April 10, 2014
When someone says no, they mean no. That doesn’t seem like a punch line to a joke, does it? I remember overhearing a group of guys a while ago joking about a really drunk girl at a party. I let my mind wonder about where this conversation would lead to and all I needed to hear was one word to validate my presumptions: rape. I don’t know if I find it more disturbing that someone would laugh about rape or that people would be ignorant enough to practically scream a conversation about it down Ivy Lane. But in either case I’m disturbed. In this day and age, hearing people joke about a drunken girl often leads me to assuming that people are about to be joking about rape or sexual assaults. It is just such a commonality.
Maybe rape is a joke to so many people because it seems to be a joke when you turn on the television. One case in particular that comes to mind is the Steubenville, Ohio case where many news stations seemed to take pity on the boys involved—the rapists—because they apparently had such promising futures. The girl who was sexually assaulted became known as just a girl who seemed to have gotten what she deserved since she was underage and drunk at a party. The more people read headlines putting the blame on the victims, the more likely they are to assume that sexually harassing or assaulting an inebriated girl at a party will be a great story to tell on campus the next day.
Most people seem to think that rape culture is just a cliché thrown around social media and news stations with a bunch of made up statistics used as scare tactics. It’s not; it’s a reality. Everyone should be scared and worried about rape culture in our society. Rape culture is more than just someone physically involved in sexual assaults. Rape culture includes the people who make jokes about a girl getting sexually assaulted at a party, who do not even understand that they are a huge part of the reason that our society has become a rape culture. Rape culture is not telling someone to stop talking when they make jokes about rape. Rape culture is someone blaming a girl for being drunk at a party. Rape culture is me having to write this article in the year 2014 to tell people that rape is not a laughing matter. So a word of advice to the ignorant, want-to-be jokesters on campus: just stop talking.
Rape is a scary reality for our society and the more people try to downplay it or laugh it off, the worse off our society is. You are constantly digging society more and more into a place where forcing someone to have sex is becoming an accepted norm. And hiding behind an anonymous name and posting to certain Twitter accounts—you know who you are—to sexually harass and demean people does not make you any better than those who openly talk about it on campus either. If you hear people joking about rape or saying anything else offensive, always tell them to stop and think about what they are really saying. Rape culture is contagious and will only keep growing if people let it. And there’s nothing funny about that.