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Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Politics and Rape

I greatly dislike politics.  I don't like the shadiness.  I don't like the outright lies.  I don't like the hurt.  It's not my cup of tea.  But I see that it's important.  I try to ignore it mostly and trust that others who know better than I do and don't feel their blood pressure going up just at the mention of the word are truly trying to do good.  I have been trying to educate myself some more, though, during the past few elections to be able make an educated vote.  But I still don't like it. 

So, you can imagine my surprise when I got a book from the library that ended up being about politics and liked it!  The author, Richard North Patterson, is one I've read before, but not in a while.  The book I read this time is called The Race.  At the end of the book, Patterson comments that Corey Grace is the politician most people wish existed.  I know I do. 

One of my favorite things about Corey Grace was that he never seemed to overlap topics. If they were discussing one hot button issue, he focused on that one, no matter how others tried to bait him with other topics.  And he didn't let his decisions get effected by the next seven possible chess moves.  I'm not a strategist, which might be part of my dislike of politics.  I like that he was thinking ahead, smart enough to play with the big sharks, but didn't play their game.  If only Corey Grace really existed.

But he doesn't.  Instead, in our reality, pro-life congressmen have put a bill together to redefine rape so that federal funds won't be used for abortion in certain cases they deem unworthy.  For me, this is a perfect example of overlapping topics.  I know a few pro-lifers who believe all abortion is wrong.  I know some pro-choicers who believe the option should always be there, no matter how conception occurred.  And I know a lot of people somewhere in the middle.  I don't know where all of you fall.  But no matter what you believe about abortion, I'd like to ask you to put that aside for a minute. I know it's the hotter topic in this bill.  But I'd like you to spend a minute considering rape.

I don't tell you the following for pity.  These are facts.  This is part of my life that I've dealt with pretty successfully over the past almost 18 years.  So, although I'll certainly accept anything you have to say, I'm not trying to pull on your heart strings. 

When I was 13 I met a boy that I liked that was older than me.  He wanted things to go further than I did.  I told him, "No."  I cried.  I screamed.  I pushed.  He was stronger.  He raped me.  I didn't have physical scars.  He didn't have a weapon other than his strength.

That was rape. 

If this bill passes it will define rape as only "forcible rape," which they don't define clearly at all.  But it will not include date rape, statuatory rape, drugged rapes probably more.  If it does pass, I wonder if my experience will be grandfathered in or if I'll have to start calling that day something else. 

I went to the police, after a time where I tried to hide from everyone I knew.  I reported him and then decided not to pursue legal actions.  It was his word against mine.  And words are hard to prove.  If this bill passes words won't even be enough to accuse. 

I thought at one point that my rape wasn't as bad as women who had been forced at gun point or drugged.  I found out I was wrong.  Their experiences were different, yes, but they didn't think me less worthy of my emotions because no weapon was used.  That tells me that rape is rape.  Date rape is rape.  Statutory rape is rape.  If a participant in the action is not a willing one...it's rape. 

That's my take.  I don't want to see this bill pass because I dont' want my rape defined as something else.  I don't want other women to face an even more uphill battle in defining what happens to them and being able to process it and/or prosecute it. 

All I'm asking is that you research the bill yourself and decide where you stand on it.  And try not to get caught up in the boil of the abortion debate when there's a simmering topic there that needs attention too: rape is rape.


Allison C said...

I feel the same way about this for similar reasons.

Janelle said...

I volunteer at a rape crisis hotline and there are a TON of things that break my heart when a survivor calls but one thing that just positively crushes me is when someone asks, "was I raped?" I'm there to listen and help when I can but I can't put a name to someone else's experience, you know? Neither should politicians. Nor anyone other than the person who lived that experience. Whether or not there were drugs or force or visible bruises or manipulative words or whatever else may or may not have been going on at the time...assault is assault.

To suggest some survivors are more deserving of respect and human dignity than others is just plain vile.