As usual, somebody says/does something terrible against an oppressed group, on an issue that they have all the privilege on, there's an outcry, and they highlight/twist the worst reactions they can find and cry that they're really the victim.
It's an outstandingly effective tactic because instantly the narrative shifts. Nobody likes death/rape threats right? The poor guy! Leave him alone! YOU'VE GONE TOO FAR!!! And suddenly all the opponents are on the defensive. Suddenly, everybody needs to disclaim rape and murder, suddenly we're all apologizing for what some random person (if they even exist) did, and assuming responsibility for their ideology, as if we even know what it is.
And why? Why do I need to disclaim rape threats? I'm not the one who said the words "legitimate rape", I'm not the one who suggested some rapes are more real than others. I'm not the one who is trying to take away a person's right to their own body, and a person's ability to remove 9 months of additional trauma from an already horrible and traumatic event.
And what's the point? Anybody can disclaim anything. I can say I don't agree with rape or murder of ANYBODY, but it's meaningless if my actions belie my words. My actions don't even suggest my words. But what about Akin's?
I'm not the one who needs to disclaim rape right now, or murder. Akin is. Because he's the one who said those things, he's the one who believes those things, he's the one who is trying to get into a position to make policy BASED on what he believes. He's the one that's a threat to real actual people's lives, happiness and autonomy. He's the one who's playing into the fucked up narrative in our society that we should disbelieve rape survivors, that we should question every rape survivor until they break down and then question them some more, because we know they may have asked for it, may have dressed a certain way, may be married to their rapist. He's the one who thinks there are "illegitimate" rapes. He's the one who believes in fantasy fairy tales where the body "shuts that stuff down" to prevent pregnancy during rape. And he's the one who wants to enforce LAW based on that FAIRY TALE. Law that harms people. Law that THREATENS people.
He's the one who should be on his hands and knees disclaiming rape. Not us.
And that's the thing. Privileged people. Powerful people. They don't need to threaten us directly with rape. They don't need to say "I hope you die in a fire." They can smile, they can wave. They can speak calmly. They can seem like the person you'd like to have a coffee with. And all they while, they're men passing laws against abortion, they're cis women keeping trans women out of shelters, they're cis people writing letters from their privileged positions (whether professional or social) to other privileged people asking them to rescind or deny rights to trans people. They're smiling on their talk shows while talking about the "holocaust" of abortion, knowing full well anybody who truly believes them will see the only logical next step. They're calmly drinking their coffee and writing a column about how there's a secret Muslim invasion of the West.
These people don't need to make death threats. The things they say, the things they advocate for, the voice they have to get people to listen to those things, what they do... those things are threats in themselves. And they have WAY more of a chance to actually have those threats happen. Because real people will be without shelter when they desperately need it, rape survivors will be without support, pregnant people without an ability to control their own bodies, Muslim people targeted for violence, abortion doctors targeted for death.
These people make threats every day. And because they have the privilege, and the position, to be able to do it smiling, calmly, looking just like somebody you'd like to have a coffee with. Because they never actually said "I hope you die." It's okay. They're the victim. They're the ones who just innocently expressed a random opinion, (as if we believe they threw darts on a dart board to figure out what they believe) and are getting death threats from those meany meany people.
And as always, we assume that the death threats are from the group they targeted. I mean, they're so angry all the time. And they're so angry now! Obviously it must be them! Apologize! Say that you don't believe rape and murder is right!
And all the while, the people who DO believe those things are okay? They continue smiling.
After all, they don't need to write an angry tweet saying to somebody they're never
going to come within 200km of, "I hope you die a horrible death!".
They have stronger weapons to hurt us with.