Monday, August 27, 2012

Why Dudes Ought To Just Shut The Hell Up About Rape

I haven't written anything about the Republican Party's view on rape (clearly this isn't just Todd Akin going rogue) for no other reason than I'm a dude, and there's been enough writing on the subject (from all sides) by dudes.  As a dude, no, let me be more specific, as an upper-middle-class white dude, I have absolutely no freaking idea what it's like to live with the fear that stopping to offer assistance to someone in a parking lot or going for a jog along a heavily traveled street or sitting in my kitchen with the light on at 3am or simply going out on a date could get me raped and/or murdered, yet that has happened to friends or fellow Chapel Hillians (all women of course) in the past few years.  It's not that any of those things couldn't happen to me as a white dude, but the chances that they will are so exceedingly remote as long as I'm not being stupid that I just don't think about it.  Yet I have to believe that every woman and girl has to at least think about that possibility every day.  I suspect that some decide to ignore it and hope for the best, some arm themselves with mace or handguns, some are in denial and some have trouble leaving the house alone - whatever way they choose to deal with it, the reality of the threat can't help but weigh on a person in a way that as a white dude, I just don't experience.  It's a reality that I understand I can't really comprehend.

Ok, I know that you don't have to be a woman to write rationally about things that primarily affect women just as you don't have to be black or Hispanic to write rationally about issues that primarily affect non-whites but there's something about this topic in particular and the way it is being discussed (mostly by dudes) that just feels so removed from the real world that women live in that it feels different.

So when Todd Akin and Paul Ryan and Tom Smith and Mike Huckabee talk about rape, ask them how many times it has happened to them.  Then tell them to shut the hell up.