This is not a pleasant topic. Nobody really wants to talk about rape, but it needs to happen. Here’s a letter that hits on a lot of important issues within this topic, especially concerning the recent comments about “legitimate” rape and pregnancy. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eve-ensler/todd-akin-rape_b_1812930.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share
I thought a good way to go about this discussion would be to focus on things that people, theoretically, can’t really disagree on. Like definitions. Who’s going to argue with Webster’s? Well, yes, a lot of people, but it’s still a good place to start. Alright, the archaic definition (emphasis added): To seize or take away by FORCE. The definition we are talking about: unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent.
Okay, so now we know what rape is. There are people out there, people in positions of power, who do not think that this is rape. How so? I’m not sure, but introducing language to laws, etc. about “forcible” rape is 1) redundant and 2) a very poor but alarmingly successful way to get people to believe that some rape is less bad, perhaps, than others, that it isn’t even rape, that the person claiming rape is, basically, wrong, and that the government has no desire to help them. Such language implies that people who experience rape are not to be believed, or at least not respected, because their rape might not be real enough or bad enough or forcible enough to be “legitimate” rape. My question is, why are we trying to redefine rape? I know it’s tied to abortion issues, but really people, come on. Redefining rape does not make for fewer unwanted pregnancies. Redefining rape does not make rape go away. Redefining rape does not make people who have been raped feel any better. Redefining rape is stupid. Let’s take the energy, time, money, and thought we spend on discussing and trying to change these words and instead spend it on helping people. Let’s try to help people who have been raped, not take away their dignity more. Let’s enforce laws against rape. Let’s teach our children to be respectful. Let’s decrease rape (and the unwanted pregnancies it causes) not by redefining it but by taking action to stop it as much as we can. Let’s use some common sense.