Moroccan women protesting the rape/marriage law
This week, the country of Morocco finally decided to take an ancient law off the books. A woman (or girl) will no longer be required to marry her rapist. A paragraph in Article 475 of the penal code allows those convicted of “corruption” or “kidnapping” of a minor to go free if they marry their victim and the practice was encouraged by judges to spare family shame. While it is a step in the right direction, it will, hopefully be the first of many steps to come with the end goal being equal human rights. Kudos and Brava to our North African sisters for fighting long and hard for their basic human rights amid such dangerous circumstances. This is another example of how women have finally had enough and are through accepting the status quo.
Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R),
In the United States, this week women’s reproductive rights have, yet again, come under attack. This time, in New Mexico… by a WOMAN! I cannot overstate how much of a betrayal this was, for women all around the world. A bill introduced by Rep. Cathrynn Brown (a republican, of course) who wants to make it so that a woman who is impregnated by her rapist would be forced to carry her baby to full term, or be sent to jail. House Bill 206, introduced by state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R), would charge a rape victim who ended her pregnancy with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence.” The bill goes on to say, “Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.” Her reasoning is that the bill would punish the person who commits incest or rape and then procures or facilitates an abortion to destroy the evidence of the crime.
When was the last time you heard of a case in which the rapist procured an abortion for his victim in order to destroy evidence? Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but can you not get DNA evidence from an aborted foetus? So what good is this law really going to do for the victim of the crime? This smacks of yet another republican attempt to shame the victim and reward the rapist, all in the name of religious “values”. Cause, you know the bible is all for the rape of women in order to keep them from getting all uppity.
Women in the US of A need to take a page from the women of Morocco and other countries where the fight is much more dire. Those women don’t have the luxury of introducing bills into law. Those women are too busy literally fighting for their lives. If the women of the free world (when I say free world, I mean all countries where women are free and equal, not just America) need to understand that if we allow our rights to be taken away, then we are dooming women in economically underdeveloped countries. If we let our rights go, then what chance for freedom do these women have? We must remain an example of what can be accomplished when you fight the good fight… because too much is at stake.
It was 1983 and I was a sexually active 18-year-old young woman. One night, in the back of a Shelby Cobra (I have always been somewhat of a car nut), I was in the middle of what can only be called a couple of hour stand, when, unbeknownst to me, the condom broke. It wasn’t until after the deed was done that either of us realized what had happened, but at that moment, I knew I was pregnant. I have no idea how I knew, but I knew. I also knew right away what option I would choose and never had a second thought about it.
The wait until I missed my next period seemed endless. Finally, when I was absolutely positive Aunt Flo would not be visiting, I went to my doctor and had the test. The results were positive, as expected and I immediately scheduled an abortion. There was only one hitch. In Canada, you had to be 19 years old (the age of majority) to get an abortion without parental consent. So, I had to tell my Mother. I told her that I was pregnant and without taking so much a the tiniest of breaths, I told her that I wanted to abort and that I had the procedure already scheduled, and that all I needed was her signature. To my mother’s credit, she was extremely supportive. She drove me to the appointment and was waiting for me when it was over. She even made my favourite dessert (witches nut cake) and had me stay at home with her for a few days until the tenderness and the bleeding was under control. She never made me feel guilty or judged.
I look back on my decision to have an abortion as one of the best decisions I ever made. I was in no way ready to have a child at that stage of my life. Having that baby would not have been fair to either myself or the baby. It could be said that my decision was selfish. To that I say, yes it was, and what is so wrong with being selfish? After all its my life to live as I see fit and I am free to do as I choose with my life and my body. I have not, for a moment, regretted having an abortion and I am not ashamed. Would I have preferred that the condom had done its job? Of course, but I am extremely happy that there was an alternate option available to me as that was not the case.
It has been said that no woman wants an abortion. I can tell you that when I found myself with an unwanted pregnancy, there was nothing I wanted more.
There has been a lot of hoopla recently from Conservative politicians who want to ban abortion. The conversation has been derailed slightly due to some incredibly ignorant quotes about abortion in the case of rape, so that now all we are focused on is rape, when what we should be talking about is the necessity for abortion. Women’s reproductive rights are just that… rights, hard-fought and earned. Even entertaining the question of whether or not a woman should have those rights just proves to women that you do not see us as human beings capable of thinking for ourselves.
There seems to be only one American politician who gets it.
I couldn’t agree more. Male legislators need to stay far away from women’s uteri. If you don’t have one, you shouldn’t get a say.
In the wake of Todd Akin’s now infamous comments about “legitimate rape”, there have been quite a few rather offensive and uneducated bon mots in the news on the subject of rape.
In Canada, the niece of the Mayor of Toronto, Krista Ford got into the debate via her twitter account by giving this bit if advice to women. “Stay alert, walk tall, carry mace, take self-defence classes & don’t dress like a whore. #DontBeAVictim #StreetSmart,” Never mind that it is illegal to carry mace or pepper spray in Canada unless you work in law enforcement, or that not everyone can afford to take a self defense class. The fact that Krista Ford, who is famous for playing football in her underwear and teetering around Toronto in stiletto heels and mini dresses so tight that it looks like she’s trying to get toothpaste back into the tube, had the nerve to say don’t dress like a whore would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. This kind of slut shaming and victim blaming has got to stop. Why are we not teaching men not to rape, instead of preaching to women not to dress provocatively. This boys will be boys attitude is not helping the situation.
