Raw.

I am hurting today.

Raw.

scream by salvis .are

My mind is flipping through pictures I had long since boxed away. It’s showing me grainy filmstrips of memories I had no desire to ever see again. It’s reminding me that I’m vulnerable in a way Todd Akin will never understand.

I am a rape survivor.

But I will not tell you my story here. I won’t.

I won’t put it out here for men like him to read, and in the reading, diminish its power.

I don’t want to have to wonder; was my rape real enough? Was it “legitimate” in their eyes? Am I worthy of protection under the law?

I know what I experienced.

I was violated in mind, body, and spirit. I was left broken and bleeding, and it took me many, many years to repair the damage that was done.

Todd Akin will never understand what that’s like. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if he’s been on the other side of a “not-so-real” rape. It would explain his attitude.

That’s not fair, of course. But neither was the statement he made:

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” he said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

So. If you are raped, and you get pregnant, you weren’t really raped at all. On some level, you wanted it.

How far does he take that twisted rationale?

If a woman is dressed in a provocative manner, does that mean she’s asking for it?

What about if she drinks? Or smokes pot? Or walks home alone at night? Or goes for a run without a dog to back her up?

Is she inviting an attack?

I don’t think so. Most rational people don’t. But rational people aren’t getting elected much these days.

Todd Akin is head of the Science Committee. Head of the Science Committee, and he’s spewing that kind of garbage.

What the hell is wrong with this world?

Listen. I understand. Abortion is a hot button topic. Supporting its ban – at any cost – is sure to win you some votes with a certain segment of the population (some within my own family).

But at what cost?

Whether we like it or not, Todd Akin is a role model.

And there are a lot of young republican men in this country.

Hell, there are a lot of men, period. And while most of them are good, decent human beings, some of them aren’t. Some are just looking for an excuse. A justification.

Men like Todd Akin should know better than give one to them.

Rape is rape. Whether our bodies (governed by thousands of years of biology) realize it or not.

To suggest otherwise? Well, that’s just plain evil.

And, by God, evil is powerful enough on its own. We don’t need to elect it into office.

41 Comments on Raw.

  1. Katie
    August 20, 2012 at 11:53 pm (3 years ago)

    What doctors has he been talking to? It is an incredibly stupid thing for anyone to say.

    I have read your blog for ages and ages and I have not commented for at least a year. I could not just read and run on this post though because I needed to tell you that you are right. And I agree with you. And when it comes to rape, there is no grey. I’m glad you wrote this post.
    xxx

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 21, 2012 at 10:10 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you so very much for your comment. You’ll never know how much it means to me. As for the doctors? I think only the crazy voices in his mind…the ones who happen to be wearing white jackets.

      Reply
  2. Gail
    August 21, 2012 at 12:02 am (3 years ago)

    wow…loved this post. you are totally right and expressed it very well. thank you for sharing. it takes more courage than todd akin will ever have.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 21, 2012 at 10:09 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you for your support, my friend. I really appreciate it.

      Reply
  3. Chloe Jeffreys
    August 21, 2012 at 12:25 am (3 years ago)

    I am so sorry to hear about your assault, Amber. But I am so proud of you for walking right past that shame (THAT DOESN’T BELONG TO YOU!!! IT BELONGS TO THE ASSHOLE WHO HURT YOU!!!) and into the light.

    Idiots like this man must be confronted. And it costs to confront it. Thank you so much for taking this risk and confronting this wrong-headed idiot who could put us women back 100 years with his ridiculous nonsense.

    I applaud you!

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 21, 2012 at 10:09 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you. 100 years is right…if not more. If things keep going the way they are, will we even have the right to vote in another 20 years? I worry.

      Reply
  4. Amanda C
    August 21, 2012 at 12:27 am (3 years ago)

    Amen, sister.
    I’m sorry you had to experience such a horrendous thing in your life, but thank you for this post.
    I asked my husband, the OB/Gyn, about this from a medical standpoint (irregardless of the legitimacy of a rape–rape is rape). I think I’m a pretty intelligent woman, and totally call BS on Akin, but I wanted to know the facts.
    Quoted from my husband: “No, he’s a dumbass. Reports on the degree of his dumbassity (sp?) cite ACOG [American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology] as stating 32K pregnancies a year from rape, and I think I read elsewhere 5-10% of rapes lead to pregnancy. And I think the ‘legitimate’ BS is the old frat boy standby of ‘she said no but she was really asking for it’.”

