FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How to Attack Women, One House Bill at a Time

by CAROL NORRIS

Dear Representative Brown,

Brava!  Author!

It takes real hard work and quite a bit of creativity to outdo the extraordinary comments and efforts of many of your peers in public office regarding rape.  To name but a few, we start off with the “legitimate rape” comment by US Representative Todd Akin.  Breathtaking.  Then, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock stepped up and said rape was “something that God intended.”  Nice one.  Next was the decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court to overturn a rape conviction because the victim, who has severe cerebral palsy, cannot verbally communicate, has limited movement, and did not “bite, kick, scratch, screech, groan, or gesture” her disapproval, and therefore consented.  Pretty damn impressive.  You’d think that’d be hard to beat.

But your introduction of legislation (New Mexico HB 206) that would make women who have abortions after getting pregnant from rape bona fide criminals is taking it to a new level!  Abortion as “tampering with evidence” and a third degree felony? Screwing somebody’s record for life?  Nicely done.  What a feather in your “I’m just going to throw any legislative crap out there and see if I can get away with it” cap!

Completely discounting how a woman’s post-sexual assault body is often an extremely difficult place to inhabit, as it’s the inescapable “scene of the crime,” and ignoring how that would be magnified a zillion times if one had to endure a pregnancy because of that assault (if one didn’t want to) is really keeping your eyes on the prize.  We should all have such single mindedness. To hell with a sexual assault survivor’s healing and her fundamental need to regain control of her body.  Your inference that getting pregnant doesn’t afford documentable evidence of a pregnancy unless a baby pops out nine months later is pure genius.  A little wink to you, using an indirect approach to legally attach the concept of “criminal” to “abortion,” the real aim of the bill, no doubt.  Hello, slippery slope!  The fact that you’re a woman really is icing on the institutionalized patriarchy cake.  Such misogynous internalization is usually borne of some deep-seated self-deprecation. Do you need a hug?

Well, you should give yourself a congratulatory one, as your efforts are exemplary.  Take a moment to really savor what you’re trying to do: you are legislatively attacking women who’ve been horribly sexually assaulted (not to mention all women).  A double whammy.  Way to go!

But why, in the name of all twisted, shameless public office holders, would you stop there?  You’re clearly inspired.  Don’t stop at just criminalizing post-rape abortion.   This theme could really be mined.  Grab your “I Loathe Women’s Rights” shovel and dig in!

Here are some ideas for potential evidence-tampering felons:

Survivors Who Seek Trauma Therapy

The very understandable psychological trauma reactions one can have from a sexual assault is considered evidence in some court cases.  Trying to heal one’s trauma reactions, then, clearly would be tampering with evidence.  Criminalize the women who are in trauma therapy.  Make them felons.  Every last couch-sitting one of them.

Psychotherapists Who Provide Trauma Therapy

Stands to reason.  Make all psychotherapists who work with the felonious trauma survivors and do their best to help survivors heal, as I do in my practice, accomplices to their evidence tampering.  Aiding and abetting criminal activity in billable, 50-minute intervals.  Book me.

Supportive Friends

Friends help survivors heal, and with that, trauma reactions (aka: evidence) can fade away.  Lock up the sleaze-ball friends.

Facebook Friends

And for heaven’s sake, don’t limit the legal definition of friends to the 3-D kind.  Any meaningful connection survivors have can potentially help.  Throw the book at the survivor’s Facebook friends and owners of pages they’ve liked.

You get the idea.

Remember, sexual assault remains widespread.  And while it’s estimated that roughly only 3% of those raped become pregnant, still, if your bill is adopted, jails could be filled even more to the gills with evidence tamperers.  Only about 3% of rapists ever spend a nanosecond in jail, so nearly all of them will be running around free while their victims are incarcerated, but whatever.  Eyes on the prize.  The spectacularly lucrative prison industry bonus prize.  You could start a whole sub-niche of evidence-tampering, sexual-assault-surviving prisoners and help the ailing New Mexico economy.  Other states could adopt the same.  The national economy could be saved.  Hooray!  You’ll be a heroine!  (Then you could quit the New Mexico House and become a lobbyist for the prison industry.  Cha-ching!)

And while you’re exploring the possibilities, think outside the evidence-tampering box.  The Rolodex of criminal offenses is your oyster.  What about fraud?  Exploding a destructive device with intent to injure?  Practicing dentistry without a license?  Willfully or negligently causing a train crash by an engineer?  Surely, you can just as easily work these charges into your bill somehow. What about civil law?  Character defamation?  I know I’ve heard survivors say less-than positive things about their assailants.  Keep those creative ideas flowing.

This is all super exciting! I can’t wait to see what absolutely sane legislation you introduce next.  I’ll be watching.  And so will countless women in New Mexico and across the country.

In the meantime, thanks, Representative Brown, for lending your voice of reason and compassion to the increasingly well-reasoned and compassionate political chorus.  As a New Mexico resident and as a woman, I’m bursting with pride.

Most sincerely,

Carol Norris

PS: Since the writing of this letter you’ve apparently gotten a bit of backlash from the “US Out of My Uterus” crowd who will never appreciate your visionary and groundbreaking legislation.  This has forced you to scramble a bit to change HB206’s language to obscure the gist.  But, never fear, we know where your heart is and we get the gist.  You’re not one to be reckoned with.  Watch out, Roe v. Wade, you’re in Representative Brown’s sights!  And on the 40th anniversary, too.  Nice!

Carol Norris is a psychotherapist, activist, and freelance writer who puts forward that regardless of where you live, you might send personalized kudos to New Mexico State Representative Cathrynn Brown here: cath@chathrynnbrown.com 

If you’ve been sexually assaulted, get support. Call RAINN, a confidential national sexual assault hotline that will connect you with local help.  1.800.656.HOPE.  (This writer is not affiliated with them in any way.)

Carol Norris is a psychotherapist, freelance writer, and longtime political activist.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 30, 2016
Russell Mokhiber
Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain
Mike Whitney
Three Cheers for Kaepernick: Is Sitting During the National Anthem an Acceptable Form of Protest?
Alice Bach
Sorrow and Grace in Palestine
Sam Husseini
Why We Should All Remain Seated: the Anti-Muslim Origins of “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Richard Moser
Transformative Movement Culture and the Inside/Outside Strategy: Do We Want to Win the Argument or Build the Movement?
Nozomi Hayase
Pathology, Incorporated: the Facade of American Democracy
David Swanson
Fredric Jameson’s War Machine
Jan Oberg
How Did the West Survive a Much Stronger Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact?
Linda Gunter
The Racism of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Bombings
Dmitry Kovalevich
In Ukraine: Independence From the People
Omar Kassem
Turkey Breaks Out in Jarablus as Fear and Loathing Grip Europe
George Wuerthner
A Birthday Gift to the National Parks: the Maine Woods National Monument
Logan Glitterbomb
Indigenous Property Rights and the Dakota Access Pipeline
National Lawyers Guild
Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access Pipeline
Paul Messersmith-Glavin
100 in Anarchist Years
August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail