To judge by just the headlines from the last few months, you'd think our election was not taking place in enlightened America, where women have been able to vote almost 100 years, but in some distant country that's still struggling with the idea that you should punish rapists, not rape victims. What makes the headlines seem so absurd is that they state what should be the glaringly obvious, so it's a little unsettling that what we all thought was agreed upon by civil society turns out to be controversial enough to be worthy of a headline. Ideas like, rape is not God's gift to womankind. Or, that rape "is rape" and not some other thing. Or that national elected officials strongly disagree with any suggestion that it might be some other thing.
The most recent—and without context, totally absurd—headline was from The Hill: "Santorum: Mourdock 'didn't say rape was a gift from God.'" The story was former presidential candidate Rick Santorum's explanation to CNN that "What the Senate candidate [Richard Mourdock] said is that the child is a gift from God and whether it's conceived by rape or not, it's still the gift of human life is a gift from God, and that's what he said." Thank you for clarifying that, Mr. Santorum. Rape is not God's gift to womankind, but a rape pregnancy is kind of like His get-well card.
August 19 -- The Todd Akin Era Begins
- "A legitimate rape?" -- Bangor Daily News.
- "Rape can make you pregnant. Period." -- CNN.
- "Rape victim: I got pregnant from attack and made a personal choice about baby" -- The Myrtle Beach Sun-News.
- "Health Experts Dismiss Assertions on Rape" -- The New York Times.
- "Akin admits he was wrong in rape comments" -- Associated Press.
- "'RAPE IS RAPE' says Prez, as he rips 'offensive' remarks by GOP rep" -- New York Daily News.
- "Rape is rape" -- France24.
- "Rape means rape" -- The Washington Post.
- "Concept of 'legitimate rape' only adds to victims' shame" -- Detroit Free Press.
- "'Legitimate rape' no worry" -- Chattanooga (TN) Times Free Press.
- "Rape-furor pol won't quit" -- The New York Post.
- "Todd Akin won't drop Senate bid after rape, pregnancy remarks; He says party leaders are overreacting" -- Abilene (TX) Reporter-News.
- "Before legitimate rape, there was rape-rape" -- Washington Examiner.
- "Will women have to pass a 'rape test'?" -- Palm Beach Post.
- "Stats show thousands of rape-related pregnancies" -- Detroit Free Press.
- "Not the first rape discussion and not the last" --The Oxford (MS) Eagle.
August 27 -- Enter Tom Smith
- "Pennsylvania Senate candidate Tom Smith tangled up over rape and abortion" -- Philadelphia Inquirer.
- "Rape is never 'legitimate'" -- Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.
- "GIRL'S RAPE TOUGH TO RECONCILE FOR GOP" -- Tampa Bay Times.
- "Defining rape can be tricky territory" -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- "'Legitimate rape' candidate on comeback trail" -- The Washington Times.
October 10 -- Meet Roger Rivard
- "Rep. Roger Rivard criticized for 'some girls rape easy' remark" -- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- "Paul Ryan, Gov. Walker withdraw endorsements of Rivard after 'some girls rape easy' remarks" -- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- "Wis. lawmaker explains 'easy rape' comment" -- Associated Press.
"Lawmaker: Rape comment taken out of context" -- Associated Press.
"Wisconsin: Rally to go on despite rebukes of Rice Lake lawmaker over 'easy rape' comment" -- St. Paul Pioneer Press.
October 24 -- Richard Mourdock Weighs In
- "Obama on rape comments: They 'don't make any sense'" -- CNN.
Note: Headline citations without links are pulled from LexisNexis.