These awful comments about rape and sexual assault were actually said out loud

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Too loud sound.

We’re hearing about sexual assault now more than ever.

The conversation is “gradually getting better,” Scott Berkowitz, president of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network said.

Accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have drawn much attention and triggered a sort of domino effect, empowering victims to come forward. In the last month since the Weinstein scandal broke, we’ve seen accusations against more than a dozen powerful men, including Louis C.K., Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey and James Toback. You can read the full list of Hollywood accused here. Some men in the world of business, technology and news media have also faced consequences since allegations emerged after Weinstein.

Even if the public lashes out against such comments, Berkowitz said hearing anyone in a position of power say something damaging can reinforce the decision for some victims to stay silent. 

Here are a few quotes from people who got rape very wrong: 

“We also need to start talking about the power that women have to control the situation.” — Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas congresswoman said Oct. 18. She recently defended her comments to Fort Worth’s NBC 5, saying “I’m from the old school that you can have behaviors that appear to be inviting. It can be interpreted as such. That’s the responsibility, I think, of the female. I think that males have a responsibility to be professional themselves.”

I make choices that are “self-protecting … I dress modestly.” — Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory, in a New York Times Op-Ed published Oct. 13. The actress wrote: “I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.” She goes on in the piece to say nothing excuses men for assaulting or abusing women, “but we can’t be naïve about the culture we live in.” After her comments came under fire, the actress said in a Facebook live:  “I am deeply, deeply hurt if any woman who has been assaulted — or man — thinks that in any way I was victim-blaming.” She said that was not her intention and stressed “there’s no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave.” 

I hope [your Uber driver]rapes you. — reality star NeNe Leakes during a Oct. 7 performance at Paramount Theatre in Oakland, Calif. It’s unclear what an audience member did to trigger this reaction, but Leakes said: “I ain’t even gonna tell you about the goddamn Uber driver. I hope he rape your a** tonight when he take you home, b****. And steal your funky hello kitty.” She later apologized in a comment on Facebook, saying “As a woman and someone who has survived abuse, I regret the words that I used. I made a mistake and I should have known better.” 

On college campus rape accusations: “The accusations — 90% of them — fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.” — Candice E. Jackson, the top civil rights official at the Department of Education in a New York Times interview published July 12. Jackson later said “the conclusion was based on feedback from cases involving accused students, and even if complaints don’t allege violence, ‘all sexual harassment and sexual assault must be taken seriously,'” The New York Times reports. 

“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” — Donald Trump in a 2005 tape talking to Billy Bush, who worked for Access Hollywood at the time. Trump said about groping women: “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” Bush responded: “Whatever you want.” Trump replied: “Grab ’em by the p****. You can do anything.” Trump initially dismissed this recording after it’s 2016 release as “locker room talk” but later apologized for the comments and said the words “don’t reflect who I am.” 

Rape victim, 14, was “as much in control of the situation” as the rapist and acted “older than her chronological age” — District Judge G. Todd Baugh in a 2013 sentencing. Baugh said those comments, which he later apologized for, while ordering former high school teacher Stacey Rambold to serve 15 years in prison with all but 31 days suspended after he admitted to raping a 14-year-old student who late committed suicide, the Billings Gazette reports.

On pregnancy from rape: “The female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.” — Todd Akin, former representative of Missouri’s second congressional district, during a 2012 FOX 2 St. Louis interview. He was asked if abortion should be legal in the case of rape. He said: ““How do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question? It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down. But, let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment out to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.” Akin later said he misspoke. Then, later in his book, said he regrets apologizing for the comments, saying by asking the public for forgiveness, he “was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said.”

I love sci-fi and fantasy because I can rape beautiful women. — Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa. He said at San Diego Comic-Con in 2011: “As far as sci-fi and fantasy, I love that genre. It’s just that there’s so many things you can do, like rip someone’s tongue out of their throat and get away with it. And rape beautiful women and then have them fall in love with you, you know what I mean?” He later apologized on Instagram, saying he is “severely disappointed” in himself and the “insensitivity of his remarks. 

“Some girls, they rape so easy.” — Roger Rivard, formerly a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, said in 2011, quoting advice he said his father gave him. Rivard later tried to clarify the statement, telling the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: “What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, ‘If you’re going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.’ So the way he said it was, ‘Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.’ So it’s been kind of taken out of context.” 

 

Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

 

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