Not Funny, You Idiot

The amount to which the following image aggravates me cannot be explained:

If I try telling someone that rape isn’t something that should be used as a synonym for other words or used as a joke and that people are triggered by things like that, and they respond with…

  • Comedians tell black jokes so that validates rape jokes.
  • It’s meant to be offensive. Duh.
  • If you care so much about it, why not go out and fight it rather than “yacking”.
  • I’m not trying to demean it.
  • People say "nigger" all the time.
  • I don't care.
  • Chill out, it's just a joke. You're just overreacting.

…instant hate right there. Maybe you should get a little taste of your own medicine and then you'll think twice.

Rape is not funny. It should not be the subject or pun or punchline of any joke. Rape is not what your favorite sports team did to their opponent. Rape is not what you do when you beat or kill someone in your video game. Rape is not what you did when you scarfed your food down. Rape is not what your final did to you in the examination hall.

Rape is the most atrocious act of invasion of a persons body and space, and one of the most disgusting spectacles of humanity. That is the only thing rape is. 

How can you be so thoughtless as to not consider the possiblity of how wrong it is to use that word; as if there is no painful meaning attached to it. Are a few chortles and guffaws worth the potential trigger response you could be setting off in someone else in the room? What if it was that one joke that finally pushed them over the edge? I don’t understand -and I don’t believe I ever will -why anyone wants to be the person who forces that unwanted memory back into the victim's mind while everyone else laughs and laughs.

 As far as I can tell, the “funny” of rape jokes seems to depend on:

1. The same part of the brain stem that thinks farting in public is funny (the one that operates in befuddled and childlike amazement at the explusion of air from the dark depths of your bowels).

2. The assumption that your audience secretly thinks rape isn’t such a big deal and/or is yearning for you to tell them so.

3. Nervous laughter that ensues forth not because it's funny, but because it is now awkward thanks to you.

What you say about rape matters. All of our utterances contribute to our cultural understanding of rape and when we make jokes or perpetuate rape myths like sluts can’t be raped or women always cry rape or nice men aren’t rapists then all we do is make the noise of rape culture louder and the voices of victims and survivors ever more silent.

You have a choice, when you speak about rape.You can make victims and survivors hurt more. You can put justice further out of reach. You can encourage the disrespect and objectification of women. You can further silence marginalised victims, like children (and sex-workers and prisoners and trans-people for that matter) and make it ever harder for those who can face the greatest resistance to telling their stories, like male victims, or those raped by celebrities and ‘heroes’.

Or, you can not.

We have to live with the choices we make including the words we say. You have the right to say whatever, but in doing so you claim responsibility for it and for the consequences of what you said, for you or someone else.

So for crying out loud already, stop it.


"I think the word ‘raped’ gets thrown around far too casually. Ever listen to a bunch of guys playing video games with each other online? It’s like, ‘Ah man you shot me in the back dude. You raped me dude!’ I’m pretty sure if I talked to a woman who’s been through that horrific situation and asked, ‘What was it like, you know, being raped?’ she’s not gonna look at me and go, ‘Have you ever played Halo?’"
– Dane Cook

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