No one should be all that shocked that Todd Akin believes that women’s bodies are biologically equipped to repel the sperm of rapists.

The Missouri GOP congressman does, after all, belong to a party in which ideology has been easing out intelligence for a long time. It’s the party that has, for example, long fought sex education in favor of teaching abstinence, even though numerous studies have shown that it doesn’t work and that many of the courses are rife with errors.

Big errors – like teaching that humans have 24 pairs of chromosomes instead of 23, and that a girl can get pregnant by touching a guy’s genitals.

So when Akin, who is campaigning to replace Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill told a St. Louis television host that,” If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he didn’t just reveal his own ignorance and insensitivity toward women.

What he revealed was the ignorance that Republicans have been exploiting over the years to attract people who believe that the future of this country lies in bringing back a Puritanical past; a past in which women were almost always blamed for the bad things that happened to them sexually.

Like Akin and the abstinence pushers, they subscribe to outright lies, stereotypes and twisted logic; logic which says that a woman who becomes pregnant after being raped must be lying, because why else would she be pregnant?

Her body would have shut down the entire rapist-to-victim sperm transfer process, for cripes sake!

It’s scary that Akin, a man whose level of understanding about how the female reproductive system works rates alongside that of teenagers who believe that douching with lemon juice after sex can prevent pregnancy, is in a position to make laws that will impact people’s lives.

But what’s even scarier is that if Mitt Romney wins the presidency, Akin will have the ear of his vice-president, Paul Ryan – who sponsored a bill with him last year that reflected their insensitivity toward rape victims.

Their original bill would have only permitted Medicaid funds to be used for abortions in cases of what they called “forcible rape.” By inserting that term, it meant that poor victims of statutory rape – like a 15-year-old girl who was impregnated by her mother’s 40-year-old boyfriend – or a poor woman who was drugged and raped, would be out of luck.

In other words, unless it was a violent attack, most poor women would not be able to obtain an abortion under that law.

But even though Romney and Ryan have condemned Akin’s remarks and distanced themselves from him, the fact remains that his comments, as well as that odious proposal, show that the GOP doesn’t care about science or fairness when it comes to women.

All it cares about is making them pay for their sins.

All women – especially black women – should be wary of this. According to Justice Department estimates, for every white woman who reports her rape, five do not. Yet for every black woman who reports a rape, 15 do not.

And self-blame, like whether their clothes were too revealing or whether they shouldn’t have taken that shortcut home or let a certain guy drive them home, is one of the reasons why many rapes go unreported.

Yet Akin adds to that anguish by saying, in essence, that a woman’s bodily reaction to being raped is the ultimate test as to whether she was really raped. And if her body didn’t emit some sort of rapist sperm repellent, then pregnancy is her punishment for lying – and she should just deal with it.

It ought to worry everyone that people like Akin are in positions of power. Because if nothing else, a lawmaker like him ought to give victimized women hope that if they report being raped, they’ll get justice. Not judgment.

Especially judgment that eschews science for the sake of ideology.

Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her at tonyaajw@twitter.

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6 thoughts on “GOP’s Insensitivity Toward Rape Victims

  1. Whoever won the election between Obama and Clinton the other one should’ve took the Vice Presidency if they really cared. They would’ve went into Washington with so many people behind them with so much power they could’ve done what they wanted and the republicans would have faded all the way out . So what does that tell you this game is almost coming to an end better wake up.

  2. RKearns on said:

    AMEN Hiawa23!!!!! The republicans were hell bent on ensuring that President Obama was a one-term President by voting AGAINST all of the GOOD he was fighting for on behalf of the American people. But the irony in all of this is the republicans ended up EXPOSING their VERY UGLY SIDE thereby leaving them only to HURT THEMSELVES and I LOVE IT!!!!

  3. Hiawa23 on said:

    The repubs seem upset because Akin let out their agenda, & it has been proven time & time again from all the personhood, vag probes bills. They want to ban all abortions & take away the rights of the mother when it should be none of their business. Akin & Paul Ryan has co sponsored bills saying just what Akin said & now they are throwing him under the bus. This is smoke and mirrors to appear to be outrage when bhind the scenes they agree with him. This is their platform, & anyone who doesn’t see it given the proof we have seen, well, there is nothing to be said, we see what we want to see. This should be a decision for mothers, not rich white guys using big government to take away rights.

  4. RKearns on said:

    The ONLY REASON the republicans want Todd Akin to step down is because he embarrassed them. Lets be clear; republicans have made it nearly impossible for a woman to “choose” what she feels is best for her body and for her life. The “knuckle-dragging” mentality Republicans are PUSHING WOMEN BACK into the 40’s and 50’s during a time when a woman didn’t have the freedom to “choose” and was left to undergo life-threatening alternatives because her choices were next to none. So let’s stay focused on why they REALLY want Akin removed and it’s NOT because of his recent remarks. It’s because Aiken EXPOSED THEM ALL.

  5. gwanedm on said:

    I think you should change the name of the article from GOP insensitivity to Todd Aikin’s insensitivity. To suggest that this is the platform of an entire political party is also insensitive and just plain wrong.

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