I’ve been trying for years now to get people to stop cracking all those “rape jokes” and “rape metaphors”. Today, in a disheartening conversation, I realised that for every one person standing up against this, there’s three people ready with ten more rape jokes.
See, here’s the thing. You use nature and biblical references and all that poetic shit for being metaphorical. But rape is not to be used as a synonym for words like unpleasant or dislikable. Filing for your taxes isn’t like getting raped. Watching your favourite team lose isn’t like being raped. No, your boss didn’t rape you when he asked you to work on a Sunday.
When you trivialise rape, you become a problem. Because you undermine what a rape victim/ survivor goes through. You forget that you are adding on to the imbalance in this world, making it more patriarchal, sexist and unforgiving towards women. You forget that you are indeed being ignorant and making things so much harder for those around you.
You probably know a person who has faced rape, or sexual harassment at some point. They may not tell you so, but statistically speaking, what you say might be around someone who has lived through the trauma that is rape. What you post or tweet or like or share on social media will inevitably reach someone who has actually been raped or has lived through sexual harassment and you will be stabbing them in their soul.
You do not understand what damage you do when you crack your rape jokes. Rape isn’t funny. Rape is a crime, and it is offensive to hear you talk about rape as if it’s just a minor inconvenience. See, for you this may be a joke, a funny one even (that is a messed up sense of humour, but more on that later). For a potential rapist, you might be legitimising things. If you can joke about rape, it must not be that big of a deal, right? For a survivor, you might be reminding them of the trauma they faced, or the brutal violation of their rights, and telling them how nobody will ever give a fuck about justice. Because hey, rape is funny.
And yes, I can almost hear the ‘menimists’ say how feminists are all just oversensitive bitches and how we problematise everything. But guess what? We problematise things because they are a problem. We see things and we see the effects it has on people. I can vouch for the fact that yes, rape jokes indeed hurt so many people. So many people, you cannot even start to imagine.
You talking about rape is such an irresponsible fashion makes it impossible for the survivors to come out and talk about it. They either face the stigma, or the complete denial by the society to acknowledge the severity of crime. I don’t know which one is worse. Millions of children and women, and why, even men, face rape. Millions more face sexual harassment. And you joking about what is a very, very real trauma for them is not okay.