“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,”

This is what happens when ignorance and insensitivity combines with misogyny. [More examples below in Related Links]

Missouri Republican: ‘Legitimate rape’ rarely causes pregnancy

…explaining why his ideal abortion ban wouldn’t include an exception for rape,

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he added.[Link]

So what does Akin understand about sexual assaults, pregnancies, human rights and crimes?

Does Akin think those pregnancies — predominantly in adolescents who had been assaulted by a “known, often related perpetrator” — didn’t involve “legitimate rapes”? [Link]

Should some people have the right to decide what happens to other people’s bodies? Doesn’t this seem to be just one more way to control women’s lives and deaths?

Pregnant teen dies after abortion ban delays her chemo treatment for leukemia.

Doctors were hesitant to give her chemotherapy because such treatment could terminate the pregnancy — a violation of the Dominican Constitution, which bans abortion. [link]

[links shared by Fem]

What if this statement was made in India?

I fear one would hear it being quoted as a fact by those who see rapes as careless women not taking care of something that belongs to their future husbands and their communities.

Do take a look at these two links:

I wish my mother had aborted me | Lynn Beisner

What is wrong with this world?| Celestial Rays

Related Posts:

1. Those who beat up the girls were probably not entirely at fault… Necessity knows no law.

2. Rapist said that coming from Afghanistan meant he didn’t understand what ‘consent’ was.

3. How Victim Blaming confuses rapists, police and the society about when exactly does non-consensual-sex becomes a crime.

4. This is what rapists do when there is no fear of punishment.

5. Shouldn’t Mamta Sharma and Kailash Vijayvargiya be held accountable for the statements they make?

6. “The rape victim had gone there willingly. She was not lured into it. They drank vodka.”

7. When they don’t even understand crime, how are they ever going to begin controlling it?

8. Why was this radio cabbie, a rapist, not afraid of being arrested?

9. The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, the police said, and don’t expect the victims to report them.

57 thoughts on ““If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,”

  1. I think it is important to note that this is in the USA, not India. Women’s rights are under a concentrated attack there right now from the Far Right, which may well take over the country with the election this November. This should be frightening for all women everywhere.

    If the rights of women fail there, how much harder will it be for women everywhere?

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    • It’s funny how so many pro-lifers also tend to be pro-death penalty, pro-war and pro-guns.

      The American Right is every bit as bigoted, illogical and ideologically bankrupt as the Indian version.

      The only difference is that Americans actually get to see the bankruptcy for themselves on Televised debates, while Indians have to wait for the next pub attack.

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    • Yes, it’s truly alarming to watch the ‘rise’ of this conservative sentiment with regards to termination of pregnancy in the USA, and the use of pseudo-science and political power to create laws -that if enacted- will be more primitive than the MTP Act in India!I
      In the UK, the law is sensible. The baby gets it’s right to life only after it has been born- which , to my mind, is the way things should be. Medical personnel, by law, are directed to consider the welfare of the mother above that of the baby , during pregnancy and also during labour.
      Luckily, the right wing in the UK is too busy protesting immigration to meddle with reproductive rights!

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  2. If it wasn’t so outrageous, it would be hilariously stupid. Pregnancy happens when an egg is fertilized by a sperm, not when some human – or some God, for that matter – has decided that sexual intercourse is legitimate. It’s a mere matter of biology and has nothing to do with so-called legitimacy. Statements like these justify sexual assaults and foster victim-blaming. It makes me wonder whether this man needs to quieten his conscience about his own sexual history. Or whether he slept during his biology lessons.

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  3. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,”

    And I thought I had seen it all😐
    Where do these twit-heads come from anyway? The woodworks?😯

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    • I was actually taught this in the USA in about 1970 in the most liberal town in the country, Berkeley, California. “If a woman is under extreme stress, such as in forcible rape, her body will not implant a fertilized egg.” It’s a bunch of crap, of course, but there were and are those who believe this nonsense,

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      • Well, I am not a doctor, but having been involved with the prosecution process for sexual assault quite a bit in my early career, my experience does say that pregnancy as a result of rape is rare (unless the victim has been subjected to multiple counts of sexual assault over a long period of time).

        I never found this surprising, though.

        After all, single act of sexual intercourse is unlikely to lead to fertilization, even if the victim happens to be the right age to conceive and at the right point in her reproductive cycle during the time of assault.

        There’s a reason that perfectly fertile couples often have to try for months to achieve pregnancy.

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        • “perfectly fertile couples” usually dont have the right age or rather ideal age for concieving. They are usually around 30ish and that is harder to concieve then being around 20ish.And the rare part was excalty the line of argument that the quoted politician used.

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        • Anna,

          I admit I’m a bit baffled by your response; Perhaps I was a little sloppy in writing that comment. Some clarification:

          First, I meant “perfectly fertile” in the sense of being “capable of conceiving”, not in the sense of being in some kind of ideal zone to achieve pregnancy (which happens to exist, by the by).

          Second, the ‘rare part’ is not an argument. It is a statement of my personal experience, which I have extrapolated, so as to claim that pregnancies resulting from rape being rare is an (ontologically) objective fact. A little bit of checking on the internet confirms that this extrapolation is correct.

          Mr. Akin is correct that pregnancies resulting from rape are quite rare. The theory of ‘legitimate’ rape that he has built around that is, however, sheer baloney. There is no such thing as a legitimate rape. All rape is illegal, vile and utterly reprehensible, and the victims (as with other forms of crime) does not bear any moral responsibility whatsoever for being victimized. Whether or not she is unlucky enough to get pregnant as a result of rape, she has full rights over her own body; it is not for Akin (or anyone else) to tell her whether she should abort or not.

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        • Actually, PT, by sheer numbers, rapes result in pregnancy far more often than regular sex

          At the risk of belaboring a rather silly point, I’ll respond by saying – I did not claim otherwise.

          I am claiming that only a small fraction of rapes result in pregnancy.

          If there are no biological reasons for the fact that you stated, then the possibility of a pregnancy resulting from rape should be identical to the possibility of a pregnancy resulting from consenting partners having sexual intercourse with the express purpose of conceiving (obviously, without contraception).

          I have merely pointed out that the possibility of a woman getting pregnant from a single act of intercourse is rather small in the latter scenario. If we accept this as true, then by your own admission, the possibility must be small in the former scenario as well. And this, of course is precisely what my original claim was.

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        • The rare part is excaclty the argument of the politician. Just google rape pregnant rare and the first page of hits are news stories dealing with the politician and excalty this quote and more he said. In the us there exists a thing that is called statuary rape or so. Its when a person above a certain age group has sex with a minor. It will be called rape regardless if they are in love and the minor inititated the sexual contact or other circumstances. There was a movie about mart kay letourneou dealing with the problem. She got sent to jail and now according to the internet they are still together and have several children with eachother. Still because at the start of their love story she was his teacher and he was a minor, she committed statuary rape. So i think he used the term to emphaise what he was talking about. I dont really see what there is to be baffeld about. I just dont think there are enough statistics given about to determine if its “rare” or not. Not every rape is reported and not every women giving her child for adoption or aborting it may give the true reason for doing so. Alot of different factors come to play to determine if a pregnancy comes or not. Its not uncomon for pregancies to not make it past the first weeks and the woman not even noticing it. Is that rare or not? How many people must go through it to make it not rare?

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        • Anna,

          I was baffled because I did not quite get what you were on about. But I think I do now, so let me handle it one part at a time.

          Just google rape pregnant rare and the first page of hits are news stories dealing with the politician and excalty this quote and more he said.

          No, he did not make any quote identical to me, either in spirit or in letter, at any point of time.

          If you did find such a quote, pray let me know exactly what it is (and not just what ‘part’ of my comment it is).

          So i think he used the term to emphaise what he was talking about

          In other words, he used a true fact to make a fallacious claim and justify his ideology, which a trick as old as any.

