Government Legislated Rape

I have heard about this for the last few days and I’ve waited this long to blog about it because I wanted to calm down first. I didn’t want to just shake my fist and rant. I’m not sure my plan will succeed since it seems to me that my anger has only gotten worse in the past few days.

Virginia has passed a bill that says a woman wanting an abortion needs to get an ultrasound beforehand. Once again, this is conservatives trying to put up roadblocks to any woman getting an abortion. Except it gets worse. Much worse. It turns out that most abortions take place before an external ultrasound would show anything (within the first twelve weeks of a pregnancy) so that means that these women would need to get a transvaginal ultrasound. Yes, it is as bad as it sounds. It means that a doctor has to insert a probe into a woman’s vagina in order to get an image. As bad as that sounds, even that is not the worst part. It turns out that they will do this without the woman’s consent. Yes, you are reading that right. The government is saying that an object must be inserted inside a woman’s vagina for no valid medical reason without her consent. Last I checked, that was rape. So there you go. Virginia is saying it’s ok for it to rape you. What. The. Fuck.

So they are using the usual excuses for this. One is that women should make a fully informed decision. Apparently, women are too stupid to make a fully informed decision without getting violated. I never got how this was a viable argument. Even if it’s just a regular ultrasound (the goo on the stomach kind), how does it provide any more information? The woman knows she’s pregnant. The ultrasound will show she’s pregnant. No more information than she had before.

There are several problems I see with the passage of this law. I will take these in no particular order.

First, there has not been nearly enough outrage expressed about this. Not even close. Everyone and their dog should be shouting how wrong this is. I am seriously dismayed that people in general are not taking this more seriously. Is it apathy? Is it that no one thinks that this will be enforced? Whatever it is, it’s not a good enough reason. Everyone in Virginia should be calling their representatives and telling them they are going to vote their asses out of office for this.

Also, has no one thought about women who are already victims of rape? Just imagine a woman who has been raped and finds out that she’s pregnant from that horrible experience. It’s understandable she would not want to carry her rapist’s baby to term so she wants to get a legal abortion, something she thinks is the right thing for her to be able to get on with her life. The government seems to think the right thing to do here is to rape her all over again. Because apparently, she hasn’t been through enough already. Again. What. The. Fuck.

The other thing is this implication that only a certain kind of person gets an abortion. Conservatives sell this image of the woman who gets an abortion: a sexually loose, irresponsible, inconsiderate slut who has no respect for human life. Why not make her go through something unpleasant and demeaning? That way, maybe she’ll think twice about doing it again. For the record, even if it were true that only irresponsible women got abortions,  it should not be an issue. An abortion is a legal procedure that every woman should have access to if she wants one. Her sexual habits are no one’s business but her own and her sexual partner’s. Also for the record, the fact is that every kind of woman gets an abortion. Every woman has a reason to get an abortion at the time she gets it. She could be anyone. A teacher, student, lawyer, doctor, secretary, plumber, mechanic, mother, soldier. She could be catholic, protestant, mormon, atheist, muslim, buddhist. Don’t kid yourselves. Just because someone is religious doesn’t mean they can’t have something happen in their lives that makes it so they can’t handle having a kid at that particular point in time. No one but her can make that decision. No one but her should make that decision.

This is just another instance in this recent trend of attacking women’s rights. All these decisions seem to be made by a majority of men too. It’s interesting that these men don’t think that there is anything wrong with forcibly introducing an object into a woman’s vagina as a condition for her to have a medical procedure. I’ve seen and heard a few people make the argument that this would be equivalent to saying men can’t get access to erectile dysfunction drugs unless they get sodomized. While it seems to make a good argument in the moment, I actually don’t think that comes close. What happens to a man who doesn’t get ED drugs? He doesn’t get to have a normal sex life. That sucks and I really am not trying to diminish this but let’s compare that to a woman who doesn’t get an abortion. She gets a baby she doesn’t want. That’s a lifetime commitment. And that’s only if everything goes right. There are a variety of complications that can occur during a pregnancy, including death of the woman. Also, I’m not sure that I want to sink to their level to make my point. My point is that requiring women to be raped before they can get an abortion is wrong. So I don’t think we should suggest doing it to someone else, whether it be to get even or make the point. It’s wrong. No one should be violated for any reason.

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Rape in the Military

Liz Trotta did an interview/commentary on Fox News about rapes in the military. It’s a vomit-inducing rant about how the army should have expected rapes to go up when they allowed women in the military because, apparently, putting women and men in close contact automatically leads to rape. I’m not sure who should be more insulted: the women or the men.

On the one hand, she’s basically saying that men are incapable of self-control when put in proximity to women. That’s pretty bad. It’s almost like accusing men of being unthinking savages completely controlled by their sexual desires. If that’s really the case though, why aren’t all men rapping women on the street. They are in close contact with each other. Why isn’t 5th avenue one big rape-fest?

On the other hand, she’s basically saying that the women are asking for it just by being in the military. That’s a terrible thing to say about people who want to serve their country. It’s a terrible thing to say about anyone. No one ever asks for rape. Making comments like that only perpetuates the backwards thinking that continues to minimize rape in our society. The answer is never to avoid the situations, by preventing women from serving in the military for example. What we need to do is educate people. We need to teach people to work with each other in high pressure situations and not take out their stress on each other. We need to make it ok to report rape when it happens. We need to support raped soldiers, not treat them as if they have done something wrong. We need to make them understand that it does not make them weak, or any less of a soldier, if they are raped.

That’s another problem. Not only do we have a habit of blaming the victim, but we blame them for being victims. There seems to be this thought that somehow being a victim of rape makes someone less of a person. The stigma is even worse for soldiers. They are supposed to be tough, fearless, able to fend off any attack. It’s even harder for them to come forward because they will feel like even more of a failure. We have to work on that. We need to support soldiers because they risk their lives to defend our way of life.