New Republican Idea: Punishing Rape Victims With Jail Time
If you’re looking for evidence that the differences between men and women are greatly exaggerated, the fact that women are equally capable as men of mind-blowing misogyny should erase all doubt. New Mexico state Rep. Cathrynn Brown proved that this week by introducing a bill aimed at throwing rape victims in jail if they refuse to honor their rapist’s right to control their body by carrying his child. This sort of insult to rapists will not stand, so Brown, standing up bravely for rapists who want the suffering they’ve inflicted to carry on and on for their victims, has proposed banning abortion for rape victims on the phony grounds that it’s “tampering with evidence”.
Of course, the entire idea that having a rapist’s baby would somehow be treated as proof of a rape is beyond silly. After all, the defense against the charge of rape is rarely to claim that the penis didn’t go into the vagina, but to accuse the victim of consenting and then, due to the unique viciousness of women, claiming it was rape for the lulz. Or to conceal her epic sluttiness by having the police grill her about her sex life, the defense attorney question her about it for the public record, and the entire community gossip about what a big slut she must be to press rape charges. I suspect Brown knows this, coming from the same anti-choice circles as Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, where the belief is that women are deceitful creatures who will lie and kill to conceal how much fun sex they’re having.
To understand what’s going on here, you have to understand that anti-choicers primarily understand abortion as an attempt by women to hide how naughty they are. Never mind that most women getting abortions are in their 20s and are mothers already; the myth that abortion patients are young girls having all this sexy fun they’re not supposed to have and then hiding the “evidence” with abortion is so erotic and enticing for anti-choicers that they’re not letting it go. That’s why hanging out in front of abortion clinics and yelling at patients is so crucial to the movement: They believe you’re trying to hide your shameful non-virgin status, and by gum, they’re going to be there to make sure they get a chance to see your face and cast judgment. You will not get to hide your non-virginity from them! They are entitled to pass judgment, and if they don’t get to do it by shaming you for being a single mother, they’ll show up and yell at you at the abortion clinic. And probably masturbate about it later. You laugh, but when you see behavior like this enough, you begin to realize that this anti-choice obsession with abortion is so profound that “sexual fetish, no matter how sublimated” is the likeliest explanation.
The narratives of sexual transgression and concealment that dictate how anti-choicers view abortion make this bill all the easier to understand. The possibility that women have abortions to reduce suffering in their lives, prevent economic catastrophe, or regain control over their lives are dismissed in favor of believing that an abortion means someone is hiding a sexy secret. It reduces rape to a “sexy secret” and, of course, reinforces the narrative that women are to blame for their rapes, because they are being so dirty and naughty and rowr that men have no choice but to put them in their place with some raping. (Implicit anti-choice narratives and really foul porn plots have a lot in common, which doesn’t strike me as a coincidence.) That’s why you get terms like “legitimate rape”. That’s why, I suspect, Republicans killed the Violence Against Women Act. The narrative that women bring violence on themselves by breaking the lady mandate to be quiet, chaste, and submissive seems to be gaining strength on the right, not that it ever really went away. Being raped is apparently a crime in and of itself, and if you won’t be punished by forced childbirth for being so rapeable, then jail time for you, in the eyes of Rep. Brown.