          Are you surprised at this kind of a thing, coming as it did from a right-wing politician?

          In the us there exists a thing that is called statuary rape or so. Its when a person above a certain age group has sex with a minor. It will be called rape regardless if they are in love and the minor inititated the sexual contact or other circumstances.

          Statutory rape is recognized as a crime all over the world, including India. It is not confined to the US, although exonerating factors may vary from place to place.

          Not every rape is reported and not every women giving her child for adoption or aborting it may give the true reason for doing so. Alot of different factors come to play to determine if a pregnancy comes or not. Its not uncomon for pregancies to not make it past the first weeks and the woman not even noticing it. Is that rare or not? How many people must go through it to make it not rare?

          I’d rather hope that no one has to go through it at all.

          However, the rest of your objections are inadmissible, so to speak.

          First, unless you are suggesting that unreported rapes tend to involve pregnancy more often, I do not see how under-reporting changes anything at all.

          Second, this kind of data tends to be based on studies done separately from the official prosecution/rape response system, and on willing participants (obviously).

          In the US, there was a Justice Department study back in ’95, which included data on some 170,000 rape cases, of which a shade over half were actually reported to the police. It found that the rate of pregnancy was not more than 1-2 per thousand cases.

          That is 0.2% at most, which, in my humble opinion, is a sufficiently low number to justify the use of the word ‘rare’.

          You are free to disagree with the usage of that word on ideological, but not factual grounds. I don’t see any harm in accepting with facts and attacking the bad arguments instead of the factual basis, but that, of course is merely my humble opinion. You are fully entitled to your own.

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        • IOk,praveen. Did you click on the 2nd link that is listed to this blog post? Because if you did, you will find a salon article,that starts with this: “from what I understand from the doctors(rape pregnancy) is really rare” says……”if its a legitiamate rape the woman body has ways of closing it down”……further goes until ends with quoted part in blog post”…is free to think what he wants, just as he was wrong with the science, with one study estimating 36,000 pregnancies from rape in a given year. Does…. Think those pregnancies,predomintly by ADOLESNENTS (emphasis mine) who have been ASSAULTED by known predator are not legitamate rapes” end quote quoting praveen “…..my expieriencer does show that pregnancy as result of rape is rare” end quote i dont really know if there is anything left to say,because you do not seem to WANT to understand. Women that are post menopause are raped and certainly that is just as bad any other,but they cannot get pregnant so putting them in a statistics about how rare is rape pregancy is not really accurate. Its the adolenscents that are “most fertile” or whatever you want to call it and have the most( though not exculsive) risk of getting pregnant by rape, and again most people that study rape agree with that its underreported and therefore any statistics on it are skewed. Again how many people must become pregnant to make it “unrare”???so i guess you agree that statuary rape should not be included when talking about assault rape? Whatever,I give up.

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        • After all, single act of sexual intercourse is unlikely to lead to fertilization
          Not trying to debate that. Maybe, maybe not.

          But are you (or for that matter the guy mentioned here in question) trying to tell me that the female body has ways to try to prevent/shut down a pregnancy because the female’s mind/body resists against forcible rape? Seriously?😐

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        • Anne,

          Are you claiming that if I say rape from pregnancy is uncommon, it is equivalent to making some sort of claim on the ‘legitimate’ forms of rape? Are you suggesting the two lines of argument you have quoted have the same meaning? That they imply the same things.

          That claim is so breathtakingly fallacious, to the point of disingenuity and actual intellectual dishonesty.

          you do not seem to WANT to understand.

          You do not get to decide whether or not I understand. I understand your points quite well indeed, and I have endeavored to respond to them as best I can.

          omen that are post menopause are raped and certainly that is just as bad any other,but they cannot get pregnant so putting them in a statistics about how rare is rape pregancy is not really accurate

          Why is it not accurate? That is one of the reasons that pregnancies are not common; not everyone who is raped is capable of getting pregnant. Is this so hard to understand?

