I’m not sure what Missouri Republican candidate to the U.S. Senate Todd Akin and other social conservatives mean by the term “legitimate rape.”
When considering new terms or idiomatic expressions, the Urban Dictionary is sometimes useful. It just came out with a definition of legitimate rape: “Rape between one man and one woman who are not married or even acquainted; the only rape sanctioned by the Republican Party.” Since the Urban Dictionary uses crowd sourcing, that may not be the precise definition or exactly what social conservatives mean.
According to Katie J. M. Baker, who traces the history of this obnoxious concept on Jezebel.com, social conservatives have believed for many years what Akin recently declared: that it’s almost impossible for a woman to get pregnant from a “legitimate rape,” because the body produces secretions that suppress pregnancy when a woman is so violated. This absurd theory of course enables them to oppose abortion in all cases, since, by implication, if a woman gets pregnant it couldn’t be “legitimate rape.”
Abortion politics and false science aside, I have my own definition of legitimate rape that I hope becomes widely used.
Legitimate rape is when a woman says “no.” One time.
If she has said “yes” 50 times before during the evening, but says “no” one time, it’s a legitimate rape (unless the people involved have explicitly agreed to some kinky role-playing).
If the man—husband, fiancé or whatever—who wants to penetrate her has done so a thousand in the past and she says “no,” it’s legitimate rape.
If a woman of her own free will and not under the influence of foreign substances has decided to have sex with 8 men in a row, with the other males watching while she is engaged with each man (what is crudely called a “gang bang” or “pulling the chain”) and she has completed her business with 7 of the men and the 8th is about to take his turn and she changes her mind and says “no” and he continues, it’s legitimate rape.
Marital status doesn’t matter. A prior or ongoing relationship doesn’t matter. The fact that the woman in question has had many lovers doesn’t matter. The fact that the woman has engaged in heavy erotic teasing with the perpetrator doesn’t matter.
The only thing that matters is if a woman indicates that she does not want to engage in intercourse. If she says “no,” it’s rape.
If you want to add the word “legitimate,” fine.
But “no” means “no.”
That police departments, prosecutors, judges, juries, frat boys and social conservatives don’t always see it that way is a continuing travesty of justice and makes a mockery of our concepts of freedom and free will.