I am listening to various reactions after the statements made by Missouri congressman Todd Akin. Specifically I’ve been listening to folks from ‘my camp’ – prevention educators, crisis responders, counselors, allies… and what I hear is two-fold.
Akin’s comments seem to serve as a rallying cry – a ‘once more into the breach’ moment. Anger, amazement, renewed purpose seem to mix together. The Charge is On! Some are pointing out that Akins is not the only one in recent years to make such outrageous comments. (And to keep this from being partisan – folks from all backgrounds, political identities, etc, have made comments similar to Akins…) And this is all good – the energy feels great – we’re on the same page – we have a tight, consistent message and a clear example to work against.
And yet I’m also hearing a collective groan. A pained whisper. “Really? Are we still having this ‘conversation’ – again?” It’s disheartening. One person I talked to asked, “What have we accomplished if this kind of (bleep!-bleep!-bleep!) continues to happen?”
I don’t have words of wisdom or insight that might reveal the mysteries of the universe. I do know that the comments made most recently by Akins and others remind me to keep moving forward. And while we may, at times, tire from repeating the same message again and again… I think we need to recognize that this is in fact part of the landscape for those of us that do this work and have a passion to end violence. Once the record plays we pick up the needle and return it to the start of the LP… and let the tune play again. Soon, I hope, everyone will be dancing to the songs of non-violence, empowerment, healthy relationships, consent. These are the cool jams…
If this helps, I say: surround yourself with loving people, talk about this, get angry, get sad, get excited – and then get back to the face-to-face. Talk to people and tell them once again: All rape is wrong. There is no such thing as ‘legitimate rape’. And pass along a skill someone can use to help end this form of violence.
So, let do this! “Once more into the breach, dear friends…”
- RISE Director