Wisconsin state representative Roger Rivard is doing damage control over comments passed along to him by his father suggesting that some women may agree to sex only later confess that is was non-consensual. The freshman rep claims that his “some girls rape easy” comments have been taken out of context and used against him by the media to smear his re-election campaign.
In December, Rivard discussed a case with the Chetek Alert newspaper in which a 17-year-old high school senior was charged with sexual assault for having sex with an underage girl. The newspaper quoted Rivard, saying that his father warned him when he was young that “some girls rape easy,” meaning that some women change their minds after a consensual sex act and claim that they had been raped.
On Wednesday, Rivard told the Journal Sentinel that the newspaper hadn’t presented his comments in context, and that they made it appear as though his father’s advice was more sinister than it was. Rivard claims that his father was merely advising him not to have premarital sex, a piece of advice that Rivard took seriously.
“He also told me one thing, ‘If you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,’ ” Rivard said. “Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she’s not going to say, ‘Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.’ All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she’s underage. And he just said, ‘Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,’ he said, ‘they rape so easy.’
“What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, ‘If you’re going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.’ So the way he said it was, ‘Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.’
“So it’s been kind of taken out of context.”
Rivard also issued the following written statement to clarify the “some girls rape easy” remarks:
“Sexual assault is a crime that unfortunately is misunderstood and my comments have the potential to be misunderstood as well,” his statement said. “Rape is a horrible act of violence. Sexual assault unfortunately often goes unreported to police. I have four daughters and three granddaughters and I understand the importance of making sure that awareness of this crime is taken very seriously.”
Though Rivard made his original comments 10 months ago, they have resurfaced as the state rep finds himself in a tight race against Democrat Stephen Smith. “I’m offended to think that my sister or my daughters would be thought of in that manner,” Smith said. “I feel Roger is out of touch with the majority of voters and his views are extreme.”
Furthermore, Nichole Kathol, president of the Barron County Domestic Abuse Project, said that she tried to get the media interested in Rivard’s comments when they were made, as she was shocked and appalled when they originally came out in December. “It portrays women as the perpetrator of the violence being perpetrated against them,” she said. “He’s blaming the victim and implying the definition of rape is all too encompassing.”
What do you think? Are Rivard’s “some girls rape easy” comments being taken out of context or do they amount to a legitimate offense that should affect his re-election bid?