† Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, and author of The School-to- Prison Pipeline: Education, Discipline and Racialized Double Standards, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice and Considering Hate, is co-founder of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.
Misogyny #GOP, Not Just #Trump/Pence
Editors’ note from nancy a heitzeg:
As more women who have been assaulted by Donald Trump continue to come forward ( i have lost count 9? 12? who really could ever know how many total?), the Republican Party is in a bind. ( Or perhaps a binder as Mitt Romney once infamously said). Some members of the party have sought to distance themselves, while others have joined the chorus of excuses, which rely heavily on the old misogynist memes of victim-blaming and shaming, and “boys will be boys” with their “locker-room talk” even if they are aged men.
Whatever position Republicans may now be taking, te reality is this: Donald Trump has just given loud voice to the reality GOP policies. Be it immigration, racial profiling/policing or the rights of women, the GOP record differs from Trump only to the extent that it has been couched in slicker coded language. The policies proposed and enacted by his running mate Mike Pence, for example, are violent rhetoric made real for women and the LGBTQ community: defunding of Planned Parenthood, conversion therapy, “religious freedom” as grounds for discrimination against same sex couples, total bans on abortion in nearly all cases, mandated funerals for fetuses. And it was on his watch as Governor of Indiana that Purvi Patel was initially sentenced to 20 years in prison for a self-induced abortion:
“Patel’s conviction, in 2015, made her a national symbol in the debate swirling around abortion. Last week, when Donald Trump selected the Indiana governor, Mike Pence, as his partner on the Republican presidential ticket, many abortion rights groups invoked Patel’s name as a cautionary tale. Trump has said women who have illegal abortions ought to face “some form of punishment”. And activists had prevailed upon Pence to clarify the 2009 law used to convict her, without success.”
None of this is new. What is reprinted below is an excerpt of the debates over what constituted rape that pervaded the 2012 election cycle. This rape culture rhetoric — attached to policies that do structural violence – are not unique to Trump or Pence or this election cycle. While rape culture surrounds us all, and many are complicit, make no mistake — it is the mainstay of a party that embraces misogyny — overtly or otherwise.
GOP Misogyny: Republican Embrace of Rape Culture
“A rape culture is a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent.
In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself.
A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.”
by Emily Buchwald, Martha Roth, and Pamela Fletcher (2004)
Republican Definitions of Rape:
“When life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.” -Richard Mourdock (R), candidate for Senate in Indiana, on October 23, 2012
“The right approach is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, but nevertheless…a gift of human life, and accept what God is giving to you.” –Rick Santorum (R), Senator and Presidential candidate, on January 20, 2012
“Richard and I, along with millions of Americans…believe that life is a gift from God.” -Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas voicing his support of Richard Mourdock’s statement about rape-induced abortions, on October 24, 2012
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” –Republican Congressman & Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri on August 20, 2012
“If it’s an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room, I would give them a shot of estrogen.” –Republican Congressman & Presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas on February 3, 2012
“It was an issue about a Catholic church being forced to offer those pills if the person came in in an emergency rape.” –Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon of Connecticut (also confusing churches with hospitals) on October 15, 2012
“If you go down that road, some girls, they rape so easy.” –Republican State Representative Roger Rivard of Wisconsin, on December 21, 2011 and endorsed by VP Candidate Paul Ryan on August 9, 2012
Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Todd “legitimate rape” Akin and 214 other Republicans co-sponsored the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”, which would prohibit federal funding of abortions except in instances of “an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest.” -H.R. 3, 112th Congress, January 20, 2011
“If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” –Republican Gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams of Texas on March 25, 1990