Like the President said, rape is rape; and if anyone doesn't understand what rape is, it's this - forced sex without a person's consent. Sure, everyone knows the standard image of rape in everyone's mind - think of a wartime situation, invading armies violating women and young girls. Or the date in a car down Lover's Lane when the petting in the back seat gets heavy and the fella wants to take things to another level. The girl says "no."
Back in the Seventies, when I came of age, those were the bad old days of rape. I remember the University of Virginia, new to having women students, confronting that crime, which often went unreported nation- and worldwide. The reason for that was that policing, during that period, often made the victim feel as though she had committed the crime.
"Were you wearing hot pants?"
"Was your skirt too short?"
"Was your neckline too low?"
In short, did you dress provocatively. Then there was the assumption, made by some lawmakers (mostly men) that "no" sometimes really meant "yes." Playing hard to get.
"No" means "no." It means I do not give my consent. I do not give my consent when you suggest we indulge in a little bit of nookie when I don't feel like doing it or I don't fancy you. I do not give my consent when I'm too drunk or too drugged to know what I'm doiing. And if I'm anywhere under sixteen in the UK or eighteen in the US, I damned well don't give my consent, even if I do say "yes" and you're an adult - because that's illegal on my part and on yours. Think carefully about what the legal age of consent means.
So by all of the above, any and all rape is forceful rape. It's a forced action. And anyone will tell you this as well - that rape, an act of violence perpetrated against a woman, is actually all about control. It's about the perpetrator doing what he wants to the victim, because he can. It means the victim is powerless, worthless and denigrated. The perpetrator violates in the worst possible way and leaves the victim with nothing but a loss of self-worth - and an unintended pregancy doesn't make amends for that.
Todd Akin and Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum and any man or woman who thinks a woman left pregnant by rape - it does happen - should carry a child conceived in violence to term, even to view this situation as a "terrible gift" (as Rick Santorum put it) is asking the impossible.
As Eugene Robinson remarked in his Washington Post column today, all well and good for Akin, wittering after making his totally ignorant assumption, that emphasis should be on punishing the rapist and caring for the child who might be a result of that rape, but no consideration or reference was made to the other party affected by such a misdeed - the woman in question. No consideration. No reference. No regard.
And not just from the extremist branch of the Republican Party.
Michael Moore, opportunist, appropriator of the Occupy movement, self-publicist, and self-proclaimed big mouth of the extreme Left, is a high profiled defender of an accused rapist. Moore goes to great lengths to defend Julian Assange, another big ego who's snookered millions of people into believing his particular version of "freedom of speech" (indelibly attached to his own self-promotion, otherwise known as grifting).
People shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Assange's bleatings about being afraid of being extradited to the United States mask the fact that he really doesn't want to be hauled back to Sweden to answer rape charges. The voices of his two alleged victims are being lost in Assange's latest round of international attention-seeking, aided and abetted by Moore.
Another thing we on the Left would do well to remember is that not even two years ago, Michael Moore shared a giggle with Keith Olbermann, on Olbermann's then-MSNBC show Countdown, where he described the claims of Assange's alleged victims as "hooey." And Keith Olbermann agreed.
Akin ... Ryan ... Moore ... Olbermann ... two sides of the same coin or cut from the same cloth, it doesn't matter. It's just another strike from ignorant and insensitive men against women in general.