Open Letter to Pete DeGraaf

An open letter sent today to Kansas State Representative Pete DeGraaf.  Why are we sending it?

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Representative DeGraaf,

It’s disappointing to hear of an official representative of the people, which includes a large constituency of women, likening rape to the spare tire you carry in your car. It’s your contention that women should ‘plan ahead’ for rape. Did you know that 1 in 4 women have been at least sexually assaulted by the age of 16? So I wonder how teenage girls ‘plan ahead’ for rape. You represent the people of Kansas. To initiate an argument on a horrific issue which you clearly know so little about is a slap in the face of every victim and every citizen in your district. Even your fellow Republicans took exception to your ridiculous comparison, as do the millions who now know your true feelings on this issue.

Rape is not inevitable. Rape is an involuntary violation. You could be a champion to protect women. Yet you marginalize and dismiss the circumstances of the victims and indirectly all of the women in your district. As a husband of a survivor of rape I have to say I am disgusted to know a U.S. Representative carries such disregard in his heart for the precious women in our country.

Our organization exists to protect the victims. Our supporters in Kansas won’t easily forget what you said. You’ve given them a reason to fight for your opponent in your next election cycle. The right thing to do is to apologize and abandon this utterly abominable attack on pregnant survivors of rape.

You owe us an apology. Judging from the viral nature of your comments we suggest you act now. Remember your greater responsibility to the people. Remember that betrayal is never forgotten. In this age of representatives who speak first and educate themselves later I implore you to speak about issues in which you are knowledgeable. The harm you’ve done is now broadcast across the United States of America for a reason. It is disgusting and unacceptable for the common citizen, much less someone in your priviledged position. There are teenage girls in Kansas who are pregnant with the baby of their perpetrator hearing that they should have ‘planned ahead.’ By default what you are saying is it’s their fault. They didn’t cover their bases. This is your statement on the issue.

Our statement to you is simply that we have an overriding aversion to every day you now stay in office. You have marginalized the vulnerable and you should be ashamed of your actions. I urge you to ‘plan ahead’ for the next election term. It just may be your last.

Chris de Serres

(Wo)Men Speak Out

*Kansas Representative Pete DeGraaf can be reached at petedegraaf@att.net and pete.degraaf@house.ks.gov

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3 thoughts on “Open Letter to Pete DeGraaf

  1. Chris, I just found your blog and subscribed. Thank you for your letter to Pete DeGraaf. I normally would have said to Mr. DeGraaf, but Mr. denotes respect for the man which I don’t feel. A man with this attitude toward rape and women doesn’t deserve my respect. Thank you for your words to this man.

  2. Although a well thought-out letter, unfortunately, the opening sentence would be enough for someone ignorant to reject the rest of it on the basis of refuting a “false argument.” He did not compare rape to a spare tire; he compared rape to a flat. Someone using such a moronic analogy would likely not be above missing the point completely and rejecting the valuable things you have to say by assuming you misunderstand one’s perspective.

  3. I am so SICKENED by this abomination of a human being!!! I just sent him an email myself:
    Rep. DeGraaf,

    I am writing to you as a citizen of the United States of America; a WOMAN, just like those who live in YOUR state that supported your rise in politics.
    I, as well as the millions of other women across the country, am HIGHLY APPALLED and OFFENDED by your recent remarks regarding women needing to get insurance “just in case” they are raped…

    Who in the HELL do you think you are??? Are you married? Do you have daughters? I know you have/had a mother. What if one of THEM was raped? What would you say then? If one of them had to go through all this BULLSHIT you are insisting every other woman should go through… you would feel horrible, wouldn’t you? If WE have to get “rape insurance,” what do the MEN have to get? You cannot discriminate on medical coverage due to sex of a person.

    NO woman INTENDS to be raped. We don’t go around LOOKING for rapists. My daughter doesn’t look to get attacked and impregnated by some horny asshole. We tell them NO, and that is the end of it. Once the man takes his actions past our “NO,” he is committing a FELONY. WE, as the victims, should never be forced to relive the horror we experience from said felonious acts forced upon us. That is why we have the option of aborting a rape-conceived pregnancy or giving the child up for adoption. It’s people like YOU that enable the rapists to CONTINUE harassing their victims over and over again.
    YOU enable them, not us.

