Look - rape is rape, OK?

Male politicians, whether of the left or the right, should stop trying to tell women what rape really is. 

So it appears that the story of the Republican's senatorial candidate in Missouri, Todd Akin, and his somewhat interesting views on rape and pregnancy have made it into the NZ media. For those who haven't caught up with it, Representative Akin was being questioned about his position on abortion - which is that it should be illegal in all cases, including where a pregnancy is the result of rape.

OK ... that's a principled position, I guess (even if I personally think it is completely wrong). But the problem was that in seeking to defend it he made the claim that in the case of a "legitimate" rape, "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down" so that a pregnancy does not occur.

This is, of course, abject nonsense with no physiological basis whatsoever. But it does help to get abortion opponents out of a hole, insofar as it allows them to claim that any pregnancy a woman claims resulted from "rape" cannot actually have resulted from such action, so there's no reason to have a "rape exemption" to any ban on abortion. Hence, a number of abortion opponents have over the years continued to repeat it.

The difference being that those opponents aren't a major party senatorial candidate in a state that may determine who has control of the Senate after November's election; an election in which women voters are a very, very important swing block. Which is why Akin's attempt to distinguish between "legitimate" rape and "not-legitimate" rape has caused a major fire-storm, with his own party howling for him to step aside from the race (even as it prepares to adopt a policy plank at its convention next week that basically repeats his actual views on abortion) while the Democrats desperately try to connect Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to Akin's views.

Yes, this is what politics has come to in the US of A.

So, as sensible moderates (for who else reads Pundit?), let us agree that what Akin said was risible nonsense and that rape is rape is rape. And having agreed on that, let us turn our scorn across the Atlantic and heap it on another political figure.

For, according to The Independent, George Galloway - a gad-fly figure on the British left who has parlayed his opposition to middle-eastern wars into a seat in Parliament, as well as also pretending to be a cat on the set of Celebrity Big Brother - has defended Julian Assange's attempts to avoid extradition to Sweden on the basis that "his actions amounted to no more than bad “sexual etiquette”." 

Let's accept for the moment that there is as yet no definitive proof as to what occured between Mr Assange and the two female complainants. And let's also accept that such proof is notoriously difficult to bring to bear in cases of alleged sexual offending - amounting in many cases to a simple "she said/he said" evidence.

Nevertheless, contrary to Mr Galloway's allegation that the complaints by the Swedish women would never have resulted in a prosecution in the UK, the courts when hearing Mr Assange's opposition to extradition have made it plenty clear that the allegations (if proven true) would amount to a crime in the UK as well. And if Mr Galloway instead is saying that those allegations would not be prosecuted in the UK ... well, isn't that an indictment of the UK justice system and the way it treats sexual offences?

 So, least we be accused of cutting our cloth to fit our hero's shoulders, can we agree that having male political figures opine on what is "really" rape is just a really, really bad thing?