Abortion, Election 2012, Law Schools, Rape

The Legal Definition of ‘Legitimate’ Rape

I wonder if Todd Akin has some way of shutting this whole thing down, or is it that he secretly wants this?

It’s been a fun couple of days trying to figure out what Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin meant when he said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin claims he misspoke. In a new political ad (look, if the guy doesn’t understand how women get pregnant, it’s probably going to take him a while to figure out how voters decide elections), Akin says: “Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize… The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”

But what did Akin really mean when he tried to distinguish “legitimate” rape from the regular kind of “rape-rape” that seems to void a woman’s reproductive rights?

In these times when words are mean and hurtful, we tend to turn to Northwestern Law for guidance. The students at Northwestern Law have long taken their role as the PC Police very seriously. And so it shouldn’t surprise us that a Northwestern 2L is credited with main definition of “legitimate rape” on the incomparable resource of Urban Dictionary…

Here is the Urban Dictionary definition of Todd Akin’s term that went viral yesterday:

1. Legitimate Rape

Rape between one man and one woman who are not married or even acquainted; the only rape sanctioned by the Republican Party.

“Was it legitimate rape, or was it just like, hilarious prison rape or acceptable acquaintance rape?”

The person who submitted this definition is Northwestern 2L Jeremy Peter Green. We’ve written about him before. Last fall, Green appeared on these pages as the Pie King — a Northwestern student who won a pie eating contest, albeit under controversial circumstances.

How does one go from pie enthusiast to rape arbiter? We asked Green to tell us about it:

As for “legitimate rape”, I guess I kept seeing people say “What is legitimate rape?” and decided that I would make up my own definition. After I did that, I realized that Urban Dictionary was the most appropriate place to put this new definition. Whoever runs that site must have liked my submission and decided that Urban Dictionary should be involved in this current scandal, because the next morning it was the “Urban Word of the Day”. This led to countless tweets, thousands of likes on Facebook, and mentions in various forums and minor blogs.

I have some prior experience with making D-list viral political humor memes. My site Santorum-2012.com, a food blog, was the number one result on Google for “Santorum 2012″ for several months. My site Gingrich-2012.net also had some “success”.

Really, Green’s Urban Dictionary submission is as reasonable a definition for legitimate rape as Akin’s.

What’s really funny is that Green kind of promised Northwestern that this is how he’d use his law degree if given a chance:

When applying to law schools, I wrote my personal statement about how I sort of make a joke out of everything and turn every career field I touch into a parody version of itself… I love Northwestern Law and Chicago and I feel extremely lucky to be here. With that said, please give me a job.

Yes, students never see the “employed upon graduation” punchline coming. If you can hook Green up with a job, you can contact him through his blog.

If people like Todd Akin have his way, the definition of “legitimate rape” might become a serious legal concern. How raped will you have to be to get a “legitimate” shot at an abortion under a Republican administration?

Let’s hope the definition of “legitimate rape” as distinct from regular rape remains on Urban Dictionary and out of Black’s Law Dictionary.

The Definition Of “Legitimate Rape” I Made Up Has Gone Viral [JPG Clog]
Legitimate Rape [Urban Dictionary]
Todd Akin asks for forgiveness in new TV ad [Washington Post]
Rep. Todd Akin: The Statement and the Reaction [New York Times]

Earlier: For Students at Top Chicago Area Law Schools, It’s All About the Pie

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