- Rape Jokes
- September 10th, 2010
Today on my bus ride home from school, the guys sitting behind me kept making rape jokes. Said one guy, "You're bigger and stronger than she is, and she has what you want, so why not just take it?"
I know he was joking. But words have power. For one thing, they have the power to trigger strong emotional and sometimes physical responses in rape survivors. In American society, one in four women and one in ten men will be raped at some point in their lives. It's more likely than not that a rape survivor was on that bus, and entirely possible that one was close enough to hear those guys' dumb jokes. That alone should have been reason enough for them to refrain from that kind of talk.
But if that's not reason enough, here's another reason: those kind of jokes help perpetuate a culture that doesnt take rape seriously, and that disrespects women. The boys sitting behind me were both the products of and the perpetuators of the kind of culture I'm talking about. A patriarchal culture, where women are viewed as less than men. It seems to me that the vast majority of rape cases can be in some way attributed to that sort of sexism. Rapists are able to rape women because they don't view them as equal human beings, and rapists rape men in an attempt to force them into what they consider the place of the woman. Of course that doesnt explain all rape cases, but I'd be surprised if it didn't factor in to the majority of them.
I have more to say about this issue- a lot more- but it's late and I'm tired. I just had to get a bit of this off my chest before I could sleep.
If anyone besides me actually read this, thank you. And good night.