For rape to be such a difficult subject, we’ve been talking about it a lot lately and with very little reverence or respect for the people who are victims.
We all remember Todd Akin’s statements about “legitimate rape” and how the female body has a way of “trying to shut that whole thing (pregnancy) down.” Most of us hoped no one else would make any rape comments for a while. Apparently, that was too much to ask.
Indiana treasurer Richard Mourdock, also a Republican, stated recently, “I just struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize: Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
As you can imagine and probably know, Mourdock has fallen under heavy fire for saying that rape is something God “intends” and for using this as his reason for his stance against abortion.
So now we’re bringing God into the mix? Has no one told politicians that religion and politics are best not discussed together? Throw rape into the discussion, too, and you’re asking for trouble, especially if the words coming out of your mouth are not cautious and respectful.
It seems like campaigns this year are full of people trying to see what they can get away with saying, but what good does that do? And should we as Americans be more concerned, more demanding about the truth and tact of what our politicians are saying?
In this case, Mourdock is free to have his beliefs and to be an active member of his faith community; however, as a politician representing a diverse group of people, it is not his place to use his political platform to try to apply his personal religious beliefs on people who do not share them.
Politicians like Mourdock and Akin would also do well to speak in a more understanding manner about such a difficult and hurtful subject like rape. There are many people in this country who have fallen victim to this horrible crime and who are having to overcome both mental and physical problems as a result. These people deserve respect, not further victimization by speaking about their situation in such black and white terms as though rape is something simple and scientific to understand. Something that can be explained away.
To those who have suffered from terrible situations such as rape, know that most of us stand with you and do not harbor such definitive views about why something so terrible happened, nor do we pretend to have all of the answers about the way in which you should handle your situations.
Here’s to hoping that the politicians who are “representing” the American people will begin actually representing us.
Megan Massey is a senior religious studies major from Mount Olive. Follow her on Twitter @megan_massey.