Just in time for Halloween, the campaign for a Palm Beach County state Senate seat has reached a gruesome low.
The contest in District 27 is between Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Wellington) and Kevin Rader (D-Delray Beach). And this week, Benacquisto and a female Rader supporter began competing for the title of Most Sympathetic Rape Victim.
Somewhere, Susan B. Anthony is pouring herself a very stiff cocktail.
Here's how it went down: A Rader campaign ad
accused Benacquisto of said Benacquisto's allies would outlaw abortion, including in cases of rape or incest. Benacquisto, who is pro-life, fired back with an ad revealing that she
was raped when she was 19 and thinks abortions should be legal in cases involving such crimes.
Not to be outdone, Rader supporter Tracy Pafford -- who is the wife of state Rep. Mark Pafford -- came forward to say she was raped as a teenager and had an abortion. And she was "extremely offended" by Benacquisto's commercial.
Call me old-fashioned, but wouldn't most women be nauseated by a political candidate who uses rape to win votes -- for either side?
Outside of election season, rape victims are regularly shunned and shamed into silence. Those who seek abortions because their father or uncle or family friend attacked them don't have the luxury of TV cameras and political donors supporting them. They must have watched Benacquisto's slick confession -- and Pafford's response -- and felt their stomachs lurch.
If female pols can now use rape as a tool to get elected, what was the point of all that marching and bra-burning our mothers and grandmothers did? May as well stay home and let the men do the politicking. At least it wouldn't feel like such a betrayal.