Rape Fatigue and *~uTeRuS mAgIc~*

22 Aug

I seriously began crying when reading this.  I don’t understand why we seem to be going backwards as a society.  Are people angry with women?  Scared?  Jealous?

reprinted from below, please go to jezebel.com to comment:


Rape Fatigue and You: When There’s Just No Anger Left

Rape Fatigue and You: When There's Just No Anger LeftSince around 2pm on Monday, I’ve felt like a contestant on a sadistic Japanese game show, donning an American flag bikini and a blindfold, covered in glue and standing in a phone booth, trying to catch dollar bills with my flailing arms as an industrial strength blower propels cash around me at high speeds. But instead of cash, I’m trying to process and react to a veritable blizzard of ignorant, rape-related bullshit flowing unabated from the mouths of conservative lawmakers in America. Reading story after story of how, say, a cranky old coot of a doctor peddling medically dangerous misinformation has somehow informed half of the American public’s views on women’s health care, or how, say, another dude — always a fucking dude — is saying that he doesn’t think that pregnancy from statutory rape or incest is really A Thing since he personally doesn’t know any pregnant kids or how, say, the GOP is condemning this sort of Wingnut Real Talk while quietly inserting a mandatory ultrasound hat tip/constitutional amendment that would force all rape victims to carry their assailant’s child to term into their official party platform has worn me down.

I am at full rape capacity. I am officially in the throes of rape fatigue.

The first time I had to get up and walk away from my computer, shaking my head in disbelief, was when I first found out about Akin’s morning show shenanigans. Really!? “Legitimate rape” victims don’t get pregnant because of some unknown mechanism in the female body that “shuts that whole thing down?” My Twitter feed exploded with jokes about how Akin envisions that the female anatomy contains an army of scrubbing bubbles, about how legitimate murder shouldn’t cause death, how the doctors Akin spoke with must think that the uterus has the personality of a Schutzhund champion. A uterus dentata, if you will. But rather than sharing in the embarrassment and chastising Akin for talking yang about crap he had no business talking about, the knee jerk reaction from the conservative loudmouths I hatefollow for their entertainment value was to defend Akin, or point out how Biden saying that dumb thing about chains was SO MUCH WORSE. Yes. Let’s protect our own fragile illusion of perpetual correctness above all else. BEING SHOUTY IS ALL WE HAVE! NEVER STOP SHOUTING!

Akin’s statements didn’t surprise me, but the depth of his ignorance and the extent to which people with a lot more power than I have back him up did, no matter how many times it’s reiterated to me (Remember this? Or this? Or this?). I’m not jaded enough to accept this as par for the well-manicured, men-only course, but should I be? Sure, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John Cornyn, Sean Hannity, and a host of “unnamed GOP officials” paid lip service to disapproving the sentiment, but then went ahead and ratified an official party platform that promotes a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortions with no exception for rape or incest and wrote in an Official Bro Fist Bump for states who require women seeking abortions to receive a penalty dick mandatory ultrasound before terminating their pregnancies.

And yesterday, Todd Akin’s grinning carcass had the gall to issue a 30-second apology for using the “wrong words in the wrong way.” He has daughters, after all, and a wife. He loves women. He’s likely talked to literally dozens of women in his life whom he did not subsequently stone. Also yesterday, Iowa Rep. Steve King backed Akin up, telling another local news outlet that he’d never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest. Sounds like someone needs a dressing down from Oprah, who was raped at age 9 and impregnated by a relative at age 14. Or maybe this Mexican 10-year-old. Or not. It’s not secret, after all, that Steve King really does not like Mexicans.

Paying attention, digesting, and reacting to every dismaying War on Women news item that hits my inbox or reddit or endless alarming “PLEASE SEND MONEY NOW. WE NEED YOU – Michelle” emails that I still get from the Obama campaign after donating during 2008 can start to wear down on a person after awhile. Earlier this year, I pitched a “depressing new state laws governing or related to your ladybits” post to my editor, thinking it would take me about a week to research. There was so much shit to wade through that it took me almost a month. Along with scores of other women, I watched, agape, when Congressman Darrell Issa hosted a panel on birth control featuring all religious men whining about how allowing women to purchase birth control with their health care plans violated the men’s religious freedom. I watched the entire multi-hour web stream of the hearing, thinking that maybe these men were just being deliberate assholes, that this was the newest realm of the urban hipster. Choosing to be religious and using that choice to interfere with women choosing not to be pregnant. Hipsters love irony. And when Virginia lawmakers pushing for mandatory transvaginal ultrasound laws were quoted saying, basically, that pregnant women had already been penetrated vaginally once, so it makes perfect sense for the state to require they be penetrated again, I winced so hard I think I strained something. Remember the time when Terry England of Georgia justified his support of a bill that would force women pregnant with nonviable fetuses to carry them to term with the fact that he was a farmer and sometimes livestock delivered stillborn baby farm animals and it was very, very sad? I did, until the memory was temporarily displaced by the next crappy thing a man who is actually in charge of stuff said. I was so fed up with Todd Akin’s assholery yesterday and so distracted by the fact that he used a picture of a backlit fetus on the page he used to panhandle for signatures supporting his decision to stay in the race that I missed the fact that he misused YOUR, which is the sort of thing that pedants like me typically receive with gleeful schadenfreude.

