The Rape Culture of the GOP

Richard Mourdock: Photo from

I’d like to share a few comments that have been made recently by members of the Republican party regarding rape. You’ve probably seen them before, but we all need to see them again.

 “I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.” Richard Mourdock, endorsed by Mitt Romney.

“Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.” Todd Akin, adored by Mike Huckabee.

“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.” Roger Rivard, endorsed by Paul Ryan.

Good, that’s out of the way. Read this next sentence very carefully. Rape is rape. There is no “gray” rape, a phrase coined by anti-feminism author Laura Sessions. Writing for Cosmopolitan Magazine, Sessions used the term “gray rape” to describe a new kind of date rape. From the article:

Many experts feel that gray rape is in fact often a consequence of today’s hookup culture: lots of partying and flirting, plenty of alcohol, and ironically, the idea that women can be just as bold and adventurous about sex as men are.

So, if a woman has been drinking and flirting and she says no, it’s “gray rape.” No, it’s rape. The GOP believes in “gray rape,” however, as evidenced by the statements above, and statements like it that have been flowing out of the right wing for over 30 years.

It’s 2012, and our president had to on television to state “rape is rape.” And why did he have to do this? Because the right wing, men and women alike, have been promoting the myth that only certain kinds of rape are actually rape. You know, rapey-enough. I’ve written about this before, and yet, somehow, we’re still here. We’re still listening to people on the right talk about rape as if it’s just not that big a deal unless you look like you went 10 rounds with an MMA fighter.

Then we have the courts. Richard Fourtin Jr. was found guilty in 2008 of sexually assaulting a woman with severe cerebral palsy, a woman with the functioning intellect of a 3-year old. This month, the state supreme court of Connecticut threw Fourtin’s conviction out. Did DNA evidence come to light that exonerated him? Was he not read his rights? Nope. From Huffington Post:

However, in a 4-3 ruling on Tuesday, the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction, saying there isn’t enough evidence to prove victim resisted Fourtin’s advances.

As Think Progress notes, Connecticut statutes “define physical incapacity for the purpose of sexual assault as ‘unconscious or for any other reason…physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.'”

Thus, Fourtin couldn’t be convicted if there was “any chance that the victim could have communicated her lack of consent.”

In this case, defense lawyers argued, the victim could have communicated that resistance by “biting, kicking, screaming and gesturing,” according to NBC Connecticut.

The court appeared to agree. 

Here is the court’s ruling:

When we consider this evidence in the light most favorable to sustaining the verdict, and in a manner that is consistent with the state’s theory of guilt at trial, we, like the Appellate Court, ‘are not persuaded that the state produced any credible evidence that the [victim] was either unconscious or so uncommunicative that she was physically incapable of manifesting to the defendant her lack of consent to sexual intercourse at the time of the alleged sexual assault.’

The victim has the intellect of a 3-year old. Perhaps if Fourtin rapes an actual 3-year old, he might get time in Connecticut, but not if he rapes a woman with severe cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy, by the way, also interferes with a person’s ability to move, so physically, it would have been next to impossible for her to fight back.

Slut shaming. Legitimate rape. Some girls rape so easy. A gay man can’t be raped. What were you wearing, were you drinking, it’s “gray rape,” you didn’t fight back enough, you have cerebral palsy, congratulations, you’re pregnant, but God wanted it that way.

How much longer are we going to put up with this? We sign petitions and we sigh dramatically, but what are we going to DO? I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to vote against every single misogynistic douche on the right, I am going to continue to expose this rape culture for what it is, and I will never, NEVER stop fighting for survivors of sexual assault. What are you going to do?

Thanks to Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan Magazine and Think Progress for their contributions.

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Posted by on October 25, 2012. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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5 Responses to The Rape Culture of the GOP

  1. E.A. Blair

    October 25, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Republican Logic

    Let’s see…

    Any interruption of a pregnancy is abortion and should be a crime.

    If a woman is “truly raped” her body “shuts down” and somehow prevents pregnancy.

    Therefore, if a woman is pregnant, she has not been “truly raped”.

    Therefore, if a woman has been forced to have sex against her will, her body rejects the pregnancy, performing an act of spontaneous abortion.

    Therefore, any woman who is raped and does not become pregnant is a self-abortionist and should be prosecuted as one (but don’t under any circumstances, give her the death penalty until after the fetus is born. After that, kill the mother and forget about the kid. After all – it’s not like it was a corporation or anything.)

    Hey, makes as much sense as “Death Panels”.

  2. James Smith

    October 25, 2012 at 7:18 am

    There is only one word for the right-wing rape deniers – evil. It’s fortunate for them that their hell doesn’t really exist.

    • E.A. Blair

      October 25, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      This is almost enough to make one wish it did.

      My idea of the proper afterlife is a place where, instead of people getting what the hoped for they got whan they are afraid they deserve.

      • James Smith

        October 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm

        Oh, well put! I like it so much that I am going to steal it. 😀

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