The language of sexual assault and the tea party movement

Miranda Celeste Hale passes along  a letter-to-the-editor of the Spokane, WA regional paper, The Spokesman Review:

Obama plan defies words

When a woman says, “No”, but a man pays no heed to her wishes, it’s called rape. What is it called, when most U.S. citizens vociferously protest, “No!” and are ignored by President Obama and much of the Democratic Congress — some of whom were bribed — as they crammed the Obama health care bill down our unwilling throats? I don’t know what it’s called, other than wrong, and “Time to impeach the main perpetrator” and “Time to wipe the smirk off Nancy Pelosi’s ingenuous, smug face.”

Becky McPherson
Valley, Wash.

Hale asks that we stop saying “rape” unless we’re actually talking about rape:

Alright, let me get the obvious stuff out the way first:

  1. We live in a representative democracy, not a direct democracy.
  2. Besides, even if we did, “most U.S. citizens” don’t agree with this teapartier lunacy, thank goodness.
  3. Bribed? How? When? By whom? Why does the newspaper print these unsubstantiated accusations from paranoid, ignorant, and unjustifiably angry fools? Seriously. It’s a ridiculous and irresponsible practice.
  4. Again, calling for impeachment? “[T]he main perpetrator”? “Time to wipe the smirk off Nancy Pelosi’s ingenuous, smug face”? Why print this absurd and hateful rhetoric? How does doing so benefit the newspaper? How does it benefit public discourse? I can’t wrap my brain around it.

But, more importantly: stop using “rape” unless you’re talking about actual rape. We use “rape” to describe a specific, horrible, and violent type of sexual assault, and indiscriminately throwing it around like this lessens its impact. In other words, teapartier lady, you and your fellow wingnuts weren’t “raped” by the president or Congress. Nothing was “crammed down [your] unwilling throats.” You weren’t physically violated or assaulted. You. Weren’t. Raped. Stop misusing and abusing the word, stop claiming it as your own, and stop pretending that the passage of health care reform harms you in the same way that actual rape hurts and violates rape victims. It’s a preposterous and offensive assertion, to say the least.

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2 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing my post 🙂

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