Once, during a radio interview, I was asked if the War on Women was a real thing. I laughed like an overacting Bond villain. Ha! Ha! Ha!

When part of your job is delivering bad news, part of your job is constantly reading bad news. And, implicitly, occasionally drinking an entire bottle of wine on a Tuesday or taking a long, aimless walk that takes you all the way across the Manhattan Bridge and into the section of Chinatown that smells like an army of zombie fish. It’s sitting at your family’s dinner table during your summer vacation, unable to think of things to talk about with your own father that don’t involve female anatomy or the regulation thereof. It’s falling asleep in front of an episode of Arrested Development you’ve already seen 1,000 times because the scene when Tobias ascends the hill dressed as a mole makes you temporarily forget the cloud of ugh.

But even though I wish it would, it doesn’t stop. Rep. Todd Akin still leads Claire McCaskill in the polls by a point and refuses to drop out of the race. Voters — millions and millions of them — will still cast their ballots for people like Akin and Iowa Rep. Steve King this election, even though they’ve made it their business to deregulate the hell out of banks and regulate the shit out of women. I hate to sound like a crotchety YouTube commenter who just watched a clip of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo for the first time, but what is wrong with this country? We have so far to go before we’re even close to where we need to be for human beings to coexist in a state that is not terrifyingly precarious for one or more historically disenfranchised groups. This story and the garbage avalanche that has followed feels like stepping outside of my apartment one morning and realizing that I had traveled through time to 1955. Or 1200. I feel like a teacher who just gave a long division test only to discover that most of her students don’t know how to subtract.

As President Obama said earlier this week, “Rape is rape.” Seems like a pretty simple concept that a human being possessing a basic level of empathy should understand. But so many people don’t. And no matter how sputteringly angry I get, no matter how many Twitter jokes or scathing Atlantic articles are written and petitions are signed, assholes are still going to vote similarly destructive assholes into office.

Akin, King, and the rest of the GOP that supported a WIRE HANGERS ALWAYS! constitutional amendment aren’t simply destructive assholes — they’re actively harmful, ill-intentioned. Evil. And before you condemn me for being overdramatic and premenstrual for choosing the word “evil” to describe guys who wear suits and America flag pins, consider what that word means — profoundly immoral and malevolent. People who truly believe that rape cannot lead to pregnancy because of *~uTeRuS mAgIc~* or that women who become pregnant under any circumstances must stay pregnant are using information that they know to be wrong in order to promote laws that cause bodily harm, physical punishment, and distress to women. Doesn’t get much eviler than that without getting weapons and uniforms involved.

What needs to happen before spouting ignorant, anti-woman crap in public is uniformly met with the same sort of derision we now reserve for politicians who appeal to ethnic stereotypes during drunken tirades? How much longer are we all going to have to stay angry, after our mothers spent their lives angry? And is it even working?

Eventually a person gets to the point where they can longer withstand the constant blitzkrieg of bullshit. So, Steve King, Todd Akin, and shouty Twitter conservatives: you win. Rape outrage limit reached. I have given this all of my fucks, and the fucks I have given are still not enough fucks. So many more fucks need to be given, and I have exhausted my fuck supply. The fucks are on backorder. Employees are working overtime to restock my fucks, but in the meantime, please accept this 10% off coupon while we wait for the fucks to arrive via FedEx. I’ll be over here, drinking wine from a Pac Man mug and watching cartoons.


4 Responses to “Rape Fatigue and *~uTeRuS mAgIc~*”

  1. Leela August 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    And Leela says….

    One of the comments from a reader said she cried, me too, but not the same kind of tears. Burning tears of anger really. Kinda glad our blog is anymous. Would not want people thinking I am behind nor support the bulk of what I just read. I do not agree with where the article was going at all, the blogger starts off with she’s tired of discussing rape, ends up on a pro-choice rant. I will completely agree with her that comment about body self aborting under stress was for lack of a better word fuckdiculous.

