Sexual violence and the conservative party

Roughly a week ago, I wrote this, about why Brett Kavanaugh is a monster. Ironically enough, that was before Dr. Christine Basley Ford came forward with allegations that Kavanaugh violently assaulted her in high school. Since Dr. Ford came forward, new and disturbing allegations have continued to surface about a pattern of sexual violence following Kavanaugh from high school into his college days.

Now, whenever one of these right wing assholes gets accused of sexual violence, people inevitably quip about how contra that kind of behavior runs to the “family values” platform so many of them run on. Other people are genuinely perplexed as to how politicians reconcile the two; they wonder why this kind of amoral sexual predatory behavior appeals to the evangelical “values voter” base, in conversations that I roughly estimate sound like this, “But wait they hate womxn… so why do they tolerate this hatred of womxn?”

Because here’s the thing -- it makes perfect sense. Of course the party that can’t stay out of a womxn’s reproductive system doesn’t give a single shit about her right to sexual autonomy. It’s why the likes of Mitch McConnell are so far up Brett Kavanaugh’s ass; it’s why Mike Pence stood by as Trump was accused time after time (after time after time after time after time -- seriously, there’s an entire wiki page dedicated to his history of sexual violence) of sexual assault. Because of course the guy who sent a woman to prison for having a miscarriage doesn’t think rape is a big deal.

Anti-choice: It's not about the procedure

Anti-abortion politics, and rape and rape apologists are cut from the same cloth; rape isn’t about sex the same way anti-abortion sentiment isn’t actually about abortion. If abortion was actually about opposition to the procedure itself we wouldn’t see GOP operatives paying for secret ones for their mistresses (or in this heinous new case of a Trump associate, literally putting the abortion pill in his a woman’s drink without her knowing.) And rape isn’t about sex -- that’s why headlines that read “teacher had sex with underage student” are just factually incorrect, oh and why one is a crime and the other, isn’t. They are both, at their core about power, control and the subjugation of womxn’s autonomy. This ideology is powerful and toxic as all hell, and we’re watching it in full force as the GOP falls in line behind the Kavanaugh even as he is accused of heinous and violent crimes (weirdly it seems as if that’s making them more into him.)

So, with some help from Cheryl Rafuse, I’ve devised this handy little visual to show the ways in which anti-abortion garbage humans intersect with sexual predators and their enablers. Of course -- not all sexual predators are anti-abortion; just look at the swaths of men outed since the #MeToo movement started, many of them outwardly liberal who have been outed as serial rapists and sexual harassers. And not all anti-choice garbage humans are sexual predators -- some of them are the little old ladies at church who hand out communion, or the parents of one of my childhood friends who withheld the HPV shot from her because they thought it would encourage her to have sex. This visual isn’t all encompassing, or perfectly precise (some “no means yes” frat bros are definitely anti-abortion, and some ladies praying outside of Planned Parenthood’s could certainly be sexual predators) but I hope it serves as a handy and quick primer on the ways in which these loathsome groups of people intersect.

Sexual Predators vs. Anti-Choice Garbage

Caroline Reilly is a reproductive justice advocate and a law student based in Boston, MA. You can find her work on Teen VogueBitch MediaRewireScarleteenFrontline (PBS), and Death & the Maiden, and where she writes about abortion, medical misogyny, death phobia and more. Additionally, her writing on abortion access for minors, which gained national recognition, can be found here. Find her on Twitter at @ms_creilly.