jokes · rape · society · trigger

Why your ‘jokes’ can be dangerous…

TRIGGERS FOR MENTION OF RAPE

We’ve probably all heard the ‘jokes’ about rape or the use of the word rape in a joking context. I think it’s fair to say that everyone knows they can be offensive. But, they can also be pretty dangerous even though it’s often passed off as ‘harmless.’

Picture this. You’re out with a group of friends. Laughing and chatting, having a good time.  Someone makes a joke about rape. There’s some laughter and the conversation continues. Think about who might have heard this. You might now know it but one of those people could have been a victim of rape. It’s not unimaginable, rape victims often won’t tell anyone through shame. In the UK, 85 000 women are reported to have been rape every year. How do you think they feel about that joke? About that laughing? Probably scared and uncomfortable. It could trigger horrible memories of that incident for them.

It’s not so funny now, is it?

On top of this, another listener could very well be a potential rapist. Do you know what this joke and the response to it says to them? That rape is okay. That the idea of it is something to be laughed at. They might even think that those laughing about it condone rape. Those jokes normalise a very serious issue. I know you’re thinking that you do not know any potential rapists but you can never be 100% certain! Is it really worth the risk?

Telling rape ‘jokes’ and laughing at them makes a serious and difficult issue appear trivial and funny. That’s not okay. It’s the same with other ‘jokes’ about serious issues, they should not be trivialised in this way when they impact so negatively on so many lives.

Rape jokes are dangerous. Next time a friend makes a joke about rape, do not laugh. They are not funny. Do you really want a potential rapist thinking that rape is acceptable? Do you really want to bring up painful memories for a victim? Any decent human being would say no so be decent and tell people to stop this.

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