    As President Obama said earlier this week, “Rape is rape.” Yes Mr. President, I am sure you really honestly give two shits and that comment was in no way to help your political platform, just like your love is love comment. I digress.

    While on the topic of rape leading to right of abortion, we now find ourselves whether we want to or not, on the topic of abortion itself. I do want to say that I think it is BEYOND SAD that in this society we care more about what happens to dogs and trees, than to our unborn children. Just because the child is still growing in the belly does not make it any less of a child. Is it fair that woman did no ask to be pregnant? No it is not fair at all. But its also just as not fair to the child who did not asked to be conceived either.

    A quick highlight from this article: “women who become pregnant under any circumstances must stay pregnant are using information that they know to be wrong in order to promote laws that cause bodily harm, physical punishment, and distress to women. Doesn’t get much eviler than that without getting weapons and uniforms involved” was REALLY upsetting. We are only thinking of the mother, and not the child in her. If the fetus hearts beats 18 – 22 DAYS AFTER CONCEPTION, WHY are we saying its just a clump of cells??? What about the bodily harm and physical punishment and distress to the baby inside the womb that is being sucked out alive? They are speaking for those who cannot speak for or defend themselves. To call this a war on women is just as ridiculous as saying the body self aborts under stress with no scientific back up.

    And even though most of my pro life beating heart comes from my religious roots, when it comes to issue of abortion allow me to quote a pro-choice Atheist:

    I think it has been demonstrated that an embryo is a separate body and entity, and not merely (as some really did used to argue) a growth on or in the female body. There used to be feminists who would say that it was more like an appendix or even-this was seriously maintained-a tumor. That nonsense seems to have stopped. Of the considerations that have stopped it, one is the fascinating and moving view provided by the sonogram, and another is the survival of ‘premature’ babies of feather-like weight, who have achieved ‘viability’ outside the womb. … The words ‘unborn child,’ even when used in a politicized manner, describe a material reality.”
    -Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great (pp. 220-21)

    Another highlight from her blog: “Official Bro Fist Bump for states who require women seeking abortions to receive a penalty dick mandatory ultrasound before terminating their pregnancies.” What is the harm in the sonogram before an abortion? If a woman is dead set on one, would the sonogram matter? Why is it so horrible that hearing the beating of heart of her unborn baby may change her mind? I need that one explained to me please. Because really, God forbid she change her mind and chose to give her baby life.

    I understand that nothing I say will change any pro choicers mind, just like nothing they say will change. But those were thoughts I had as I read the article, so I commented. 🙂

    • mickey August 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      As far as the ultrasound goes, it has to do with the theory that people make the most sound choices while not under stress or duress. Just like people make end of life choices while safe and healthy, it’s the same concept. People make better informed decisions when not under physical or emotional strain, and forcing someone to have that ultrasound and then make a decision right at that moment is emotional duress. It is done w/ the express purpose of making that person change their view. There is no support for the person going through with it and living it, but only for the person making that decision.
      What ticks most people off is how DARE a bunch of men make light of rape, make light of these decisions. I am personally offended to have a bunch of men decide what is best for my vagina, my uterus and my health. They don’t want my opinion on Viagra or male contraception, I don’t want them tell me what is best for any of my lady parts. I am tired of the double standards in this society. I don’t care where people sit on the wall about abortion. What upsets me is this pervasive attitude that women just don’t know enough to make decisions or we don’t have the kind of logical brain to make the right KIND of decisions.
      well. F* that. I am educated, informed and have lady bits. I should have more of a say so than some person that never had to live with it, never had to live under the threat of rape, never has to carry a child and never cracked open a medical journal to at least understand what it is they want to discuss.

  2. toonerdygirls August 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Leela:My rant was more from people asking me my opinion, and then pretty much telling me its stupid. It was nice to kind of have a release after all that built up tension. I tend to not try to talk about that subject with anyone on purpose as its touchy for most.

    I was not always so pro life. That is an issue I struggled with deeply for awhile.

    The problem is, I think EVERY woman struggles with that decision.
    That’s what bothers me, the glib comments and sound bites.
    And again I say, the voice that is missing is the one from the people who have lived with that fear.
    I don’t want to hear it from someone that has never had to worry about it, think about it or held the hand of their female loved one that has gone through it. I understand that everyone has opinions, but these peoples should not be the loudest. Unfortunately, throwing shame on people make it a back alley topic discussed in hushed tones instead of a respectful conversation. The people with the most input are relegated to the back of the room while the ones who never lived it, the ones with the least amount of fear, get to speak the loudest.
    These are grey matters and everyone throwing them around in distinct black and white categories is upsetting to me and also demeans the very life everyone is trying to protect.

