The secret world of rape or, I enjoy being a girl

Today’s news:

[Rep. Steve] King supports the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” It would ban Federal funding of abortions except in cases of forcible rape. Right now, Medicaid also covers abortions for victims of statutory rape or incest – for example, a 12 year old who gets pregnant.

Congressman King says he’s not aware of any young victims like that.

“Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter,” he said.

All this talk about legitimate rape is making me seethe. It’s just as well that I didn’t have a daughter, because I’d be worried every time she went out the door. But if there’s one thing I know about rape, you can only lessen the odds – you can’t eradicate them completely. And if I had a daughter, I would not want her to walk trembling through this world. I would not want her to think she can’t trust anyone.

And yet, I can’t forget the forcible rapes (the “good” kind) that happened to the women I know. The friend waiting at the bus stop who got pulled into a car. The teenager who was surrounded on a suburban street, gang-raped and impregnated. The good girl from a religious home, raped by her grandfather and then her father. The young girl on her college orientation weekend, whose guide forced himself on her and left her pregnant. The young student, raped as a tourist in a foreign land. The young professional raped by her old boyfriend after he ran into her at a party. (Acquaintance rapes? Rule of thumb: Once you gave it away, it’s no longer yours to keep. I can’t even keep track of those.)

These girls, these women: You know what their crimes were? That they dared to think they could just walk around, like they weren’t women. As if the world belonged to them, too. Like sex wasn’t something that men could just take from them, as long as they were stronger and could catch you off guard. It’s not yours to give, it’s theirs to take.

Men don’t always understand that rape is all around. They think if they wouldn’t do such a thing, no one else would.

Rape is exciting. Rape is glamorous. We see it in the movies, that transcendent moment when the woman just stops struggling and gives in to what we all know she really wants. I remember watching “Blume in Love”. Wikipedia says, “The plot concerns the efforts of Stephen Blume, a Beverly Hills divorce lawyer played by Segal, to regain the wife (Anspach) who has divorced him.”

It doesn’t mention that the method by which he “regains” his wife (like yards in a football game, I suppose) is by raping and impregnating her. And then they all live happily ever after. A romantic comedy!

I remember feeling distinctly angry after that movie. My then-husband didn’t. “Yes, but they were married, it wasn’t like they were strangers,” he said. Yes, I know that emotional ties are complicated. But it was clearly a rape. (Oh, and Roger Ebert didn’t even mention the rape in his review. It just wasn’t … important, I suppose.)

We see it on TV all the time. Whenever a women is raped by someone she knows, she falls in love with her rapist. It’s just the way it is. Search “rape” on YouTube and see what comes up.

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The fraudulent ‘fraud’ squad

Talking Points Memo on the creation of the voter fraud epidemic:

Hans von Spakovsky, one of the charter members of the Fraudulent Fraud Squad, claimed that there was such “recent” evidence of a problem with impersonation fraud, and he cited to a grand jury report issued in 1984 by the Brooklyn (N.Y.) district attorney’s office. (Put aside the fact that 1984 is not so recent.)

I asked von Spakovsky for a copy of the report. I heard nothing from him, even though he had contacted me in the past pitching items to include on my Election Law Blog. I wrote to the president of the Heritage Foundation, where von Spakovsky works, asking for the report, and noting that good scholarship requires that scholars make their data available for verification. Silence. TPM ran a story on it. Silence.

A law librarian at UC Irvine finally was able to track down a copy of the report from the district attorney’s office. And guess what? The grand jury found lots of shenanigans by election officials and party officials (including party officials hiding in the ceiling of the men’s room of the Brooklyn Board of Elections to change voter registration after dark). But virtually no cases of voter impersonation fraud and nothing done without the collusion of election officials.

But by then, von Spakovsky had moved on. In a syndicated column, he wrote of an election allegedly stolen by at least 50 illegal votes cast by Somalis voting in Kansas. When I pointed out on my blog that the court examining these claims found no proof of illegal voting and that the election took place in Missouri, not Kansas, he corrected the column’s reference to Kansas, but did nothing to remove his discredited claim of fraud in the election.

More recently, von Spakovsky and his co-author John Fund wrote a book in which they rely onwholly discredited allegations that fraudulent voting was responsible for Al Franken’s win in Minnesota over Norm Coleman in the recount and litigation over the disputed Minnesota U.S. Senate race.

This is the modus operandi of the Fraudulent Fraud Squad. Use false and exaggerated claims. Don’t correct the record when proven wrong. Use a bait-and-switch on fraud allegations to justify laws which don’t prevent fraud. Make people believe voter fraud is an epidemic when it’s not. And call those who point out the truth “vote fraud deniers.”

In the meantime, Republican legislatures and election officials change election rules to make it harder to register and vote in the name of fraud prevention and voter confidence, confidence which political operatives have manipulated with unfounded and exaggerated allegations of voter fraud.

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