WASHINGTON -- Just one week after Wisconsin State Rep. Roger Rivard (R-Rice Lake) faced a firestorm for telling a newspaper that "[s]ome girls rape easy," he is set to address an organization of women educators on Tuesday night.
Rivard made his controversial remark -- which he said was advice shared with him by his father -- in December, when he talked to The Chetek Alert newspaper about a 17-year-old high school student who was charged with sexual assault after having sex with an underage girl in the band room. The interview received wider attention after the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on it last week.
Rivard told the Journal-Sentinel that his comments were "taken out of context," saying his father meant to convey that if "you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry."
But before the Journal-Sentinel published his remarks, Rivard -- along with several other state lawmakers -- made plans to address the women's group Delta Kappa Gamma on Tuesday in Barron, Wis.
Rivard did not respond to a request about whether he would still be attending the forum, but Cindy Rockow, president of the chapter, said Monday that she expected him to be there.
She said she "could not believe" Rivard's comments on rape when she heard them, and as moderator of the event, she intends to press him on the matter on Tuesday. Rockow also said she expects some women to protest outside the Veterans' Memorial Auditorium, where the event is taking place.
In the past week, Rivard has been quickly losing support from Republicans in the state. Both Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have withdrawn their endorsements, and state Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) -- who is leading the effort to maintain a Republican majority in the Wisconsin Assembly -- also pulled his financial support.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) said he plans to donate $500, the sum of the contributions Rivard made to his 2010 and 2012 congressional campaigns, to the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse in Superior, Wis.
But in a call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate said he wasn't so sure that Republicans would truly leave Rivard out to dry.
"My question is this: Will the Republican Party of Wisconsin or the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee spend a single dollar including Rivard in their get-out-the-vote mail, their get-out-the-vote calls or canvasses? Will he be on the get-out-the-vote script? Will he be on scripts with Mitt Romney and Tommy Thompson? These are important questions," he said.
"It is one thing to say that you publicly denounce Rivard, but it is another to actually pull your support, both financial and through grassroots activism."
A freshman lawmaker, Rivard is stuck in a tight race for reelection against Democrat Stephen Smith.
Sarah Bufkin contributed reporting.