By Erin K. Costello
Description of Rape, type of rapes, and additional rape facts.
There are many ridiculous claims routinely made by the anti-vaccination community, but there is one claim that is downright disgusting and horrific. This is the claim that vaccination is comparable to rape. The claim has even now evolved, likely due to the Kavanaugh senate confirmation hearings, into a comparison between doubting sexual assault victims and doubting victims of vaccine injury. The claim by many on the anti-vaccination side is that if we are expected to believe sexual assault victims when they speak of their sexual assaults, then we are to also believe parents of vaccine injured kids, or those who are vaccine injured themselves. Even though I doubt the absurdity of this claim is lost on many people, I’m going to go ahead and write a blog post about it anyways.
Many people on Facebook, vaccine advocates in particular, have at some point in the past read a comment from an anti-vaccination zealot comparing the act of forced vaccinations to sexual assault, or more precisely to rape. In 2015, the Facebook page Australian Vaccination Network shared an image showing a man grabbing a woman from behind and covering her mouth with his hand, along with a caption reading: “Forced penetration. Really - no big deal, it it’s just a vaccination needle, and he’s a doctor. Do you really “need” control over your own choices?” This image and others similar have been posted and shared among the AV community for some time. Leave it to MAM (Modern Alternative Mama), aka Kate Tietje, to stretch this claim even further with the following post she made just recently to her personal Facebook page. In the post she writes,
"As several smart people on my friends' list have been pointing out this week, if we need to fight for women's voices to be heard and accepted, then that goes for ALL situations.
There is an epidemic of women who are being ignored, bullied, or called names by the medical professionals.
Children are being injured by vaccines; but mothers are called liars (and so much worse). Thousands and thousands of them.
Women are bullied and lied to especially during pregnancy and birth. Told their babies will die or get taken away if they don't do what they're "supposed" to.
This is not okay. None of this is okay. Stop treating women this way. Respect, autonomy MATTER.
Listen to people. Stand up for them. It's time for real change."
First, let’s define what rape or sexual assault is. Sexual assault is described as:
"an act in which a person sexually touches another person without that person's consent or coerces or physically forces a person to engage in a sexual act against their will. It is a form of sexual violence which includes rape, groping, child sexual abuse or the torture of the person in a sexual manner."
What is rape? Rape is described as:
" a type of assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the age of consent."
Additional facts about rape are:
* Rape can be male on female, female on male, male on male, and female on female.
* In war rape is often used as a weapon and referred to as “war rape.” War rape can include gang rape or sexual slavery. Such practices are now deemed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
* Since most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows, they are classified into several categories such as: date rape, gang rape, marital rape, incestual rape, child sexual abuse, prison rape, acquaintance rape, war rape, and statutory rape.
* Motives for rape cannot be described as one single motive. There are many common motives such as: beliefs in family honor, attitudes of sexual entitlement (usually male), weak anti-rape laws, anger, need to overpower a victim, sadism, evolution proclivities.
* Some common consequences of sexual assault for a victim include: gynecological disorders, reproductive disorders, sexual disorders, infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, pregnancy complications, miscarriage, sexual dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases, mortality from injuries, increased risk of suicide, depression, chronic pain, psychosomatic disorders, PTSD, unsafe abortion, and unwanted pregnancy.
*One in four women and one in nine men have experienced sexual violence, stalking, or rape.
* One in three women and one in six men have experienced violent sexual contact in their life.
* Nearly 23 million women and 1.7 million men have been victims of rape or attempted rape at some point in their lives.
* 8.5 million women experienced rape before age 18.
* 1.5 million men were made to penetrate before age 18.
* One in four women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
* One in seven men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
*False accusations are difficult to assess, though generally scholars agree that rape accusations are false about 2% to 10% of the time.
When you read what rape is, why people rape, how rape can be devastating to a victim, and especially how rape can kill a victim, it isn’t difficult to see why rape is a crime. But, if rape is such a horrific and life altering crime, why is this crime rarely reported to authorities? This is because many rape victims blame themselves for their rape. There is a feeling of shame and guilt that many rape victims feel. This is largely due to “rape myths.” Rape myths are described as “prejudicial, stereotyped and false beliefs about sexual assaults, rapists, and rape victims. They often serve to excuse sexual aggression, create hostility toward victims, and bias criminal prosecution.” Rape myths typically blame the victim for being raped. Common rape myths are:
* That women commonly or routinely lie about being raped.
* That what the victim is wearing can lead to a sexual assault, or that rape is the victim’s fault if they wore revealing clothes.
* That victims bear responsibility for an assault if they were intoxicated when it happened.
* That most rapes are committed by strangers.
* That when a man pays for a dinner or a date, a woman is expected to reciprocate with intercourse.
* That women who are raped often deserve it.
* That it is not rape unless the victim fights/physically resists, or that it is not rape unless the victim is physically coerced or injured.
* That a woman should be able to avoid rape by “fighting off” the rapist, and that she has the responsibility to do so.
* That some women secretly want to be raped.
* That it is impossible to rape one’s wife or intimate partner.
* That rape is simply unwanted sed, not a violent crime.
* That women “ask for” rape
* That men are unable to control themselves once they become sexually excited.
* That women commonly falsely allege rape out of spite, to overcome guilt for a sexual encounter they regret, or to cover up an unwanted pregnancy, or for attention.
* That rape is primarily sexually motivated.
* That most rapists are psychotic or mentally ill,
* That consent to one sexual encounter constitutes consent to another.
* That “real” victims report rape immediately.
Rape does happen, and it happens more often than reported. There can be evidence provided to prove a sexual assault took place, and a victim’s demeanor can often be directly connected to a sexual assault. Although there are times where a case of sexual assault is a he said/she said situation, there is undeniable proof available to us to show why it is we should believe a victim when they report or claim to have been sexually assaulted.
Now that we have covered rape, let’s cover the act of vaccination. Vaccination is described as:
"the administration of antigenic material to stimulate an individual's immune system to develop adaptive immunity to a pathogen. A vaccine can be administered orally, by injection (intramuscular, intradermal, subcutaneous), by puncture, transdermal, or intranasal."
The process of inoculation has been found as early as the 10th century by Chinese physicians. The earliest documented examples of vaccination are found in the 17th century in both China and India. Although Jenner’s small pox vaccine was developed in 1798, it wasn’t until the 19th century when Pasteur further developed the technique that vaccines that vaccines began to take off.
For almost as long as there have been recorded vaccines, there have been antivaccinationists. People have debated against vaccinations for several reasons. Reasons such as: religious arguments calling vaccines “sinful,” safety concerns, vaccine overload, autism, individual liberty, belief in alternative medicines, nefarious financial motives, population control, infertility, and a belief that we are all born perfect or as God intended.
Despite the many concerns from a small group of people over time, vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective. In the US the argument as to whether citizens can be expected to comply with vaccine laws has even gone all the way to the Supreme Court, resulting in a ruling favoring vaccine law.
If vaccines are so safe, why are there so many “vaccine injuries?”
The answer is simple; there aren’t. For granted, there are many cases of people and kids having a “vaccine reaction.” I myself have had red swollen bump on my arm a few times after the flu vaccine. My kids often ran a low-grade fever after receiving vaccinations. We all know people who have felt kind of crappy after obtaining a vaccination. Many will feel tired, achy, feverish, and sore at injection site. Although these are all annoying and unpleasant, they are not vaccine injuries. They resolve themselves on their own in as little as hours, or as much as days.
Real vaccine injuries serious in nature are incredibly rare. Some are allergic reactions, all of which happen within moments of the vaccine being administered, and most of which are remedied almost immediately. Other than allergic reactions, the few exceptionally rare accounts of vaccine injury make the national news. David Salamone from America, and Jacob McCarthy from Australia both developed paralytic polio from the oral polio vaccine. This oral vaccine is no longer administered in either country. Saba Button from Australia developed brain damage after repeated febrile seizures from CSL’s FluVax (this is no longer used for children under 5 and was never in use in America).
There are some events that are deemed “causation indeterminable,” though it is possible the vaccine was at fault. One such case is Izzy Olesen who suffered from Stevens-Johnson syndrome after the DTaP booster. Causation could not be proved, nor dis-proven.
When antivaccinationists speak of vaccine injuries, they are not referring to any of the previously mentioned cases. No, the injuries they speak of have no evidence of a causal link to vaccinations. I have heard claims of vaccine causing things such as, obesity, anorexia, ADHD, autism, gender identity disorder, SIDS, diabetes, mood disorders, allergies, cancer, pneumonia, ear infections, colds, eczema, asthma, epilepsy, endometriosis, infertility, Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, and many other health and behavior concerns. Some of these issues blamed on vaccines already have known and established causes, none of which are vaccines, yet this doesn't stop the anti-vaccination crowd from placing the blame on vaccines. One example of this is Shaken Baby Syndrome. I once even read a comment in the Facebook group called Stop Mandatory Vaccination blaming the act of shaking a baby on vaccinations! The woman had stated that IF shaken baby syndrome was a real thing and not a vaccine injury, and if it is in fact caused by the assault of shaking a baby, then the man in question who had been charged with shaking a baby must have only shaken the baby because he had experienced brain damage from previous vaccinations he received throughout his life. The argument from antivaccinationists that vaccines lead to encephalopathy has been debunked. There are the claims that the HPV, specifically the Gardasil shot, has been responsible for a myriad of issues. However, there’s no evidence of these claims and mounting evidence that the vaccine is safe.
Two common sources used by antivaccinationists in efforts to back their claims are VAERS and NVICP.
VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, is a self-reporting platform for claims of vaccine injury or reactions. Anyone at any time, for any reason, can go to the website and make any claim they wish. The data is not verified, is not medically investigated or assessed. There is no proof of true injuries, let alone proof of a causal link between vaccinations and alleged injuries. In fact, VAERS even gives a warning about their information:
"In accessing the database, we encourage consumers to understand that a report of an adverse event does not necessarily indicate there is a causal link between medicine and an adverse outcome."
A popular example showing how unreliable VAERS data often is comes from Dr. James Laidler when he made a report to VAERS claiming the flu vaccine turned him into the Incredible Hulk. A study into VAERS data shown that less than 3% of adverse reaction reports from vaccines are found to be related to vaccines. However, when you subtract those minor reactions from this 3% you end up with an actual number under 1%.
The second source I mention above is the NVICP, National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, or otherwise known as “vaccine court.” There are standards set in vaccine court that make it very possible for petitioners to be compensated without having to prove cause. The court is a type of civil court; therefore, the burden of proof is much lower than that of criminal court where the burden of proof is “beyond a shadow of a doubt.” For a detailed explanation of requirements concerning NVICP I suggest this article written by the Skeptical Raptor. There are too many important details for me to accurately sum up in one paragraph. There are in fact many cases where a petitioner had been awarded compensation, but the judgement does not mean what many think it means.
According to NVICP data, from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2016 there were 3,153,876,236 vaccinations administered. During this same 10-year time span, 5,426 claimants petitioned the NVIP. Of those petitioners, there were 3,676 cases compensated, and 1,750 no compensated. This means that of all the 3,153,876,236 vaccinations administered, 99.99982% had no negative effect that required a petitioning of the court, and only 0.00018% of those vaccinations administered did petition the court. Furthermore, it means that 99.99988% of those vaccinations administered did so without being awarded any compensation from the court, and only 0.00012% of those vaccinations administered had won any compensation from the court.
Now that we have covered rape, vaccinations, and vaccine injury, it becomes apparent why the claims from antivaccinationists are misguided at best, and bullshit at worst. To begin with, attempting to even compare rape and vaccines is believing in a false equivalence. The crime of rape is not equal to the act of vaccination. Therefore, the disbelief of either having occurred or causing injury is not comparable.
As I just mentioned, one is a crime in almost every nation in the world. The other is demanded, wanted, or appreciated in every nation of the world.
The chance a person is lying about rape is between 2% to 10%. The chance someone is lying about a vaccine injury is quite high.
Rape is often a he said/she said event, even with some evidence, and vaccine injuries are often just a “she said.” There is evidence backing the existence of rape, as well as the probability that most all claims of rape are in fact mostly true. There is overwhelming evidence proving that most vaccine injury claims are not in fact caused by vaccinations. To even compare the disbelief rape survivors face to the disbelief that antivaccinationists face when making claims of vaccine injury is narcissistic, insensitive, self-involved, lacking empathy, delusional, and utterly moronic. I don’t care if you are for or against vaccines, if you can support this claim of MAM’s or anyone else for that matter, you are about the worst type of person on the internet.
I’d like you to imagine this scenario just for a moment. Imagine you are telling someone of a sexual assault you or a loved one experienced. Imagine you explain in detail how it happened, how frightened you or the victim was, and how this horrible crime had been inflicted on you or the victim. Imagine discussing the years of PTSD you or the victim experienced, the disbelief and second guessing you heard from everyone you told your story or the victim’s story to, the shame that was felt, as well as losing the ability to trust anyone again for a long time. Then I’d like you to imagine that the person you are talking to responds to your story with “I can totally relate! I just know my son was given diabetes from his MMR and no one will listen to me or believe me.” And on that note, I will now end this blog post.