Take All Rape Seriously

by Allendra Letsome, NOW Vice President of Membership

How do you explain to a judge: "Well yes, we had been dating for a while…and yes, we had been exclusive…and maybe I had been drinking a bit...but I did not want to have sex with him that night"?

Or "Well, yes, your honor, we have been married for 5 years...but..."

While many took offense at Rep. Todd Akin's unscientific claim that women have the ability to prevent becoming pregnant -- or in his words, "shut that whole thing down" -- as a result of sexual assault, I am more concerned with his determination about "legitimate" rape.

Date rape and marital rape are so heavily misunderstood, and conservatives have been trying for years to delegitimize these claims.

According to Akin, "legitimate" rape is restricted to what experts call "stranger rape" -- when a woman is accosted by someone she doesn't know. But research has consistently shown that the majority of rapes occur among people who know each other, either through a familial or intimate relationship.

For these women who experience date or marital rape, they are no less assaulted or victimized than those who have been raped by a stranger. Yet, time and time again, their cries fall on deaf ears because of their relationship to the rapist.

Consent is not a shrug after the fact, saying "Well, I probably would have slept with him eventually." And there is no such thing as blanket consent. A wife or long-term girlfriend does not ever give up her right to say no.

Rape is sexual violence. Every instance of nonconsensual sexual intercourse is rape. And every claim needs to be treated as legitimate.

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Comment from: deirdrea [Member] Email
If there was a count of women who were raped and never said a word it would be a big surprise to those who would care. It is wrong by all means.
09/30/12 @ 10:47
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Comment from: mamboamma [Member] Email
It has become apparent that some no longer care to hide their dislike of women. I wonder if (this person Akin) wins in MO., there could very well be appeals on behalf of convicted rapists to have their sentences overturned because it was a "legal rape". Also consider what terror women will undergo, if Mr. Romney wins and allow each state to make any law they choose without federal intervention...
I shutter to think that women and girls could face possible "legal rape", forced to give birth... The next right to go will be
voting, and as women become more and more marginalized, we face more and more injustices.

Wake up Sleepers and realize what is taking place. We had a golden opportunity to create a strong UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, with the election of Mr. Obama, but we have let our fears, and racial hate make us a nation of people who have forgotten that August Document that says, "Of the People, By the People and for the people..."

It will be a tragic error if we allow those who wish to eliminate all government controls at the federal level and give each state control over it citizens, we 47% will soon die out. Each state will compete for a bigger slice of the pie (is that not what got us in debt in the first place) and will offer deeper tax abatements to the powers that be to do business in their state, and so on and so forth. People will always follow the jobs, and more and more states will shrink in pop., In 50 or so years, we'll have another "civil war between the states, only this time it will be for basic resorces.

The Power brokers will simply "Harvest", (Mr. Romney's words from another Mother Jones video) the crop and move offshore to the multi-million dollar vacation homes they already own, and the rest of us will be left to our own devices.

We have always had three levels of society in the world, The have's and the have not's. Don't forget the middle also has another level and those are the Upper Middle Incomes, Those who gladly pay $2,500 a plate for stale chicken and shrimp cocktails just to be able to brag about being in the company of A Romney, who would never invite that person to his home for any other reason but to take his money.

In order to maintain position, the have's need to have more, and will always seek ways to further their net worth. Even if if means selling America.

If the states are fragmented, some will certainly go bankrupt and guess what, some country, will certainly come riding in to "bail that Governor out.

Wake up ladies, we are headed backwards, that is unless we take a stong stand this election year accross the board and take a long hard look at just how many of our jobs have been outsourced for the past 25 or so years.
Start with the automotive industry, look at our current defense manufacturing (which by the way seems to be the most fashionable way to make a profit these days for those that engage in this industry) also look at the vast amount of product we import into America each year. We have become a nation of consumers, not producing much and still be expect those coming out of college to have jobs,

We have allowed our leaders to bleed us dry, because we counted on them to do do the right thing for all those who passed thru Lady Liberty's Light of Hope and Promise. They have misunderstood her message, "Give Me Your Tired.....
They intend to keep us down trotten, never allowing those who desire a better life, to get off the desperation boat.

Wake up, Vote for a United America, stand behind hope and change.

Let this be a new day of Unity, we have a long way to go to recover from the "Regression Model" used by the have's. Let's go to WORK.

