Let’s Talk About Rape, Shall We? A Letter to Richard Mourdock
Crossposted on Tikkun Daily
By Cat Zavis
Richard Mourdock, a Republican candidate for Senate in Indiana, recently made the following statement during a debate for the Senate: “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Here is my reply:
A Letter to Richard Mourdock
Seriously, Mr. Mourdock, when a woman gets pregnant from rape, “God intended that to happen”? What exactly did God intend to happen, the rape, the pregnancy? Let’s remember that without the rape there would be no pregnancy.
So, let’s talk about RAPE. And I mean, let’s REALLY talk about RAPE.
Rape is typically defined as when one person forcibly engages in sexual intercourse (sexual intercourse includes both vaginal and anal penetration either with a body part or an object) with another person against that person’s will.
What might that look like? Well, it can look like someone taking a stick or other object and putting it inside a woman’s vagina or a person’s anus. It can mean placing one’s finger or tongue inside the woman’s vagina or a person’s anus. It can also mean placing one’s penis inside a woman’s vagina or a woman or man’s anus.
Let’s keep in mind that in any and all of these instances, if it is rape, it means that the person having the object or body part inserted into him or her did NOT want that to happen. In fact, they explicitly said NO.
I’m kind of curious, Mr. Mourdock, is that what God intended? For people to have their bodies violated by another person? Because if that is what God intended, I want NO part of your God. And, I want to understand how you could allege to possibly know what God intended?
Mr. Mourdock, please close your eyes and allow yourself to feel and imagine the following:
You are walking home one night; it is a beautiful warm, balmy evening. You love the feel of the light breeze on your body. The fresh air is lovely to breathe in. You are thinking of how happy you are, how much you love your wife and children and how wonderful your life really is. You do not have a care in the world. Then suddenly out of nowhere, you are jumped from behind and taken down on the sidewalk. You hit the ground rather hard and your head hurts. You are terrified for your life. You imagine the person is going to take your wallet, watch and any other valuables you have on your person when suddenly he undoes your pants and pulls them down to your ankles. You are confused and horrified – what is he going to do. This can’t be happening. You scream and yet there is no one around. And the next thing you know, you are being raped.
Mr. Mourdock, I’m just wondering, at what point during that interaction are you thinking, “this is what God intended.” And please don’t tell me God did not intend this rape, only rapes that result in pregnancy, because without the rape, there is no pregnancy. You do not get to choose while being raped whether God intended it or not. The pregnancy is not an act of God anymore than the rape is.
I do not believe, Mr. Mourdock, that God intends for horrible things to happen, for people to suffer, and out of that suffering for a child to be born. God (regardless of what God you believe in) does not intend for people to suffer.
There is another God – the one who created a world filled with riches, beauty, awe, wonder and abundance. A world where we can all have our basic needs met without any harm to any being or the planet itself. One of my basic needs as a woman, and dare I suggest, one of your basic needs as well Mr. Mourdock, is for every person to be safe and secure in his or her own body. You seem to have no problem valuing this need for a fetus, can you please help me understand how come you do not value this need for my life?
When you say that “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen”, what I hear is that you do not value or care about women’s lives, safety and well-being. Is that true or are you just playing a political game? If you do not value women, then you do not deserve to go to Washington, D.C. to represent women. And if this is simply a political game you are playing to win, then shame on you. This is not a funny game. This is a matter of life and death.
I am not angry Mr. Mourdock. I am horrified and heartbroken that your thoughts and positions could be so deeply removed from the actual lived experiences of rape victims. I want politicians who are willing to listen to the needs of their constituents, who have compassion, and who care about the well-being of all beings – including living and breathing women. And what this compassion and care would look like to me Mr. Mourdock is not presuming to know what God intended for someone else or how someone else should act in such a circumstance. I want politicians who place the most personal decisions in a woman’s life in the hands of that very woman herself. A politician who trusts that each individual, and only each individual, knows what is best for her and what she needs to heal and move forward after such a traumatic event. A politician who trusts that each individual knows what her God intends for her life rather than presume that he knows better.
In your words, I do not hear one ounce of care or compassion. Mr. Mourdock I do not trust you to make decisions that are grounded in care and compassion for women. Until you can show that you actually care about women, you do not deserve to represent them in the United States Senate.