Deborah Ross: My reproductive system would like to join the rape debate

If you ask me...
  • @deborahross

If you ask me, it has been a stormy time for the issue of rape, with George Galloway remarking that the allegations facing Julian Assange amount only to "bad sexual etiquette" while the Republican senatorial candidate, Tom Akin, has said pregnancy from rape is "really rare" because "if it's legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down". Confused? Well, let me answer your most common questions:

In the light of Akin's remarks, can a woman's reproductive system think for itself? Or is this simply the sort of convenient, scientific illiteracy so beloved of pro-lifers?

A woman's reproductive system can certainly think for itself. My uterus, for example, has very strong opinions on a variety of subjects (war, euthanasia, global warming) while my cervix hosts the local book club and, I'm afraid, rather dominates it. As for my vagina, it is super-smart, has just achieved three A*s at A-level, and is off to Bristol to study English. Although I shall sorely miss it, I am also extremely proud.

George Galloway has said "not everyone needs to be asked before each insertion". Does this mean I can insert a fork into each of his eyes without having previously requested his consent, and a marrow up his bum?

Yes. Absolutely. Join the queue! Or as my fallopian tubes have said: "I'm dying to insert a marrow up George Galloway's bum, and will do so the moment he starts looking all sleepy. I can't wait." I don't know about yours, but my fallopian tubes have always been hopelessly impatient. Last week, they even jumped the queue in the Post Office, much to my embarrassment.

Is Galloway planning on expanding his views at any time in the near future?

He is planning on publishing The Galloway Guide To Sexual Etiquette in the autumn. It will be published in two volumes and, if you accept the first, it will be automatically assumed you wish to receive the second, no matter how much you might protest. Place your orders now.

What did Akin mean by "legitimate rape"?

Presumably, he meant rape by a stranger with violence as opposed to date rape, marital rape, relationship rape... which makes you wonder: how many times do women have to repeat: "Rape is rape is rape is rape" just as, for example, blue is always blue, even though you will find many different blues on a colour chart. Or, as my ovaries are fond of saying: "I wish it was the cervix which was going to uni. I have a lot to say at book club, too". The problem with the female reproductive system is, actually, ever getting it to shut up. Close down? I wish!