely in their disgusting thought process, these women were not actually “legitimately raped.”
The science that Todd Akin refers to is highlighted in a doctrine in the mid 1780s. Yes, that is “modern science” to most of these assholes. More to the point, this doctrine was not actually written by a doctor but by a (GASP) lawmaker. In this biologically repugnant document, it was believed that a woman could not get pregnant without an orgasm or consent and thus, any pregnancies resulting from rape would betray their outward resistance and prove that they did, in fact, want to be raped.
Let’s not even go there.
Let’s go here. Todd Akin sits on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Paul Ryan is in the running to become our next Vice President. In a time when such powerful people are allowed to bask in their ignorance, we all suffer. This is not just about female-empowerment and our rights to our own bodies. It’s not just about how disgusting it is for someone, anyone to try and tell you that you were only kinda-sorta raped…but not enough to get abortion funding. These issues are repugnant, and obvious. What appears to be sliding under the radar is the (perhaps even more terrifying) complete lack of regard for science. From a lawmaker who sits on the damned Science, Space, and Technology committee. This is not an area with wiggle room. This is something every single kid in med school can tell you, every doctor who is practicing, every WebMD search can note: women do not have magical vaginas. What’s more, Todd Akin knows this. He knows that with a quick click or phone call, his bullshit can be called out and he doesn’t care. Isn’t worried about it. The mistrust of science in the republican base has been so completely absorbed that fact simply doesn’t matter. Climate change. Dinosaurs. Race. Intellect. Sexual Orientation. All have hard science backing them, all have generations of research and experiments and polls and lab work and real, hard answers coming forth. But these people will not be swayed. Women are less than men; men rode around on the backs of T-Rex’s, the ice caps are growing/ penguins just forgot how to swim/ droughts of epic proportion are just God’s way of saying “I hate corn.”
Todd Akin’s remarks should not only disgust and infuriate you. They should scare the living shit out of you. Then you should take that fear, that hatred, that complete and total riot-seeking-overwhelming-energy and you should use it as motivation. As President Obama said in his rally in Iowa last week, “Don’t boo, VOTE.” This ignorance being perpetuated in the halls of our government is pervasive and has the very real possibility of infecting future generations. It’s irreparable harm. Damning and damaging. We can no longer afford to be apathetic or uninformed; otherwise we will lose so much more than the next four years to a shitty government. We will lose our dignities, our rights, our land, and the progress that so many people have been fighting (and dying) for over the last century. We cannot let this shit slide. As Anaïs said, perhaps I am seeing this through my own tilt. Perhaps I am taking it personally. Perhaps Todd Akin is actually hard at work validating his own rape issues. I can make any outlandish claim that I want, as facts don’t matter. Apparently, my vagina can absorb and repel mystery sperm. Todd Akin’s must do the same for science and logic and all things decent.
For information on the reporting of rape amongst college women:
For more information on the 1785 doctrine I referred to:
For 10 more amusing things Todd Akin thinks your vagina can do:
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About Leah Schein
Leah is a born and bred Chicagoan, and considers herself extremely fortunate to be raised by amazing liberal parents in Logan Square. Coming from a long family history of equality activism, the crazy world of politics feels like home to her. Her upbringing allowed her to fully appreciate her love of tacos, and provided the support needed to be independent and insane. She is a happy survivor of the public school system, all the way through her undergrad years, culminating with a BA in anthropology. Her love of travel and all things adventurous led to the pursuit of a Master of Science from sunny ol’ England, where she happily grasped a conservation degree and ran off to live in a number of rain forests to research nocturnal primates. Through the amazing diversity she was fortunate to be raised amongst, she has an unwavering appreciation of all cultures and peoples, and has used this to form the foundation of her outspoken support of civil rights. You may have seen her running around Boystown/Tuna town over the last decade, or at events she volunteers at for the Human Rights Campaign. It’s possible you spied her at the Silent Film Festival. That strange woman getting into a wrestling match in the leaves on Foster Ave beach at 3am…that definitely wasn’t her. She couldn’t be more excited about sharing her love of science, and it’s role in our daily lives, with the community she loves. Nerds are cool, people. They drink martini’s too.