What I’m about to do is one of the ballsiest things I’ve probably ever done. To be honest, I don’t really want to do this, but I feel like I am left with no choice.
As I’m sure many of you already are aware, earlier today, Missouri Republican and Senate hopeful Todd Akin went on TV this morning in St. Louis and stated that few rapes end in pregnancies. An absurd statement, I know.
Unfortunately, this is not the first absurd statement Todd Akin has ever made. Nor is it the most offensive thing he’s said, which is why I’m all fired up. Todd Akin has also spoken about rape, only in terms of “legitimate rape,” meaning that a person has not been raped unless he or she has been forced.
But before I get into the heart of my post, I would like to point out one very important fact. What I am about to say has nothing to do with my political leanings. I would say this even if Todd Akin were a Democrat, a Libertarian, or from any other political party. Because this issue goes beyond political parties. It goes to the very essence of who we are as humans, and sadly, I think so many people are so caught up in being the moral fiber police that they simply stop thinking about us as individuals.
So who am I, and why do I care?
Well, for starters, I am a rape victim. But I am quite certain that Todd Akin and his counterparts would never agree that I was raped. Why? Because I was raped by a partner.
Years ago, my partner (whom I have since left) would force me to have sex, but because we were in a consensual relationship, many people do not believe that it is “legitimate rape.” It doesn’t matter that I was forced to do something against my will. It doesn’t matter that my pleas went unheard. What the man in a relationship says goes in the minds of people like Todd Akin.
Very few people on this planet know what happened to me, and I thought that I would go to my grave without sharing that information. But as lawmakers around the United States continue to band together to strip women of their rights, I cannot be silent any more.
I do not want to be a martyr. I do not want people digging into the skeletons in my closet. But what choice do I have?
I currently live in a state with one of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the country, short of banning it outright. Less than 10 miles from me, across the border is the state I was born and raised in, the same state Todd Akin hopes to represent in the U.S. Senate.
If I keep my mouth shut, women in the United States will continue to be stripped of their rights. We will lose the choices we have that involve our very own bodies. Have I ever gotten an abortion? No. Would I stand up in support of loved ones who have had no option but to have an abortion? I have and will always do so.
If you don’t want to have an abortion because of your beliefs, whether they are religious or not, that is your right, but that does not give you the right to infringe upon my own rights.
How long ago was it that Rush Limbaugh decried that unmarried women who want to use birth control should have to show videos of themselves having sex? What happened? He lost a few sponsors, and there was an outcry from those of us who realize how sexist and disgusting his request was, but that was it. It did not stop the state of Missouri from honoring him earlier this year.
And Rush Limbaugh would have a fit, because I do use birth control, even though I am not currently having sex, because that is my right.
The voices of ignorance seem to be growing louder as the election draws nearer. As much as I wanted to stick my head in the sand and ignore it all, I can’t. I tried, but I can’t. Because if women like me keep our mouths shut, one day we will have no voice at all.
Our country is a mess, as the religious right seems to forget the fact that this country was founded upon religious freedom. I have done my research on the First Amendment and written papers on the topic. I know that we, as a country, should be as open as we can and accept that not everyone here believes the same. Yet, so many in this country still openly hate against anyone who doesn’t fit in the Christian code.
I grew up Christian, and it was that very hate that drove me from being an active Christian. I could not sit down and listen to all the hate that was spewed forth in the name of God. That same hate that drives people like Todd Akin to want to control everything about us, to strip us of the rights we had to fight so hard to get in the first place. If people like Todd Akin have their way, anyone who is not a white, Christian, God-fearing hypocritical male will be a second-class citizen. And all that progress we will have achieved since our founding will have been for naught.
So, to those of you who, as I do, believe that this hate has got to go, please stand up for our rights. Show your legislators that you will not have them relegate large portions of the U.S. citizenry to the back seat. Whether you are fighting for women’s rights or gay rights, you are fighting for human rights. Please stand up and help us work toward a democratic society that is truly democratic, where all citizens – regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, status, etc. – have the same equal and unalienable rights we deserve.
Please register to vote, if you have not already done so. And when November comes around, vote for anyone who is willing to stand up for equal rights for all. It is the least we deserve.