Disturbing news out of Illinois today: a teenage girl from Missouri escaped from a home in which she had been held captive for the past two years.
The young woman, who was 15 when she went missing, said she had been sexually assaulted and beaten almost daily by an older man. She became pregnant by her rapist and gave birth to a two-year-old child. Keep reading »
Poor anti-abortion Republicans. It must be so hard having the general public pay attention to your extremist views. Case in point: Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is against legal abortion and joined Republicans — including Rep. Todd Akin! — last year to try to rewrite language in the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act (background here), saying government funding could only cover abortions in the case of “forcible rape.”
The language was rejected when more reasonable minds were horrified that a woman who had been roofied and raped would be told “no” if she asked for help terminating a pregnancy resulting from it. Because that’s rape, too. The implication was, of course, that if a woman wasn’t “forcibly” raped — as in, a man jumps out from the behind the bushes — she might be lying and really doesn’t deserve to get help ending her pregnancy. You might even say she was not the victim of a “legitimate rape.” Keep reading »
Today in our regularly scheduled segment “Old White Male Politicians Revealing Themselves To Be Ignorant About Reproductive Rights”: Rep. Steve King (R-IA), when asked about a minor being impregnated from statutory rape or incest, told a reporter:
“Well, I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way and I’d be open to discussion about the matter.”
One, what is there to “discuss” when an 11-year-old is impregnated by her grandpa? And two, this is where I remind you that Rep. King, along with Rep. Akin and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, all co-sponsored a bill to rewrite the existing federal ban on abortion funding to have an exemption only for cases of “forcible rape” or in the case of minors, “an act of incest.” Keep reading »
Every two minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, each year, 207,754 men and women are victims of sexual assault and 54 percent of the instances were not reported to the police. With occurrences of rape this high, filmmaker and author Jennifer Baumgardner needs your help to end the silence through her forthcoming documentary film, “It Was Rape.” Keep reading »
Three months ago, the Justice Department launched an investigation into the potential mishandling of sexual assaults at the University of Montana at Missoula. The college, in conjunction with local police, was fingered by the DOJ for not following proper procedures with over 80 sexual assaults — at least two of which included the University of Montana Grizzlies football team. The underlying theory was that the school was perhaps treating its athletes with kid gloves when a sexual assault accusation arose.
Yesterday, a promising advancement was made: the Missoula County District Attorney’s office announced it was charging University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson (pictured above), 20, with rape. Keep reading »
Wouldn’t it be funny if the boys that photographed themselves assaulting Savannah Dietrich got raped right now? Also, that priest, Monsignor Lynn, who is going to serve three to six years for failing to investigate sex abuse claims against priests — wouldn’t it be hilarious if he were raped in prison? And Jerry Sandusky? Just picture him in the showers with a bunch of bigger guys! Are you laughing? No? Well, that’s because imagining someone getting raped is about as humorous as imagining someone stepping on a landmine or getting car-jacked. It’s terrifying and no one deserves it.
But using rape in a joke is another story. A couple of years ago, I taught a writing course at The New School called Humor and Controversy. The premise was that humor artists like Margaret Cho, Chris Rock, and Sarah Silverman speak with more insight and honesty about race, sexuality, reproductive rights, gender, religion, and class than most politicians, which is why comedy is important. Students were encouraged to use wit and self-deprecation to shed light on thorny issues. One prompt was to write an essay entitled “My Rape Fantasy.” Keep reading »