This is a post for my male friends. Before I start, I want you to know that I’m saying this because I love you guys and I love having you as friends, but something’s been on my mind lately that I have to make very clear. I’ve said it before, and I’m sorry that I have to say it again, but I’ll keep on saying it as long as necessary. So here it is: Rape is not funny.
Let me tell you a little bit about rape, ok? In elementary school, my best friend came to me to tell me how she was abused by an older cousin. In high school, another very close friend told me how she was raped in the bathroom at a party. In college, yet another friend told me how she was raped by her first boyfriend. Our college had student apartments with four dorm-sized bedrooms. She was raped in her bedroom while her three roommates were home, and none of them came to help her. When she told her parents about it, they thought she was lying at first. Eventually, people believed her, but as far as we know, the guy was never punished. I am lucky enough to have never been a victim of rape myself, but I’ve heard the stories enough that I take it personally. You know how when you’re watching a movie and a person steps on a nail, you can feel it in your own foot? Yeah, well, when I hear people talk about rape, that’s how I feel.
So, when we’re all playing video games together, and one of you shoots another one and yells “Hah! Raped!” my heart races, I feel nervous and angry, I want to yell at you, but I don’t know what to say. Obviously, you don’t understand how horrifying rape is, or else you wouldn’t use the word so carelessly. And I know you don’t mean any harm to me or our other female friends, but every time you use that word, it reminds me…
- That I am the only female in the room.
- That if you wanted to, you could attack me just like my friend’s boyfriend attacked her.
- That right now, women in war-torn countries are being raped as a military tactic because the guilty parties understand not only the pain rape causes for the victim but also the damage it does to the entire community.
- That victims of rape get dismissed so easily by people who think it’s the victim’s fault.
- That no matter how tough I might be, I’m still the minority.
- That in some ways, I can still be made powerless.
- That you don’t understand, and I need you to understand.
Ever wonder how I learned to hit so hard? Or why? Women resort to violence to defend themselves because saying “please” to a rapist doesn’t work.
You know, people lose their jobs over the word “lynch,” and I understand why. But what I don’t understand is why I’m supposed to be ok with it when you use the word “rape” as though it’s funny. It’s not funny. It hurts.