A Story (Not A Funny One)
With all the debate going on about Congressman Akin’s unbelievably stupid comments, I find it depressing to see that after an initial bi-partisan agreement that he should go away, people are defending him.
Even tonight on Letterman, Dave said something along the lines of this: Should we run off anyone who says something dumb?
I think: Yes. Hell yes. People in political office should be held to a certain standard or face the consequences. And this wasn’t not knowing how a grocery store scanner works or not being able to spell potato. He was talking about, to use his words, “legitimate rape”.
First of all, there is no such thing. As the president said, and as any thinking human knows, “rape is rape”.
So, here is a story that I had not thought of in years. If you are looking for something funny, today is not the day here.
When I was a young bachelor, I was sharing a town house with another bachelor in the mistaken notion that we could live cheaper that way. It was an experiment that didn’t last long.
Anyway, one of our neighbors across the parking lot was a family of three my roommate knew. They were young. I think they had only been married for a couple of years and they had a one year old son.
They were great with us. Always asking how we were doing. Inviting us over when they had a party. Wonderful folks.
Then this happened:
It was a warm night.
The wife was resting on the couch in their living room with her son on her chest.
Her husband was upstairs sleeping.
She had left the patio door open to let the night breeze come through the screen.
Suddenly, a man with a knife came through the patio door.
He told her of his intentions as she clutched the baby tight.
Somehow, her husband woke up, sensing something was wrong, and then hearing a strange voice downstairs.
He jumped out of bed and ran down to see a living nightmare. His wife and baby threatened by an intruder.
Everyone in the house was screaming as the two men fought in the room.
Across the parking lot, I heard the commotion and ran to the door to see where it was coming from.
By this time, the fight had spilled out into the lot. I could see two shadowy figures running across the parking area. The second one yelled to me that this man had attacked his wife.
So, I took off running after the two of them. As I got to the end of the building, the husband was coming back holding his arm. He had been cut in the struggle. He went back to the house and I proceeded to look a little more for the man but he had disappeared back into the night.
The guy was never found. The family moved out that night. He said she just couldn’t go back.
Around a year or so later, I ran into them.
He was his usual joking self. But she was quite different.
She looked dazed, reticent, shattered.
The assault had taken something away from her. We all live with a hope that we will be safe in our lives, especially in our own homes. To lose that feeling was devastating for her.
As I said, this is a story that I hadn’t thought about in years. But when I hear the almost casual use of the word rape and watch as one guy after another tries to bail out the Congressman, it just makes me sick.
Thanks to the husband’s intervention, the incident was an assault not a rape. And I am sure a right winger would be quick to point that out to me.
I just think the ease in which some public figures gloss over things like rape, assault, womens’ rights, needs to be addressed from time to time.
And men need to call out their own.
So I wrote this.
Imagine how she would’ve appeared a year later if the assault had been a rape. Maybe Congressman Akin needs to work with rape vicitims to understand the devistation rape causes. The man is an idiot, plain and simple. Should we run off someone for saying something dumb? Yes, and without hesitation.
Guys like him are deplorable. For him to try to turn this thing around in his newsletters begging for donations just defies description.
I liked this, but I don’t like this. You know what I mean.
Thank you for writing this. I know that not all men are idiots when it comes to sexual assault – my closest friends are male, and if they were spouting nonsense like this, you can bet we’d sit down and have a talk (but obviously I wouldn’t be close friends with a man who thought there were conditions on what made a rape a rape.) But it was nice to read it nonetheless, especially with all of this crap on the news lately.
Little dumb things I can forgive. Romney didn’t know what a doughnut was called the other day. Kind of foolish and elitist? Yep. But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He might have been stressed or exhausted. They might have been some sort of fancy doughnut, and he didn’t want to say “doughnut” when they were actually crullers and look like a dummy. I don’t know the whole story. Plus, it’s just a doughnut. Doughnuts, or the spelling of potato, are embarrassing but forgivable. A deep-seated misunderstanding of not only basic biology, but a human rights issue, is worrisome indeed. And then a weak apology, plus the stubborn refusal to step down, because “it’s not what’s best for the people?” Some sort of God complex going in that suspiciously hairpiecey-looking head area, I think.
What his kind do is bullying writ large. I hope the people of Missouri pull it together long enough on Election Day to send this guy packing.
I couldn’t agree more. If you’re running for office you should expect nothing less than to get scrutinised, your every action studied and potentially made fun of. Not because you’re a public figure or a celebrity, but because you’re trying to be one of the few to be elected to govern the rest of the population. Surely you’re supposed to show that you’re a decent human being with proper values and a higher than average understanding of how society works? Why would anyone vote for you otherwise?
And if you think that’s unfair for any reason, well.. no one’s forcing you to stand as a political candidate, surely?
It is a little ridiculous for these people to not own up to their failings. I have been trying to avoid writing about politics, but I imagine a few posts will touch on the subject.