Rape Just Ain’t What It Used To Be

Apparently there’s a big problem with making a rape exception to anti-abortion laws: Rape today just isn’t what it was a few decades ago, when “unchaste” women could be forced into sex with impunity. Or at least that’s what pro-life Tennessee State Senator Doug Henry thinks:

“Rape, ladies and gentlemen, is not today what rape was. Rape, when I was learning these things, was the violation of a chaste woman, against her will, by some party not her spouse. Today it’s simply, ‘Let’s don’t go forward with this act.’ ”

You mean rape is forcing a woman into a sexual act against her will, after she explicitly tells you ‘no’? Well knock me over with a feather. Those feminists are just ruining everything. They’re taking away your right to force someone else into sex simply because she’s had sex before, and they’re even challenging your natural right to rape your wife (who, of course, you love dearly, almost as much as you love babies). Femi-nazis.

Here’s the video:

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18 comments for “Rape Just Ain’t What It Used To Be

  1. February 14, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    So by that rationale, if Sen. Henry has ever driven his car before, then I’m within my rights to jump in and drive off with it. I hope it’s something cool, like a Beemer.

  2. February 14, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    And, by golly, if you make an exception for rape then any bitch can claim rape and get her abortion, because rape could mean any damn thing.


    And this guy is a democrat. With “allies” like these, who needs Republicans?

  3. Luna
    February 14, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    I said it at Feministing, and I’ll say it here, is there no chance at all that the guy meant, “Back when I was learning these things, rape was narrow in scope, and didn’t cover all the possible scenarios. Now it does. This is good”?

    *hoping for humanity*

  4. Mike
    February 14, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    I just sent emails this morning reassuring a friend who just accepted a job offer in TN with some hesitation that things are changing and I’m sure she’ll love it… I’m glad I saw this after our email exchange. But maybe she can reassure her self with the knowledge that this exists not just in TN, but everywhere… Wait, that isn’t reassuring at all.

  5. February 14, 2008 at 7:45 pm


    Sadly, considering that my family comes from this area of the country and that many of my aunts and uncles are his age and of his era, I’m not all that shocked that he would get up there and express himself so candidly. I’ve heard the same from my loved ones.

  6. alley rat
    February 14, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    it’s also revealing that he doesn’t care about the psychological well being of “the mother”, just the physical. because who cares how a baby factory feels, as long as she can incubate.

  7. February 15, 2008 at 1:08 am

    Luna: no, it really is that bad.

    To put more context around it – I had to watch the video twice to be sure of what the guy was saying – it’s basically this:

    Sen. Henry was explaining which amendments to this anti-abortion bill he voted to table (i.e. to ignore for now), and which he voted to have the legislature take up. He’s explaining that he voted to put the rape exemption aside because [[insert quoted bit here]]. In other words, because rape isn’t necessarily as bad as it used to be, he doesn’t think it really deserves an exemption from this general abortion ban.

    In the video, he then goes on to explain why he voted for the exemption to allow abortion when necessary to protect the mother’s life, and makes it clear that he’s only talking about a very limited, mortal danger exemption – he specifically denigrates the idea of “some psychologist saying ‘oh, she might have become distressed and died'” as a reason for an exemption from the ban.

    You know, listening to it again, I caught a bit I hadn’t before. He doesn’t actually say that rape is less bad now, he says that it’s vague. I wonder if he honestly feels lost in this new world where rape would be defined by mutual consent (or rather, the lack thereof) instead of by patriarchal property rights over female relatives. Kind of sad, when you look at it that way. I mean, still creepy because of the whole “he’s part of the legislature” thing, but more than a bit sad.

  8. Rosehiptea
    February 15, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    No matter how long I try to put myself in his mindset I still don’t get it. Which is probably a good thing, but still. How does a woman not being “chaste” make being raped any different?

    (Not that I support his views on abortion anyway of course, but… I don’t understand why he can’t see how horrific that is.)

  9. February 15, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Reading this, it seems to me that Dougie here thinks that rape really isn’t so bad no matter how it happens. I just don’t know what to do about attitudes like that.

  10. February 15, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Daniel, that’s exactly what I got out of it after I read more and watched the video. He’s saying that the rape exception is a problem because it’s vague. Whether he means that it’s vague because definitions change or it’s vague because now we don’t know what rape is, he’s still a misogynist asshole who thinks legislators should get to decide when a woman’s been sufficiently traumatized to deserve an abortion.

  11. denelian
    February 16, 2008 at 4:56 am

    BY DEFINITION, at least the one he seems to be using, a married woman is NOT CHASTE. she HAS SEX WITH HER HUSBAND. Chaste is not having sex.

    also, and i noted this in the email i sent him a couple days ago (that i have not recieved a response from)… rape happens when one person says “no”. male of female. at any point. i’m kissing my guy, i dont want to do more, he forces me to do more, i have been raped. no matter how many times we have had sex before. even if we are married. even if i am “nekkid”

    and, btw, i also told him how godDAMNED insutling this whole attitude should be TO MEN. because, you get what they are saying right? men are NOT CAPABLE of controling themselves when they see ankles! Men are NOT CAPABLE of making moral judgements! Men are NOT CAPABLE of parsing a simple declarative sentence! MEN ARE NOT CAPABLE OF BEING ADULTS. thats what this whole “but its her fault she was a slut you didn’t have any choice but to rape her” bullshit is about.
    note how hard it is to get some people to wrap their heads around a woman raping a man (which is difficult but possible). every time i say something like that, i get back “can’t rape the willing!”. because all men want all sex all the time.
    (except my boyfriend. sigh.)

    so, if i get raped, its *MY* fault because i am a dirty dirty slut AND ALSO because how dare i expect a man to be responsible for himself? (and this is true. my step dad molested me as a teen, and i kept being told that it was my fault because i was “too pretty” for a FIFTY THREE YEAR OLD MAN to NOT molest me)

  12. February 16, 2008 at 9:26 am

    The Good Old Days weren’t. I love writing that. Anyhow, he probably did learn just that. I am roughly half his age and I can attest to being schooled in the same idea. Look at the response of the woman who was “?” by Strom Thurmond. Most modern women would have him fearing criminal prosecution.

  13. February 16, 2008 at 11:30 am

    There’s this very complex process of denial that men like Henry seem to go through. Said denial allows them to sleep at night.

    Confronting the stark reality of rape means confronting the fact that the world is a seriously screwed-up place. And we can’t have that. So the issue gets compartmentalized into something that only happens to “shameless hussies.”

  14. False Flag Operative
    February 16, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    And this guy is a democrat. With “allies” like these, who needs Republicans?

    Most of your Democrats in the South tend to be more conservative than your Democrats in the Northeast and West.

  15. Dana
    February 16, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    How much do you want to bet that at one point he forced a woman (girlfriend/wife/whatever) into having sex with him, and he just doesn’t want to accept the burden of being a rapist?

    How many guys in legislative positions do you think have forced women into sexual acts? Are those the men that are going to fix legislation to protect women from being raped? No, because they’re not going to penalize themselves. They deserve sex, after all.

    (P.S. Does reading stuff like this make you want to scream? Because I do.)

  16. February 16, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Let’s just say many older women can attest to the marital right of husbands. These elders, once in their cups, will tell stories that make your hair curl. That was then, we can make a better today and a wonderful tomorrow.

  17. Emily
    February 17, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Iano, I dopn;t think this clip illustrales anyhthing your tryna… illustrate?

    he mumbled a lot.

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