Rape Trivialized on the Campaign Trail
October 25, 2012
In a sound bite from a 2011 interview which has recently garnered a lot of attention, Representative Roger Rivard, a Republican from Wisconsin, said his father told him, “Some girls rape easy.” Um, what is that supposed to mean?
Rivard clarified his past comments about a week ago, saying that his father gave him that advice to discourage pre-marital sex since a girl can easily lie about whether it was consensual or not. Basically, if a girl has pre-marital sex and gets pregnant, she’s going to lie about it out of shame and the guy will be charged with rape.
There are so many things wrong with this picture. You see a father giving his son the impression that rape is not a legitimate problem. Instead of telling his son how to respect a woman and her body or how to prevent pregnancy, he is sending the message that rape is merely a ruse for a woman to save face in the midst of the “embarrassment” of pregnancy. Wow, what great parenting.
Rivard isn’t the only one making wacky claims about rape. Indiana Republican senate candidate Richard Mourdock claimed in a debate on Tuesday that when pregnancy happens as a result of rape, it is “something God intended.”
Rape is a serious problem. Every year, more than 200,000 people are sexually assaulted in the United States. If people—especially those with the power to influence others—continue to trivialize rape or perpetuate the stereotype that those who claim to have been raped are lying or overreacting, we will never be able to see this number drop to zero.