What a week. It has been full of disappointment for me, a huge failure that I see reflected on us all. I am sure all of you have heard of Todd Akin’s remarks:
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors pregnancy from rape is really rare, if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
This made me cry. It hit a cord within me for many reasons: I am a human being, a feminist, an advocate, and a survivor. So I must say, Mr. Akin, you have made me question our entire society in which your language is tolerated, in which you can even come up with those words to speak them. I must say, Mr. Akin, I expected more from an educated politician or a human being. I must say Mr. Akin, you sincerely lack empathy, and compassion and from now on you also lack respect. I must say, Mr. Akin, you are an idiot.
But this is not about Todd Akin. I write this for you all: victims, survivors, friends and advocates. You are the important people, the people who will stand up to stop anymore of this harmful-ignorant-want-to-punch-them-in-the-face speech. Yes, his statement made me angry (very angry) but it mostly saddened me, reminding me of the time in my life where I thought my rape was not even worthy of the title “rape”. I did not think it valid, convincing, credible or in other words legitimate. I cried, because I started to have those thoughts again, I cried because I hated that my own society could allow and encourage this kind of feeling by allowing rape culture to stay alive. And I cried because I knew there were other people out there feeling the same way as me, questioning their experience, minimizing it and letting the consequences of living in a rape culture consume them. The latter, I could not take. I simply could not handle thinking that victims and survivors might feel this way because of one very ignorant person who simply could never comprehend what he was talking about and will never be able to. Rape is rape. Even if I have to keep repeating it, I will make sure everyone on this planet knows that rape is rape.
And so I say: we are stronger, smarter, better than this. We can change this. And change we will. I drive all my energy to make sure change happens, to make sure rape culture dies and can never resurrect. And that is the promise I can make for you all. We can all make this promise and I hope we all do.