During Tuesday’s press briefing with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, the conservative White House official resorted to cherry-picking instances of rape committed by undocumented immigrants as justification for why Trump’s extreme anti-immigrant measures must be taken.
Spicer was asked about a specific case in the news involving an undocumented 18-year-old Guatemala native who attacked a 14-year-old girl in a Maryland high school. In light of the case, a member of the press asked whether President Trump might sign an executive order which would allow publicly funded schools to turn away undocumented immigrants in line with the POTUS’s strongly anti-immigrant policy.
“I think part of the reason the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this. Immigration pays its toll on our people if it’s done — if it’s not done legally. And this is another example, and it’s why the president is so passionate about this.”
Here is the simple truth: while the Republicans in office would pretend that they are just concerned about women’s freedom and welfare when they make their case against immigrants, one in six U.S. women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape some time in their life, immigrant or not. Every 98 seconds, an American citizen is sexually assaulted – the most of which, certainly, are committed by American citizens.
We are already facing an epidemic of sexual violence and abuse – we don’t need to create an anti-immigrant narrative in order to see that reality. But when is the last time you heard a Republican in office speaking about wanting to protect women or reduce sexual violence against them not in the context of the brown-skinned ‘other’?
Where were Republicans when Stanford rapist Brock Turner served only three months in jail after raping an unconscious student in the streets, then blaming the trial for his emotional trauma? Where was the GOP’s concern when Joseph Enochs raped not one, but two women, earning no prison time?
Where was the conservative party again and again in cases of rape and sexual assault when promising white athletes are given feather-light sentences and told that their misconduct is just an unfortunate roadblock in their life of success?
No, just like the GOP’s insistence of caring about women’s rights when discussions of Islam arise, or even the similar argument they make about LGBT freedoms (the gall), they are just using these vulnerable populations for their political means. They would much rather pit one vulnerable group against another, poising themselves as savior.
Sure, people from other cultures may not value consent as much or may believe in more patriarchal roles than we’d like to believe we do, but let’s not pretend that the men in this nation, born and raised in the U. S. of A., aren’t just as much of a threat to women in their everyday lives as an “illegal immigrant.”
As folks so often like to say in regards to helping out other nations or giving refugees asylum within our shores, why don’t we as a country take a closer look at the red, white, and blue epidemic of rape and sexual assault before turning our eyes to immigrants and their culture? Worry about the plank in our eye first.
Women, especially those who have been subject to sexual assault and rape, deserve more than to be the GOP’s talking-point meant to rile hatred against other cultures and ethnicities.