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Guest Posts, Sexual Assault/Rape

A Funny Thing About Rape: A Video Essay

April 9, 2017

CW: Discussion of rape and sexual assault. Sexual assault is not your fault. If you need to talk: 800.656.HOPE, , .

By Mary Jo Smith

There’s been a lot of talk about rape lately.
As someone who was raped, I thought I’d join the conversation.

So, there’s been a lot of talk about rape lately. Because, you know, we just had a presidential election. In which we elected a president who likes to grab women by the pussy. Ok, wait. To be fair, I don’t want to paraphrase what our President said, because the media does that kind of stuff all the time and then you form an opinion about somebody based on what you think they said, but it’s not really what they said. So, let me be clear. What our president really said was, quote:

“You can do anything, grab them by the pussy.”

Oh, that’s what I said. OK.

Now, a lot of people got really angry, on Facebook, about what our President said. And I’ve been thinking about it, you know, cause I’m a woman, so I’m supposed to have opinions. So, here’s my opinion: Everybody needs to calm down. I mean even our shiny, new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, when asked, if what our president said constituted sexual assault said:

’I don’t know.’

So, case closed.

I mean, come on. This is not the first time we’ve heard a politician say something  like this. Like, that Congressman Todd Akin, remember him? You know, he said something about ‘legitimate rape.’ I mean, he was talking about abortion, which he has the right to do as a man, and what he said was, when it’s ‘legitimate rape,’ women’s bodies can block unwanted pregnancies. I mean, I was raped and I remember thinking in the middle of it, ‘god I hope I don’t get pregnant!’ And I didn’t. And thank God, I didn’t, by the way. I mean, I never saw my rapist because it was dark when I got raped and – oh – because after he tied my hands behind my back, he blindfolded me so I couldn’t have seen him even if the lights had been on. And maybe my rapist was good looking, but probably not, right? I mean they can’t all be Ted Bundy. And Ted Bundy wasn’t really a rapist anyway, he was just a good-looking serial-killer. I mean, he did rape some of his victims, but that’s not what he’s known for. Now again, I’m not a member of the fake press so I don’t want to paraphrase, so, this is what the congressman actually said:

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Now, by ‘whole thing,’ I’m guessing, he means the whole ‘reproductive thing,’ right?  I mean, I guess he could have meant that we all have a little Girl With The Dragon Tattoo hidden deep inside us somewhere just waiting for a rapist to Let Her Out! But I don’t think that’s what he meant. I think he meant that, you know, our ovaries and fallopian tubes and uteruses – or uteri (?) – are kind of psychic in a way.

You know, like they can tell when we’re being raped while it’s happening. Like somehow our vaginas can just tell a violent penis from a non-­violent penis. Or, maybe our vaginas can’t tell from the penis but more from the rhythm. Because, you know, a raping-­rhythm is kind of different than a romantic-­rhythm. I mean, when I got raped, it was a totally different rhythm then the non-­legitimate rape or “sex” I had had before. It was kind of more rapid-­fire aggressive than I, and my uterus and vagina, had been used to.

But, what if you’re dating Anthony Kiedis of The Red Hot Chili Peppers or somebody like that who has a really rape-­y kind of sex rhythm. I mean, I’m just guessing because of how he is on stage, you know, cause he kinda fucks the floor a lot when he’s live, you know, in concert. I mean he did when I saw him at The Forum. So, I don’t know, I’m just guessing. And I don’t know if Anthony Kiedis is married but if his wife had trouble getting pregnant maybe someone should tell him to not fake-­rape her because you know, maybe her body is like shutting the whole thing down. Which would be sad, because they deserve a kid.

And you know, I also have to agree with that doctor, John C. Willke, the former president of the National Right To Life Committee who said that rape is a ‘traumatic thing,’ which is true. He said, when a woman is being raped:

‘Sperm is less likely to fertilize because the women is, ‘uptight’ during rape.’

Which is also true. I mean, I was totally uptight while I was being raped. I mean I was really uptight for like two years after the rape too, which might have been a coincidence, I don’t know. The point is, I was uptight during my rape. You know, cause I didn’t know my rapist or anything. He was just the guy that broke in to my house in the middle of the night and, you know, raped me.

