It is a pattern that the Republican Party is desperately trying to break. During the 2012 Elections, several Republican candidates made horrific comments about rape and took major heat from voters. Todd Akin, a Republican running for Senate in Missouri, famously uttered that pregnancy could not result from "legitimate rape," a position that has no scientific merit whatsoever. Another Republican Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock of Indiana, suggested during a debate that pregnancies resulting from rape "are something God intended to happen."
Both candidates lost their races, Mourdock losing the women vote by 12 points and Akin losing it by 22 points. The Republican Party attempted to take steps to prevent such horrible comments emerging from their elected official's mouths. The Susan B. Anthony list, an anti-abortion organization, launched a training program to prevent candidates and lawmakers from making such comments. Their program may need to extend down to leaders of Republican groups. Celeste Greig, president of the California Republican Assembly, made another rape mention recently, saying "the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it's an act of violence."
Greig was actually in the middle of criticizing Todd Akin's remarks when she made her controversial statement. After saying that Akin's remark was insensitive and that he should have fully apologized, Greig proceeded to say:
"Granted, the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it's an act of violence, because the body is traumatized. I don't know what percentage of pregnancies are due to the violence of rape. Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don't know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act."
This is no different from Akin's original comment, and the California Democratic Party was quick to reprimand Greig. Greig is the president of the California Republican Assembly, the state's oldest and largest Republican volunteer organization. They claim that Ronald Reagan called the group "the conscience of the Republican Party" and Reagan has praised the group in the past.
Such remarks will not help a party attempting to rehabilitate its image with women. Tom Del Beccaro, the outgoing chairmen of the Republican Party, refused to discuss the issue with reporters, saying, "It is not what we're going to discuss this weekend." Such a head in the sand response speaks terribly for Republican tactics and strategy with regard to these comments. A simple "That comment is unacceptable" and having the figure in question fully apologize combined with sensitivity training should be enough to keep those horrendous comments in check.
Yet these comments keep arising, to the point at which Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report mocked it on air. Website Days Without a GOP Rape Mention quickly emerged, and has sadly been very active. Greig's comment breaks a streak, as there had nearly been a whole month without a rape mention by a prominent GOP figure. Many in the GOP probably now wish that the streak had remained unbroken.
Unless the Republican Party can figure out a way to control these comments short of forbidding their candidates and activists from speaking entirely, it seems as though Days Without a GOP Rape Mention will have a lot of activity in the future.