          Again how many people must become pregnant to make it “unrare”???’

          I tried to explain in my previous comment, but let me put it more bluntly now.

          This is a NONSENSICAL question.

          It’s like asking “how many people need to get Multiple Sclerosis before it becomes unrare?”

          It cannot become unrare; there are biological reasons for pregnancy from one-time intercourse being rare and those biological reasons have absolutely nothing to do with whether the sex is consensual, or forced, or anything of that sort.

          most people that study rape agree with that its underreported and therefore any statistics on it are skewed

          Um, no.

          They do not claim that ‘any statistics on it are skewed’, they claim that some statistics on some pointers are skewed. Even if some people do claim that, I do not agree with them.

          I pointed out why mere under-reporting should not skew this particular statistic; pray take the time to read it.

          so i guess you agree that statuary rape should not be included when talking about assault rape

          No, I don’t agree. I actually reject even the concept of ‘assault’ rape. All kinds of rape are an assault and rape in itself is a violent act. There is no such thing as non-assault.
          I cannot imagine where you pulled that one from, but you will kindly refrain from putting inane words in my mouth, as well as making leading statements that do not follow from my own statements at all.

          Ashwathy,

          I am not trying to tell you (or anyone else) anything of the sort, the congressman is – a point which should be amply clear from my previous comments, especially to a person of your intelligence.

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        • PT, what is your point here? If the number of women who get pregnant as a result of rape is “small”, so what? What difference does it make here to this debate to note that the number is small and not large? Why exactly are you writing so many comments insisting the number is small?

          FYI, in the United States alone, there are over 32,000 pregnancies every year as a result of rape. I don’t care if this number is “very small” according to you. The only thing that matters is that it’s still 32,000 too many.

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        • Nandini,

          Like I said, it is rather silly.

          So nothing at all.

          I made a general observation, following which (as you can see) I have been accused of all sorts of things from supporting Akin to disagreeing with statutory rape, of all things. All of my comments apart from the first one were merely in defense, not to make any specific point. I am willing to repeat myself as many times as necessary to clarify what I meant and counter the ‘Twist, senora’ phenomenon that you see demonstrated here.

          I have no idea why people got so worked up about what I considered a rather inconsequential remark and I doubt I ever will.

          Hypersensitivity does not usually bear logical explanations.

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  4. Legitimate rapes??😯 I am yet to read the article you have linked, IHM.. this term in the title grabbed me by the gut! Ok so now ‘rape’ as a term is being used in conjunction with legitimacy?? Really? So it means Its FINE to be raped?? Thats the most bizarre thing I have heard..probably even more than those articles that I had come across which mentioned about some goddamn research where women fantasize about rapes!

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    • I think you may have misunderstood. The remark is outrageous but not in the way you think. The man isn’t saying rapes are legitimate. He’s saying only SOME rapes are legitimately, i.e. really, rapes.

      Remember when Whoopi Goldberg said the 12 yr old girl being raped by Roman Polanski “is not rape rape” i.e. not REAL rape? This is the same thing.

      According to Akin, all the other rapes aren’t really rapes, If ever a rape results in pregnancy, especially, he thinks the pregnancy is proof that the woman was lying and the sex was consensual. Our legislators, ladies and gentlemen! Also, BTW, this guy sits on the House Science and Technology Committee. There are not enough eyes in the universe to roll at this madness.

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    • He’s not a lawmaker, only a Senate nominee.

      He’d have very little lawmaking powers even if he managed to unseat the current incumbent.
      The article actually says that Democrats helped him win the primary, because they saw him as the least formidable alternative from the Republican camp.

      Tangled are the webs we weave.

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      • Actually he is a lawmaker. He is currently in congress and now is running for senate He actually partnered with the current vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, to legislate anti-abortion laws based on defining forcible rape. He is in the science and technology committee.The republican party is full of people like him, ignorant, backward, anti- science, anti-environment,right wing dangerous fanatics. He comes from a part of the country full of right wing evangelical Christians and may very well win. Even if he is forced to resign, another only slightly less fanatical republican will replace him.

