Rape and abortion have filled the headlines this week. Todd Akin's medieval assessment of women's fertility and "legitimate" rape astounded me. The only silver lining was hearing Mitt Romney and many other Republicans condemn Akin flat out. Akin forfeited any claim on morality. His tepid non-retraction, followed by doubling-down confounds me.
For more than twenty years, I kept it a secret. I was 17 when it happened. My sense of self changed forever. Over the course of six days, the tastes, the tightness of the phone cord that bound my hands, and the violence of their exertions, and especially the smells of those young men that raped me repeatedly in a squalid apartment, were seared into my memory. They introduced me to evil, embodied evil incarnate quite literally, and it is through them that my dialogue with evil began. This experience brought about my first unforced prayers to God.
When the attackers left to get another victim, after promising to make me an example, I convinced their drug-addled accomplice to let me use the bathroom without supervision while he got high again. I called my parents, my father came and I knew he would and could protect me. The Second Amendment, the concealed carry permit, my father's years of practice meant I would make it home alive.
A hot shower, unconditional love, and the absence of shame was all I craved. I knew my attackers could not find me, that I could not identify them, and the ordeal was over.
There was no such thing as a call to 911, and a heroic cop emerging with all the magic answers at just the right time like some episodic drama on television. This is not an episode of my life I wanted to save on the DVR list.
Criminalizing the victim of rape isn't a moral win, or a legal win. Women are not property. If he and his supporters read the Constitution, I would like to refer them to the protections afforded men and women. We are equal. We have religious freedom. We have the same rights. Akin has never been the 17 year old gang rape victim terrified of pregnancy, trying to heal. I have. By the Grace of God, I was not pregnant. I have known others who were not so fortunate, women who chose to abort and women who carried a child to term.
Akin decided this week is a great opportunity to fundraise. The criminalizing of rape victims combined with raising campaign cash on the corpses of unimplanted embryos, implanted embryos, fetuses, babies, or the term of your choosing is just as abhorrent as the hyper-partisan Left pretending they care about protecting rape victims, when what they actually do is raise money off of the same unborn children.
The sanctity of our womb and the struggle to balance laws for people of many faiths and no faith makes for labrynthine political discourse. If we lived in the perfect world where every pregnancy was a blessing, I would stand shoulder to shoulder with Akin. But we don't. We live in a world where rape is one of the most under reported crimes, because women fear the shame will define them.
I have seen evil, experienced evil, and been delivered through the fire by God's mercy. No man who shares Akin's view of my womb, no woman who wishes to replace his zealotry with her own, deserves to be seen as a mainstream representative of any political party or as a spokesperson for God.
Rape is a crime so heinous that when used systemically, as it was in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide, it is considered a Crime Against Humanity and a tool of genocide. It is dehumanizing, degrading and an act of pure evil. For someone of faith to profess no concern for the women who suffer this trauma, and instead focus on one piece of a horrific puzzle for partisan gain is unconscionable. Just as the callous taking of an innocent life is. The settled law in our nation preserves an uncomfortable balance. There is no simple policy fix.
Sovereignty over self is the greatest freedom of all. Our Creator endowed us with life and liberty but it is his mercy and Grace that sustains me today.
For reading on the political implications, please read Rick Wilson's brilliant and cogent piece on the need for Adult Supervision here on Ricochet.