A Rant On Rape Jokes: Funny or F***ed Up?
Posted by diagnosemylife
After going through depression, time and time again, I’ve learned over the years not to let people get under my skin that easily. But sometimes I fail, and I sit here feeling like a voice drowned out by thousands of others. It makes me so incredibly angry, and also so scared to speak up.
Here’s my beef: So I go to a university, and most university’s have access to this app called Yik Yak. People share random thoughts, jokes, observations, and questions anonymously. Someone asked a question an hour or so ago, “What happens if I don’t pay my $200 parking tickets?” Most of the responses said stuff like, “They charge it to your student account.” or “You’ll go to court.” But someone tried to be funny. Here’s their exact quote, “The chancellor personally comes to your dorm and rapes you mercilessly until you agree to pay.” This quote got 12 “up votes”, or “likes”. I wrote back, telling this person that rape wasn’t a joke, and that they had gone too far. I said it just like that, “Rape isn’t a joke. Too far.”; I didn’t call them names or even tell them to shut up. Someone said to me, “Seemed like a joke there, it sure made me laugh,” and the another said, “Don’t get so butthurt…Pun intended.” I just couldn’t believe it, how people defended the idea of rape being funny… Were these the same people who just watch it happen, not trying to stop it when they see it? Were they the ones that actually raped? I’ll never know those answers, but what I do know is that they are students like me, who share this campus and walk around the grounds. They are educated, they are young, but they still don’t understand the meaning behind those words.
When you joke about rape, you are saying it is funny for someone to physically assault another person. You are saying that it is humorous for someone to steal someone else’s body, for them to take advantage, to selfishly manipulate another person for their own pleasure. You endorse every scream, every bruise, every inch of torn skin. You are saying that the women, men, and children who have been raped are not validated when they are upset. You are saying it like it is okay, like it means NOTHING. And every person who has been affected by rape feels even more responsible and shut out because of what they have gone through.
I just wish there was a way for people to listen and not get so defensive about when they mess up like this. Because like it or not, they did mess up. And I wish there was a way for them to understand without being personally affected by rape. I just can’t even describe how sad for the world this makes me. You don’t have to murder someone to know it’s wrong. You don’t have to watch a murder or have someone you love murdered to know it’s wrong. Why is it suddenly so different for rape? Why can’t people see that taking this behavior lightly only punishes those afflicted by it (instead of its enforcers)? When will people step out of their own bubble to think about how their words affect other people?
Will this only happen when men are also taught to lace their keys in between their fingers as they walk to their car at night? Or to when they have to constantly make sure they are with a buddy or two when they go out at night? When they have to watch for the signs of being followed, when they realize no matter how much or how little alcohol you drink, how much or little clothes you wear, or how much or little you can try to resist, you will always be afraid. You will always be at risk. And not all men are obvious to this; I’m not trying to single men out as the only people who made these kinds of jokes. But it is a fact that most rape is at the hands of men, and most domestic violence and stalking are instances where the man is exhibiting this behavior. Nonetheless, we all need to be conscious of who we can hurt by our words, and what they really say.
And it’s important to remember that some people just can’t be reached. As much as my beliefs are important to me, their beliefs are important to them, and let’s face it, everyone wants to believe what they think is right. Even so, I hope that one day we will reach a point as a society where we will consider other people and what they have been through before we make a joke out of their pain.
(Author’s Note: I’d just like to say that while I might sound all high and mighty, maybe even on the verge of condescending, I hope you know that this isn’t about being mad at someone for not agreeing with me, or about thinking that everyone should believe what I do. All I’m asking for is that you consider these arguments I’m making, and keep an open mind when you hear people out in the future.)