Author: Kara Mae Adamo.
…ugh, okay, here we go…
I have been doing my best to keep from blogging about any and all election campaigns. I am trying. Aside from my passive-aggressive posts on Facebook and Twitter, I have been keeping it relatively low-key.
I curse and I shake my tiny fist at the computer/television/smart phone/iPad and say mean things to the headlines and, god help me, about the debates and campaign ads.
In honesty, part of the reason I choose not to blog about it is that, frankly, I do not have the energy. I have far more gratifying things to do, like work, exercise, drink wine and study for my Sommelier certification.
Or play Draw Something and pick lint off of my bathroom towels.
But I digress. The reason I have decided to break my try-to-stay-away-from-politics-when-blogging rule is, ironically, very much the same reason I avoid it. The insanity is overwhelming.
Last December, Wisconsin state Representative Roger Rivard made one of those absurd word-vomit moves only politicians seem capable of making. He actually said, and I quote, “Some women rape easy.”
Do not worry, I am not going to take that horrific sentence out of context. That wouldn’t be fair, or even any fun. Especially since, believe it or not, the actual context is far more ridiculous than anything I as a fiction writer could have ever hoped for.
Evidently, Rivard’s father gave him advise regarding premarital sex when he was younger. This is completely acceptable–it is your parents’ job to clarify things for you when you are growing up. That is what parenting is all about.
The advice is sound enough between a clearly only moderately articulate father and his young son. The unfortunate truth is that, every now and then, people are falsely accused of rape. I am not by any means casting the horrible nature of such a thing aside. It is selfish, irresponsible and ruins lives. And Mr. Rivard was right to tell young Roger that it was a possibility, even if his candor was a bit off-color.
Roger Rivard’s father was not a politician. Roger Rivard, on the other hand, is.
The problem is that Rivard quoted his father in response to a rape case between two 17 year old kids. He is an elected state representative forming and publishing an unfounded opinion about a situation on which he has no first-hand account. This nationally broadcasted opinion publicly discredits a young girl who may actually have been raped. It is a great way to reassure her that, no, the republican party does not have any intention of backing her up. He could just as readily have scorned the act of rape and point out that the defendant had not yet been proven guilty. That would have been unoffensive and realistic. It would have been diplomatic. It would have been his job.
Instead, he chose to say that “Some women rape easy,” which is the absolute worst response I have ever heard of.
Then, this past Wednesday, he repeated himself in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Here is the quote from the article so that you understand I am not altering anything:
“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.'”
This comment comes during a time of heated campaign debate, and I think it is a telling self-portrait. It shows the underlying truth of how Rivard sees women and how he would represent them.
It is indicative of a prejudice against women who actually are raped, and it is absolutely disgusting and chauvinistic. It belittles the rape charge by indicating an innate falsehood to an implied majority, rather than a few sparse girl-who-cried-wolf scenarios that while I agree are absolutely horrible, are not always the case. And he is doing it as a part of his pro-life campaign, which I naturally abhor. He is now stripping women not only of their sovereignty over their own bodies but of their credibility as victims in terrifying and horribly wounding circumstances.
On behalf of women everywhere, I find him absolutely offensive.
This pervasive misogynistic outlook seems to be an increasingly popular route to take on the part of the republican party. It is a backwoods viewpoint that women fought tooth-and-nail to abolish decades ago. The idea that women are weak and that we are not to be trusted is a malignant cancer of an idea that does nothing to perpetuate social growth. It is three steps back at a time when we need to be forward thinkers.
And it is being endorsed by the Christian Right and the rest of the ultra-conservative cultist right-wing-nut-jobs. It is appalling on a level that I find ironic, since it gains resemblance to the Islamic extremism these same people swear they are adamantly against.
So while I do not live in Wisconsin and am not even necessarily an actual democrat, I am outraged and frankly a bit freaked out.
And you should be, too.
So regardless of whether you are a Christian, a Muslim, an Atheist, a Buddhist, etc. please, for the love of your fellow (wo)man, take this into consideration when electing the next movers and shakers.