The subject of rape is blowing up all over the place because of a comment made by Missouri US Senate nominee Todd Akin.
Here's the gist of what was said:
As uneducated and mistaken as these remarks may have been, they are something I myself have been guilty of.
I have been guilty of not calling a rape "rape" and causing great pain for someone I love. Let me tell the whole story. (You'll have to pardon me being vague, I don't wish to reveal too much out of respect for the individual involved.)
We were all on the phone, her, my wife, and me. She also had a friend on her end, encouraging her to do the right thing and tell us. "I was raped".
I don't honestly remember what the first thing I might have said was, but I do remember the next thing: "are you sure?" As the story unfolded, "there was a party blah blah blah, ended up alone with a guy, blah blah blah", my next reaction was "why did you let that happen?" And I'm pretty sure I even used the words "How could you have been so stupid?"
Why? Why did I react that way? I don't honestly know, but looking back I guess that there was a part of me that couldn't imagine the horror of what my loved one went through and wanted to gloss over the crime and somehow make it a misunderstanding of sorts.
Don't get me wrong. I fully understand that rape is rape. No means no and if a man ignores that and pushes himself on a woman, even if she gives up fighting just to get it over with, it is rape. And it is wrong. Later, after my initial shock wore off, I tried to make up for my earlier statements, but I don't think I will ever be truly forgiven for reacting the way I did. I can blame shock, but that doesn't change the fact that I needed a change in my thinking,
And I think that's where a lot of people stand. They just don't understand the horror of it. Mr. Akin's statement was in response to a question about abortion, but the fact that he just wants to gloss over the horror that rape even exists - to make a classification of "legitimate" rape, implying that there must be some kind of "fake" rape - is just..... I don't even have words.
But, not to defend him, I understand. Why? Because I was where he is. Not understanding. Not "getting it". It's horrible that it took someone I love being subjected to that awfulness for me to "get it", and I really hope that most people can "get it" without that, but I was there, thinking that the woman was at least in part responsible and therefore making it not a real rape.
Fortunately in this case, there was no pregnancy. But the psychological damage goes on. This loved one of mine was dramatically changed by the rape and the person she was died that day. The person she will become is still a work in progress, even though it's been more than 2 years.
So to Mr. Akin and others talking on this topic. I get it. I've been there. But you just need to admit that you were wrong instead of trying to defend what you said. Just say that you honestly believed what you were saying but now you know that it was wrong and will educate yourself. I did. And I'm better off for it.