Speaking of guys I don’t know forcing themselves on me, Paul Ryan co-­wrote a bill with Mr. Legitimate-­Rape Todd Akin called H.R.3, which introduced us to the phrase ‘forcible rape,’ another very confusing phrase that no one seems to be able to define, including Mr. Ryan. But I think it’s pretty obvious that ‘forcible rape’ means being raped by force, which means my rape qualifies.

Oh, and you know who else co-­sponsored this same bill? Mike Pence. Our Vice President who recently ‘made history’ for breaking the tie to elect our new education chair Betsy DeVos, who, during her confirmation hearings, refused to commit to enforcing laws about campus sexual assaults saying:

“I know there’s a lot of conflicting ideas and opinions, and I look forward to working with you and your colleagues to understand the range of opinions -­‐-­‐”

Fuck you, Betsy DeVos.

Ah, but we do have one woman in the White House to defend us. Kellyanne Conway, who said:

“If women were physiologically as strong as men, rape would not exist. You would be able to defend yourself and fight him off.”

Oh, never mind.

By the way, I want to apologize for all this abortion talk. I said I was going to talk about rape and I keep forcing all this abortion stuff on you. Oh, that reminds me of Representative Lawrence Lockman, who said this:

“If a woman has the right to an abortion, why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t result in anyone’s death.”

Now again. That’s true. I didn’t die. But my ability to sleep on my stomach, trust men or ever be touched by another human being? All dead. Pour a little out, you guys. But he did say he regrets saying it, so that makes it better.

Speaking of regrets… John Kasich, during his presidential campaign, told a female college student that, to stay safe, she shouldn’t go to parties where they serve alcohol. But I wasn’t drinking in my sleep so I’m not sure Kasich is right about that one. But he also said that the problem with rape is it’s hard to prove because it’s always ‘he-­said, she‐said.’ Now, in in my case, he said, ‘do exactly as I say or I’ll kill you,’ and I said, ‘please don’t rape me.’ But, he’s right. I can’t prove it.

And then there’s New York Attorney Michael Cohen who said, there’s no such thing, legally, as a man raping his wife. Well, he said, and I quote:

“You cannot rape your spouse.”

When he said this, he was defending his client who had been accused of raping his wife. The wife in this case was Ivana. And the client? Donald Trump. That’s right, Ivana accused #45 of rape. But, come on, who cares? She’s an immigrant. So it doesn’t really matter what she says. Build a wall!

But what’s amazing is, even though there’s been lots of public outcry about what all of these and other politicians have said, and despite many high-­ranking members of both parties backing away from them, even calling for some of them to withdraw from office. They don’t care. Pence, Ryan, Trump? They’re not going to pull out. They’re going all the way. Which, sounds like rape to me. I mean, not legitimate rape. But I definitely feel fucked.

Mary Jo Smith is an actor, writer, director and an alum of the world-­famous Groundlings Main Company. She co‐hosts the monthly podcast, ‘My First Time’ with Colleen Smith (no relation) and lives in Los Angeles with her fiancé Chick and their two insane dogs. You can find her on Twitter @MaryJoLA.

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  • Reply cecilia fasano April 10, 2017 at 1:35 am

    fabulous!! how you managed to write such a complicated, many sided, story about something so horrible that happened to you, is pure genius! You’re amazing! xx’s

  • Reply Nina Gaby April 10, 2017 at 4:40 am

    In awe of this piece.

  • Reply Amy Smallman-Winston April 10, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    My dear friend Mary Jo Smith tells it like she sees it. I love this woman! If you want to hear more from her, check out the My First Time Podcast that she and Colleen Smith created. In the most recent episode ( https://soundcloud.com/my-first-time-podcast/my-first-time-rape ) she goes in depth about her “legitimate” rape and I discuss my “illegitimate” one.

  • Reply Jennifer Watkins April 11, 2017 at 2:04 am

    So, so good.

  • Reply Liz Brown April 11, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    WOW Mary Jo. You kick ass.

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