Then there is a case out of Louisville Kentucky where a 16 year old girl was sexually assaulted by two boys who thought it would be funny to get her drunk, expose her breasts and genitals, penetrate her with their fingers and take pictures of the event with their cell phones. The two boys plead guilty to charges of first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, and misdemeanor voyeurism. For their crimes they are required to do 50 hours of volunteer work and attend treatment. As if the 16 year old girl’s violation and humiliation was not enough, the Chief Prosecutor of the case, Paul Richwalsky, actually told the girl, when she complained about the plea agreement being too lenient, to “get over it and see a therapist. … The jail was for ‘real’ rapists, murderers and robbers.” This from the man who was hired to serve the best interests of the victim!
SNL alumnus and Tea Party darling, Victoria Jackson, came out in defense of the aforementioned Todd Akin’s legitimate rape comments. She was quoted as saying, “The Todd Akin thing was so blown out of proportion — it’s a joke. How many times do people get pregnant from rape? It’s point zero zero one percent. It’s a joke. I read lots of articles. I know people, because I’m 53. I’ve know a lot of people, and I’ve actually never known anyone who got pregnant from being raped.” She went on to say, “If I got raped, I would have the baby. And if I didn’t want to keep it because I had these [mocking tone] horrible nightmares, I would adopt it out. But I think that God can turn a bad thing into a good thing. And that, if I got raped and a beautiful baby who was innocent was born out of it, that would be a blessing. The DNA of a baby is individual. It’s not the mother’s DNA. It’s not the father’s DNA. And that’s why I believe abortion is murder, because it’s not the woman’s body. It has it’s own DNA. If there’s a boy baby inside of me, he has a penis. That’s not my body.” Good for you, Ms. Jackson, but not every woman feels the same way. To deny others a choice just because you think that everyone should believe what you believe is the antithesis of what the pro-life movement should be doing more of… live and let live.
With a tip of the hat to Bill Maher, I would like to suggest my own New Rule. Unless you are a woman or a man (yes, men get raped too) who has been through the violation, humiliation and emotional toll of the crime of rape, you must keep your pie hole shut. All you are doing with ignorant statements like the ones above is opening wounds and putting the responsibility for the crime on the victim instead of the criminal. It’s attitudes like these that make rape the most unreported crime on the planet. You are only showing a lack of compassion, empathy and humanity when you vilify a victim of rape, not to mention giving rapists the message that you are on their side.
Bill and Melinda Gates
Yesterday, it was announced that the Gates Foundation is about to pledge an obscene amount of money for a campaign to improve access to contraception for women in the developing world. I applaud their excellent intentions and agree that giving women in these countries better education about and access to contraception is a step in the right direction in dealing with the issue of over population, but I don’t think it should be the first step we take. Yes, there are many couples who are having a lot children in developing countries, but most of them will not use contraception because of their religious belief that a child is a gift from God… besides, these couples are not really even the biggest worry in the over population problem.
I can’t help but wonder what, if anything, is being done about one of the main causes of over population in the developing world… rape.
The above statistics are only for cases of rape that were reported and are worldwide. There are countless more that go unreported every day.
The ‘developing world’ is defined as the nations of the world which are less economically and technologically advanced. It’s the politically correct way of describing what used to be called a Third World Country. The map below illustrates the countries that are currently considered to be part of the developing world in yellow.
As you can clearly see, the developing world consists of over half the land on the planet. In many of these countries marital rape is still legal. In many of these countries rape as a weapon of war is a common occurrence. In some of these countries women who are raped are stoned to death for committing adultery. There are many children borne from rape in the developing world. How many of these rapes do you think would not have happened if each of the rapists were forced to pay child support for the children they sired? Do you think there would be fewer rapes occurring in these countries if each of these men were faced with consequences to their actions, like ostracism, jail time or even chemical castration? I do understand that religion often plays a large role in the way women in developing countries are treated, but for once, I am going to cut religious beliefs a bit of a break. (It should be noted that Gates is receiving criticism from the Catholic church for this campaign because they see contraception and abortion as part of the same issue).
I think it is naive to make women entirely responsible for birth control in countries where rape is so prevalent. If they have no control over, or even consent to, the sexual act, then how is birth control really going to help the situation? A rapist isn’t going to wait until you insert your diaphragm, or sit still while you put a condom on his willy. In some cases, a woman who is known to be using contraceptives may be even more of a target for rape and even murder (honour killings).
None of these methods will stop a rapist in his tracks.
If I were lucky enough put in charge of doling out obscene amounts of money to causes that would help women in developing countries, I would first offer a huge sum to any of these countries that would protect women by making rape a prosecutable and felonious offense with real consequences. (I can’t imagine any organized religion, even the Catholic Church, publicly speaking out as pro rape.) Only then, would I move to step two and offer education about and access to contraception. Why are we putting the cart before the horse? Or, in this case, filling the cart with contraceptives and ignoring the horse entirely.