There has been a steady stream of incredibly awful comments from the conservative wing of the Republican Party on the subject of rape in the last 2-3 years. I feel very strongly about this abominable behavior and thought I would re-post here a recent comment I made during an on-line debate on this subject.
I think one aspect of rape, (as in so called stand your ground laws which tell us about white racial fears), is what it tells you about how threatened many of what I call “weak-macho men” feel. They get their sense of identity, not from valuing themselves or life, but demeaning others; whether women, or people of other races, who traditionally have been forced into subordinate roles to them. And they react violently against attempts to level the playing field for said women or minorities, as if someone were threatening their very identity. Which I guess, given their identities are based on dominating others, it is. Rape as many feminists have asserted, is a political act in many cases: a way to terrorize and punish women, who don’t agree to be dominated by the “weak-machos”.
Of course it is other things as well, but in the political context of what I have come to call the Voldemort wing of the Republican Party, the people who seem to revel in saying deeply insensitive things about women. They are a small but vocal minority, but when they speak I think what they say is about domination, and male power as much as sex. And it ties into recent Republican attitudes to birth control, abortion and the War on Women in general. At least this how it looks to me from where I sit….and it looks abominable. And they do the Republican Party immense harm.
As on other issues where the extremists have taken over some of the debate, once again I think moderate Republicans need to take their party back from the culture who make the most noise on this subject. There is a reasonable summary of the historical issue on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_and_pregnancy_controversies_in_United_States_elections,_2012
But let me make absolutely clear: I am not saying rapists are disproportionately Republican. Clearly they cover the political spectrum. I am taking to task some of the GOP who take a deeply insensitive view of the subject of rape, not seeing it from the viewpoint of the victim. In this group that I hope the GOP continues to confront.
And for the record, studies suggest that between 15 and 20% of women in the US have been raped. 90,000 rapes are reported each year in the US and 250,000 world wide. Estimates of non reporting world wide vary from 75% to 95% which would suggest that world wide there may be up to 5 million rapes in reality.
In this context, I appreciate President Jimmy Carter’s recent statement: