It is stunning to read the views some men have on the subject of rape. It’s a pertinent topic to those of us who run, ride and swim, because those activities can put people at risk of being physically assaulted.
Granted, most men don’t have to worry about rape. They can head out the door for a run at twilight without thinking about whether or not they might be sexually assaulted. Men are simply not the predominant targets for sexual assault.
But there are an estimated 1.2M cases of rape or attempted rape in the United States each year. And as many as 1 in 5 women respond that they have experienced rape or an attempted rape in their lifetime.
Those are some daunting numbers, and is too easy to write them off until someone you know is a victim of rape or attempted rape. Those experiences are not subjects that casually come up in conversation.
That means we’re often left to allow bigots, blowhards and ignorant fools do the talking on the subject of rape. Big talkers like Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, who recently opined on the subject of rape, try to tell women what they should be forced to do if they become pregnant from sexual assault.
“It’s a terrible situation,” Rubio said. “I mean, a crisis pregnancy, especially as a result of something as horrifying as that, I’m not telling you it’s easy. I’m not here saying it’s an easy choice. It’s a horrifying thing that you’ve just described.”
“I get it,” he added. “I really do. And that’s why this issue is so difficult. But I believe a human being, an unborn child has a right to live, irrespective of the circumstances of which they were conceived. And I know that the majority of Americans don’t agree with me on that.”
Look at how Rubio defensively claims that he actually “gets it.” But then he flatly turns around to deny women the authentic right to control what happens to their own bodies. What he doesn’t get…is that he’s calling rape an essentially harmless action, meant to be dismissed as a “terrible situation” by women unlucky enough to experience such a criminal violation.
Taking rape seriously
Remember those numbers quoted at the start of this article? They may not reflect the half of it when it comes to real reporting about rape. That’s because women feel threatened to come forward and report a rape if they feel their circumstances will not be taken seriously, or worse yet, to be judged as the instigator rather than the victim. We all know how that goes. “Well, it’s how she dresses. She was asking for it.”
And statements like those made by Marco Rubio? Would you report a rape if you felt like you would be forced by law to bear the child of the rapist? We begin to see how aggressively backwards and dangerous the attitudes of men like Marco Rubio really are.
Now consider the fact that women dressing for workouts sometimes wear as little as possible in order to run, ride or swim efficiently. Hot weather sometimes demands it. But even on a cool and sunny day, women should be able to wear what they want, where they want to wear it. No questions asked.
Without even knowing it, men like Marco Rubio justify the act of rape by contending that a child born from that act has more rights than the mother forced to carry on with the conception. From Rubio’s point of view, even the rights of the man who committed the criminal act of rape is given more credence than the right of a woman not to be violated against her will.
The war on women
This brand of thinking has to be stopped. This idea that a shot of a man’s sperm delivered through force should be sacrosanct is absurd.
Tolerance for rape of any kind, or its consequences for any woman or man, cannot be permitted. It is the most basic of human rights to be safe in our own bodies. Of all people, those who run and ride and swim need to know this, and defend it. Otherwise, it is war on the streets for women.
Scholarly studies on the issue of rape show that it is historically used as a war against women. In her treatise title “Rape, Women and War,” scholar Angela Robinson documents how rape has served as a tool of disenfranchisement in war and cultural conflicts. “The rape of women has been utilized as a tactic of terror in wars since the beginning of armed conflicts. It appears to go through three main stages: First, rape is a routine and expected reward to the victors. Secondly, rape occurs due to a lack of military discipline. Finally, rape occurs as a military technique to demoralize the opposition. Through these horrific actions, women experience the loss of home and the loss of land, which is synonymous with the loss of identity.”
So we see that when men like Marco Rubio express casual or pressing positions on rape it is indeed a war on women perpetrated by men. The war on women is therefore very real.
As we all know, intentions dictate much of the prosecution in law. Premeditated murder, for example, implies a calculated intent to kill rather than reaction to a situation. The results are the same, but the justice dispensed for that crime may differ.
So here is a harsh fact: the act of rape never happens by accident. It is always premeditated. And to suggest that a woman should have to carry through on a pregnancy perpetrated by a man who forces himself on her is a premeditated miscarriage of justice.
So we should not casually accept statements like those made by Marco Rubio. It is an open threat against women to do so. Rubio’s anachronistic worldview assertively treats women as possessions, as objects lacking liberty, freedom or justice for their bodies and their minds.
Don’t accept this brand of cruel ignorance. Don’t tolerate it. For if you do, the cause of rape is on you.
Today’s blog is under the category of Seek Justice, one of seven principles advocated by We Run and Ride.
Source for statistics on rape: https://newrepublic.com/article/119364/cdcs-report-one-five-women-raped-other-statistics-disagree