In an incredibly touching video, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry delivers an open letter to Richard Mourdock on the subject of rape.
She describes from personal experience how her own sexual assault has affected her life:
"Sometimes I still flinch when I’m touched a certain way, even if it’s the loving embrace of my husband," she said. "Even some seasons of the year are harder for me. Those of us who are sexual assault survivors call these triggers. We spend our lives — the lives we lead after the attack — avoiding and managing these triggers."And explains what rape means to a victim:
"You see, Mr. Mourdock, the violation of rape is more than physical. Rapists strip women of our right to choose, of our right to say no, of our right to control what is happening to our bodies. Most assailants tell us it is our fault. They tell us to be silent. Sometimes they even tell us it’s God’s will," she said. "That is the core violation of rape– it takes away choice. Richard, you believe it is fine to ignore a women’s right to choose because of your interpretation of divinity. Sound familiar?"
She bravely explains what it's like to survive sexual assault, and how important that is to the psyche:
"When we survive sexual assault, we are the gift. When we survive, when we go on to love, to work, to speak out, to have fun, to laugh, to dance, to cry, to live, when we do that, we defeat our attackers," she said. "For a moment, they strip us of our choices. As we heal, we take our choices back. We are the gift to ourselves, our families, our communities, and our nation when we survive."
I applaud her courage and insights.