Colorado Republicans are rushing to condemn the offensive comments about rape recently made by one of their Democratic colleagues — but their attempts are quickly devolving into even more inappropriate responses to the serious crime of sexual assault.
After Colorado Rep. Joe Salazar (D) suggested that women are too paranoid to responsibly carry a gun — a failed attempt to make the point that allowing college students to carry concealed weapons on campus won’t actually help prevent sexual assaults — the Larimer County Republican Women set out to prove that women need more than just whistles to protect them from rape. But they chose to do so by mocking sexual violence itself, compiling a fake “rape defense kit” with a whistle and a pen and labeling it “In Case of Rape, Robbery, or Assault OPEN IMMEDIATELY.”
Photos posted on Twitter reveal that a number of Republican state lawmakers, including the GOP Minority Leader, posed with the fake rape kit (click to enlarge):
Of course, the fact that Salazar implied that women may be too emotional to recognize whether or not someone is actually threatening them is offensive, and reinforces the deeply-entrenched attitude that women can’t always be trusted because they sometimes falsely “cry rape.” But making light of the sexual violence that remains incredibly prevalent on college campuses — an estimated one in four women will be sexually assaulted while they are in college, and university officials have been notorious participants in perpetuating rape culture — is an offensive counter to the Democratic lawmaker’s original comments.
There are real things that politicians can do to make college campuses safer environments for women, and those policy solutions don’t involve debating about guns or dabbling in rape jokes. On a national level, reauthorizing the lapsed Violence Against Women Act would help ensure that college groups have adequate funding for their dating violence programs, critical resources that help educate students about preventing sexual assault.
(HT: Colorado Pols)