1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape) Those numbers are even higher on college campuses, where according to the Department of Justice as many as 20-25% of female college students will be sexually assaulted while enrolled.
The issue of rape has made it back into the news and for once, it is a Democrat who has caused the headlines. State Representative Joe Salazar of Colorado made some controversial comments as part of the debate over new gun safety legislation in his state. The Democratic-held House debated and passed four gun-related measures on Monday, including a prohibition on carrying a concealed weapon into buildings on college campuses, a limit on magazine sizes, a fee to cover the cost of a background check, and a requirement that background checks be conducted before private gun sales.
During the debate over these new laws, Rep. Salazar said:
“Because you just don’t know who you are going to be shooting at. If you feel like you’re going to be raped or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble and when you may actually not be – that you pop out that gun and you pop – pop a round at somebody. And you might have just made a mistake.”
Rep. Salazar apologized for the insensitivity of his comments, but do they reflect a bigger problem with the way our society views violent attacks on women? If you’ve been a longtime reader of my column, you’ve seen me offer the question “How can anybody with a uterus vote Republican?” when talking about things like the party’s platform on forcing a women to have her rapist’s baby or voting down the Violence Against Women Act, but is it just a partisan problem?
Here’s the issue: When a guy like Chris Brown is allowed to beat the living crap out of Rihanna and continue to be a star, where are we as a society? You know what is worse than a woman voting Republican? A woman buying a Chris Brown record. And yet, he’s still one of the biggest stars in music. Hell, Rihanna and him are back together! No harm, no foul, right?
The problem is cultural. We are taught “Don’t get raped” as a society when it should obviously be “Don’t rape.” A bunch of old white guys in Washington aren’t really hip to the plight of the average 18 year old woman either so it further compounds the problem. Want proof that there is a disconnect?
Should women be packing heat? Statistically, no. The problem that most gun-rights people neglect is a simple one: When there are more guns around, more people get shot and killed by guns. For every story of a woman flashing a gun and scaring off her would-be attacker there are six other women who are killed by a boyfriend or rapist when a gun is introduced into the equation.
So where does that leave us? Should we put our women in burka’s because men can’t be trusted to control their base biological desires? Do you have a better solution? I’d love to hear your comments and as always thank you for reading, and sharing the column.