The Loaded History of “Legitimate Rape”…and Junk Science…(UPDATED!)
Garance Franke-Ruta does an excellent job at The Atlantic of chronicling the context of the phrase “Legitimate Rape”, highlighting that more than an unfortunate verbal gaffe, it has a substantial history of being used as a means to disqualify certain types of sexual abuse and narrow the debate on what counts as rape.
EDIT: Made this a front page post…
And lest we feel sorry for Mr. Akin…
Not surprisingly, Akin has had cold feet about efforts to expand the definition of rape, raising question about the 1991 bill that updated Missouri law to outlaw sexual abuse and rape within marriage for the first time because rape charges “in a real messy divorce” could be used “a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Regarding the supposed “reactions” that make it less likely to be pregnant, that of course is junk science.
In fact recent studies in reflexes seem to suggest the opposite…
…in 2007, Canadian researchers studying the genital response to watching videos of human and animal sex suggested that whereas the biological function of arousal in men is to become erect and penetrate women, in women it has historically been to self-protect (with lubrication) during forced sex, which ostensibly required them to be more automatic and flexible in their arousal to any stimuli. “Forced copulation in several species and in most human societies indicate that it may have occurred throughout human evolution,” Rieger and Ritch Savin-Williams write.
Here’s how the Canadian authors explained it in 2007: “Reflexive vaginal responding may have had fitness benefits for our female ancestors because vaginal vasocongestion produces lubrication, which reduces the likelihood of injury and subsequent infection during vaginal penetration. Ancestral women who did not reflexively lubricate would have been more likely to experience injuries or infections that could have rendered them reproductively sterile or resulted in their deaths.”
In addition here’s a fantastic post by Kate Clancy at Scientific American that actually does a full rundown on the REAL science.
Can we please stop pretending that this is anything but a deranged, disgusting thing? And his faux apology makes things even worse…Here I defer to our very own Dr. Saunders:
Akin said what he said and believes what he believes. If he wants to admit that he was wrong about what he believed and try to save his political hide that way, then I’m curious to see how that works out for him. But this? This is fake, and patently so, and serves no purpose for anyone save himself.
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