Rapeublicans and Skepdicks

Seems like a lot of Republican politicians think they know a lot about rape, or at least enough to classify rapes as Legitimate, Honest, Emergency, Gift or Easy.

Law and order conservatives loftily proclaim that liberals are only soft on crime until they themselves become victims. By the same logic it seems that conservatives are soft on rape because they themselves are unlikely to become victims. Perhaps if we sent more white collar criminals to real prisons these Republicans would feel less sanguine about their chances of being raped.

I’ve dated many women, a few of whom quietly told me about their rape. One was coerced into oral sex by a coworker who threatened to make her lose her job. One was raped during a date with an older man. Another was raped by someone that broke into her apartment. It would have been easy for me to sit back and say, well, you should have stood up to that coworker, you shouldn’t have gone out with that guy, and you should have kept your windows locked.

But I remember that when someone broke into my apartment and stole my stuff, the police said, well, you should have had better locks and you shouldn’t leave nice things visible from your windows. And when someone smashed my car window to steal something, the police said, you shouldn’t leave stuff in plain sight.

So I’m supposed to hide all my stuff away behind locked doors and women are supposed to wear burkhas and stay at home. Then all thefts and rapes will be “legitimate.” But I still won’t get my stuff back, and women will still have to deal with unwanted pregnancies.

It is clear that the Religious Right doesn’t want to cede women any power over their bodies, but it was surprising to read that the same may be true about supposedly intelligent Skeptics. Female skeptic Rebecca Watson wrote, It Stands to Reason, Skeptics Can Be Sexist Too for Slate.

… after a few years of blogging, podcasting, and speaking at skeptics’ conferences, I began to get emails from strangers who detailed their sexual fantasies about me. I was occasionally grabbed and groped without consent at events. And then I made the grave mistake of responding to a fellow skeptic’s YouTube video in which he stated that male circumcision was just as harmful as female genital mutilation (FGM). I replied to say that while I personally am opposed to any non-medical genital mutilation, FGM is often much, much more damaging than male circumcision.

The response from male atheists was overwhelming. This is one example:

“honestly, and i mean HONESTLY.. you deserve to be raped and tortured and killed. swear id laugh if i could”

I started checking out the social media profiles of the people sending me these messages, and learned that they were often adults who were active in the skeptic and atheist communities. They were reading the same blogs as I was and attending the same events. These were “my people,” and they were the worst.

Perhaps the common thread between these articles is that people with little empathy enjoy wielding any sort of advantage against those with less power. Nowhere is this more obvious than among those that use the anonymity of the internet to attack and insult any sort of target. At least the Republicans may have to answer on Election Day.

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