Roger Rivard, a freshman state representative from Wisconsin, is battling comments he made last December about how "some girls, they rape so easy." While the Republican legislator claims his comments were taken out of context, it has done little to quell the public uproar on both sides of the aisle.
Roger Rivard's "some girls rape easy" soundbite was pulled from his commentary on a sexual assault case involving a 17-year-old high school senior and a 14-year-old. The senior, Dennis Veldman of Chetek-Weyerhaeuser High School, had sex with the underage girl- no one under 16 may consent to sexual relations in Wisconsin- and was charged with sexual assault of a child.
"If it's rape it's rape. If it's not, it's not," Rivard told The Chetek Alert at the time. He also quoted the now-infamous line as advice from his father, who always said "some girls, they rape so easy."
Though the statement didn't cause much controversy at the time, now that the representative is in a tight race against Democrat Stephen Smith, all things dark have been drudged up into the light. The public was outraged at the comments.
"I'm sorry, Rep. Rivard. Your dad's advice stunk," peterpatience wrote on the Huffington Post blog.
Similar sentiments were held by others, who called him a "misogynist," "warped," and "foolhardy."
Rivard, though, clarified his statements, saying his father's advice was about the dangers of underage premarital sex, and more a warning than a generalization.
"'If you do [have premarital sex], just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,'" Rivard said his father told him. "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. … 'Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls, they rape so easy.'
"Rape is a horrible act of violence. … I have four daughters and three granddaughters and I understand the importance of making sure that awareness of this crime is taken very seriously," the 60-year-old politician added.
The crux of the advice, that "it may be rape the next morning," has largely been ignored, however; instead, many, including Rivard's opponent Stephen Smith, have called the comments offensive.
"I feel Roger is out of touch with the majority of voters and his views are extreme," said Smith.
The Republican Party support that Rivard enjoyed has collapsed as well, with major names- Senator Ron Johnson, Governor Scott Walker, and Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan- all withdrawing their endorsements.
Ryan's congressional campaign manager, Kevin Seifert, called Rivard's comments "outrageous and offensive" in a statement, adding that "there is no place in our discourse for rhetoric such as this."