Today we were going to talk about getting rid of lice, but instead we're going to talk about rape.

I'm sure by now all of you are experiencing the same anger in reading about Missouri Senator Todd Akin's unforgivably cruel comment that when a woman is the victim of a "legitimate rape" her body won't allow her to become pregnant. (This is shockingly similar to VP candidate Paul Ryan's terminology "forcible rape.")

When the story first broke, it seemed laughable, that anyone could be so uneducated in 2012.

So women told stories, on blogs and FB and Twitter, of what had happened to them. Horrible, horrific stories, of things that had happened to women like us, women like you and me. Not just women *like* you and me, but women who are some of you. I know way too many of you have been raped. And some of you had the chance to say no, even to yell, but some of you were too little or too passed out or too scared or too confused to say no. And someone raped you anyway.

I am so deeply sorry. And so glad that you're still here. And sorry that you're carrying that with you.

As the Akin story unfolded, however, it became apparent that he does know medical facts. He's just using words to try to change them. "Legitimate" rape doesn't mean anything except that Todd Akin wants to decide for himself if you have the right to your own body, or if it's completely fine that someone raped you. 

I am going to ask you to click over to read what my friend Kelly told her teenage daughter about rape, and why rape is rape and not "sexual assault." Why renaming it doesn't make it not rape.

Make no mistake: This isn't about Todd Akin, or Paul Ryan, "misspeaking." This is about attempting to change the language so that he controls the dialogue and we are disenfranchised. We, all of us, women of all parties and religious thoughts and ways of speaking, our children, and the men who love us.

And make no mistake: If you vote into office someone who attempts to use words to make something ugly and brutal into something benign and harmless, you are selling yourself out. You are selling your children out. You are selling out me and the people who read this website. You are telling men who rape that it's ok.

Think, hard, about what you want for yourself and other women. And then fight back, hard, for everyone who said no or couldn't, and still was raped.


39 thoughts on “No.”

  1. It’s important for all of us as a society. Men who are kind and loving often have partners who have been raped. That is not easy on those good men and they don’t deserve to have to deal with the fallout from these crimes. It affects all decent people.

  2. Their speech tells us who they are…he did not mis-speak- he knew precisely what he was saying. He is a dangerous man and cannot be elected to anything. I feel pity and dismay for his wife and children.

  3. Thank you, Moxie. I’ve been seething about this all day; meanwhile, you’ve expressed what needs to be done SO calmly and clearly. Brava!But don’t forget the lice post. Please. We’re between the two recommended chemical treatments right now, and I’m REALLY interested in your take on this (and all your readers’ advice)!

  4. I’ve been reading Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman. I don’t agree with everything she says, but she sure is hilarious in how she says it.One thing with which I do, emphatically, agree is her definition of a feminist.
    “Put your hand in your underpants.
    a. Do you have a vagina? and
    b. Do you want to be in charge of it?”
    If yes, then you’re a feminist — although I would extend her definition to include men who think women should be in charge of their own vaginas.
    Akin and Ryan want to be in charge of my vagina. Because they think having a penis gives them that right. They are insane. Scary and insane.

  5. I agree with Evan. You don’t ‘mis-speak’ and somehow come up with this stuff. This is reflective of a deeper worldview.Thanks, Moxie.

  6. @Tine, I might not be on tomorrow… my 2 cents: oil and comb, oil and comb… combing is the most effective, the chemicals slow them down so they’re easier to catch, and the oil we used seemed to help on the combing much better than any of the conditioner/combing lotions did (it was for lice, tea tree and something in olive oil,,smelled good but the real benefit I saw was that combing was sooooo much easier when their heads were soaked in oil. Wash out in the morning.). A good metal comb, not a plastic one. and do it in direct sunlight if possible, so you can see better. (the best management for prevention according to research is by using a nit comb monthly on everyone in the house, but who remembers to do that?)@Moxie. Thanks. I agree this has to do with worldview and word choice to control the perceptions of others so that women do not get to choose for themselves. I’m one of the ones you’re standing up for, and it matters.

  7. As others have pointed out in the outrage of these comments in the blogosphere, physicians in the Middle Ages and early modern period (when they still thought the body was comprised of “humors”) taught that pleasure was required for conception, so if a woman conceived during sex, it couldn’t be rape. But then again, the most common way of dealing with rape cases back then was to have the victim marry her attacker. Maybe that Akin’s next plan?I think the “legitimate/forcible” rape stuff is disgusting, utterly contemptible, but I have to admit the pseudo-medicine angers me even more. It’s one thing to have some crackpoint ideological opinion, but it’s another to pretend there’s scientific evidence for it. There *is* such a thing as a *fact* and evidence.

