Brief Observations and Recommended Reading

I’m drafting this in a public computer lab and behind me three young males are discussing how they totally “raped them” (the other team). In addition to being loud in a designated “quiet” study space, they are propagating rape culture as they do it. Bravo? I think not.

[TW] More and more people disagree with me about “rape” being unacceptable as a term to describe a test or make a joking threat to a friend. It’s depressing. Worse when they add in their “funny” little specifics. (I’m going to bend you over… I’m going to rape your family… ) And that test “raped” you? Really? I don’t think so, and I don’t think your momentary discomfort fits into any sort of sexual assault model just because you struggled with a math test.

Recommended reading:

If She’s Not Having Fun, You Have to Stop

KY Intense commercials focused on male orgasm?

Hope Witsell: Revictimized Into Suicide

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4 Responses to “Brief Observations and Recommended Reading”

  1. wepguy Says:

    (Long comment, sorry!)

    I’d like to think that people originally meant the non-sexual meaning of the word “rape” when describing outcomes of games, tests, or whatever else. But I suppose even if it did, I’d just be kidding myself if I were to say its still used with that intent. I wish I could say I’ve never used it to trash talk in the past, but I really don’t know if thats true. Truth is I was never fully aware about the damage it was doing until just a couple years ago and therefore never thought much into the literal meaning of the statements.

    Hearing “I’m going to rape you”, or “you got raped” from a rival team always annoyed me but not for the right reasons. I think in my mind those phrases were more or less slang. It wasn’t until after a friend of mine became a victim did I understand how those are things that just shouldn’t be said.

    I think people that use it in the context you’ve mentioned simply don’t fully understand the full meaning of what they’re saying. Even the ones which are more specific. If they understood how harmful those words are to victims I’m sure they would stop.

    As for the whole “rape culture” thing I’m not sure I fully agree with/understand it. Perhaps you feel using rape too much in humor will result in a desensitization to the subject. Well could we say the same about other things? Such as assault or murder? Have you ever jokingly threatened to attack/kill a friend? I know I have. Do you think assault/murder is okay? I know I don’t.

    I understand rape is very different and the damaged caused by rape is, in alot of ways, much worse than simply getting beat up. Especially the psychological damage. So I’ll agree that “rape humor” is unacceptable but probably not for the same reasons you feel it is.

    The purpose of black comedy is to make light of serious subject matter. However on the subject of rape, a line should definitely be drawn. No one should ever have to go through such a terrible ordeal, and the deep damage caused by such an event is too much for it to ever be acceptable for anyone to make light of it. Its simply impossible to do without causing more harm for those already hurt. Comedy is supposed to bring joy, if it causes pain, it has no role in society.

    But… I still don’t believe a “rape culture” is to blame for such humor. Maybe American culture, where jokes are getting increasingly darker and cruder. I don’t know. But I’d like to believe that most people, like myself once, simply don’t realize how hurtful such phrases are to victims/friends of victims.

    If you’ve ever got the snot beat out of you, perhaps you will feel hurt if a close friend jokingly threatens you saying they’re gonnal “hit you with a crowbar upside the head” or something to that extent. But most people, given enough time, would likely just laugh. However with rape it is very different. The emotional damage is much deeper and making light of it only causes more pain. I believe people simply don’t understand this, which isn’t their fault. Its not an easy thing to do unless you have witnessed/experienced the hurt.

    Next time try explaining to the people why rape isn’t funny to you or someone you know. I know to you the lack of humor is obvious but maybe they don’t realize how hurt you are by it. And if they ignore you and continue then they really are inconsiderate jerks and I encourage you to go Xena on their asses. Haha, okay maybe not. Violence isn’t the answer. But still, look for the good in people and they may surprise you.

  2. pernetteduguillet Says:

    I don’t think the issue at hand here is whether the individuals are really good people, deep inside. The issue is more that the men were perpetuating this idea that it is fine to make light of a very specific, very traumatic experience. An experience that is painfully common, and frightening to people who haven’t even experienced it.

    And sadly, just telling people that what they are saying hurts and offends you isn’t a good enough reason for them to stop. I recently had a discussion with a male friend of mine about the variety of negative feminine words (bitch, slut, etc) and his habit of using them in a suppposedly non-feminine fashion. After he (finally) agreed that the words, no matter the gender of the person they are being applied to, have a (negative) feminine connotation and that it was indeed problematic, he still refused to change his behavior around his friends, or attempt to change theirs because “then they’d think I’m a little feminist bitch.”

    Having said this, it is helpful to have someone like yourself at least recognize the inappropriateness of the men’s comments. Sometimes, that is the best we can hope for.

  3. wepguy Says:

    I only meant to suggest that people(not just men because I’ve heard women do it too) aren’t entirely with malicious intent and merely going too far with their dark humor. I can’t hate or get angry with someone who is merely ill informed.

    I do think there’s a BIG difference between making a rape joke and using negative feminine words. Rape isn’t gender specific. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard one that joked about violence towards a woman. If a guy were to use one its doubtful it will be received well at all. At least among guys I know.

    Feminists tend to be lead spokesmen (er… spokeswomen?) against gender roles, and negative connotations often associated with them. Rape however is a more universal matter and probably easier for men to relate to. I sincerely hope your friend’s friends aren’t the type that would ridicule someone for saying rape isn’t funny. Its not a feminist matter. But then again they are men, and men are garbage. As for abolishing negative stereotypes against women… To truly fix it you’d probably have to commit gendercide and start from scratch. Or simply raise your sons to respect women. But that’ll take much longer.

  4. M Says:

    I don’t think they are attempting to be particularly malicious, but the fact is that I have asked many people I know to stop. Has it worked? No. This means they value this one means of “humor” over other people’s comfort. If I ask, it is seen as a weakness of mine, one that they might acknowledge, but fail to incorporate into their behavior.

    I appreciate you recognizing the damage these kinds of words can cause and it makes me glad to know that someone out there is adapting their behavior to benefit others. Thanks 🙂

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