There has been a lot of charming rhetoric flying around the political airwaves these days (Carl Paladino is a particularly reliable source for cringe-inducing material), but Ken Buck, the Republican candidate for one of Colorado’s Senate seats, has proved that sometimes, things that happened long ago have a way of coming back to haunt you. This is not to say that Buck hasn’t put his foot in his mouth lately (you may remember the moment a few months ago when he told voters to choose him because he didn’t wear high heels), but the Colorado Independent’s series on Buck’s legislative positions as they relate to women show that his misogyny goes far beyond glib or unfortunate remarks.
Buck, who is currently the Weld County district attorney, refused to prosecute a rape case five years ago. The victim secretly (but legally) taped her meeting with Buck, and has now provided a copy of the transcript to the Colorado Independent in an attempt to reveal Buck’s deeply problematic stance on issues like sexual assault.
The alleged assault occurred when, the victim said, a man entered her apartment and had sex with her while she was drunk. He was a former lover, and she had invited him over, but she said “no” several times as she passed in and out of consciousness. According to the local police, the perpetrator admitted these facts, but Buck still refused to charge him with a crime, even though the victim says that the police recommended that he be prosecuted on felony charges.
“A jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer’s remorse,” Buck explained, adding that the evidence in the case was “pitiful.” In the private meeting with the victim, Buck told her, “It appears to me … that you invited him over to have sex with him.” He added that although she hadn’t said yes, “the appearance is of consent.”
And that’s not all – as the conversation progressed, Buck told the woman that because she had been pregnant with the perpetrator’s baby during their relationship, and they had considered an abortion (she later miscarried), that these were extentuating circumstances, “something that might be a motive for trying to get back at somebody.”
Women’s rights activists have added this to the litany of grievances with Buck, including his support for Amendment 62, the “personhood amendment,” which would make some common forms of birth control illegal.
“This shows us how he views women and what he thinks their role is. It shows us that even when a woman is the victim of a rape he will not advocate for her. It shows that he is not a believer in women’s rights. He will not side with rape victims. This case is a statement on what his beliefs really are,” said Kjersten Forseth, the interim executive director of ProgressNow Colorado.
If you live in Colorado, you know what to do: campaign against Buck, and get to the polls on November 2. Clearly, Ken Buck is not someone who should be holding a local DA position, much less making national policy.
Photo from Lisa Norwood's Flickr photostream.