I just want to give a trigger warning before I begin because there may be triggers involed, so I am sorry in advance.
Some people don’t see the problem with rape jokes. Why can’t you say what you want? People are too sensitive, right? I get it, you’re not a rapist and you’ve never been raped, so what’s the harm in making a joke?
With the high statictics of rape, one of two people are bound to hear you: a rapist or a survivor of rape. To the survivor, you’re completely discounting their experience. Making it normalized, making it seem like it wasn’t a big deal. To the rapist, you’re giving them validation. They’re probably thinking “wow, maybe that person has raped someone too, maybe what I did isn’t so bad.” Does it bother you knowing that a rapist thinks that you’re a rapist too, because of the jokes you’re making?
I know what you’re thinking. You would never hurt someone like that, would you? You’d never take advantage of someone more vulnerable than you. However, when you make jokes about rape, when it becomes normalized, boundaries are blurred even further. By making light of something as serious and detrimental as rape, you are increasing the likelihood of others being raped. Are you bothered yet? Are you starting to rethink your “jokes”?
Maybe not yet. I’m over thinking it, yeah? I’m looking to far into a problem that isn’t even a problem. But am I? Let me tell you some of the psychological trauma that goes along with being a survivor of rape. PTSD. Flashbacks. Panic attacks. Feeling at fault. Depression. Suicidal thoughts. That’s just to name a few. Now, imagine you’re with your friends in the same class as you and you all just got done taking a difficult exam. You say “that test raped me” and someone who is a survivor hears that.
Do you know everything you just brought to the surface by “just” making a “joke”? You made them relive probably the worst experience in their entire life. You’re friends laugh at the joke, because that’s what you do with a joke, right? Now think about the survivor. Not only was their rape brought back to the surface, but now people are laughing at it. People are laughing at what happened to this person, completely discounting the trauma they’ve been through. But that’s not your intention, is it? You only wanted to get a laugh out of your friends.
Well, that joke and those laughs have far more implications than you’ve thought of. And I’m not blaming everyone. It’s been so normalized and we hear it so often that sometimes we think it’s ok without evaluating what is really happening. But I’m begging you, please evaluate what those “jokes” mean to people. There are far better ways to say that a test was difficult without validating a rapist or invalidating a survivor.