Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Friday, August 24, 2012

Legitimate Analysis

Analyzing the Aikin comment without the politics Legitimate: 1) According to law. 2) in accordance with established rules, principles, or standards. Rape: 1) the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse. 2) any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person. Legitimate Rape: any act of sexual intercourse that in accordance with established law is deemed unlawful due to being compelled through physical force or duress.

In all the hoopla surrounding Akins commentary about "legitimate rape" I lost sight of my purpose as a writer concerned with fact, which is to be fair and look at all the angles before jumping to conclusions. In this politicized environment jumping to conclusions and public shows of outrage particularly when it concerns a group one does not care much if anything for, is easy to do. Knowing that most of the US population does not read much above high school level (if that) it is understandable how most of the population would have lost their mind at the idea of "legitimate rape". However; upon further examination the term is actually not offensive in the least bit.

The reason for this is because the term"legitimate" has been confused with "actual" or "real". The latter two terms used by those who attempt to distinguish between things such as "date rape" or "acquaintance rape", which is the most common form of rape and forcible "stranger jump out of the bush rape" which is in the statistical minority. Many, particularly those on the "right" have been attempting to use these qualifiers in order to make an attack on abortion. I'm not addressing this particular angle here. This piece is only in regards to the actual statement and the actual facts

So then having seen how the term "legitimate rape" can, in fact be used without any nefarious intent we have to ask the next question: if there is such a thing as "legitimate rape" then what exactly is an "illegitimate rape"? Taken from the above definition of legitimate we could assume that illegitimate rape would be a sexual act that falls outside the legal definition of rape. for example, in some states rape requires that a penis actually enter a vagina. In such a case anal intercourse may not be legally considered rape. Rather it would be considered sexual assault or Sodomy. Another example would be if in said state a person was a victim where a broom handle was inserted into their vagina. That may also be considered "Sodomy" or "sexual assault" but not a rape.

Therefore it is clear that one must be careful when discussing rape because persons, usually emotional about the subject, will be put off when one says "actual rape" meaning "by the book".

But that still presents a problem. If rape is definitively an "illegitimate" act, then how can we even define an "illegitimate rape"? My position would be that the proper phrase, given the definition of legitimate, would be an illegitimate *accusation* of rape. Note the difference. I'm asserting that a *claim* of rape may be found to be illegitimate (which happens more frequently than people believe). That is, someone may claim to be raped but the evidence shows that such a claim is illegitimate ie "not in accordance to law" because either the alleged victim lied about the encounter or the person he or she fingered did not actually commit the crime in question.

This brings me to another point. I have had many discussions with women who are of the opinion that any and every rape claim should be taken as truth. I could see those persons not living in America or unaware of American history to make such a mistake but I do not see how any person who lives in a country where a person is presumed innocent under the law, to take such a position. I also cannot fathom how black women (and men) could be of such an opinion given the history of false rape claims that have ended up with black men hanging from various trees and being parted with certain body parts.

With that little commentary out of the way let me move on to the other part of the Akins comment. Akins made the claim that " "legitimate rape" rarely resulted in pregnancy".

Yet through all the hoopla surrounding the comment, I saw very little in the way of "fact checking". Yesterday while suffering through Bourne Legacy, I stumbled across the following piece on Google which stated:

A previous study found that five percent of rape incidents result in a pregnancy among women of reproductive age and estimated that rape causes more than 32,000 pregnancies in the United States every year.
So 95% of rape incidences do not result in pregnancy. So let's return to Akins comment along with the above definition of "legitimate rape":

5% of those persons subject any act of sexual intercourse that in accordance with established law is deemed unlawful due to being compelled through physical force or duress, have a pregnancy as a result.

Therefore Akin's comment in regards to the frequency of pregnancy via rape is actually correct. So where did he go wrong? The erroneous part of Akins statement was the whole "the woman's body can shut things down" in response to being raped. Certainly those 5% are certainly not going to want to be told that their so called "anti-rape" biological defense mechanism failed to kick in. And certainly no one should be telling any victim of rape such a thing. That is indeed offensive. However that does not change the fact that under stressful conditions the human female body will have problems conceiving and carrying to term, a child. There certainly is not an on/off switch as Akins claimed there was, but rather a set of responses that may be triggered after a rape (or any traumatic event). But let's not take my word for it. Let's look at the literature on the subject. Here's the NCBLI (National Center for Biotechnology Information ) on the subject: Stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: evidence in support of relaxation

CONCLUSION(S): Stress significantly reduced the probability of conception each day during the fertile window, possibly exerting its effect through the sympathetic medullar pathway
Another article Stress and other environmental factors affecting fertility in men and women: overview says:
A close association between stress and eating disorders is frequently found in female patients presenting with anovulation and amenorrhea. This is not surprising since both conditions lead to a slow-down of the LHRH pulse generator and consequently, of gonadotropin secretion and gonadal function.
Another article from the journal Human Reproduction (subscription required) :Should fertilization treatment start with reducing stress? tells us:
There is substantial initial evidence that the psychological disposition of the parents-to-be influences their fertility and thus the outcome of fertilization techniques.

There is ample evidence that lower stress levels mean better female and male natural fertility, though there is as yet no conclusive experimental evidence that lower stress levels result in better fertility treatment outcome. However, first reducing stress may diminish the number of treatment cycles needed before pregnancy is obtained, may prepare the couple for an initial failure of treatment or even make the more invasive techniques unnecessary.

the follicular levels of glucocorticoid hormones, especially lower follicular cortisone and a higher cortisol/cortisone ratio have shown to have a significant effect on pregnancy rates in IVF.

The female reproductive tract contains catecholamine receptors (Moran, 1975); thus, catecholamines—which are related to stress, see Table I—may affect fertility, for example, by interfering with the transport of gametes through the Fallopian tube or by altering uterine blood flow (Schenker et al., 1992). A substantial number of studies found that anticipatory anxiety and high anticipatory cortisol levels prior to oocyte retrieval (OR) and embryo transfer (ET) result in lower pregnancy rates, as do depression, high active coping, high avoidance and high expression of emotion

I would humbly suggest that the act of being raped is stressful. I would suggest that the aftermath: worrying about life ending diseases, court dates that can go on for months, possibly facing the perpetrator, or not having the perp caught and at large, are all long term stressors that would qualify as things that could have an adverse effect on possible ovulation or carrying to term of a fertilized egg.

Given the report above that the vast majority of rape incidents do not result in pregnancy (32,000 is less than .01% of the total US population) it is clear that a variety of factors, known to many couples who have had a hard time conceiving, can and probably do act to prevent conception or the carrying to term of a human child.

So given this and far more information available, it is flat out wrong for certain "news" outlets to claim that Akins was presenting "junk science" nor were the claims of the "rarity" of pregnancy resulting from rape statistically incorrect. Akins may not have understood the science. But the science is not "junk".

So Akins actual faulty language was the suggestion that women somehow have an on/off switch that they can/do/must activate in order to prevent pregnancy. That is offensive and deserves to be pointed out as such. However; he rest of the statement, on it's face is actually accurate. However to see that we must take off our political blinders and our ideological glasses and turn off our "immediate outrage" switch.