Love, Peace, and Light
Mamba Amma
10/04/12 @ 19:42
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Comment from: tingram [Member] Email
Our daughter Morgan Ingram was happy, loving, and full of life. She loved her family and her friends and had big plans for her life. She loved her puppy Wylah May and her cat Mogwai. She had completed 2 years of college, and had plans to continue on and then apply to law school. She was a dancer, a photographer, a beautiful girl with so much potential. A brave girl, a strong girl, a determined young woman.

Something sinister came into her life on August 2, 2011, a couple of weeks before her 20th birthday. Someone evil had fixated on Morgan and was about to turn her life -- and her parents' life -- into a living hell.

Morgan was stalked by this person for four months. She was followed in her car, and spied on while she walked her dog. She was driven into her parents' closet many nights by the sound of rocks thrown against her bedroom window. Here she slept for weeks until she finally decided she had enough and went back to sleeping in her room. The loud sounds to startle her awake in the middle of the night never stopped - they continued. After 7 weeks the Sheriff's opened a felony stalking case, but were never able to catch this person by using old fashioned reactionary tactics. Her parents were on edge and on guard at all times, using cameras and motion detectors, and alarms to turn their family home into a well-guarded fortress. The stalker was caught on camera several times, one time brazenly standing in the driveway seconds after law enforcement left, watching them go.

Morgan's stalking culminated in a parent's worst nightmare, almost four months to the day after it started: with her sudden death under very suspicious circumstances. Her death was never investigated properly and her felony stalking case was dropped. So her stalker is still out there and will stalk again.

Stalking is a serious crime, the most underreported crime at this time, and unless law enforcement is required to follow a case through, and aggressively go after these criminals no one in our state, or anywhere else will be safe. Law Enforcement Protocol needs to change, laws need to be made stronger to protect victims, and communication and sharing of information between law enforcement agencies across State and County lines needs to be implemented. People should not have to live in fear.
10/19/12 @ 23:51
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Comment from: the true story [Member] Email
10/23/12 @ 21:24
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Comment from: billturner [Member] Email
Rape law is actually quite complex and liberals and conservatives are missing the mark. Conservatives are out to lunch with the "legitimate rape" and the distinction between forcible and non-forcible rape. Liberals, especially NOW, tends to practice concision, expressing a definition of rape in broad and overly concise terms.

Some types of rape are obvious and most reasonable people wouldn't have trouble defining it as such. But other acts may or may not be rape, and there is a legitimate debate.

In my legal practice I have seen the issue of consent come up in the context of fraud. Under Canadian law, fraud and the exercise of authority are but a couple things which can vitiate consent. But at what point does misleading a sexual partner move from poor etiquette to a serious criminal offence? Under our legal system, it is not entirely clear yet, but generally the fraud must go to the nature of the act rather than something extrenous to it. For instance, obtaining consent by lying about one's income is not a crime. But a healtcare worker who perfoms a sexual act under the guise of a "medical procedure" is guilty of a crime. The grey area largely surrounds disclosure or non-disclosure of STDs. And "exercise of authority" does not include every abuse of a position of trust. It usually involves coercision worthy of criminal stigma. Generally a boss who obtains consent for sexual intercourse from an employee is not guilty of a criminal offence, but guilty of a civil wrong.

In non-legal debates, there are a wide range of attitudes. Some more radicals believe all heterosexual sex is "rape" or that marriage is "institutionalized rape." At the other end of the spectrum, some argue spousal rape or the rape of a sex trade worker is impossible.

There also needs to be a distinction between "want" and "voluntary" or "consent." Merely having sex with someone who does not necessarily "want" to have sex is not rape per se. A good example would be sex with a sex worker. He or she may not "want" to have sex, but if informed and voluntary "consent" is given, it is not a crime. Though I don't know why anyone would want to have sex with someone who doesn't want to? Always kinda got me.

So for me, my distinction between "legitimate rape" and "illigitimate rape" is based on the presence or absent of voluntary consent, not force and not radical politics.
10/24/12 @ 04:19
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Comment from: mamaeagle [Member] Email
The level of misogyny haunting the rapepublican party, as well as many women who support the party is simply MINDBLOWING!

