Is This Legalized Rape?

As the War on Women rages on, the idiocy of it continues to expand exponentially, take for example last month when two congresswomen were banned from saying the word “vagina.” Add that to the fact that more states continue to ban or attempt to ban abortion and contraception, too.

It’s kind of ironic, the fact that so many of these lawmakers are trying to force themselves into the vaginas of American women everywhere, because in this country, women get to choose who they do and do not let into their vaginas. Even women who might be considered promiscuous by society’s standards, women who let lots of people into their vaginas, still made the choice to do so. There is a word for when someone forces themselves into a woman’s vagina without her permission and that word is rape.

If you read my blog you know a little about my background. I am a survivor of sexual assault. In fact, one in six women in the US are part of this demographic. For these women, who were at one time victims of rape, there was obviously at least one event in their lives in which they did not have that choice; the choice to say “yes” or “no.”

The lawmakers trying to take away American women’s rights to contraception and abortion believe that they have good reason to do so and most of those reasons are faith-based. Though some of their arguments are provocative, their attempt to exert formal legislative dominance over 50% of the population, a decision motivated purely by their personal theoretical beliefs, is not a judgement based in reason. These congresspeople sound more like a group that will stop at nothing to get their way rather than an assembly elected to represent the will of “the people” whose best interest they supposedly have in mind.

You rarely see pro-choicers attack or protest pro-lifers. I cannot think of any examples of unrest from the pro-choice camp and certainly nothing that compares to the anti-abortion violence committed by individuals who affiliate themselves with the pro-life agenda. Recently, I spoke with Todd Stave, the founder of Voice of Choice. His organization was formed to dissuade pro-life protests. In theory, his protesters protest the protesters.

It was not Todd’s initial intention to create Voice of Choice. It was more so the offspring of an alarming situation he walked into. Todd is the landlord of a commercial property. His tenant is an abortion doctor and more often than not on days when the clinic is operating, the protesters stand right outside his building. This is to be expected as it happens to abortion clinics across the country, but Stave felt that the protesters took it too far when they showed up outside his daughter’s middle school holding a sign that read “Todd Stave Please Stop the Child Killing” and again 50 miles away from his commercial property and in his in-law’s neighborhood (where they passed out literature attributing him to a modern day version of the Nazi military commander Heinrich Himmler).

And then the incessant calling began. Stave received hundreds of calls a day at work and home urging him to close shop. What Stave did next was a genius exercise in peaceful demonstration. He created Voice of Choice, a non-profit organization that gathers the resources to subdue this type of harassment. When the pro-lifers start up with the phone calls, Voice of Choice calls them back until the pro-lifers stop calling. Through Voice of Choice, Stave has helped keep protesters at bay while fighting to keep the option of choice open for women in his community and other communities across the country.

It is great to know that people like Todd Stave and organizations like Voice of Choice are out there because it seems that in the current political climate, a woman’s right to choose could be revoked at any moment. Even without an immediate need for birth control or access to abortion, a woman should still have the option available if needed.

Back to the one in six. People have a common misconception about rape. Many people think that sex is the motivation for a rape crime or sexual violence: that a rapist wants sex. Despite this common assumption, it is not sex that the rapist is after. It is power. A rapist takes his victim’s power by exerting dominance over him or her. It is this aforementioned scenario that comes to mind when I hear that lawmakers, who do not know me nor the majority of the American women, are fighting to have our access to birth control and abortion taken away in the name of religion. Are these pious citizens just living out some obligation to be true to their personal belief systems or are they power crazed lunatics who use Jesus’ name as a shield to hide their true intentions; their intentions to stop at nothing until their faith-based initiatives discard and dominate the reproductive rights of women and families who have never been to their church, people with no intention to ever attend their church, people who may or may not even be believers of their faith?

Another interesting thing about Voice of Choice is the background of Stave’s tenant. Before moving to Maryland, he previously operated out of a Kansas abortion clinic. During his time in Kansas, he worked along side his partner Dr. George Tiller. During their medical careers in Kansas, their clinic was firebombed by pro-life activists and shortly after the firebombing, an anti-abortion activist shot his partner Dr. Tiller five times. Tiller survived the shooting, but in 2009, he was murdered, shot in the face by another pro-life activist, while serving as an usher at his church.

The act of seizing and carrying off by force.”

 An act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation”

 Both of the above quotations perfectly describe what pro-life politicians are attempting to do with the reproductive rights of American women everywhere. Ironically, those two definitions can be found in the dictionary under the word “rape.” The similarities between the way pro-lifers in politics have been trying to hijack the reproductive rights of American women and those definitions of rape sound terribly interchangeable. The comparison may be grandiose, but so is the seizure of a woman’s reproductive choice by complete strangers. A woman’s reproductive health and her decisions regarding it is a very personal matter. The removal of options that force a woman to carry a life-threatening or even unwanted pregnancy to term against her will and the restriction of access to contraception (a preventative measure against life-threatening and/or unwanted pregnancy) is most certainly an abuse of power that is not far off from the violation of rape. Wouldn’t you agree?

Follow this link to learn more about Todd Stave, Voice of Choice and how you can help.


Filed under News, Sexual Assault, Women

5 Responses to Is This Legalized Rape?

  1. Jeanette

    Excellent and powerful story, Hayley! I’m proud of you!

  2. Linda Seccaspina

    They need to leave women alone and so glad that Todd did what he did.

  3. Nice to know there are people like Todd around who stand up against this pressure. Great article, Hayley.

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