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 21, 2012 at 10:08 am (3 years ago)

      Your husband is awesome. Tell him I said so. And thank you. Putting this out there was really hard. The support means a lot.

      Reply
    • Meagan
      August 21, 2012 at 11:34 am (3 years ago)

      I love that: “dumbassity”. Rape is rape. All women should have access to abortion. Politicians need to stay out of personal medical decisions.

      Reply
      • Amber
        August 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm (3 years ago)

        Dumbassity is an awesome word.

        Reply
  5. Heather
    August 21, 2012 at 1:20 am (3 years ago)

    It is so incredibly strange to me that people like Todd Akin, and those who share his viewpoint on this matter are even given any sort of legitimacy. Even an idiot would know that his twisted rationale is ridiculous. And furthermore, how does he become head of the science committee?? I am blown away that politicians (mostly men) think it’s OK to make health care decisions on behalf of women. Thank you Amber, for allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to write about your horrible experience discussing this important issue which is making headlines today.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 21, 2012 at 10:07 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you for the support. I was so angry, I couldn’t stay silent. This country is going off the rails of the crazy train, and somehow we have to stop it.

      Reply
  6. Jen
    August 21, 2012 at 9:22 am (3 years ago)

    I can’t believe this ass hat was put in a seat of power by the American people. Unbelievable.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 21, 2012 at 10:06 am (3 years ago)

      There are a lot of stupid people in this country. I don’t know many of them, but there must be an astounding number.

      Reply
  7. Meagan
    August 21, 2012 at 11:45 am (3 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing. I wonder if part of why so many people, especially men, pooh pooh rape is because they don’t realize how many women in their lives have been victims. It takes courage to share, but it’s important.

    As for that asshat’s statement, I’m pleasantly surprised at the backlash. His opinion isn’t actually all that unusual. Many, many politicians have tried to redefine rape. And his lack of actual factual information, making up science as he goes, seems to be par for the course with certain right-wing groups.

    That said, I was reading a post today about the importance of defending abortion access in all cases, not just throwing out the exceptions. Every woman who has one has a good reason why it is the right choice for her. (http://feministing.com/2012/08/21/every-womans-reason-is-a-unique-snowflake-why-rape-exceptions-and-abortion-stereotypes-are-harmful/)

    This divisiveness is a powerful tool of the right: if we keep fighting the same battles (rape is rape, abortion should be available for all, women deserve the right to vote and control their own bodies and be treated as fully equal human beings), we get distracted.

    I really want to face an election where I can concentrate on important issues like the economy and healthcare and national security. I want to be able to vote for the person who I think will lead the country in the right direction…. without being forced to vote for the candidate least likely to treat me as a second class citizen and take away the rights I already have.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm (3 years ago)

      That would be nice, wouldn’t it? I read an article on the Nation, I think, yesterday, saying that the worst part of all this is it’s changing what’s possible. A few years ago, outlawing abortion in any case would have been a non-starter. Now we’re simply talking about cases when it’s not okay to outlaw it. No good.

      Reply
  8. Jamie@SouthMainMuse
    August 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm (3 years ago)

    Amber, I couldn’t help thinking of women in your situation who have suffered through a rape after all this broke. Even more than political parties, even more than abortion arguments — I think his idiotic mindset is symptomatic of men who can’t understand that rape is a very horrible, violent act. It is not a sexual one. Some men are utterly incapable of thinking of women other than in sexual terms. Not as a person with rights and liberties and due protection from sick, power hungry predators. I am so sorry again and you expressed your outrage most eloquently.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you. I am sorry that we have to be having this conversation at all, but it doesn’t do any good for us to sit silent, either.

      Reply
  9. Natalie
    August 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm (3 years ago)

    I am SO proud of you for standing up and talking about this in the way that you did. His words were appalling (and stupid), and I am so proud that you are speaking up, and that I can stand behind and support you.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your support. It means a lot. He’s an idiot, to be sure. Worse, though, is the fact that his words are just symptoms of a larger problem.

