A longtime state representative in New Mexico is refusing to apologize for his comments about rape that he says have been taken out of context as part of a 'political stunt' by Republican opponents.
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Rep. Ken Martinez, a Democrat who is the speaker of the House, said “rape is defined in many ways and some of it is just drunken college sex." The comment was made last Wednesday during a hearing over a bill about parental rights and children who are conceived during a rape.
Republican Rep. Kelly Fajardo fired off a press release blasting Martinez's comment on Monday.
"It is simply inexcusable that Rep. Kenny Martinez dismissed a serious crime as nothing more than night of 'drunken college sex,'” Fajardo said. "His comments are belittling to anyone who has ever been a victim and survivor of sexual abuse, and I hope that he will apologize.”
Martinez told KRQE his comments were taken out of context, and what he was trying to say was that drunk college students who force themselves on others is a form of rape.
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"To create a political stunt on something this important," Martinez said, refusing to apologize. "I really think they owe an apology to every victim of rape in the state of Mexico."
Martinez also said opponents are leaving out the part of the statement in which he said "without the ability to consent," this is not audible on the video recording of the committee hearing, according to Santa Fe New Mexican. The rape comment can be heard and seen on video here. There does not appear to have been any immediate noticeable reaction in the room after his comment.
The state bill that was up for discussion passed 11-0 and allows mothers to file a motion in court up to six years after pregnancy that would keep the biological father out of the child's life, according to KRQE.
"It's a good bill," Martinez said.
Meanwhile, leaders of local sexual assault victims' aid groups are speaking out in defense of Martinez, a nine-term lawmaker, who they describe as a longtime supporter of their cause.
“There are a lot of different kinds of rape,” said Sheila Lewis, director of Santa Fe Safe, told the Aluquerque Journal. “What the representative was speaking about was one of the most serious kinds of rape – when young women are intoxicated and do not give consent.”
Still, that's not good enough for Rep. Fajardo.
“I don’t know if it was taken out of context,” Fajardo told KRQE, “but it deserves an apology.”