[Trigger warning for discussion of rape analogies and rape.]
The Republican Party has never been great for women (which helps explain the numbers), but a few recent events are shocking even from the GOP. First, take the transvaginal ultrasound bill in Virginia. Jon Stewart explains it well (though, as his show goes, this isn't that great):
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Punanny State - Virginia's Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill|
His comparison is spot on: this is mandated rape or, at least, a serious invasion of the bodily autonomy of women. (The argument can be made, like with TSA pat downs, that this isn't rape because the person performing the procedure isn't doing so with a sexual intent. That's a small comfort to the victims. And anyways, this is about the abuse of state power with the threat of bodily invasion to try to force women to allow an unwanted pregnancy to control their bodies for the next nine months. Sounds like rape to me.)
Luckily, the public reaction when Republican intentions came to light forced Governor McDonnell to back down. The version of the bill that ended up passing requires an external transabdominal ultrasound, which I understand is basically non-invasive. (If you know more about this than I do, please correct me in the comments.) But the fact that the Republican party tried to discourage abortions by requiring women to be raped before having them speaks for itself, regardless of the final outcome.
Then, of course, there seems to have been a rise in the GOP's willingness to trivialize rape through ridiculous comparisons. Examples abound (that one's quoting an actual legal brief filed with the Supreme Court — pages 4 and 22) all across the internet (including in the clip above). Liberals also make ridiculous rape analogies, of course, and that's not alright either. But the GOP seems to love it lately.
And then we have people like Liz Trotta on Fox "News", who derided efforts to protect women in the military from rape as the manipulations of radical feminists.
Some highlights: She suggested it was ridiculous for people to "want to be warriors and victims at the same time." Beyond the absurdity of suggesting that anyone wants to be a victim, this plays directly into some of the worst stereotypes about rape: that someone who was raped is defenseless, weak, and worthless, and incapable of being a "warrior." It's simply not true, and rhetoric like this only encourages the underreporting of rape by victims who are embarrassed about the event.
She asked: "What did they expect" other than women serving in the military being raped? I don't know: maybe that we had a stellar military that was the pride of our country and would do everything to respect each of the soldiers who risk their lives to defend us?
It would be hard for most normal people to put a price limit on preventing rape in the military. But for Liz Trotta, $113 million (0.017% of a $680 billion annual Defense Department budget) is too much. "The feminists have directed them to spend a lot of money: Sexual counselors all over the place, victim's advocates, sexual response coordinators" (all said in a derisive voice).
And here's the kicker: "So you have this whole bureaucracy upon bureaucracy being built up with all kinds of levels of people to support women in the military who are now being raped too much." One more time: women are being raped too much. They are receiving more than the optimal amount of rape. The rape levels are above acceptable outcomes. Seriously now.
I'll hand it to that Fox News anchor. He actually sounded reasonable for a minute there, suggesting that people who risk their lives in the military should be protected from rape. Her response (and I kid you not):
"I thought the mission of the Army and the Navy and the four services was to defend us, not the people who are fighting the war." Anchor: "We certainly want the people fighting the war to be protected from anything illegal." Her: "*laughs* Nice try Erik."
You can't make this up. The anchor even gave her the opportunity to come back on and apologize after people saw this and realized what a complete jackass she was. The clip that follows is worth watching for amusement's sake (the anchor doggedly tries to have a conversation with her, but she sticks to reading a script in a very self-important voice), but in eight and a half minutes I didn't hear her address any of the issues with her original statement or apologize once. She didn't even claim to be misunderstood and attempt to clarify her remarks. She just went off on a tangential rant about feminists.
But why address her previous statements? Women in the military are being raped too much, and it's the fault of the feminists who want them to be able to serve in the military. She said exactly what she meant to say.