Rush Limbaugh waxed philosophical about rape and domestic violence this week, after seeing President Obama’s PSA during the Grammy awards. Rush took great offense at the statistics offered by the president regarding female victims of rape and violence, because who knows better about those things than a guy who got caught with illegal Viagra coming back from one of the most popular sex-tourism destinations on the planet? Setting aside the blatant hypocrisy of the Grammys drawing attention to rape and domestic violence while nominating-and inviting-both R. Kelly and Chris Brown to their little party, let’s focus on Rush Limbaugh’s idiocy. First, his words.
Rush begins his tirade by snarkily asking if the president mentioned ISIS or Al Qaeda, because dog whistle. See, in the aftermath of President Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast speech (where he called ISIS a death cult but that’s not good enough for conservatives), the
fright right-wing has gone batshit insane about Islam. More batshit insane than usual. Rush then says:
Oh, just some domestic folks.
Yes, Rush, the Grammys are an American awards show, and the PSA was aimed at citizens of the United States. Why didn’t Rush take this time to call out Saudi Arabia for not letting women drive, or the Saudi historian who, during a recent television interview, said not letting women drive protects them from rape? Oh, right, oil. Flogging a blogger is A-okay with Rushbo, but pointing out actual statistics about female victims of sexual assault and domestic violence is some sort of plot.
Rush believes the statistics President Obama referred to in his PSA are “made up.” The president states:
Right now, nearly 1 in 5 women in America has been a victim of rape or attempted rape, and more than 1 in 4 women has experienced some form of domestic violence.
Limbaugh thinks those numbers are a lie. He calls them “made-up malarkey,” and says the president’s comments were “totally irresponsible.” Rush harps a bit about the Rolling Stone article, which, given his own penchant for just making things up, is pretty ironic. He blames “the left and the drive-by media” for promoting the idea that female college students are raped. In Rush’s world, there is no rape on college campuses because of one piece of faulty reporting. Rush uses math to try to prove his point.
The current population of the U.S. is about 319 million, with women making up about half that number. Here’s Rush’s math:
…which means there are about 158 million women and girls in the U.S. Now 20 percent of American women have been raped or almost raped-that’s 1 in 5-and that’s a total of 31.6 million women. 31.6 million women have been raped or almost raped. What is almost rape? What is that? Did he define that? So we’re left to our own devices to define almost rape? ‘Kay. Well, just going by what the president said, 1 in 5 women in America have experienced rape or attempted rape, 31.6 million women have been raped or almost raped, which is somewhere between the populations of Texas and California.
According to the CDC:
In the United States, an estimated 19.3% of women (or >23 million women) have been raped during their lifetimes (Table 1). Completed forced penetration was experienced by an estimated 11.5% of women. Nationally, an estimated 1.6% of women (or approximately 1.9 million women) were raped in the 12 months before taking the survey.
An estimated 1.7% of men (or almost 2.0 million men) were raped during their lifetimes; 0.7% of men experienced completed forced penetration. The case count for men reporting rape in the preceding 12 months was too small to produce a statistically reliable prevalence estimate.
An estimated 43.9% of women experienced sexual violence other than rape during their lifetimes, and an estimated 5.5% of women were victims of sexual violence other than rape in the 12 months preceding the survey. For men, an estimated 23.4% experienced sexual violence other than rape during their lifetimes, and 5.1% experienced sexual violence other than rape in the 12 months before completing the survey.
Rush quotes from national crime statistics, stating “the national crime stats show fewer than 2 million rapes being reported in the last 20 years.” The data Rush, and other right-wing pundits are using, is from the FBI. In 2011, the FBI changed the legal definition of rape to “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” Prior to 2011, the legal definition was “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” This means that any pre-2011 numbers Rush and the rest of the right-wing are using do not reflect the new FBI definition of rape. From RAINN:
1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).
Rush Limbaugh also does not believe the statistics on domestic violence and women. The American Psychological Association begs to differ:
- More than one in three women and more than one in four men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- 74 percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend). Of these, 96 percent were women killed by their intimate partners.
- One in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.
- Interpersonal violence is the leading cause of female homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy.
- The percentage of women who consider their mental health to be poor is almost three times higher among women with a history of violence than among those without.
- Women with disabilities have a 40 percent greater risk of intimate partner violence, especially severe violence, than women without disabilities.
Conservatives keep talking about violence against women as if it doesn’t really exist, and they never mention violence against men. Rush Limbaugh doesn’t seem to understand the new FBI definition of rape, which probably shouldn’t surprise anyone, since he doesn’t know how the birth control pill works. Guess what Rush blames for all this awful discussion about rape and domestic violence? The “totally made up” war on women. Rush Limbaugh claims that all started when Mitt Romney waffled on his support of the Blunt Amendment, a defeated bill that would have allowed employers the right to deny contraception coverage for women based on moral or religious objections. Feminism is to blame as well, being that we view all men as predators (no we don’t), and now President Obama is “throwing gasoline on that fire.”
Once again, a conservative man purports to know more about violence against women than women, crisis counselors, psychologists, and the FBI. At least he didn’t say what Lawrence Lockman (R-ME) said about rape:
If a woman has (the right to abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.
Or what Richard Mourdock said about rape. Or what Clayton Williams said about rape. Jodie Laubenberg and her rape kits are like an abortion comment. (source)
When will the GOP stop being the stupid party and jettison the voices of hatred and repugnant sexism like Rush Limbaugh?
Listen to the audio below courtesy of Media Matters: