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Zuzu Grimm’s The Legitimate Rape

The Republican Party

Davis Willard is the ultimate Republican. He walks the talk. He has a perfect Barbie wife. Four teenage children, two boys, two girls, well-behaved, virginal, intelligent: ticky-tacky mini conservatives. When their daddy gave speeches condemning Roe v. Wade and his tireless crusade to overturn it they beamed in the background. When presidential nominee Willard rewrote science to say that a woman who is legitimately raped will never get pregnant because her body shuts it down, his children stood behind him and cheered. When Davis Willard closed all of America’s Planned Parenthood sites, the children were present as they were razed, collecting souvenirs from each toppled building.

Sunday night dinner. Pot roast and apple pie from scratch by Barbie. The family sits together in the living room to watch Glen Beck. Davis sips a vintage cognac. His wife a glass of Chardonnay. The children drink glasses of milk and occasionally dunk an Oreo. An insistent knock on their front door. For a moment they are all at a loss. Nobody comes to their home on a Sunday. Ever. It’s an unwritten Willard Family rule. Davis makes sure he sets his drink on a coaster. His family watches him walk to the door and out of sight.

A bang and a thud. Barbie screams. The boys jump from their seats as three masked men with assault rifles storm the room. Now the girls scream, cowering behind their mother who would rather it the other way around.

—The money and jewelry is upstairs! Take it! I know the combination of the safe!, Barbie wails.

—We don’t want your money. We want your girls.

The fourth masked man enters, dragging a bloody Davis Willard behind him, unconscious. The men tape up Barbie, the boys, and Davis, lining them up on the couch so they can see. Davis Willard wakes from his stupor in time to watch his daughters raped for the third and fourth times, the finished gunmen point their rifles at the sofa sitters, screaming at them to watch.

The intruders leave as quickly as they came. Pun intended.

Two weeks later Cassie misses her period. A week after that Debbie’s is also absent. A trip to the doctor confirms the Willard women’s fears. Davis is furious.

—You must have enjoyed it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be pregnant.

His voice is cold.

—But daddy!, they cried, you saw what they did to us!

He locks them in their rooms. Barbie brings them pre-natal vitamins and nutritional meals. When Cassie refuses to eat Davis force feeds her through a tube. When Debbie attempts a clothes hanger abortion and injures the fetus Davis puts cameras in her room he monitors all day from his iPhone.

Barbie sits in front of their doors after her husband sleeps, weeping and wanting to do something, anything. Unable. While she’s grateful that the babies’ fathers were white, she’s terrified of the day they’ll claim paternity. Davis just passed a law that gives rapists parental rights. He insists the girls weren’t legitimately raped. She knows he’s wrong. She wonders if he even knows he’s wrong anymore. She never argued with him because there was no way this could happen to her or her children. Now, every time she closes her eyes she sees the men heaving over her daughters as they screamed in pain. The blood, the tearing she doctored at home. Her two beautiful, ruined girls.

Presidential hopeful Davis Willard is the ultimate Republican. He’s on the pulpit. Now he claims there’s no such thing as rape at all, it’s just another form of conception. He thinks about his daughters as his children less and less. They are examples. They are his proof. He walks the talk. This is why you can trust him.

©2012 Sezin Koehler, Image via Under the Mountain Bunker

8 thoughts on “Zuzu Grimm’s The Legitimate Rape

  1. Oh Sezin, this is just gut-wrenching. But totally, unequivocally the reality for some. Let’s all believe and trust together that people like David are the crazy minority and will someday be as extinct as Telly Savalas’s hair.

  2. Sezin, those girls in your fictional story should have been taken to the hospital–legitimate rape or not. There they can get DNA, etc. The problem is to get women who are raped to go to the police and the hospital and report the rape.

    1. Michelle, from a practical and pragmatic standpoint, you are absolutely right. But that isn’t the point. DNA testing doesn’t prove the insanity and illogic of calling ANY rape “legitimate”, or validating it as a form of conception. To deem rape as anything less than it is–a violation of the most fundamental human sense–is insulting, demeaning, and dehumanizing. Willard, Akin, Romney, and the like are legitimately trying to strip women of their personhood. And THAT, in the very realest sense, is the point.

    2. Michele, rape survivors should indeed go to both the hospital and the police, but as Laura mentioned also that’s not the point of this story. This story is about a nightmare future in which ultra-conservatives control women’s rights to maintain their own health and pregnancy choices.

      And regarding rape reportage, most women who are stranger raped do tend to go to the authorities at a much higher rate than women who are raped by someone they know. The problem with that is stranger rapes make up only about 15 percent of all rapes, and hence why most rapes go unreported. Rape takes on so many more problematic levels when the perpetrator is a friend, family member, or partner. Ultimately the issue is not to get women to report rapes, but to teach men how not to rape. Seems like common sense, but it’s not so in practice.

    1. Yeah, it sort of makes me sick to my stomach that I wrote this, but it felt necessary. Thank you for reading and commenting, Judith!

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