Rape victims advocate on Akin: It was a huge kick to the gut - KMOV.com

Rape victims advocate on Akin: It was a huge kick to the gut

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- When Terri Odom first heard Congressman Todd Akins comments on Fox 2’s Jaco Report show on Sunday, she thought it was a joke, part of a comedy sketch. But, Akin was serious.

When reporter Charles Jaco asked Congressman Akin if abortion should be legal in cases of rape, Akin said: 

"It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare.  If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But lets assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be in the rapist and not attacking the child."

“I have no words for his words,” said Odom.

Odom was raped when she served in the U.S. Navy.  She says another sailor attacked her.  She became pregnant and underwent an abortion, 24 years ago on August 20th.  Odom says Congressman Akin’s comments stung on eve of an already difficult anniversary.

“It couldn’t have come at a worse time for me, personally,” said Odom.

Odom works with a group called Protect our Defenders and speaks out about rape in the military.  She says Congressman Akin’s comments did a lot of harm, considering his position as a U.S. Representative and candidate for the U.S. Senate.

“He’s in a strong position to legislate and there’s already a stigma attached to being raped.  The stigma is you’re lying, you caused it, is there anything you could have done to prevent it?”

Congressman Akin has since said that he used the wrong words, in the wrong way.  Congressman Akin’s campaign emailed the following statement to News 4 on Monday evening.  Here is the entire statement:

"This weekend I made a mistake. I used the wrong words in the wrong way. What I said was ill-conceived and it was wrong and for that I apologize. I’m a dad of two daughters and I want tough justice for sexual predators and I’ve always had a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault.

The people from Missouri that elected me know I’m not perfect. We all make mistakes. When you make a mistake what you need to do is tell people you’re sorry. Don’t try and hide it. That’s why I have repeatedly said that I am very sorry for my comments.

Just because somebody makes a mistake doesn’t make them useless. We need a conservative in the United States Senate, and I am running to replace Claire McCaskill and get our country back on track."

Odom said the apology doesn’t cut it.

”Rape is rape and no means no.  This new thing of definition of rape still has me dumbfounded.”

A News 4 viewer reminded us of this report: http://www.christianliferesources.com/article/rape-pregnancies-are-rare-461

In it, Dr. John Willke wrote that “assault rape” pregnancies are rare because the trauma of an assault can disrupt a pregnancy.

It’s not clear if this is what Congressman Akin was talking about when he referred to “doctors” on the Jaco Report.
Dr. George Macone, Chair of the Department of  Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Washington University School of Medicine said, “There’s just no evidence to suggest that any woman, that there can be anything done to prevent a pregnancy on her own after a rape.”

“There’s information out there that suggests that about 5% of reproductive-age women get pregnant after rape.  And that’s about what you would expect, given intercourse,” added Dr. Macone.

As of Monday night, Congressman Akin maintained that he won’t back out of the race for U.S. Senate, despite calls for him to step down from his own party... and from Terri Odom.

“If that’s truly the way that he thinks of rape victims, women, humans, he does not need to serve in public office,” said Odom.

Learn more about Protect our Defenders here:  http://www.protectourdefenders.com/

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