Women Deserve Legitimate Respect


            What exactly is a legitimate rape?  Unfortunately, according to Republican Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri, some rapes are realer than other rapes.

            Akin set off a political firestorm recently with his comments about legitimate rape, and his belief that a woman’s body can automatically block a pregnancy if she is indeed raped.  Almost immediately, Republicans like Governor Mitt Romney called for Akin to drop out of the race for the Missouri Senate seat, as the GOP struggles to retain and regain the support of women voters.

            The congressman backed off the controversial comments he made on Sunday to St. Louis television station KTVI.  In an email later that day he stated: “In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.

            “Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.”

            Those controversial remarks about legitimate rape have made abortion the hot-button issue of the week, but politics notwithstanding, the issue of respecting women should be the real issue, not grandstanding politicians who look for controversy to earn votes.

            Akin went on to say the he is totally pro-life and respects all life, but do we as a society (pro-life or pro-choice) really respect all life?

            Many men, despite their public statements to the contrary, still view women as purely objects, with no regards to their value or purpose on this Earth.  From unequal pay for the same work to unequal treatment in romantic relationships, many men still view women as an object that they own, to use how they see fit with little or no regards to the pain and heartache it causes her.

            Too often, married men take pride in cheating on their wives.  Many men put forth no effort in treating their wives, and the mothers of their children, as the queens they really are. 

Too often, men see their wives as just their main woman, and falsely believe it makes them a man to go out and conquer as many other women as they can.  Very seldom do cheating men care about the effect their philandering will have emotionally on their significant other and family.

            Far too many times, women are not awarded the same respect as men for doing the same job.  Many times they do the jobs better.  But because of deep-held stereotypes about the role or ability of women, many men cannot give them the credit they deserve for their talent and hard work.

            In the field of sports journalism, many female reporters cannot get through an interview with a star athlete without being seen as a sexual object.  Recently, the NFL hired Shannon Eastin, its first female referee as a replacement official, and many criticized it, wondering if the football field was the place for a petite woman.  Many critics were making a choice for her, because according to them apparently, she probably was not smart enough to make a choice for herself.

            Although Akin showed a lack of knowledge by his legitimate rape comments, he like everyone else deserves respect for standing true to his values and beliefs (the pro-life beliefs not the legitimate rape beliefs), as well as those on the pro-choice side.

            However, polarizing political issues are not the only time a woman makes a choice and we should not only respect a woman when it comes to abortion or other hot-button topics (whether we agree or disagree), we should also respect them when it comes to everything they do in life. 

Unfortunately, many men (liberal and conservative) do not have the legitimate respect for the opposite sex regarding all aspects of life that they claim they do and that needs to change.

Smith is publisher of Regal Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

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