Just as the title states, rape is never funny. Yet people constantly choose to explain to those of us who are disgusted by is usage is in jokes exactly why it IS, and should be, considered comical. The fact remains that it is NOT funny. It will never be funny and any person who chooses to laugh at it without raising an eyebrow or shedding light on the injustice is a willing perpetrator in continuing the assault on persons who have experienced this tragedy.
By definition, rape is a verb, an action, which is defined as the forcing of another person to have sexual intercourse without their consent or against their will, especially by threat or use of violence among them. It also means to spoil or destroy a place. Think about that last part for a moment.
To spoil or destroy a place.
To spoil…to diminish or destroy the value or quality of. To prevent someone from enjoying an occasion or event. To rob of goods or possession by force or violence. To ruin. To mar. To corrupt. To damage. To vitiate. To plunder upon. To prey upon. To pillage.
That’s what a Person’s humanity has been reduced to when they are raped. It has become unrecognizable to them and to others around them. They are less than and the assault on a person’s humanity comes in many different masks. It can look like acquaintance rape (someone knows the victim), date rape (someone accompanied the victim on an outing), gang rape (a group of people commit sexual assault against one person), marital rape (a spouse refuses to heed the “No.”), and statutory rape (a minor is assaulted by a legal adult).
Rape is often something a Person relives when they are placed around triggers and anything can be a trigger. From the way something looks to a sound in the background. To a smell while out in public or the feeling of a unknowing stranger bumping into them. Anything can be a trigger. And as People, we are stimulated through our senses…
So imagine living an assault repeatedly because you happen to be human?
Rape Doesn’t Happen That Often…
To the naysayers, here’s a quick snapshot of Rape. The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network or RAINN, is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. They compile the picture of rape and their website reports:
- 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed; 2.8% attempted)
- 17.7 million American women have been the victims of attempted or completed rape
- 9 out of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003
- While 80% of victims are white, minorities are more likely to be attacked
- About 3% of American men – or 1 in 33 – have been victims (2.78 million men in the US have been victims or sexual assault or rape)
- 15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12
- 7% of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they have been sexually abused
- 3% of boys grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they have been sexually abused
- 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker
Injustices against people’s humanity happens. The effects of rape are lifelong and takes much therapy to get through. Victims of rape/sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more like to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 4 times more like to contemplate suicide.
But We Can’t Really Do Anything… Can We?
“If you are neutral in a situation of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” -Desmond Tutu
The most important thing that we can do is to remember that we live in a society that rewards conquests of the unknown and make up our minds that we won’t continue to sit by silently. SPEAK UP!
Speak up about ill intentions and unwanted affections being displayed by your friends. Tell them to think about it. Remind them that jail time can come along with it and IF you know of someone who has been assaulted, encourage them to make a report.
Speak up when people make “jokes” about the issue because nothing is funny about sexual assault. Refuse to laugh at jokes that include the word rape. After all, nothing is funny about 80% of women and 3% of men reporting that their Person was assaulted.
Call out people who use the term is a cavalier fashion (there is nothing funny about people saying, “Such and such a company raped me when they had me pay too much.”) In this instance, remember that it was a choice for the person to frequent the establishment and victims had no choice in what happened to them.
Speak up about implied assault in advertising. When you do, things like THIS happen.
Become an Ally.
Become someone who a person can trust completely without wondering about ill intentions. Become someone who stands up for faceless victims because just as there are people who report this, there are many people who don’t. Become a person that doesn’t rationalize rape, sexual assault, street harassment, molestation, and any other unwanted sexual behavior. Become a person who doesn’t question the victim first or question the outlet in which they choose to tell their story.
Become someone who remembers that a victim is, and will always be, a Person. Become someone who cares.
It’s time that we move past this idea that rape can be funny because it never is.