Missouri Rep. Barry Hovis: Rapists Are ‘Gentlemen’ and ‘Consensual Rape’ Exists

Missouri Rep. Barry Hovis is trying to backtrack on calling rapists “gentlemen” and mentioning “consensual rape” during a debate over a restrictive anti-abortion bill on the floor of the Missouri State House last Friday.

Republican Rep. Barry Hovis said in the chamber Friday that most of the sexual assaults he handled before retiring from his 30-year career in law enforcement weren’t  “the gentlemen jumping out of the bushes that nobody ever met. That was one, two times out of 100. Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes, which were all terrible.”

At least Hovis’ Democratic colleague Rep. Raychel Proudie immediately corrected Hovis saying “there is no such thing as consensual rape.”

Hovis tried to apologize, but his apology made no sense. Hovis told The Associated Press that he meant to say “date rapes or consensual or rape and “It’s my apology if I didn’t enunciate the word ‘or.’”

When he was pressed on whether or not that actually made any type of sense, all he said was that he believes there is no such thing as “consensual rape.”

Hovis’ purported slip of the tongue is reminiscent of another white male Republican trying to police women’s bodies and protect rapists. In 2012 Todd Akin, a former Missouri congressman said that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy.

Missouri’s ban of abortions at eight weeks would be among the most restrictive in the U.S. if enacted. House members voted 110-44 to send the bill to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who will likely sign it. The legislation includes exceptions only for medical emergencies but not for rape or incest. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for performing abortions after the eight-week cutoff. Women who receive abortions wouldn’t be prosecuted.

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