Continuing their long tradition of failing utterly to support survivors of sexual violence, the Republican Party has included in its platform draft official opposition to the Obama administration’s use of Title IX to address campus sexual assault.
[Content Note: This post includes discussion of sexual assault and victim-blaming.]
TIME political reporter Zeke Miller was tweeting the drafting of the Republican platform, and there were a number of issues that caught my eye (and my gag reflex), but this one was a real doozy:
The Republicans have an issue with the Obama administration using Title IX, the federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity, to address the massive problem of sexual assault on college campuses, which disproportionately affects women and is obviously deleterious to their studies.
They’re so angry about the Obama administration trying to help female survivors of campus sexual assault that they felt obliged to debate inserting opposition into their national platform.
Sounds about right.
To put it politely, the Republican Party does not have a solid history of taking sexual assault seriously. There was that time House Republicans tried to redefine rape so that it was only “real” rape if it involved force. Then there was the time that Senate Republicans blocked votes on military sexual assault legislation. There was that other time New York state Republicans blocked a proposal to eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. And let’s not forget that time when Georgia state Republicans didn’t want to consider a proposal on rape kits and accused the Democratic sponsor of “politicizing” the issue to get votes.
There was that time former GOP Senator and two-time presidential candidate Rick Santorum said that pregnant rape victims should make the best out of a bad situation. And that time former GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin argued that pregnancy from rape is really rare, because “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” And that time Akin also accused women of lying about rape. And that time GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that getting pregnant from rape is god’s plan. And all the times Republicans have told women how to avoid getting ourselves raped, as if it’s our responsibility to stop rapists rather than predators’ responsibility to not rape people.
And then there’s the current Republican presidential nominee, whose opening salvo in this election was to call undocumented Mexican immigrants rapists, and who has compared trade deficits to rape. Twice.
This is hardly a comprehensive list. The litany of examples of Republicans blocking legislation that would address sexual assault or support survivors, and of Republicans saying inappropriate things about rape and/or its victims, is interminable. And intolerable.
It’s thus no surprise that the Republican Party would debate including opposition to supporting survivors in their platform, but that doesn’t make it any less indecent or enraging.
Fortunately, a majority of women know what’s up, and will practice self-preservation when we show up at the polls in November to vote against Donald Trump and his deplorable platform.