Barry Hovis is a state representative for Missouri who referenced instances of apparent “consensual rapes” during the house vote for an eight-week abortion ban on May 17. He has since backtracked on those comments.
Hovis was speaking in reference to the years he worked as a law enforcement officer. Here are Hovis’ comments in full:
“Most of my rapes were not the gentlemen jumping out of the bushes that nobody had ever met. That was one or two times out of one hundred. Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes, which were all terrible, but I sat in court — sat in court — when juries would struggle with those types of situations where it was a ‘he-said she-said,’ and they would find the person not guilty. Unfortunate, if it really happened, but I had no control over that, because it was a judge or a jury making those decisions. But we’ll just say someone is sexually assaulted. They have eight weeks to make a decision.”
Hovis has since backtracked on his comments, telling a reporter later, “There is no such thing as consensual rape.”
The House has since passed the abortion bill, voting 110-44 in favor. Here’s what you need to know abut Barry Hovis:
1. WATCH: Hovis References Instances of Apparent ‘Consensual Rapes’
Here is the video where Hovis made those comments on the House floor before the vote:
According to Crystal Thomas, a reporter for The Kansas City Star who was in the room at the time of Hovis’ speech, his comments drew “a lot of ‘whats’…around the chamber.”
Following the House vote Thomas spoke with Hovis about his comments. He told Thomas that he’d mispoke during his speech, and that he intended to say “consensual or rape,” rather than “consensual rape.” Thomas reports that Hovis said at multiple points to her, “There is no such thing as consensual rape.”
2. Hovis Was Elected in 2018 to Serve the 146th District of Missouri
Hovis, a retired police officer from Cape Girardeau, announced his candidacy for the 146th Missouri House District seat in August 2017. Per The Southeast Missourian, Hovis served over 30 years with the Cape Girardeau Police Department.
The publication reports that Hovis also was running a logging business (as of 2017), and that he decided to run for office because he “enjoys working with people, working for people.”
Per his House bio, “Hovis is a life member and currently serves as the vice president of the Cape Area Friends of NRA. He also is a member of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, the Cape Girardeau Pachyderms, the Missouri Farm Bureau, and the Missouri Cattleman’s Association.”
3. Hovis Has Said in the Past That He Associates With Being a ‘Conservative’ More Than a ‘Republican’
When running for office, Hovis explained that he associated more with the principles of conservatism than the Republican party, itself. He said to The Southeast Missourian, “[I consider myself] more of a conservative on most things rather than a Republican.”
Hovis went on to explain that he prefers giving more power to local government than federal, and that he wanted to prioritize job growth in the state, if elected. He said, “When you have plenty of jobs, it takes a lot of the ills away from your community. That is why I really want to see Missouri do well with job growth.”
According to KZIM KSIM, Hovis has served as a patrol office, school resource office, community affairs and training officer, as well as lieutenant of support operations division. Per the site, Hovis said his “life experiences, hard work and desire to serve” prepared him for a career in politics.
4. Twitter Users Have Since Called Hovis Out For the Oxymoronic Phrase
Following news of Hovis’ comments, Twitter users were quick to point out the contradiction of rape ever being consensual. One Twitter user wrote, “Please explain ‘consensual rape’ – we wanna know what that is, exactly?”
Another wrote, “Barry Hovis, what the actual f*ck is ‘consensual rape'”
Still another user wrote, “Missouri’s Rep Barry Hovis defended his strict stance on the abortion ban by saying there are consensual rapes. Just f*cking say you hate women already”
5. Hovis Is Up For Reelection in 2020
Hovis was elected to a two-year term last November, which means he’ll be up for reelection in 2020. His House email is
His House bio reads in part,
Hovis is a 1983 graduate of Greenville R-2 High School and graduated from Southeast Missouri Law Enforcement Academy in 1986.
Hovis was born in Lutesville and currently resides in Cape Girardeau with his wife, Laura. They attend Lynwood Southern Baptist Church, and teach third grade Sunday school class. They have three children and a son-in-law: Erica (and husband, Ben Goins), Adam, and Anna.