Anger

Apparently, it takes a politician to make me so angry I feel compelled to post for the first time this month!  Well, that may be the only good thing to come of Todd Akin’s recent comments.  I will come back to Mr. Akin in a minute.  But first, the post I was actually attempting to write before I had ever heard Mr. Akin’s name…a simpler, less trigger-filled time.

In my last several posts, I have spoken about the emotions I have felt surrounding my rape.  Of these, anger is the one that seems to keep cropping up over and over.  It’s powerful, it’s natural, it’s justified, and it simply won’t go away no matter how many years pass.  Anger, during and immediately after the rape, can be a powerful motivator.  It can lead you to fight back.  It can lead you to contact the proper authorities and seek justice.  But it is an emotion with two sides.  It can also be paralyzing.  It can heighten your distress.  It can harm you mentally and physically.  There is a Buddhist quote that says, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

I think there comes a time when we have to let some of that anger go so that it doesn’t hurt us, doesn’t keep us from moving forward.  Don’t get me wrong…I’m still very angry at my rapist.  I doubt I will ever not be.  But I need to channel that into a forward moving emotion.  That’s what I have tried to do.  I’m not always successful.  At this point in my life, it’s not serving a good purpose.  All the anger in the world isn’t going to change what happened.  It won’t make my rapist understand how he affected my life.  It won’t get me the justice I needed way back then.  At this time, it may just give me an ulcer 🙂

This brings me back to Mr. Akin and his appalling comments.  I can’t imagine any of you haven’t heard of this yet.  I heard about it on the news the other day, and the anger came right up to the surface and just has been spilling out everywhere ever since.  I am trying to redirect it positively by writing about it.  If you are unfamiliar with the event, Representative Todd Akin is the Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri.  Representative Akin opposes abortion without exception, even in cases of rape.  He stated, regarding pregnancy resulting from rape, “It seems to me, 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.”

Where to even start with a comment like this?  I have no desire to discuss people’s views on abortion and don’t wish to discuss my own.  But this comment simply left me speechless.  First of all, how in the world can a grown man, running for national office, have such faulty ideas about human reproduction?  It is estimated that 32,101 pregnancies arise from rapes each year, at a rate of 5% per rape.

But the thing that triggered my anger the most, as I am sure it did many of you, was his use of the phrase “legitimate rape”.  Now, I cannot be sure exactly what meaning he intends, but I know what it implies.  It implies there are non-legitimate rapes.  What could those be?  Date rape? Spousal rape? Drunk rape? I am assuming, by many people’s standards, my rape was not “legitimate”.  This was a man I was having a relationship with.  He did not use a weapon during the rape.  I had no visible bruises or external injuries.  In theory, one might think I could have gotten away; I could have fought back more.  I know that none of this means I was not raped–but does Representative Akin?

This is what I’m using my anger for now.  To make sure everyone I know understands that all rapes are legitimate and that we cannot dismiss women and men whose experiences do not meet up with the “stereotypical” vision of rape–a stranger grabbing you on the street and using brute force or weapons to commit the act.  And we cannot dismiss survivors who do not meet the “stereotypical” vision of a rape victim–a sober, wholesomely dressed person who didn’t place him/herself in “danger” by going to a party, bar, or “bad part of town”.  We don’t all fall neatly into that package, Mr. Akin.  I hope you understand that now.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. unladylikemusings
    Aug 22, 2012 @ 06:45:38

    This is an open letter to Todd Akin written by Eve Ensler, the author of the Vagina Monologues:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eve-ensler/todd-akin-rape_b_1812930.html

    It is beautifully written and a powerful letter. I especially love how it ends with “a reason to rise.” I too am extremely upset by this man’s comments and similar comments. These words diminish the experiences of survivors. It is already such an uphill battle to share one’s story. There is absolutely no need to place more boulders in the way.

    Reply

    • Aimee
      Aug 22, 2012 @ 11:28:08

      Thanks for sharing the link, musings. I also read that letter last night. It is very powerful. I don’t think that we can ever truly make people understand what we’ve gone through. I only hope that over the last few days we’ve made a small dent in Mr. Akins and that he’s beginning to understand how hurtful his words really were.

      Reply

  2. diannegray
    Aug 29, 2012 @ 00:48:18

    Oh my god – that comment is appalling. No wonder you’re angry over it. I haven’t heard it (probably because I’m in Australia) but the man sound like a complete and utter twit.

    Good on you for writing this. Good on you for standing up for the rights of all women (and men) who have been abused in such a horrific way. And good on you for standing up for yourself and speaking your mind. I sincerely hope someone brings this post and the Eve Ensler letter to his attention.

    I love that Buddhist quote, how incredibly true. Please stay strong

    Reply

    • Aimee
      Aug 29, 2012 @ 19:56:36

      It’s really unbelievable, Dianne. My jaw just dropped the first time I heard it. It’s been quite a hot topic over here. The Republicans have all condemned the comment and asked Akin to step down from the Senate race, but he hasn’t as of yet. Thanks for your words of encouragement. This blog has been very helpful for me.

      Reply

  3. momshieb
    Sep 03, 2012 @ 19:27:21

    This man is a troglodyte; the fact that he is an elected official, and a member of the “Science Committee” is enough to make me advocate total revolution. I can only hope that his ignorance serves as a catalyst for right minded people to move forward, rather than back.

    Reply

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