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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 24 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 34
When the rape debate hits home
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When the rape debate hits home

by Mark Segal - Publisher, Philadelphia Gay News

Many years ago, my friend Jan was raped. The trauma was so great that she ended up taking her own life. This week I've watched the 'debate' about rape unfold in the news thanks to a mindless, ignorant, ideological congressman from Missouri. And do you know what? I'm angry. I'm really angry. I'm not angry at him - I'm angry at those who allowed this hate speech. Rape has one definition. Anyone who has been raped or knows someone who has been raped understands one thing: There is no such thing as 'forcibly raped' or 'legitimately raped.'

It is only one word: rape. And it is horrific. You can't repackage it: It is simply rape. There's no reason for me to elaborate on what a special person Jan was. Rape kills, rape destroys. Not only the person raped, but the family's life as well.

About five percent of women who are raped get pregnant. For some of them, the horrific, violent way they became pregnant is something that they can't live with for nine months. Although my friend Jan did not get pregnant, I couldn't imagine asking her about what it would be like to relive those moments of violence for nine months and then look at her child and try to think of anything else but that incident.

And yet there are still people out there who try and control what women do with their bodies. And while I didn't want to have this personal column become partisan, as I write this I hear on the TV in the background that the Republican Party platform committee has approved language that opposes abortion on any grounds, including rape or incest. Then I hear a party spokesperson give the reason, and I hear the words 'sanctity of life.' And it makes me angrier. These are the same people who use 'sanctity of marriage' against Gay marriage supporters. I wonder why those same people don't use the phrase 'sanctity of our borders' against those who are pro-immigration?

I'm not going to debate any of the three issues I just raised, but I will raise the name of the Tea Party here. That band of creatures thinks they are fighting to take their country back. Back from whom? From us? Theirs is truly a holier-than-thou attitude.

Mitt Romney, you bent over backward to please this group. I hope you're proud of how you've empowered your party. Paul Ryan, you were already a Tea Party guy before there was a Tea Party. You helped coin the phrase 'forcibly raped' thanks to your co-sponsorship of legislation with that ignorant congressman from Missouri. Between now and Election Day, I'll be reminding people of who you are and the ideas you espouse. If there ever were a time to encourage people to vote, now is it. I'll remember my friend Jan. For you, readers, think of yourselves and your sisters, nieces, mothers, and daughters during debates about rape and abortion.

Mark Segal can be reached at mark@epgn.com.

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