No one has the right to make choices for another's life choices, especially in circumstances where a woman has lost total control, then they want to subject that poor woman to further loss of control over her body and the rest of her entire life, forcing her to re-experience her sexual assault, and in 31 states, fight her perpetrator for custody. These men, and some mentally challenged women, support of this terror is spiraling towards "A Handmaids Tale!" these are American Terrorists, American Taliban!
10/24/12 @ 22:37
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Comment from: karen p [Member] Email
Do you think the (white) men who overwhelmingly support Mitt Romney have given any thought to the flip side of the "no abortions except for the life of the mother" philosophy? Well, Mr. White Guy, let's just say that your wife is raped. And since we know you are a bigot, let's just say that the rapist is your own particular hated race. So, your wife is now pregnant, and since she can't have an abortion, you, Mr. White Guy Bigot, are now going to be a daddy and support that child for the rest of your life. Maybe you'd like to rethink your attitude about abortion.
10/27/12 @ 09:51
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Comment from: nickiek [Member] Email
If men could get pregnant, there would be an abortion clinic on every corner.

If men could get pregnant, the morning after pill would come in a variety of flavors and you could get them from dispensers in the public bathroom.

If men could get pregnant, rape would carry a mandatory death penalty.

If men could get pregnant, every business and corporation would have mandatory day care facilities and flexible schedules.

If men could get pregnant, universal health care would have been passed sometime during the stone age.

If men could get pregnant, contraception would be free.

If men could get pregnant, roe v. wade would be hailed as the greatest piece of legislation and men would unanamously agree that it was one of our most cherished constititutional rights.

10/27/12 @ 23:37
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Comment from: nickiek [Member] Email
Let us assume that sometime after Mitt Romney becomes president (god help us!) and Roe v Wade does get overturned. (God Really Really help us) and the only exceptions are rape, incest and life of the mother. How is that going to work? Do we just take the woman's word for it when she say's she has been raped? Are Republicans going to insist on full blown trials? Convictions before consent for abortion? Remember we only have a few weeks from conception to the time you are legally allowed an abortion. I have yet to hear a single pro-lifer explain to me how this is supposed to work. It's just smoke and mirrors ladies...smoke and mirrors!
10/27/12 @ 23:44
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Comment from: billturner [Member] Email
@nickiek ... Perhaps a little exagerated. Men's health issues are often secondary to women's health issues. While the prevalence of prostate cancer in men is similar to the prevalence of breast cancer in women, the latter gets a disproportionate amount of public attention of funding.

Also even radical feminist accept that "evil patriarchy" oppresses many men as well, and only benefits a small few. Legislatures which are overwhelming male dominated (which is changing) make plenty of laws which are to the detriment of men.

The over-arching issue is capitalism. Regardless of gender, a small group enjoy significant privelege and a system which ensures their continued dominance.

Abortion, same-sex mariage, prayer in schools...etc are just asteroids which are distracting us from making any meaningful change to our flawed system.
10/28/12 @ 16:29
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Comment from: jenny2020 [Member] Email
Abortion is murder.
11/05/12 @ 16:59
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Comment from: missr [Member] Email
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11/05/12 @ 20:50
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Comment from: waterstreams53 [Member] Email
Though there are people who have stepped forward in regards to rapes that have happened in the military, what does one do when they were raped while in the military (Petty Officer had a sawed-off shotgun in my face in his trailer somewhere in the outskirts of Meridian, MS), the female veteran reported it while in the military and supposedly he was restricted from going to the Enlisted Club. Then when I went to the Veterans hospital for counseling about 10 yrs later for said rape, at first I receive the proper treatment and diagnosis. Then when a different female Psychologist came onboard to the Center of Stress Recovery, she decided to take it upon herself to abruptly stop my coming to group only because my husband who was a Vietnam Veteran had upset one of her co-workers in regards to something unrelated to me. Forward in years to 2009, I lived in the Domiciliary while I was awaiting a housing voucher. I was never addicted to anything and have never been in any of those programs; but while at this VA hospital, I met a veteran, who at first I thought was very kind. How would anyone like it if they were forced to have sex with a veteran like I was, in the stairwells of certain areas of the hospital and behind locked doors of the utility room he had keys to because he was given the keys to keep track of by an actual employee. Many things went on during that time and had I reported it to my Case Manager, I would have been accused of wrong doing and kicked out because the Case Manager had been intimate with this veteran behind closed doors during a time her husband was ill and this veteran told me he had had sex with the Case Manager.

