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Wisconsin Lawmaker Clarifies "Some Girls Rape Easy" Remarks, Makes It Worse

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Oct 12, 2012 4:00PM

Roger Rivard, via Facebook.

Wisconsin state Rep. Roger Rivard (R-Rice Lake) has come under criticism and lost the endorsement of VP candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) after his opponent revealed Rivard said "some girls rape easy." In an attempt to fix the controversy, though, Rivard said the comments were taken out of context, but his explanation only sparked more criticism.

Democratic challenger Stephen Smith in the northwestern Wisconsin state representative race resurrected the comments, which Rivard said 10 months ago. Smith says he did not know about Rivard's comments until Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments sparked discussion of rape apologists in August. Rivard made the comments in response to the controversial arrest of a 17-year-old Chetek boy accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl. Some of his fellow students protested, and some of them implied "the girl had agreed to the sex but changed her story after her parents learned about it."

Rivard made the comments in an interview with the Chetek Alert newspaper [paywall] published December 2011. Rivard also said in that interview, "If it's rape, it's rape. If it's not, it's not."

After his comments resurfaced, Rivard was quick to clarify the comments to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, saying the original comment was taken out of context. However, once he explained that context, it didn't exactly make things better.

He told the Journal Sentinel that his father had advised him not to have premarital sex, and he took that seriously.

"He also told me one thing, 'If you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,' " Rivard said. "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. And he just said, 'Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,' he said, 'they rape so easy.'

"What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, 'If you're going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.' So the way he said it was, 'Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.'

"So it's been kind of taken out of context."

Rivard quickly realized his new mistake and three hours later released yet another statement to the Journal Sentinel to try to clarify that context. This time he did a little better.

"Sexual assault is a crime that unfortunately is misunderstood and my comments have the potential to be misunderstood as well," his statement said. "Rape is a horrible act of violence. Sexual assault unfortunately often goes unreported to police. I have four daughters and three granddaughters and I understand the importance of making sure that awareness of this crime is taken very seriously."

Both Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker decried Rivard's comments as "offensive" and "indefensible." Powerful Republican state Rep. Robin Vos also denounced Rivard's comments. The Atlantic Wire took a look at some of Rivard's previous offensive comments on cocaine addicts, terrorism and racial slurs, and the author concluded, "His stupid rape comments are part of a long record of being totally clueless about how to deal with issues that people feel strongly about and that elicit intense responses."