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        • Yes, I stand corrected.

          Think I misread the article somewhat.

          He’s actually the Rep. from Missouri in the US House of Representatives and therefore technically a lawmaker.

          Of course, he has limited powers in practice, being one of nine reps just from his own state.

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  5. Dear DIMWIT politician, the female body indeed has ways to shut that down – by walking into an abortion clinic – duffer.

    Just goes to prove that stupid politicians aren’t limited to India, but a worldwide epidemic.

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  6. Ah, the joys of GOP and Bible Belt America in general.

    As a Canadian citizen, I always thank my lucky stars that this kind of rubbish does not fly in Canadian politics.

    The encouraging part is:

    a) The Romney campaign (itself very conservative) has tried to distance itself from the remarks

    b) Todd has effectively retracted his statement and admitted he ‘misspoke’; and

    c) Todd’s really just a right-wing goofball who doesn’t seem to have a snowball’s chance in hell of gaining any real power

    Now if only those points applied to the likes of C Manjula.

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    • The Romney campaign has a smooth talking sociopath running on the vice Presidential ticket. Ryan believes exactly the same as Akin except he is a bit too sophisticated to say it out loud. The only reason Romney is distancing himself from Akin is because these things are not meant to be spoken out loud before the election.But if Romney becomes President and has a republican congress they will do everything to make it impossible for a woman to have an abortion. There are a few states in the US which have only one abortion clinic, in some of these Doctors have to fly in from the adjacent states to preform abortions.
      Also, Todd Akin has very good chance of becoming a senator. He has been in congress for 12 yrs and has been therefore re-elected 5 times. He is well within the mainstream of the republican party.

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      • Actually, Romney has been on both sides of the abortion issue. He has claimed to be pro-choice in the past, and has also suggested that he is not in favor of choice. There is no reason to believe that Romney really agrees with him; certainly, he has never expressed very extreme views on abortion.

        As I understand it, Akin has been urged to quit the race by his own party (something he has refused to do).
        Getting elected to the Senate is a whole different ballgame, as compared to being a Rep. House Reps have far smaller constituencies. He may have been elected six times, but the vote was from a small base of power that he took years to consolidate. It took less than a hundred thousand votes to elect him. A successful senate campaign would require well over a million, from a much wider base.

        Given the media frenzy and the backlash from even his own supporters, I would be astounded if he actually managed to get elected to the Senate, but of course, I have been astounded in the past.

        I don’t agree that he is in the mainstream of the Republican Party, vile though the party can be as a whole. Take a look at his GovTrack ideology rating if you will. He’s certainly close to the loony fringe.

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        • I am not sure how you would define a loony fringe. If an entire party votes for a bill to redefine rape into forcible, and non forcible rape then I believe that is the mainstream party position. The idea was dropped because of an outcry by the democrats and media not because saner heads prevailed. At the end of the day what matters is who controls the party, and in the case of republicans it is the extreme right wingers.

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      • One thing I forgot to add is that the reason Akin is being condemned so loudly by his party is that they are terrified that it will shine a light on Ryan’s views on the same issue. Ryan is against abortions even in the case of rape or incest. He and Akin were co-sponsors (along with 227 republicans) of House Bill H.R. 3: “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” that re-defined the word “rape.” The Ryan/Akin Bill changed the word “rape” to “forcible rape,”. Banning abortions for victims of “non-forcible rape” is one reason why Paul Ryan and Todd Akin used the language “non-forcible rape” in their Bill. There was an outcry and the language was dropped. The US may very well have a president and vice president soon who believe that there is such a thing as non forcible rape.

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  7. What an absolute moron (and I’m really, REALLY trying to be polite here.) This guy gives Indian politicians a run for their money in terms of being uneducated. The same people who make statements like these believe homosexuality is evil and needs to be ‘eradicated from society’ , being completely unaware of what homosexuality actually is, and worse still, unwilling to actually make any semblance of a concerted effort to find out.

