On Sunday, August 19, Representative Todd Akin of Missouri made a statement during an interview on the Jaco Report on Fox 2 that outraged Democrats and Republicans alike. When asked about his position on abortion in cases of rape, he replied:
“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”
And rightly so. This is one story that we should be freaking out about. The media frenzy surrounding Akin’s statement and even the aftermath of apologies and calls to quit the race have created a forum of dialogue about a sensitive topic. We are looking at the facts of rape, which is about control and power, facts that Akin clearly does not understand. Twitter feeds have exploded with comments about not just rape, but sexual coercion and even sleazy partners.
@ieatmykidzsnack: So a woman’s body can block “rape semen?” Don’t you think we’d be able to block “never gonna call again semen” & “no good loser semen” too?
The fact is that Akin is wrong- women do not have a magical power to dispel the semen of a rapist. And now anyone paying any attention to the news this week hopefully also knows that, thanks to this outrageous, absurd statement!!
Sexuality educators can use media frenzies like this one to talk about how people learn, and unlearn, myths about rape, and please be sure to set the record straight with your participants! Penile-vaginal penetration by ANY penis (even a rapists’) without using a barrier method or contraception can result in pregnancy. It doesn’t always, but it can.
For a great, concise summary of the statements/events related to Akin’s statement, check out this NY Times article.