Rape is NEVER legitimate. Contrary to what Missouri Republican Congressman Todd Akin says, violence against women is never called for and our bodies don’t have some built-in mechanism to shield us from the physical and mental harm caused by rape and sexual assault.
In case you haven’t seen the video, check out the You Tube clip below where Rep. Akin explains his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape, saying that victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Rape and other forms of sexual assault are all too common in our society. According to the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey, there were 188,380 cases of rape and sexual assault in 2010. This represents nearly 50% increase over the number of rapes and sexual assaults committed in 2009. The number of rape cases doesn’t tell the whole story because the same Justice Department report explains that only 50% of rape and sexual assault cases are reported to the police.
These data should yield outrage and action by a sitting Congressman and not some ‘blaming the victim’ hate speech. “Supporting survivors — and recognizing the impact of the crime on them — is the very least we should expect from our political leaders.” Says RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
Women who are victims of rape and sexual assault should expect compassion, quality services and support from all systems that are charged to respond to their needs—including lawmakers who are supposed to govern to protect our rights. One of the most important things we can do as a society is to work hard to remove the stigma attached with being a victim of rape or sexual assault.
If you know someone who has been raped or sexually assaulted, be a friend and comfort to her as she makes the call to the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE(4673). The services and support are free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Rep. Akin shows an incredible lack of humanity and common sense in this interview that I believe merits action on behalf of Congress. Therefore, I urge all Sisters to sign the petition created by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee calling on Speaker John Boehner to remove Akin from the House Science and Technology Committee.
We can also donate to the organizations providing support to victims of rape and sexual assault. Below are a few of the national organizations working to give voice and support rape victims and help them to transform from victims to victors!
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.
- Men Can Stop Rape: Men Can Stop Rape is an international organization that mobilizes men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence, especially men’s violence against women. MCSR provides agencies, schools, and organizations with direct services for youth, public service messaging, and leadership training. In contrast to traditional efforts that address men as the problem, Men Can Stop Rape’s pioneering work embraces men as vital allies with the will and character to make healthy choices and foster safe, equitable relationships. Our education programs, public awareness messaging, and leadership training together constitute a unified and comprehensive campaign that has been launched in states and cities around the country.
- National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence: The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence designs, provides, and customizes training and consultation; influences policy; promotes collaboration; and enhances diversity with the goal of ending domestic and sexual violence. This organization sponsors national and regional conferences and co-chairs the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence (DTFDV). Provides military specific information for victims of domestic violence.
- The National Center for Victims of Crime: The National Center for Victims of Crime is a nonprofit organization advocating for all victims of crime – adults and children. They educate child victims about their rights and the recent provisions that have been established to protect them. The National Victim Center has a toll-free number that acts as a referral service for children who have been exploited.
- Military Rape Crisis Center: The Military Rape Crisis Center is the nation’s largest support group for survivors of military sexual trauma. In 2007 we assisted over 1200 men and women that experienced Military Sexual Trauma and their families. We are starting to work with the congress to change the military policy on sexual assault. Every man and woman that volunteered to serve their country should have the right to serve without fear of being sexual harassed, sexual assaulted and/or raped. In addition, no one should be reprimanded or punished for reporting a crime that was done to them.
On this Mobilize Monday we can stand with the courageous women that reported the crimes perpetuated against them and those that suffered in silence and did not seek justice. Because women in both cases deserve our support!