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Todd Akin, 'Legitimate Rape,' and Gospel Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault

The controversy over the Missouri congressman's comments gives Christians a chance to understand sexual assault with wisdom and theological depth.
Todd Akin, 'Legitimate Rape,' and Gospel Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault
Image: Aldo Murillo
Todd Akin, 'Legitimate Rape,' and Gospel Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault

United States Representative Todd Akin and U.S Senate candidates started a national discussion about sexual assault this week after Akin's unwise choice of words in an interview Sunday night.

The Missouri Congressman who attends a PCA church said to a St. Louis TV anchor that a woman's body is capable of preventing pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." He claimed a woman's body can typically fend off pregnancy during such rape, as he argued against allowing abortions in cases of rape, claiming such pregnancies are uncommon in the first place.

Rep. Akin's statement is as follows:

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 let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.

Akin later apologized, saying he was referring to "forcible rape." He acknowledging that women "do become pregnant" after rape. Regardless of what one thinks about Akin's comments, the ongoing controversy provides an opportunity for us as Christians to better understand what rape and sexual assault really are, and to know how to respond with the gospel when someone we know becomes a victim.

Based on statistics, you know a victim of sexual assault: At least one in four women and one in six men are or will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime. According to most recent statistics, every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted, and there are nearly 250,000 victims (age 12 or older) of ...

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