Tag Archive | LA Times

Rep. Todd Akin Buys The Rabbit

I know that many Republicans wish people would stop tinkering with America’s sacred 18th-century Constitution. But I did not realize that some Republicans still actually lived in the 18th century.

For anyone that missed Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s spectacular faux pas (and frankly, I don’t think there should be any kind of faux pas other than spectacular, or what is the point of making it at all), the man claimed that medical science backed a theory that a woman who has been raped cannot conceive a child by her rapist unless she wanted to (that is, it wasn’t really, truly rape).

Um . . . yeah. Okay . . . .

My problem with Rep. Akin’s view, is that the medical science he so eloquently speaks of was that which prevailed in the 1700s. And based on that view, in the 18th century,  if a man was brought to court on rape charges and the woman who claimed rape showed up to court claiming to be pregnant by him, the case was dismissed because obviously she was pregnant and ipso facto she had therefore consented to the sex, no matter what she claimed now.

Needless to say, such a woman thus shamed generally withdrew from society, or killed herself  and her child.

The result was not much better if raped woman showed up not pregnant. Most of the time these cases were dismissed as not proven, because typically no one saw the rape or (and this one is based on the Bible!) people were around but “she did not cry out” (you know, because she was obviously enjoying it, not because she was in fear of death). A male rapist was also almost always acquitted –especially if he was from a better income bracket or family than the victim. And as for incest? Oh please! No one believed the words of a little girl, ever.

See the 18th-century “anti-female” slant here? [update: For the historical on the facts, see yesterday’s LA Times Op-Ed piece by historian Thomas A Foster on Rep. Todd Akin’s ideas about rape hark back to the Colonial era]

So, all due respect to the 18th century, Missouri and Sen. Akin, but I’ll stay in the 21st-century and far away from Missouri and Sen Akin, thank you.

(Buying the Rabbit is a century-old expression meaning making a mistake that is bound to result in censure)