Former Fox host and current conservative media emperor Glenn Beck stunned viewers of his internet TV show today when he tearfully revealed the horrors of rape that have affected his family “firsthand, over multiple generations,” including details of the repeated rape of his now-deceased father. Unfortunately, Beck only makes this revelation in order to deflect criticism of his own show’s glib, dishonest treatment of rape and sexual assault statistics.
On Tuesday, Beck aired a segment in which his co-host or something tried to debunk sexual assault statistics from a recent Obama administration report in ‘hilarious’ skit form:
While some of the Beckmonkey’s assertions were just absurd and frightening ignorance of what constitutes consent (there is never “confusion” over whether someone is too intoxicated to consent), others were based on questions that were not used to measure sexual assault, but rather, psychological aggression, and were not included in that one in five stat.
The study found that 15.9% of respondents had suffered either a rape or an attempted rape, defied as a non-consensual forced penetration, and another 6.4% reported unwanted sexual contact, which is also sexual assault. That’s actually a little more that one in five.
So, when outlets like Media Matters, Slate, Wonkette, and Jezebel criticized Beck for airing this untrue garbage, that’s when Beck decided to share with the world that his father, his sisters, and apparently many others in his family were raped, and because they were raped, Glenn Beck gets to air whatever nonsense he wants. That’s why he told this story. Don’t believe me? He actually says that:
“Don’t you ever preach to me about what I can say and cannot say about rape. Don’t you ever try to be an authority to me on the effects of rape,” Beck said. “Don’t you ever try to tell me what victims should or should not feel, as I have tried to piece my family back together, and to give my sisters the love that they deserve and have never had!”
To appropriate the rape survivorship of others as a way to insulate your own trivialisation of rape and promotion of dangerous rape culture, and as a claim to authority about the thing that you did not survive, is made of more asshole than a pack of Dollar Store hot dogs. But it’s important not to allow that arrogance and hypocrisy to obscure the real danger in what Beck and company are doing.
It’s really, really sad that members of Glenn Beck’s family were raped, but it is downright terrifying that Beck thinks the solution is to spread false and dangerous information which could, intentionally or not, get more people raped. Aside from the effect of downplaying rape statistics, or of joking about sexual coercion, what does Glenn Beck think will happen when a guy, “confused” about consent, comes across some member of Beck’s family in an impaired state of some kind? How does he think that will feel?