      Reply
  10. Allison
    August 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you for writing this post, Amber. You are very brave.

    Allison

    Reply
  11. Galit Breen
    August 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you for writing something so brave and raw and important here.

    {I just wanted you to know that I read your words, and I’m sending you what I’ve got.}

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 22, 2012 at 9:15 am (3 years ago)

      Your support, and all the support I’ve gotten here, mean a lot. Thank you very much for your kind words.

      Reply
  12. Rebeccah
    August 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm (3 years ago)

    Amber, I am so proud of you. So, so proud. The good news is that this douche-canoe revealed himself as the ignorant dumb ass he is via his ridiculous comments. You, on the other hand, are revealed as the one who triumphed over trauma. Be proud of yourself girlie, cause I sure am.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 22, 2012 at 9:15 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you so very much. I am woman, traumatized or no. Hear me shriek with rage. :)

      Reply
  13. Jackie
    August 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm (3 years ago)

    This… this was brave, open, honest, powerful, and so much more. Thank you for writing it and most of all sharing it with the rest of us.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 22, 2012 at 9:14 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you. It was hard to do. I’m still cringing a little bit. But I’m pretty much glad I did.

      Reply
  14. Suzanne
    August 21, 2012 at 9:10 pm (3 years ago)

    The…the Science Committee? I’m speechless. Wait, no, I’m the opposite of speechless. I’m going to use my whole voice to do whatever it takes to keep people like this out of office and out of our bodies. I’m so sorry for your experience Amber, and I’m sorry this asshat made you feel so raw.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 22, 2012 at 9:13 am (3 years ago)

      Science Committee. Yep. And he’s not dropping out of the race. Asshat.

      Reply
  15. Tottums
    August 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm (3 years ago)

    First off, I am so sorry that as a woman {and fellow human being} you had to experience something like that in your life. I don’t even know how else to comment, other than I am so so sorry. I’m sorry you had to go through it, I’m sorry you have to live with the memory of it, and I’m sorry that there are people {politicians running this country no less} that would open their idiotic traps and attempt to trivialize it just to win elections. I’m proud of you for sharing, sister.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 22, 2012 at 9:13 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you, that means a lot! The idiocy, it astounds me. It really does.

      Reply
  16. Shell
    August 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m so sorry you ever had to go through this.

    This “legitimate rape” comment is one of the stupidest things I think a politician has ever uttered.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 22, 2012 at 9:12 am (3 years ago)

      Indeed it was. He’s an asshat. But he’s just vocalizing what a lot of them believe, I think. Which is what’s worse.

      Reply
  17. Erin Robell
    August 22, 2012 at 10:18 am (3 years ago)

    This was powerful. Thank you for putting it out there. On behalf of myself and so many of my friends and loved ones who have been through similar situations…God Bless You.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you so very much.

      Reply
  18. Karen
    August 23, 2012 at 6:17 am (3 years ago)

    I am a rape survivor, too. I am so sorry you had to go through the hell.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 27, 2012 at 10:17 pm (3 years ago)

      I am equally sorry for your hellish experience. And I hope the people who deserve it find themselves in some sort of hell…someday.

      Reply
  19. Amanda
    August 27, 2012 at 10:23 am (3 years ago)

    Nothing could diminish what happened to you.

    I had someone say to me, “You don’t seem like the kind of woman who would be raped.” The insensitivity and inability to get it know no bounds, but here’s the thing, as we find each other and as we reinforce to one another that yes, it was rape, we become stronger.

    We survived. We have our voices and in using them we are empowering others to use theirs.

    Hugs.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm (3 years ago)

      Somebody actually said that to you? Good lord. Some people need to learn what to shut their mouths. But thank you. This post was not one I ever intended to write, but you’re right. It’s important to use our voices.

      Reply
  20. Lady Jennie
    August 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm (3 years ago)

    Since I’m not in the States, I only learned about this jerk through blogging.

    My heart hurts for you.

    Reply
    • Amber
      August 27, 2012 at 10:14 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you. There are good things to not being in the States! Lots of them, I’m guessing.

      Reply

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