The recent comments from politicians and public figures regarding rape and abortion make me both theatrically furious and TERRIFIED.
On the one hand we have a surge of anti-abortion groups, such as abort67, popping up outside abortion clinics from Stratford to Brighton then on the other we have US politician Todd Akin publically claiming that when women are raped our bodies actually prevent us from becoming pregnant.
Any way you look at it, the message they are sending is that if you are pregnant it’s your fault and you must keep it. Even if you were ‘raped’ then your body has failed you and made you pregnant (or weren’t raped anyway, you silly whore.)
Oh and now we must use quotes to refer to rape as apparently there is legitimate rape and just bog standard, you asked for it, rape. Thanks again Akin.
“Oh men!” you might think. How misguided.
Unfortunately, it is not only misguided and foolish men who are transporting these views into mainstream western culture but women. Educated, mature women at that.
Helen Mirren famously claimed that ‘a woman who voluntarily ended up in a man’s bedroom and engaged in sexual activity – but then said no to intercourse – could not seriously expect to take that man to court on a charge of rape if he ignored her last-minute insistence that she did not want full sex.’
Dear god woman what is wrong with you?
An article by the Independent went on to reveal that Mirren herself had been in this ‘situation’ several times. She claims that she was “locked in a room and made to have sex against my will”
Er, Dame Helen. You have been raped. Repeatedly. With deep sorrow, I believe hers is an opinion which makes her feel better about these rapes. I hope she does feel better but I hope she NEVER says anything so ridiculous to anyone with ears again.
All this opinion does is reinforce to men that once women are in their presence and have agreed to visit their home, marry them or share a bed they are free game. ‘Rape away’ this message says.
Shut the fuck up, says I.
I wish we were in a position to laugh or pity these crazed confessions but alas they have been backed up by the likes of Ann Widdecombe (Conservative MP) who jumped to Mirren’s defence saying:
“Of course if a woman goes back to a man’s room she has responsibility for her actions. Of course she should accept that she has got herself into that position. What’s she asking for? A cup of tea? If we say to women that you can go as far as you like with a man but once you don’t like it then you can go running to the law, well then we are offering them a false comfort.”
Oh, I see.
So perhaps, to prevent these attacks women should just not visit any man’s room whilst they are unmarried and then be accompanied by a protective male who will ensure that no rape occurs. Actually, if women could just not drink, cover up, not interact with men and realise their ability to self-abort rape babies then we wouldn’t have to tell rapists off. I wonder what a culture like that would look like…oh wait. There ARE cultures that, does that look like freedom?
Every time I read one of these high profile comments I yelp in shock as though they have just crept up on me.
However, the realisation is dawning on me that these opinions are not infrequent nor are they said in whispers to a collective few but via mass media or actually right in the face of pregnant women. (Whilst holding the image of an aborted foetus, naturally.)
These opinions contribute to grey area of rape which results in a pitifully low conviction and report rate.
Not to be out done MP George Galloway, ex-big brother contestant and cat impersonating extraordinaire, waded into the recent Julian Assange row (Assange is accused of raping a woman he had already had sex with that evening during her sleep) The Guardian reported on Galloway’s comments and quoted him stating:
“Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100% true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape,”
“At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it. And somebody has to say this.”
That’s where you are wrong George, no one has to say this. EVER.
I wonder, if Mr Galloway had taken part in sexual activates with a date and then blissfully fallen asleep, how he would feel to be awoken by the same date forcing a dildo in his rectum?
Is this not the same thing? Would this be accepted as they had engaged in sexual activity prior? What if you are married and choose to share a bed with someone having sex repeatedly, do they then have the right to use your body in any way they see fit? I doubt, if the shoe or penis was on the other foot Galloway would have the same opinion.
It’s tempting to ignore these insane comments and laugh them away believing they are some narrow-minded old fashioned beliefs but unfortunately they aren’t. They are creeping into our society, challenging our laws and rights. If we don’t stand up now and tell these fools that rape is rape and women’s bodies are their own then we run the risk of jumping back a decade.