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The Best Rape Joke I Ever Heard

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February 24, 2016

Trigger warning: rape, violent language

Yes, you read that title correctly. But let me explain.

I couldn’t sleep a few weeks ago and was looking through videos on one of my favorite websites, Everyday Feminism, when I stumbled across this slam poem that absolutely took my breath away. I can’t tell you exactly how many times I’ve watched it since first discovering it, but the number is in the dozens.

The poets call out many of the worst aspects of rape culture. For instance: “Don’t worry, we’re good victims. We won’t cry too loud, or demand your attention, or ask for trigger warnings.” I personally think trigger warnings are wonderful, and as someone who is triggered by certain things, I find them incredibly helpful sometimes. Unfortunately, there are many who disagree with the notion of trigger warnings, even going so far as to accuse victims of wanting to be coddled, as said in this article. Yes, apparently wanting to avoid content related to your traumatic experience is the same thing as wanting to be coddled.

Right after that, the poets bring up the phrase “boys get raped too,” and how it is often used to silence female victims. Like they say, “boys get raped” should be its own sentence. Within rape culture, women who talk about their experiences are often shut down by people telling them that boys get raped too, as though that invalidates their own trauma or somehow makes it less important. Male rape victims deserve the same respect and attention as female rape victims, but should never be used to detract from the experiences of others.

One of the biggest issues the performers touch on is how violent the terminology for sexual acts can be: “If you do want a healing relationship, how do you talk about it when the language is rooting against you? Hey, want to bang, screw, nail me? Everything is so violent.” While some people are into rougher language in the bedroom, it should never be assumed that that kind of vocabulary is for everyone, as it can be incredibly triggering for some individuals.

My favorite part of the entire piece is this: “‘Real men don’t rape?’ Oh shit, must’ve been a ghost then!” Along with calling out the utter bullshit of the idea that ‘real’ men don’t rape (or that only men can be rapists), this encompasses the ironic point of their poem:  twisting rape humor to shed light on society’s issue with a prevalent rape culture that protects assailants and belittles survivors.

And for the record, rape jokes, aren’t funny.

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