AZ lawmaker says topless women at rallies have 'no defense ' for rape

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State Rep. Kelly Townsend made a controversial post on Facebook saying topless women at protests don't have a defense when they're sexually harassed or raped. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) State Rep. Kelly Townsend made a controversial post on Facebook saying topless women at protests don't have a defense when they're sexually harassed or raped. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
She made the controversial statement on Facebook after seeing a topless woman at the Women's March in Phoenix. (Source: Facebook) She made the controversial statement on Facebook after seeing a topless woman at the Women's March in Phoenix. (Source: Facebook)
Reaction was fierce as some commenters accused Townsend of victim blaming. (Source: Facebook) Reaction was fierce as some commenters accused Townsend of victim blaming. (Source: Facebook)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

State Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, said topless women attending political rallies may have, "no defense when you are sexually harassed or even worse, raped." 

Townsend, one of the highest-ranking Republicans in the state house, was condemning a pictured of a female protestor taken at the Capitol on Sunday. 

That picture was taken during a Women's March and moved Townsend to take to social media.

"If you continue down this path, you will have no defense when you are sexually harassed or even worse, raped," Townsend posted on Facebook.

Reaction was fierce as some commenters accused Townsend of victim blaming, one posting, "you're a shame to women everywhere." 

[RELATED: Arizona House launches sexual harassment investigations]

But Townsend, who claims to be a victim of sexual harassment at the Capitol, stood behind her comments Tuesday. 

"Well, I am a little resentful at the nature and the environment we're in," Townsend said. "You have a lot of people wanting to blame other people when they're standing there naked dancing and fondling themselves. You know you put your self at risk."  

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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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