A Wisconsin freshman representative is watching his re-election chances plummet as his comments that “some women rape easy” begin to circulate in the media, fueling another round of outrage over the GOP’s seeming blatant ignorance about women’s health and safety.
State Rep. Roger Rivard (R-Rice Lake) made the statement last December, explaining that as a young boy his father had scared him into pre-marital sex by telling him that “some women rape easy,” which is apparently bro-talk for the widespread phenomenon of women consenting to sex at night only to turn around the next morning and cry rape. The comments are drawing attention now, almost ten months later, because Rivard is in a tight race against Democratic challenger Stephen Smith over the state representative seat and because Rivard has been endorsed by GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
Rivard has complained that his comments were taken out of context since they were first published in a local town newspaper, The Chetek Alert, after the representative commented on the case of a high school senior being charged with sexual assault for having sex with a girl under 18, which is the legal age for consent in Wisconsin.
Rivard attempted to clarify his words to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday:
“[My father] also told me one thing, 'If you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,' " Rivard said. "Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she's not going to say, 'Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.' All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she's underage. And he just said, 'Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,' he said, 'they rape so easy.'
"What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, 'If you're going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.' So the way he said it was, 'Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.'
"So it's been kind of taken out of context."
Doesn’t sound like it’s been taken out of context at all. The explicit point of his words is that women can’t be trusted (with sex, but really why with the vote either?) and that rape is not a real form of violence but actually just a false claim that could ensnare any God-fearing, unsuspecting young man who momentarily falls victim to the Sirens’ cries.
Rivard’s supporter Paul Ryan was able to avoid uttering one of these women-hating, rape-denying slips last night during the vice presidential debate. But other members of the GOP, most notoriously Todd Akin, have been recently caught issuing similar statements, such as the idea that no “legitimate rape” can result in pregnancy because a woman’s body has a way of dealing with these types of things. These comments sparked outrage not only for being offensive, but also for betraying a clear lack of knowledge about the basic anatomy of women’s bodies--a scary ignorance for a lawmaker in an era when medical care is increasingly regulated and decided by the government.
Both these comments also display a clear inability to talk about sexual consent in a meaningful way. How else, after all, could a fun romp in the sack turn into one of the most psychologically and physically damaging experiences a woman can have a mere eight hours later? The confusion and struggle to discuss consent is unsurprising, given the fact that adolescent sexual education is nearly non-existent. Changing that won’t be possible until we have lawmakers who are willing to support the idea that teenagers (who will soon grow into adults) should be informed about not only how sex biologically works, but how it can be navigated in a way that is physically and emotionally consensual.
Since that’s looking like it may be a long-time coming in this political climate, we can at least thank Akin for assuring us that none of the next generation's ignorance-fueled rapes will result in any babies.
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