Va. senator calls rape victims ‘naive’ and critics ‘trolls’

Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield. (Photo by Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

State Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Midlothian, posted a Fourth of July video on her Facebook page to respond to critics, who have called her out over comments made earlier this week about rape.

During an online back-and-forth with a constituent on Facebook, Chase had written that people who are “naive and unprepared end up raped.”

The comment was part of an exchange under Chase’s Facebook post about Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s pre-emptive push to limit weapons in city buildings and parks. She said the state hadn’t given the city permission to make such a decision. (Stoney would have to wait for the state to grant such authority to municipalities because of Virginia’s Dillon Rule).

A person commenting on the post asked Chase why it would be important to have a weapon in a public park. Chase responded that it was important for “law abiding citizens to be able to protect themselves” and that a park near her is deep in the woods. A different person asked why a wooded area would be so scary and accused Chase of being paranoid.

Chase replied: “It’s those who are naive and unprepared that end of (sic) raped. Sorry. But I’m not going to be a statistic.”

In 2017, the most recent full year available, there were 1,768 forcible or attempted rapes, according to the Attorney General’s annual report on domestic and sexual violence.

About one-third of those cases involved a victim under the age of 18. Twenty-eight percent of the victims were females between 18 and 24 years old.

In Virginia, only people 18 or older can purchase and openly carry guns. Concealed-carry permit holders must be 21.

“Survivors are not ‘naïve and unprepared’ because they were raped and these statements continue to demonstrate that Senator Chase’s extreme ideas are out of touch with the views of her constituents,” Amanda Pohl, Chase’s Democratic challenger, said in a statement reported by BlueVirginia, a political blog that originally reported the Facebook exchange.

In the video on Facebook that accompanied her statement responding to the criticism, Chase said:

“I’m a champion for life, I’m a champion for the unborn and for innocent life and I’m also a champion for our second amendment, which I believe protects innocent life. As a woman who jogs through public parks the ability to carry my firearm is important. And I was actually scorned on Facebook by these leftist trolls for actually exercising my second amendment right while I’m running through a public park.”

“It’s everyone’s 2nd Amendment Right to arm and protect themselves and their family,” she wrote. “I’m a champion for women, their right to protect themselves and their right to their opinion, even if I may not agree, but will not tolerate the bullying or chastising the rights of the Second Amendment.”

Chase, as her opponents were quick to point out, didn’t support the Equal Rights Amendment during the General Assembly session, which would have added explicit protection from sex-based discrimination to the U.S. Constitution.

And when Chase presented an alternative to the ERA, she wore her revolver in a holster to a committee meeting, and said, “sometimes it’s a deterrent for over-exuberant folks,” according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“I think that it is very important that we protect ourselves as women and take advantage of exercising and using our second amendment right to protect ourselves and our families and our loved ones,” she said in Thursday night’s video, which ended with a campaign-like message.

“That’s why it’s important that next Tuesday, we enter our special session (and) I want to reassure you that I will be there to protect your second amendment rights.”