    While they are against abortion, they are pro-guns for some reason. Instead of allowing somebody to terminate their pregnancy for whatever medical/personal reasons they see fit, because it’s a ‘loss of life’ (even if it is born with every disability on the planet and its quality of life severely, severely hampered), but let’s let people roam around with weaponry and guns and shoot innocent people in movie theaters. Mensa, here is your new candidate! //sarcasm//

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  8. Sure,the female can just shut the whole male genitalia down if she is wearing one of the rape protection claws that are inserted into herself. But otherwise even if “assault pregnancies are very rare” why deny the “rare”victims further choice over their life? If its soi”rare” then the need for abortion after such expierience would be “rare” as well so why not include it? After all it happens but its “rare” . So the abortion rate would be close to zero even with the clause that only raped women have the option to abort because raped women “rarely” become pregnant because their “body shuts down”. Or is it their body is just to stupid to “shut down” and therefore just has to deal with it? Just should have shut down and everything would have been fine,or even better yet, should have not gotten raped in the first place. What were these women thinking? First getting raped and then not shutting down? Thats what he basically did,is assign the blame for the unwanted pregnancy to the women and because they are the ones blamed they just have to deal with the situtaion best they can.
    Overall,abortion may be illegalized but that does not stop abortion. It just makes it riskier for women. But then again,they dont really seem to count. I felt so bad for the girl with leukemia that died because the doctors were to scared to help her and now instead of a dead embryo its a dead embryo and a dead girl. Banning abortion will not stop it,dealing with safe sex,sexual education,promoting self assurance particularly in girls and supporting non traditional families may be a way to reduce abortion percentages.

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  9. blimey and i thought we had stooped enough low after the couple of episodes, it seems human’s can stoop lower finding reasons and legitimice (is it a word) Rape even.

    Strange are the ways of our nation, our leaders , US, and Politics.

    Amazing..

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  10. And this, my dears, is why we need more women in office. His comment was so stupid, I haven’t even taken a moment to read the full article. Jeez. There is a war on women all over the world right now.

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  11. Isn’t it interesting how all the far right are exactly alike? Regardless of religion or region, they all are about controlling women, against any kind of diversity and advance of any kind. Also they all want to go back to the good old days. Maybe they all should find one single country and live in it.
    Then they can detest each other and leave the rest of us in peace!

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      • I truly believe that right wing religious fanatics will be the death of humanity. They never give up and never stop fighting for their beliefs. It is liberals with their “live and let live attitude” which allows this poison to fester in the world.

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        • I suppose the problem is that Moderates, by definition, are reluctant to make themselves heard.

          It’s a shame, because a moderate world would really be the best kind of world, in my opinion.

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  12. The sheer idiocy and vileness of this statement astounds me. i wonder why there’s such a surge of misogynistic sentiments, which if allowed to gain momentum, will take the world back several hundred years. If a woman is not supposed to have the right to decide whether or not she wants to have a child, what’s next in the line of fire – contraception?!
    And yes, it scares me to think that if this is the condition of a so-called free society, what kind of a future can we expect in India?!

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  13. Rape and legitimate…….?what next?Pregnancy in such cases make things more difficult for the victim but even if she does not conceive ,it does not make the act lesser heinous.
    Taking over someone’s vehicle,purse ,land forcibly is illegal and rape..legitimate?

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  14. Pingback: So what is a ‘Legitimate Rape’? Love this! | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  15. He says it is a Grammatical error and he didn’t mean to say that! Can anyone be this STUPID? And he is a representative of a state? He said it with such conviction that I wondered which Doctor he was quoting. Did the Doctor convince him that women had mechanical vaginas with a guillotine at the entrance to shut rapist from legitimately raping them? Is he speaking from experience ? Has he raped and gotten away with it? Is this the new leadership we have to look forward to? Women beware! We have emasculated the male by getting an education, voting, outnumbering them at universities, going out to work, owing our homes and being able to control our reproduction.

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