Jaws dropped across the world after Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin's “legitimate” rape comment was made public. The outrage was palpable, and among those speaking out is Tony Award winning playwright, performer, and activist Eve Ensler.
She addressed an open letter to Akin through The Huffington Post in which she wrote, “You used the expression ‘legitimate’ rape as if to imply there were such a thing as ‘illegitimate’ rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape.”
“Did you honestly believe that rape sperm is different than love sperm, that some mysterious religious process occurs and rape sperm self-destructs due to its evil content? Or, were you implying that women and their bodies are somehow responsible for rejecting legitimate rape sperm, once again putting the onus on us?”
Maureen Herman, bass player for '90s riot grrrl punk band, Babes in Toyland, and the mother of a nine year-old girl who was a result of rape, also bravely responded to Akin in an appeal letter on Aisfor.org. “They say that Missouri is the ‘Show Me’ state,” Herman began the letter, “Well, Rep. Akin, I’d like you to meet my daughter.”
In a very personal account of her experience, Herman put into perspective not only how Akin’s comments insulted her, but how they insulted her daughter. “What is it like to not know your father, not even his name, but to know what kind of person he was by what he did to your mother?” Herman wrote. “By you not telling the truth–that women do get pregnant from rape–you illegitimize even her illegitimacy.”
Earlier this week Akin insisted that he'd stay in the Senate race, and even issued a limp apology/"explanation" of his comments via commercial. But during his appearance yesterday on Good Morning America, he suggested that he might withdraw his candidacy. Fingers crossed.
Photo Credit: intentblog.com and Portland Show Guide (pc-pdx.com)