posted on 4/26/2015 by the Salt City Sinner
Content Warning: Post contains references to rape
Believe it or not, your beloved Sinner generally prefers to give people the benefit of the doubt regarding their motives.
This has become more difficult of late, given that the most recent strategy that dominant groups have been deploying is to drape themselves in the cloak of imagined victimhood, magically transforming Christians (who make up 80% of the population in the United States) into a persecuted minority, or white people (who have a virtual monopoly on political, economic, and cultural power) into beleaguered souls who need or deserve a “white history month” or “National Association for the Advancement of White People.”
As laughable as these examples are, this type of persecutor-in-persecuted-clothing shtick is becoming a force to be reckoned with in American politics. If this strategy and social media had both been around in the 1960s, your average Alabama diner owner would be a Kickstarter millionaire within a week of publicly deciding to shut down rather than serve black people.
The bad faith nature of these arguments is readily apparent when you consider how shamelessly chameleon-like conservative justifications for their stances are. Is “we hate minorities and want to keep them in their place” too bitter for the 21st century palate? Say “racism isn't really a problem anymore and we need voter ID laws to prevent voter fraud,” even when said fraud is nonexistent. Is “screw the Supreme Court, we're gonna outlaw abortion anyway” not a legislative winner? Claim that you're concerned about the “health” of women seeking abortions, and regulate abortion providers out of existence.
Speaking of womens' autonomy, sometimes (often!) it is instructive to peel back the bullshit justifications and have a look at actual laws that conservatives/authoritarians have put forth or defended. This allows one to gauge how things really stand on that end of the ideological spectrum. This brings us to a series of what might be the most horrifying legal phenomena that I've heard of in the United States, and brother, that is saying something given some of the laws that we have here.
First: in seventeen states, if a man rapes a woman, and that woman decides to carry the infant to term, her convicted rapist can sue for parental rights. Let me repeat that: in seventeen states in the US, a rapist has parental rights.
|via Huffington Post, accurate as of 2013*|
It would seem obvious to those of us who have evolved enough to walk upright that a man convicted of sexual assault has, by virtue of his actions, abdicated any parental rights he might have to “his” child. The more hideous part of this state of affairs lies in allowing a rapist to sue for these rights, thus dragging his victim into court, probably for weeks or months. This essentially allows a rapist to exert control over the situation and intimidate his victim – indeed, in many cases the way this shakes out is that a rapist will blackmail his victim into dropping charges by agreeing to not pursue parental rights if charges are dropped.
A Republican state representative in New Mexico introduced a bill [in 2013] that classified abortions for rape victims as "tampering with evidence," effectively requiring women to carry their pregnancies to term in order to prove their case in a sexual assault trial. [Mercifully, the bill was defeated. - Ed.]
Conservative and authoritarian approaches to rape, in other words, are far more horrifying than some dumb fucking asshole in Missouri saying some dumb fucking things about rape. These people actually get elected to public office and use all their bleating about god and "limited government" to, essentially, punish and psychologically torture rape victims.
Next time you run into a fedora-clad “Men's Rights Activist,” keep in mind that while they whine about the matriarchy and poor little men being persecuted by mean feminists, we live in a culture where sexual predators have parental rights and rape is viewed as a way to sneak through a de facto ban on abortion.
Because, after all, one has to have one's priorities, and in the United States in 2015 (!), women and their physical and emotional health just aren't important.
* - In 2013, Utah passed a bill stripping rapists of parental rights.