On Tuesday in North Carolina, President Obama's speech on behalf of Hillary Clinto was interrupted by individuals wearing T-shirts reading "Bill Clinton Rapist." The following day, Hillary Clinton was met, The Washington Post reported, with"protesters accusing former president Bill Clinton of rape. Clinton’s campaign appearances were interrupted two days in a row this week by people shouting while holding or wearing T-shirts that brand her husband a rapist."
With election of the Democratic nominee probable and such protests unlikely to affect voters, the charge, unproven though plausible, is less important than the perspective it reflects.
The current "rape" fever among Republicans may have begun when back in May Donald Trump accused Mr. Clinton of rape. After recent confirmation that Donald Trump believes his star status allows him to do with women as he wishes, many Republicans, as Amanda Marcotte notes, are disavowing Trump. However, they
do so in language that reinforces this notion that women are objects that men own, instead of people in their own right. Most Republican men who released statements condemning Trump invoked their wives and daughters, framing sexual violence as a property crime against male-controlled female bodies, rather than a crime against people with rights.
This may have reached its most absurd when on Wednesday Rush Limbaugh maintained
You know what the magic word, the only thing that matters in American sexual mores today is? One thing. You can do anything, the left will promote and understand and tolerate anything, as long as there is one element. Do you know what it is? Consent. If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it’s perfectly fine. Whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation, then here come the rape police. But consent is the magic key to the left.
It must be great for Mrs. Limbaugh, being married to a man who believes "consent" is a four-letter word spelled r-a-p-e. The failure to distinguish between sexual behavior and sexual assault is common among Republican politicians. After learning of the Bush/Trump tape, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan stated
I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered,not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation iwth the seriousnesss it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests.
Then in a commentary in which the following passage is mysteriously omitted in the video below,, Oliver (sarcasm in italics) responded
Championed and revered? You do know that women are human beings and not pedigreed show dogs, right?
Women should be looked after with the utmost care: thrice-weekly grooming, regular vet appointments, and then fed high-protein kibble to maintain the luster of their coats.
Put on a pedestal, women cease to be human beings and are denied autonomy. The notion of rape as distinct from consent becomes blurred as females are assumed to be unable to make up their own minds. If things worsen, some conservatives may even suggest that women be forced against their will to carry fetuses to term! There is no limit to the damage which may result when women are believed to lack the capacity to make their own decisions or that their consent is immaterial.