We began two weeks ago with a bang as HR3, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" was rolled out, a bill sponsored in part by Chris Smith (R-NJ) and vetted by House Speaker John Boehner in which, as we all know by now, federally funded abortions for rape victims could only be provided to victims of "forcible rape." Not date rape, not incest, not drugged and unconscious victim rape, not "mentally handicapped" victim rape, not husband on wife rape, not "she had too much to drink" rape. No, ma'am. (And sir!). You had better march up the steps of the Capitol with your neck brace, crutches and black eyes to be able to qualify for an abortion, should you have the further misfortune of being impregnated by your (forcible) rapist.
As someone who was drugged and gang-raped at age 17, in 1984 at the University of Virginia, I am fortunate not to have faced that choice. Of course, I also had no choice when it came to being raped. That said, I almost feel like my 2011 counterparts are no luckier. There was nothing non-forcible about my or any rape. Not a thing. When, on Thursday, the bill's crafters pulled the word "forcible" after an angry outcry from feminist and human rights groups, especially blogger Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, whose #dearjohn hashtag set the Twitter world on fire, I'm not convinced HR3 is any better. They cannot unsay what they meant by removing a word. The idea of middle-aged, Republican white men attempting to control womens' bodies once again infuriates many human beings - not just women, not just liberals. It's not about the redefinition language - though that cat is most definitely out of the bag - it's that the GOP does not want anyone to have a choice. No abortions for anyone!
That said, I am not sure if I could properly love a child borne of my rape. Perhaps I could. I am a mother of two and my children are my treasures. Clearly, Jaycee Dugard has done an excellent job of raising her two girls, products of rape while in captivity for 18 years at the hands of Phillip Garrido, a repeat sex offender of the darkest kind, who had eluded probation officials for years. Even in the bestselling novel Room, by Emma Donoghue, the relationship between "Jack" and "Ma" is one of fierce love and devotion, even though Jack was born in and lived his first five years in an eleven foot by eleven foot cell in the backyard of "Old Nick," a kidnapper and rapist who calls to mind Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man who jailed his own daughter underneath his home and forced her to bear his children until authorities unearthed the crime. Because these women (real and fictional) were in captivity, abortion was never their choice. Nothing was their choice.
By the end of the week, we had the added slap in the face of Republican State Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-GA), who has just written a bill that says that in Court, rape, stalking and family violence victims cannot be called "victims." They must be called "accusers" until the case has been adjudicated. So, you aren't a victim until a jury says you must be. And that doesn't happen very often. Very few cases are every reported, let alone reach a court of law. And, as a legal aside, the accuser is not the victim or complaining witness, but the State, who is prosecuting the alleged criminal, so Franklin's preposterous proposal is also legally flawed.
Oddly enough, Bernie Madoff's victims are, well, fraud victims. If you stole my laptop, then I would be a robbery victim. So, I ask, why is the Republican party doing everything in its power to marginalize and trivialize rape and violence victims, both male and female, this week? Wouldn't it be more fruitful to boost job growth, feed the hungry in our own country, better our schools? No - that would be too difficult. It is seemingly much more fitting to be a bully, lording over the weak and the harmed, than to be a part of the system that helps raise us up and provide much needed services for victims of violence so that we will be contributing, healthy members of society and of this great country.
I am a rape survivor. And I am a registered Republican. #boobyfranklin (typo and it stays). Follow me on Twitter @CrashIntoMeBook.
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