The last thing I wanted to do today was to revisit Richard Mourdock’s idiotic comment about rape, abortion, and God. Yeah, I’ve said enough here and here. And quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of debating about God, his will, or his infallibility. However, I did catch the Melissa Harris Perry Show on MSNBC yesterday morning as I do almost every weekend. Yesterday while watching, I almost fond myself wanting to jump up and down on my bed while doing a hallelujah stomp like my name was Kirk Franklin. Yes, it took every bit of my secularist fiber and being to resist the temptation. Why? Because what Melissa had to say from the perspective of being a rape survivor, was very profound.
This from Melissa’s letter to Mourdock:
Rape and sexual assault are complicated experiences for survivors. Some of us fight, kick, scream, and resist at every moment. Some of us eventually give in to save our own lives or to manage the horror. Some of us know that what is happening is rape, others of us just know it is wrong, but don’t have the words to describe why. Some of us push the memories down and try to forget, others of us battle openly with the nightmares and scars every day. There is no one right way to survive. There is no one right way to feel.
As we heal, we learn not to judge ourselves or to judge our fellow survivors, because we learn that judgment can wound as deeply as assault. If a woman finds herself pregnant after a rape, we do not judge the choices she makes.
I am descended from American slaves. I have foremothers who found themselves pregnant with children whose birth increased the wealth of the very man who enslaved and raped them. Somehow, through the angst and misery of that experience some of those women found a way to love and embrace the children they bore from rape. So I do not doubt the compassion or judge the choice of a survivor who carries a rape pregnancy to term.
But the whole point is choice. Consent. You see, Mr. Mourdock, the violation of rape is more than physical. Rapists strip women of our right to choose, of our right to say no, of our right to control what is happening to our bodies. Most assailants tell us it is our fault. They tell us to be silent. Sometimes they even tell us it’s God’s will. That is the core violation of rape– it takes away choice.
Richard, you believe it is fine to ignore a women’s right to choose because of your interpretation of divinity. Sound familiar?
Let me explain something to you. When we survive sexual assault, we are the gift. When we survive, when we go on to love, to work, to speak out, to have fun, to laugh, to dance, to cry, tolive, when we do that, we defeat our attackers. For a moment, they strip us of our choices. As we heal, we take our choices back. We are the gift to ourselves, our families, our communities, and our nation when we survive.
Now let me say this very clearly to you Mr Mourdock, and to all of your shameless endorsers: we did not survive an attack on our consent just to turn around and give up our right to choose to you. Not without a fight.
That to me, is the crux of the outrage of any rational thinking mind, to the simplistic justification of a woman becoming pregnant through non-consensual sex as a “gift” from God by drinkers of Jesus Juice. To suggest that women who become pregnant through rape should not have access to a legal abortion, is in fact much like rape. It is, because not being able to have the choice of a legal abortion or not, should a woman become pregnant after being raped, is much like being raped all over again. After all, there’s a fine line between being able to give consent and saying no.
So, unless God in his infinite mystery has a rapist tickle his victim into submission (and pregnancy) whereby being victimized becomes somewhat tolerable; yep, unless that happens, rape is still rape and a child produced as a result of said gruesome circumstance is not a blessing or a gift from some assumed higher power. But as I mentioned in an earlier post, to suggest otherwise is as absurd as the notion that through slavery, God blessed African-Americans with the gift of citizenship.
Check out Melissa reading her letter on air below: