Hi there. I am “on Twitter”, and I fully admit I spend too much time “on Twitter”. Whilst it is a very good source for news and current events and whatnot (and in my case, absurd humour), it is also a simultaneously fascinating and horrifying insight into the minds of many people.
Something practised by many is to search Twitter for a string of text, and then retweet relevant tweets. This could be a phrase or typo (e.g. “fuck you dad”), often accompanied by a hashtag. The general idea is to highlight the predictability or idiocy of a group of people.
Today, Wikipedia “blacked out” in protest of SOPA, informing millions of people of how terrible it is and why it will destroy the internet as we know it. Additionally, it raised awareness about SOPA. (This will be the only joke in this post.)
This gave rise to the hashtag #ThingsBetterThanSOPA on Twitter. That seems harmless enough right?
I felt sick.* I still do.
I really do not like SOPA. It is a shitty piece of legislation, ill-thought out and will have disastrous consequences if passed in its current and probably any form.
I am also by no means any kind of authority on sexual assault. I can’t remember any facts or statistics. I haven’t read any books or written any papers. I have not suffered it. I am extremely happy that, to my knowledge, nobody I know has suffered it. And I sure as hell hope it stays that way.
Now, consider, for a moment, someone’s body being used in ways I don’t want to think about against their consent. And apparently it is “funny” to consider that “Well, hoo boy, this sucks but I sure am glad the Stop Online Piracy Act didn’t get passed!” might be the thought that pops into their head. That they don’t need to go to counselling because they can still watch dumb dubstep remixes on YouTube. That they aren’t totally fucked up in the head because the fucking Pirate Bay still exists.
“But it’s just a jo–” STOP RIGHT THERE. It isn’t. Even if, for a far too large number of people, the word “rape” is their instant go-to catchphrase for when they can’t think of anything else. Far from the definition of wit.
I’m not just saying “stop making crap jokes about rape”. You should not even be trying to make a “good” or “witty” “joke” about it, because you cannot, because rape is not funny. It diminishes the suffering of survivors, makes it that much harder for them to be believed and taken seriously. By “joking” about rape, you are validating the rapist’s actions. By “joking” about rape, you are effectively saying that you are glad that rape happens, and that someone has raped, and that someone has been raped, just so you can make your shitty little “joke”. This is but a small part of rape culture.
What part of the psychological trauma is “hilarious” to you?
Where is the “comedy” in the stripping of someone’s humanity?
The “humour” of being reduced to an object whose sole purpose is to fulfil the pleasure of someone who has absolutely no concern for your well-being now or later?
It’s not really that funny when you put it in these those terms, is it? That said, I have absolutely no doubt that there are those who will read this, and think “Hyuck hyuck, it totally is.” Awesome! Really edgy of you! Fantastic job! I can’t wait to hear your one liners about black people and homosexuals and Muslims and the disabled! You are totally original and nobody has ever before come up with your unique brand of “shock humour”, which provides us with an incisive perspective of society and takes these privileged minorities down a peg or two.
For those less thoughtless, I implore you to call others out on it. Don’t just ignore it for the sake of avoiding “awkwardness”. I expect that such “awkwardness” is trivial for a survivor, very possibly a sufferer of PTSD as a result, who is constantly reminded of their ordeal just so you can have a cheap laugh.
Rape is not funny.
http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2010/08/survivors-are-so-sensitive.html I recommend this post if you want to know more. I just wanted to get this out of my system, even though my opinion on this has little value. This post was mostly written at past 3am, so it may not make a whole bunch of sense.
http://dbzer0.com/blog/feminists-dont-think-all-men-are-rapists-rapists-do And here’s a very concise post on why rape jokes should not be encouraged.
http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/p/notable-posts.html I also strongly suggest having a browse through the “Rape Culture” section here.
*I’d like to also point out that the person was retweeting these for the same reason I’m writing this post, not because he found them “funny”.