I am a woman who was a victim of sexual assault. I removed this first line from my article numerous times because eradicating it gave me a tiny sense of control over a powerless situation. Rationality overruled emotion, but even as my trembling hands move across the keyboard, I have the scroll bar positioned so I cannot see that first line. This is why over half of sexual assault crimes in this country never get reported to police. The first instinct a woman usually has after such a crime is to collapse under a showerhead of scalding water; emotions overrule rationality and the assailant’s blood, sweat, or semen are not looked at as evidence, but as corrosive chemicals needing to be washed off immediately. Unfortunately, this is why Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin says victims rarely get pregnant following a “legitimate rape.” Of course, a woman has to be lying if she doesn’t come forward right away, right? But what about all those innocent boys who were victimized by Jerry Sandusky, boys that didn’t come forward for years? Are they not victims of “legitimate rape,” Mr. Akin? Why is so much political emphasis put on pregnancy resulting from rape and whether or not a victim is lying when 97% of rapists never spend a single day in jail? Shouldn’t these predators be the focus?
It seems that just when I thought I’ve heard the last outrageous statement from a politician, another one surfaces. Although I sometimes vehemently disagree, I respect the beliefs of others. I don’t, however, respect the comments made by Todd Akin and Stephen Freind that repudiate scientific facts. Initially when I heard Republican Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s remark that pregnancy resulting from rape is a “gift from God,” I was livid. But I realize now that his statement was ill-informed and not very well thought out. I understand that these politicians are trying to protect life, the life they believe begins at conception. My problem with this is that they don’t think terribly far beyond conception; they don’t think about the quality of the life they are protecting will have. If a pregnancy results from incest and a child is born, not only unwanted, but hated, with numerous deformities and disabilities, is the GOP going to help that child? Will the rapist help with the quality of that child’s life? What about the twelve year old girl that has to carry this child? What about her quality of life? Why is no importance placed on the victim’s life and the “God-given” free will she has over her body?
If you believe that God gives us life, you should also believe that God gave us a little something called free will. Personally, I believe in God, but I also believe in science and a little thing called human fertilization. Rape, in my opinion, is one of the most violent acts a human can commit, and scientifically this degrading act can result in human fertilization. As a woman that has been sexually assaulted (I only cringed a little this time), I will humbly speak for the silent victims when I say that a pregnancy from rape is not a gift from God, but a consequence of free will, and if these politicians still want to throw religion into it, isn’t it a possibility that a pregnancy from rape is simply the Devil’s work?