    Perhaps the first thing we need to do is take men outta the equation altogether. Let the topic be discussed and debated by the only ones it will really affect, our women.

  3. toonerdygirls August 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm #


    Dear Rep. Akin,

    My name is Shauna Prewitt. You do not know me, but you should. I am one of the approximately 25,000 women who every year become pregnant as a result of rape, and I would like to help you better “empathize” with my story.

    During my final year of college, I experienced an event that was so absolute in its effects that, since it occurred, it has figured as the point of reference from which all understandings and meanings of my life now stem: I was raped.

    I do not know if, in your terms, it was “legitimate rape.” Yes, I cried hysterically. Yes, I fought until my body ached. And, yes, I changed afterward in ways I could not ever imagine.

    Before my rape, I lived normally. A variation of a story you might hear about any other 21-year-old college student. I was young, vibrant, confident and excited about a future that had never felt more within my grasp. In a single, life-altering moment, all of that was stripped away. Physically (and I would say tauntingly), I looked the same after my rape, but inside I felt trapped and incapable of attaining or doing anything because I now was degraded, fearful, weak and powerless. Every moment during and after my rape was an agony. Not even 22 years old and my life, as it seemed, was over. Did I respond legitimately enough for you?

    In the aftermath of my rape, my method of coping — no, my method of surviving — was to resolutely pretend that my rape had never occurred. I treated it as a fictitious nightmare. I convinced myself that if I just lived as I had “before,” I would be as I had “before.” Different plans were in store for me. A month after my rape, I learned I was pregnant from my attack. From this realization, I felt many things. Scared, shocked, even betrayed by my body.

    But, most poignantly given your recent horrifying comments, I felt raped. My pregnancy legitimatized my rape. It had happened; this was real.

    Given your underestimation of the powers of the human body, I suspect you abruptly have concluded that you know how my story ends. But never underestimate the intricacies of human feeling and experience. Although I would not be able to articulate it for months, I was experiencing a most curious emotion toward the life growing inside of me, an emotion that both enlivened me and caused me to experience an intolerable shame. You see, to my surprise, I did not altogether hate the life growing inside of me. Instead, I felt a sort of kinship, a partnership — perhaps the kind that only develops between those who have suffered together — but, nevertheless, I felt a bond.

    I admit that these feelings made me feel, for a long time, like a “bad” rape victim. Why did I not feel hatred? Why, instead of being a source of further darkness, did this pregnancy feel, at times, like a small source of light? Perhaps the answer is as simple as this: Just as being raped did not override my body’s natural ability to get pregnant, rape did not altogether override my body’s natural response to being pregnant. It was not an overnight decision, nor was it an easy decision, but I ultimately decided to give birth to, and then to raise, the child I conceived through my rape. Neither getting pregnant from my rape nor finding unimaginable joy from raising my daughter during the past 7 years makes me an “illegitimate” rape victim.

    Though I felt dead after my rape, my body was acutely alive. How could the very essence of being a living human being — that is, creating life — ever diminish that I had been a victim?

    Today, I am an attorney and the busy single mother of an amazing second grader. My rape is responsible for both of these roles. You see, I enrolled at Georgetown Law School after learning, firsthand, that pregnancy from rape creates unimaginable obstacles for women who decide to raise the children they conceive through rape. In the vast majority of states, a rapist has the same custody and visitation rights to a child born through his crime as other fathers enjoy. In 2010, a paper I wrote on this topic was published by the Georgetown Law Journal, and I continue to travel throughout the country speaking on this issue.

    I believe that the way we as a society, and especially legislators, speak about rape — often wrongly and without a sound, reasoned basis — restricts our ability to pass laws offering meaningful protections. After all, why pass a law restricting the parental rights of men who father through rape when too many legislators argue (without any reliance on science, fact, or experience) that “legitimately raped” woman never would decide to raise a child from that crime? Why pass a law when raped women cannot get pregnant from their rapes?

    Rep. Akin, your statement poses another setback to the cause that I have fought passionately for since my life changed forever when I was raped and became pregnant from that rape at 21. But your statement has not landed on deaf ears or weak legs. My rape did not end my life and, in a profound way, I have become a stronger person after my rape. I will fight to extinguish your inflammatory statements just as ardently as I fought to reclaim a vibrant life. I hope you will find my concerns “legitimate.”


    Shauna Prewitt


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