That Republican in Missouri
UPDATE: Separately from the matter below, the other day I found a book called Real Rape by law professor Susan Estrich, which explains in detail, the unique position that rape occupies in criminal law canon. The burden of proof alone, as current laws stand, is a tricky matter, as even the most enlightened codes are descendants of patriarchy. When rape is alleged, especially where the victim knows the attacker, there is the thought: ''as Peter cried wolf, is the victim crying rape?''
Estrich, who describes how she herself was raped in the book's introduction, cites the case of Goldberg v. State, in Maryland in 1979. A Mr. Goldberg told a sales clerk who worked for him that she had real potential as a model, so she accompanied him alone to a 'studio', where he forced her to have sex. His victim said she went along with him because Goldberg, to begin with, was physically much larger than his victim, and she said she was scared. Estrich points out that if Goldberg had used his 'come to my modelling studio' story to extract money, not sex, from his high school senior victim, this would have been an open-and-shut case of theft by deception: "The breadth of 'seduction' in the context of sexual relations is without parallel in criminal law."
This helps me understand a remark made some years ago by my friend Mary, an attorney and feminist, when discussing the career of the former Manhattan District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau, who had been criticized by some feminist commentators for not prosecuting more rape cases. Seeing how rape cases reside in such broad ranges of uncertainty, and how prosecutors go to trial when pretty certain of winning, Mary said that the number of cases brought by Morgenthau each year "made sense".
Representative Todd Akin is running for U.S. Senate in Missouri. This election year, the Republican platform for improving the economy, creating jobs and cheering up America is as usual, focused on banning abortion. Akin said the following, creating a media fire storm and, in fairness to the GOP, an attempt to force him out of their party.
It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.Scarier, perhaps, is the fact that the New York Times ran this headline (below)...
The Times felt that experts were needed to dismiss this sort of nonsense? That's scary!