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The Journey Includes It All…

 

 

I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this…  It’s not fitness or food related, but it is definitely a part of my journey…  I won’t generally make posts regarding politics on here, but this is important to me…

 

 

This letter was written and sent out to the following in response to their public statements made during this election cycle:

  •  Indiana State Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock – “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
  • Missouri State Representative Todd Akin – “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
  • Wisconsin Senator Paul Ryan – “Well I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea, the position, that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.”
  • Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum – “I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you.”
  • Pennsylvania State Senate Candidate Tom Smith – “Having a baby out of wedlock.  Put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, it is similar (to being raped).”
  • Wisconsin Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch – “Well, I think there is a way to have a more forcible rape, the same way there are different types of assault.”
  • Wisconsin State Representative Roger Rivard – “’Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,’ he said, ‘they rape so easy.’”
  • Indiana State Representative Eric Turner – “Someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest.”
  • Kansas State Representative Pete DeGraaf – (regarding the purchase of a rape or incest only abortion insurance policy) “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?  I have a spare tire on my car.  I also have life insurance; I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”

 

October 24, 2012

 

Dear Candidate/Elected Official:

I am writing because you have recently made a statement regarding the options available to women after sexual assault.  Perhaps you don’t realize that your comments reach much further than the Roe v. Wade debate.  When you construct categories, labels or levels of rape, you lend credibility to perpetrators and you trivialize victims.

Rape is a violent crime.  It is defined by the U.S. Department of Justice as: “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted; an average of 207,754 rapes per year.  The Justice Department estimates that 54% of the rapes committed in the last 5 years were not reported.  Only 12% of all rapes lead to arrest, 9% are prosecuted, 5% are convicted and 3% ever lead to incarceration.

How can you, our elected leaders, make statements that contribute to a culture that allows for this reality?

Are you aware that survivors of sexual assault are:  3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide?

Maybe you see so many figures and statistics during the day that these numbers don’t jump out at you.  Let me explain why I decided to write this letter to you.  Two years ago today, I was sexually assaulted by someone I was dating.  I am one of the 54% who was too ashamed to call the police.  Just as your viewpoint shames and belittles the victims of rape, I blamed myself for what happened.

When you speak publicly about rape with qualifiers like legitimate, honest, inevitable, easy, forcible/non-forcible, or ordained I am assuming that you have never spoken to someone who has been sexually assaulted.  These are the words I use to describe rape:  dirty, ugly, terrifying, shameful, agonizing, illegal, gritty, raw, broken, cold, hollow, angry, empty, numb…

In May of this year, I decided to take back my power and let go of my guilt.  I spoke at a Take Back the Night rally, along with scores of other survivors at events around the country.  And now, I am speaking out to you today.

Maybe if more of us speak out, then less of us will feel the need to remain silent.

Maybe if more of us speak out, then more of you will feel the need to remain silent.

We are survivors and our days being marginalized are over.

Survivor and Voter,

Emily Skinner

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