Rapesploitation in American Politics
Among the many loathsome things that humans are capable of inflicting upon each other, rape is way up there. That, however, does not stop some politicians from exploiting the issue while demonstrating a complete lack of empathy for rape victims, most of whom are women. In the US, the ultra-conservative wing of the ever more conservative Republican Party has infamously been filling that niche for some time now.
Rape comments were common in the past election season
Throughout the past election season, several GOP politicians have stirred up controversy with insensitive, misogynistic comments about rape. Typical commentary contained elements such as downplaying rape, or arguing for (and proposing bills designed to) limiting women’s access to abortion in the context of rape.
Predictably, remarks of that sort have created a public relations disaster for conservative politicians, as huge chunks of women voters tend not to like being lectured by old men on what constitutes rape and how they should feel and act about it.
Shut up, those pesky TV cameras are pointed at you!
So what is the solution to all that horrible bad press? Well, one anti-abortion group has decided that it is workshops for conservative politicians teaching how to keep their beliefs on rape but tone down the rhetoric just a notch while speaking in public so that nobody will notice. According to that logic, ‘rape culture’ and the underlying desire to control women’s bodies is not the problem, but the public figuring out some politicians’ extreme positions is.
I am not so sure that women in the US will buy into this. Say what you will about people’s short attention spans. On the Internet, all those comments are still accessible. And if the past election season has shown anything, it is that the wackier politicians can’t help themselves but say outrageous things all the time.
“GOP looks for ways to stop the rape comments.” (Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico, 2013/01/11)
“The real Republican rape platform.” (Jill Filipovic, Guardian, 2012/10/25)
“The Republican Rape Advisory Chart.” (Bruce Wilson, Alternet, 2012/10/24)
More comments about women by prominent GOP figures:
“[Conservative talk radio host] Rush Limbaugh: ‘You Know How to Stop Abortion? Require That Each One Occur With a Gun’” (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, 2013/01/17) – In essence, this highly influential talk radio host says that women who seek an abortion should be killed.