Il-“Legitimate” Criticism

Rep. Todd Akin (R – MO) recently made a really ridiculous, hurtful, uninformed, and just plain wrong statement about sexual violence resulting in pregnancy while discussing his opposition to abortion under all circumstances:

“Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Oh, really? What does he know that the medical and scientific communities do not?

Thankfully, the response from many people across the political spectrum has been to call Akin out on this preposterous untruth. The way some people have done this, however, is disheartening. Across social media, there have been far too many (even one instance is too many) calls for Representative Akin to be sexually assaulted so that he can learn what it feels like. This tends to happen whenever there are stories related to sexual violence in the media: the perpetrator or the person saying harmful things should be assaulted to get a taste of their own medicine.

There is absolutely no need for this. We should never call for anyone to be sexually assaulted. Ever. Period.

When those of us working to end sexual violence engage in that sort of dialogue, we do nothing to further the discussion of how to prevent sexual violence. We feed into the environment that perpetuates harm.

What would happen if any of us who heard or saw someone make a comment calling for someone to be sexually harmed spoke up? What if we took the time to Demand the Change and say that no one, no matter their political affiliation, gender, orientation, ability, legal status, or anything else, deserved to perpetrate or be a victim of sexual violence?

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