Rape Republicans

If Mitt Romney loses this election, it will likely be because women who have even the most modest sense of self interest came out and voted against him and the other “Rape Republicans”

When Steven Colbert did his piece on Republicans saying incredible misogynistic, stupid and presumable vote loosing things about rape the final quote (not listed above) was so over the top, i needed to fact check it myself. Apparently, Roger Riverd a state legislator in Wisconsin said last December that “some girls rape easy.” Riverd decided that he would clarify his nearly year old remarks shortly before his election with the following statement:

“He 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.”

If this feels like a compelling case to you, a useful clarification of a misunderstood remark, and that Roger is just pointing out that some girls will just conveniently change their mind and blame a guy the next day for the sex they happily had the previous eventing and call it rape, then this is not the post you want to be reading.

What is true, is that their are a tiny fraction of reported rapes which are actually the false accusations that Mr. Riverd is worried about (the largest study shows this about 3%).  What is actually the case is because the police and court systems are so unbelieving and abusive towards rape survivors that the real problem with rape is under reporting (54% of rapes go unreported by the largest study).  But this is not really the problem with Mr Riverd’s thinking.

The problem is Mr Riverd and the culture in generals assumption that men are in danger of being surprised by rape allegations, that these come from out of nowhere, when you were just having a good time.   The presumption here is consent is a fickle thing, and that women are even fickler.  But the problem is that often men are not working hard enough to make sure they even have it.

It is part of the over arching cultural narrative that women need to do more to stop rape: they need to say “no” more clearly, they need to not wear short skirts, or go home with buddies, or not go the places where women get raped.  It is part of the intellectual dodge in which men do not have to be inconvenienced by the thought that they are creating and supporting rape culture.  That if women are better they can solve the “rape problem” which is after all a women’s issue.

Actually, Rape is a patriarchy issue, which is in some ways obvious and in many insidious.  Rape is not something you can relax and enjoy, as suggested above.  It is not part of gods mysterious plan to bring some children into the world.   The Romney campaign and the other rape republicans has been trying get voters to focus on is their dollars, what could turn this election (and country) around, is if instead they focused on their daughters.


Another rape republican, Rick Berg who is running for the US Senate from North Dakota, has been advancing legislation seeking life sentences for raped women who seek abortion.  This brings up the frightening prospect that rapists can mostly walk free (only 2% of rapists are convicted).  While women who seek remedies to this crime go to prison for life. [Adopted from this excellent and disturbing letter to the Huffington Post about the words of Richard Mourlock.]

Thanks to Abigail for editing and references.