I did what I could to file complaints thru the Dept of Veterans' Affairs; but they seemed to want to not investigate it because the hospital wanted to cover it up.

Since 2009, I paid for a private polygraph test in regards to some issues that this veteran had accused me of and he still tries to track me down. When I went to one of the pastors at the church, he listened at first; but didn't want to get involved because the veteran was Afro-American like he was and it appears like Afro-Americans or men in particular will cover-up for each others' crimes/indiscretions.

I do live in fear of the unknown because this veteran has done his best to spread lies about myself and my adult children. My adult children do not want him near myself or them. I have grandchildren who I had to keep away from him because they didn't like the way he teased them in church. I no longer am able to attend the church I joined because he shows up at different times.

Anyway, not all women stick up for other women. I have found out the hard way and my having a disability is not a reason for others to hate on; but it has been happening for awhile now. I wasn't brought up that way; but people can be cruel even to disabled people.

Thanks for having this site and allowing people to post their stories. God bless our country and world!
12/21/12 @ 16:09
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Comment from: lcopeland7216 [Member] Email
May I suggest that NOW has the unique historical creditability and organizational capacities to call for a nation-wide U.S. boycott of all products made in India until the Indian government legislates human/civil rights with the enforcement of severe punishment to protect women from the predatory and abusive behavior by men. Unless we demonstrate our support of them in a meaningful way, the women are going to remain in the literally man-made hell from which there is little to no chance of them escape and the learned behavior and misery will continue generation after generation.
I participated in the fight for the civil rights for all women to have control over their bodies and reproduction in the ‘60s and ‘70s. As a Nurse I have seen the physical and psychological destruction that occurs when a women is raped and the devastating effect on those who love and care for them. We may be a great distance away from the women in India but we can show them that we support them and will fight for them just as much as we have fought for our sisters here.
Linda Nevins Copeland
12/30/12 @ 07:54
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Comment from: rbpreston13 [Member] Email
I am so appalled at the recent events that highlight the violence against women in India, but also the video in the news today that indicates that maybe the male mindset in the US with regards to rape may not be so different then in India. It is very disheartening to witness the hidden and silent discrimination towards women that STILL exists in this country. I feel there needs to be a revival of sorts for women's rights in this country. I am a 44 year old woman who was led to believe at a young age that I could do and be whatever I wanted as an adult. Well, not necessarily because I can never be "one of the boys", nor do I want to. But there are places and work environments where not being "one of the boys" is severely limiting. Is that what I want for future generations of women? Definitely not!
01/04/13 @ 08:24
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Comment from: georgia hull [Member] Email
This video is helpful.
01/12/13 @ 09:14
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Comment from: self defenser [Member] Email
The Governor of California says the state has a surplus, and though the governor says he will spend on education, WOMEN NEED FUNDS TO STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.

In an effort to reduce costs and relieve prison overcrowding, the state of California sent sexual offenders to state mental hospitals. CALIFORNIA WOMEN NEED THE STATE TO PUT SEXUAL OFFENDERS BACK BEHIND BARS!

Relocating sexual offenders from prisons has meant that state mental hospitals are operating at capacity level, with little or no room left for the TRULY mentally ill. As a result, many mentally ill people are wondering on the streets homeless. HOMELESS SHELTERS ACROSS THE STATE ARE CURRENTLY FULL TO CAPACITY, PUTTING THE HOMELESS ON WAITING LISTS AND TURNING THEM AWAY AT THE DOOR.

Please help by campaigning to California state legislators to take sexual offenders out of mental hospitals and put them back in prison, EVEN IF IT MEANS BUILDING NEW ONES!

Thank you.
01/26/13 @ 02:52
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Comment from: scarlet pimpernel [Member] Email
We as Americans have created a double-edged sword. While campaigning for every unrestricted type of freedom on TV, internet, press, etc., the minds of young men are as a result BOMBARDED with every filthy kind of porn imaginable. They then expect every girl they date to perform absurd acts they saw online and then this is what happens when they don't. We have assisted this problem and we must reclaim the next generation with an understanding that "it's all about me" and "do what you want, when you want, how you want" are not a great way to live.
02/15/13 @ 11:09
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