    When a woman has to carry a child not conceived with her husband, how do you think it makes both her AND her husband feel? He feels betrayed, even though he knows it’s not her fault. Some part of him still blames her, like she could’ve fought harder to stop it. And he takes his frustration out on HER, and then the child after it’s born. What does THIS lead to? Marital complications, divorce, and worse: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
    Quite often it causes so much emotional upset for the woman that she believes the only solution for her is suicide. She feels no one cares to help her, and she sees the fetus as such an abomination that she ends her life in order to end the pregnancy.

    No one PLANS for this to happen. What about the MEN out there that get raped? Yes, it happens to them too. What about CHILDREN? A family that has all daughters – are they going to have to purchase insurance for each and every female in the family??? If you weren’t in Congress, would YOU have that kind of money? I have only ONE daughter, but I know so many with nothing BUT daughters. I know some that have 4 or more kids, with at least 3 being girls. They can barely afford insurance, let alone separate policies for any specific issues. My husband works in the oil industry, but even then we can’t afford extra policies.

    The problem with Congress is that you are only taking into account your OWN salaries and what YOU can afford. You’re not thinking about the “underdogs” who can barely afford basic living expenses each month.

    You need to stop and rethink your comments and suggestions before you find yourself in a WORLD of trouble. If you continue on this path, you will have made an enemy of every woman in the United States, and will possibly be on the road to losing your position in Congress.
    We do NOT tolerate discrimination. YOU, sir, are in violation of discrimination AT ITS WORST!!!
    Continue this push for “rape insurance,” and WE WILL PUSH FOR YOUR RESIGNATION FROM CONGRESS.

    And by the way…
    Carrying a SPARE TIRE has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with rape!! Who CARES if you carry one? I carry one, too, in case I have a flat. It CAME WITH MY TRUCK!!! Spare tires are something included with new vehicles. They allow you to continue on to work if your tire goes flat on the way. They are NOT life-altering. If you don’t have one, you call a tow truck, friend or family member. Tow trucks to the nearest tire facility can run up to $200, yes, but NOT a LASTING expense, and NOT life-threatening.

    A RAPE can end a woman’s life. Women can die DURING rape, or after, due to the PTSD caused therein. Instead of increasing the pressure and stress on women in the event, why not do something that will HELP them, like providing free medical for victims, to include abortion if the woman herself feels she cannot handle the pregnancy (or a doctor feels that the pregnancy will cause unnecessary emotional damage to the woman), or adoption assistance for after delivery if she chooses not to abort. Either way, it is HER decision, NOT YOURS, and certainly NOT the rapist’s. The rapist gave up their rights the minute they committed the crime. And forcing a woman to have to spend extra money she can’t afford just because YOU think she’ll be raped not only is SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION, but it also could be taken as a threat (“buy this insurance, cause you’re gonna be raped”).
    Instead of promoting unreasonable discriminatory insurance, why not promote something that will actually do some good in rape cases:
    SELF DEFENSE programs to enable women to fight off attackers
    FREE PEPPER SPRAY/MACE keychains for women for defense
    And INCREASE LAW ENFORCEMENT BUDGETS so we can actually have decent protection all across the nation, so that maybe we can reduce the number of attacks/rapes!!!
    THERAPY for victims to help them cope with the horror they have endured. Rape is NOT an easy thing to live with.

    I suggest you sit down with every woman you know, in a open-comment group, and discuss your idea. See how many, by the end of your meeting, still want to be associated with you/friends, let alone stand behind you. I bet not even your own WIFE or MOTHER will talk to you.

    The ball is now in YOUR corner… Repent for your transgressions or face the music following.
    Women make up a lot more of the voting population than you think, and we can raise a lot more HELL than men can…
    The petitions are already going against you now…
    What are you going to do?

    Mom, wife, U.S. citizen, and
    STRONG supporter of the U.S. Constitution, Bible
    and everything they BOTH stand for,
    (name removed)

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