Rape, no laughing matter…
Rape, no laughing matter…
Happy Friday Readers!
This week I did something I rarely do, which is engage in a Facebook post debate. However, this was a subject I felt strongly about so I felt the need to put my opinion forward.
The post was about how jokes referring to rape weren’t funny and responses on it all launched into lengthy responses about the role of humour and dark humour in life and in recovery. (I have to mention that all the responses against the post were posted by men).
My point in this blog pos t isn’t to attack dark humour – anyone who knows me well will tell you that I enjoy good dark jokes and that I have a notoriously dirty mind. Rather, it is to highlight that the real issue of that post is that sexual abuse is a HUGE issue and that the majority of victims are women.
‘Conquering Life’ has taught me so many things and one of those things is how powerful our language is. It has the power to destroy and desensitise and the power to bolster and educate. I’ve spoken before about how important the language we use in our self-talk is and that applies to everywhere.
Jokes referring to rape aren’t the cause of all sexual abuse, I agree, but they form a part of a greater rape culture. A culture that promotes the idea that women and girls are just there to be used by men. The world can be a scary place, especially when as a woman, you know that one in five women has experienced some level of sexual abuse. What I really wanted to achieve in the Facebook discussion wasn’t to prove that I was right and that they were wrong, what I wanted was to show that we all, as a community, need to start assessing and altering our language.
Something as small as changing the way we address women and the topic of sexual harassment or abuse, and I include women in this as well, can change the way we see things. We might not think that these jokes have any influence on our lives because we would be outraged if anyone close to us were hurt – but the real point is, is there anything funny about rape?
No. There isn’t anything remotely funny about someone having their rights and consent taken away from them. So in short, I’m not saying no more dark humour or dirty jokes. I’m just saying that it’s time to make a change. Instead of arguing that rape jokes aren’t the cause, why not try and find the cause? What if this little change in all of us could spark change in other ways, until sexual abuse wasn’t a commonplace occurrence? Wouldn’t it be worth it? No rape jokes in exchange for the chance of dismantling rape culture.
Our language matters and it has an effect on the people around us and regardless of whether you know you’d never sexually abuse someone, let’s not make something that is a constant and real fear for women be the subject matter of jest. You don’t have to turn into a rape vigilante or join every women’s march but something as easy and simple as changing your language can cause change. It’s time we set a different example for our future generations.