Monday, September 21, 2009

Rape jokes aren't funny.

So, why am I still up at stupid o'clock in the morning? Because a friend of mine made a rape joke last night. Har har, non-consensual sex. That's a riot.


Okay. I get that some jokes are funny because they address taboo subjects and make people uncomfortable. Do I still make off-color jokes sometimes? Yes. Did I used to make rape jokes? Yes, I am ashamed to say I did. This is why I am not trying to take a moral high ground here. All I am asking is for sensitivity. Other strong, brilliant feminists who possess a far sharper wit and snappier way with words than I have written many posts about rape jokes and rape culture. In my currently triggered and sleep-deprived state, I have nothing to add to the academic side of the argument. However, I can make this personal.

From Fugitivus's post:
Let me tell you a thing you might not know: the inability to hear rape “jokes” without flashbacks, Hulk rage, and “air quotes” is one of the enduring parting gifts of a rapist.


For those of you who wonder why rape victims get all super sensitive about rape jokes ‘n shit, well, this is why. Before you’re raped, rape jokes might be uncomfortable, or they might be funny, or they might be any given thing. But after you’re raped, they are a trigger. They make you remember what was done to you. And if the joke was about something that wasn’t done to you, not in quite that way, you can really easily imagine how it would feel, because you know how something exactly like that felt. Rape jokes stop being about a thing that happens out there, somewhere, to people who don’t really exist, and if they do they probably deserved it, and they start being about you. Rape jokes are about you. Jokes about women liking it or deserving it are about how much you liked it and deserved it. And they are also jokes about how, in all likelihood, it’s going to happen to you again.

Do you know why I'm not asleep in my warm, cozy bed right now? Why instead I'm sitting with my laptop, surrounded by stuffed animals and feeling sick to my stomach? Because someone made a rape joke at 10:30pm and it triggered me. Eight-and-a-half hours later, the effects are still here. It made me think of what happened last March, and of what I lived through my sophomore year. It made me tense, anxious, and nauseated. I can't sleep, and y'know what? I'm angry.


Because rape jokes aren't f***ing funny. Because I shouldn't have to explain to a "friend" multiple times why off-handed rape remarks are hurtful and insulting. Because I am sick of seeing how prevalent rape jokes are in everyday life and media. So, please, do your part and don't make rape jokes. This isn't just about "being a politically correct person" or trying not to offend some rape victim out there. If you need it to be less abstract, here it is:

I am a rape survivor. I am a real person sitting on a couch at 7 in the morning because a rape joke brought back an overwhelming onslaught of feelings and memories of traumatic events. Every time you make an off-handed remark about rape, someone who hears it might be triggered. Someone who hears it might have a friend or family member who lived through sexual violence, who remembers what it's like to try to console a distraught person suffering from flashbacks and crippling depression.

Rape is not an abstract concept that just "happens to other people." It happens to people you know. So think about that next time you're about to make a rape joke or you hear someone else make one.


  1. I have to agree with you on that one.

  2. I feel sorry for you. That you have so called 'friends' that make this kind of jokes.

    I also admire you for beeing so open about what happened with you and to show your real emotion.

    It's the first time I found this site I'm already reading for 2 hours.

    I admire you.

  3. Thank you-- it's readers like you who inspire me to keep writing. :)