  8. Amen.@Erin, I suspect you are a lot closer to the truth when it comes to “Akin’s next plan” (and the next plan of those of his ilk) than you’d like to be: per NPR on my drive home yesterday (I am oversimplifying a bit, but dig out that evening’s broadcast of All Things Considered and look for this section if you’re interested), one of the types of rape that is not “legitimate” (forcible) is statutory. So the distinction between “legitimate” and, you know, other sorts of rape serves to make sure that pregnant teens legally too young to consent are nonetheless not candidates for legal abortion by virtue of their youth (of course, by virtue of their youth per Akin et. al. they are also too young to consent to abortion).

  9. @Rudyinparis: OMG YESBUT I’m doing my best to REFUSE to be afraid. I will not allow a person like that to make me afraid. I will not allow him to have power over me. Repeating as a mantra. Taking deep breaths.

  10. We absolutely cannot have men (or anyone else but us and our doctors) deciding what we do with our bodies. I do think it’s good that someone brought up that men get raped, too, and this is not a woman’s issue alone. It scares me, too, Rudyinparis.

  11. On a purely political level, if you want McCaskill (the Democrat) to win you actually want Akin to stay in the race. If he drops out the Republican Party will choose another candidate, who will probably beat McCaskill.I totally agree that what Akin said was vile and outrageous. But it was also a gift to Democrats, and makes it much more likely McCaskill will win. If Akin had not said what he said, there is a good chance he would have won. Now he has a very low chance of winning even if he stays in the race.
    I have been struck by the media firestorm. Is there anyone stepping up to defend Akin? Not that I can see. His view may be held by lots of people but saying it out loud is totally verboten. I call that progress. Not enough progress, to be sure, but some.

  12. It’s confusing because there are so many legal definitions of rape so as to rank the seriousness of it under the law. It varies from state to state, and it seems like people can pick and choose the level based on what they want to convey about how much blame there might be to place and on whom. I think statutory rape (sex with a minor past puberty) can be every bit as devastating as child molestation (sex with a minor not past puberty). There could be very little actual difference in age, but one could get a lighter sentence even though both involve force and/or coercion in their definitions. The words we use DO matter. Our laws need an overhaul that reflects reality.

  13. Totally agree, but must point out that he is a candidate for Senate and longtime (ugh!) House member, not Senator.I imagine that many of the people that voted for him in the past didn’t know how extreme his views are. Hopefully they are paying attention now!

  14. I don’t know. I agree with Erin that there should be way more outrage about the pseudo-medicine angle. That was not a misstatement in any way shape or form. That was a glimpse into his true thoughts on the matter, and it comes down to “she asked for it.”

  15. This is classic abusive gas lighting. I can’t even believe the phrase legitimate rape even exists in our national consciousness. Does this guy have any daughters, or does he even KNOW any women?I am tempted to drive to Washington and stake out his office. This is an example of a time when measured discourse and media impartiality are totally inappropriate. Who wants to do some activism?

  16. @Kate I’m reading How To Be a Woman also–highly recommend to anyone.@hedra: I’m one of those too. We need to keep speaking up.
    Thanks for this post, Moxie.

  17. Statue of limitations on that has come and gone. Its psblisoe that it can still be reported so that its a matter of record. If the victim is also knowledgeable as to the identity and whereabouts of these pigs, she could make life miserable for them by seeing if they’ve done their dirt elsewhere. Odds are they have and she might be able to help police in pending investigations with MO and the like.But without a report being filed when the attack occurred, she has little that she can do from a legal standpoint. Sorry.

  18. Me:In a criminal case where the DA wants to aersrt a suspect and the DA knows the suspect is represented by an attorney, the police call the attorney and arrange for the suspect to turn himself in. There are no handcuffs or police cruisers involved. Obviously, the DA wanted the Durham public (where it is probably no coincidence that he is running for reelection) to see the “perp walk” of privileged white male Duke students entering the police station in handcuffs. The fact that it occurred at 5 AM isn’t relevant because this case has received so much media attention – with reporters camped out for days – that the event was clearly going to be recorded for endless replay on prime-time TV. I realize this is a small point but it’s emblematic of how this case is being handled. The point is to disadvantage and humiliate the Duke students.I don’t know if the charges are true. Obviously I want to wait on the evidence to decide, but seeing the DA handle this case they way he has so far makes me more sympathetic to the defendants than I normally would be.

  19. An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you ought to publish more on this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people do not discuss such subjects. To the next! Cheers!!

  20. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you so much, However I am having issues with your RSS. I don’t understand why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  21. Aw, this was a really good post. Taking the time and actual effort to create a good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

  22. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who was conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me dinner due to the fact that I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this matter here on your site.

  23. Having read this I believed it was rather informative. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

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