There's reaction in Massachusetts to the inflammatory comments Missouri Congressman Todd Akin made about rape over the weekend. Akin said in a television interview Sunday that it's rare for women to become pregnant when they are "legitimately raped." WGBH's Sarah Birnbaum has more on the fallout in the Bay State.
Becky Lockwood, the associate director of rape crisis services at UMass Amherst, said Akin’s comments are dangerous. She said they feed the myths and stereotypes about rape that are still prevalent in our culture.
“It’s another one of those victim blaming statements,” Lockwood said. “To me it harkens back to those stereotypes about, Oh did she scream? Did she fight? What was she wearing? All those really negative victim blaming ideas that when it comes right down to it a lot of people still adhere to.”
Akin's comments are also playing into the U.S. Senate Race in Massachusetts. Republican Senator Scott Brown called for Akin to resign, saying his statements were outrageous.
Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren said Brown wants to pretend Todd Akin is an isolated individual but Akin is clearly in line with the Republican and Brown’s agenda of restricting women’s rights. Warren pointed out that Brown cosponsored a controversial amendment that would have allowed employers to opt out of covering birth control.
In the past, Brown has defended his record on women’s issues by saying he’s pro-choice and that he opposed an effort led by House Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood.
In any case, the Akin controversy showed how quickly a gaffe by a candidate in Missouri can become fodder for local campaigns.