VDP Executive Director Julia Barnes Reacts to Senator Benning’s Inflammatory Comments

March 27, 2013

Ryan Emerson

VDP Executive Director Julia Barnes Reacts to Senator Benning’s Inflammatory Comments 

Montpelier, Vt. – This morning, Vermont Democratic Party Executive Director Julia Barnes responded to remarks delivered by Senator Joe Benning from the Senate floor yesterday. As reported in a political blog and several media outlets, Benning again used the word “rape” to describe Lowell mountain and said:  “I don’t know any word in the English language to better describe what I see there.”

“Using the word ‘rape’ in this context is inappropriate and desensitizes a very serious issue,” said Barnes. “Instead of finding another term to express himself, Senator Benning has repeatedly used “rape” to illustrate his point in his public remarks. With all due respect to the passionate feelings Sen. Benning has on this issue, the objection is not to his use of hyperbole to defend his feelings, rather the reliance on this word particularly, which means something much different to the millions of women who have experienced rape. If there is any confusion about when you should or should not use the word ‘rape’ in political discourse, let me clarify: you only use the term ‘rape’ when you’re talking about rape.”

“I hope Senator Benning will apologize and will commit to rephrasing his arguments in the future,” Barnes concluded.


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