An Open Letter to My Colleague Who Makes Rape Jokes


I’m serious, stop.

You have no idea what it is you’re saying. None. Rape is just a word to you.  It’s an abstract idea, it’s something you can debate about, it’s something you can talk about.  And you can do that, because to you, it’s just a word.  It’s not something that ever happened to you.

I know what you’re going to say.  You’re going to laugh, and say that I’m just a crazy feminist, who gets offended at everything.  And you’re going to hide behind that, so that you’ll never have to admit that what you’re doing is wrong.

And I know you’ve heard how other people talk about it.  I know you’ve heard other people make these jokes, and you’ve heard people laugh, so you’ve come to the conclusion that society finds this funny, and that these jokes are acceptable.  But I’m here to tell you: you’re wrong.  Those people laugh because to them, rape is just a word.

But it’s not just a word to everyone.  It’s not just a word to me.  To me, rape is the reason I stay up on a rape crisis hotline late at night, supporting people whose lives have been turned inside out.  Rape is why I’ve been summoned to the hospital to hold strangers’ hands.  Rape is the reason one of my friends dropped out of school.  Rape is the reason my mom is scared when I have to walk home alone at night.

Rape is the narrow escape that I managed last summer.  Rape is what he would have managed.  It was an attempt, but it still gives me nightmares.  It still makes me cringe.  It still makes me feel nauseous.

I don’t wish that you understood how it feels when you make these jokes.  I don’t, because the only way to truly understand would be to experience it, and I would never in a million years wish that on anyone.  I really, truly mean that.

But I wish that you understood how hurtful you’re being.  I wish you could just wrap your head around that, so that you would stop.  Stop acting like rape is a joke.  Stop acting like it’s something we can just laugh about.

Because you know what?  When you make those jokes, you take his side.  You tell him, and every guy out there who is like him, that it was okay.  It wasn’t that big a deal.  You tell him, and every guy out there who is like him, that women are just objects that you can touch as you see fit, that women’s bodies are up for grabs, that it doesn’t matter what we want.

And you’re a pig for it.  I’m just going to say it: you’re a pig.  You’re disgusting.  You would have to be, to find that amusing.

You think being “violated” is amusing?  Try living with that.  Try living with that every day of your life.  Don’t try living with what I live with-~-that’s the easier version.  I got away.  I’m okay.  Try living with the worse version-~-the violent version, the kind that leaves bruises, leaves scars, leaves you in a hospital.  Do you ever even think about that?  I doubt it, because if you did, there is just no way that you could ever throw around terms like “rape” or “violate” the way that you do.

There are so many things you could joke about.  SO MANY.  There are so many things you could joke about that aren’t offensive, that don’t have to hurt people.

You choose to laugh at things that hurt people.  I know you do, because you do it to me all the time.  And it’s pathetic.  You are pathetic.

I am not just some crazy feminist.  And you DON’T get to gaslight me, dismiss my feelings as nuts, and tell me to sit down and shut up.  I am sick of being called crazy for demanding that you demonstrate some human decency.  Because that’s all I’m asking for: just show some decency and stop belittling the trauma that so many of us have had to go through.  I don’t care how smart you are, or how smart you think you are; I don’t care how important you are or think you are.  I am a person, and I’m not going to sit down and shut up until you start treating me like one.

You aren’t smarter, funnier, or better than I am, because you can laugh at rape jokes and I can’t.  All you are is lucky, because you didn’t live my nightmares, and a jerk, because you point and laugh when you could be a friend.



~ by Randi Saunders on October 23, 2012.

5 Responses to “An Open Letter to My Colleague Who Makes Rape Jokes”

  1. DANG! Speak woman! Yes! And for him, hopefully he will be lucky enough to read this and get it. Thank you for your voice, and for this post!
    Liza Wolff-Francis, Matrifocal Point

  2. Bravo! So often the word rape is used lightly, in jokes, adapted to apply to insignificant nonsense (‘fraped’ – really? people think that’s OK?) and it should never, ever be. The irony is if a man made jokes using the word cunt, the room would be offended – because of the bad language, not the denigration of women of course – and he’d be forced to stop. Speak up, speak on!

  3. Reblogged this on 8x45Sessions and commented:
    Once, I hang out with my ex-boyfriend and Tosh.O was on. I told him I was enraged by Tosh’s joke about rape in July and he said some people are just too sensitive. I told him that sexual assault is never funny and I know that first hand. He said ‘eww,’ So yeah people still think that rape jokes are funny and people don’t really care how you feel about it sometimes.

  4. Anyone who finds the following funny has forfeited his humanity:

  5. Yes. This. I can’t stand the use of the word rape and I’m trying to train as many people as I can not to use the word around me and to understand the reasoning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: