Why is rape such a massive controversy when it comes to jokes? I mean, yes it is a awful crime, but just look at how people treat equally brutal and horrible crimes. Murder, brutal assault, torture, arson all these are horrible crimes, yet they are all less controversial than rape.
Rape is a thing women have
Sure, we all know we might be murdered. We might be a victim of a crime. Probably not, but statistically, it's possible. But women know that this is a constant potential thread- not a "yeah sure it might happen but probably not", but a "actually, it probably will happen at some point. If it hasn't already."
And every joke, every off-the-cuff comment, reinforces that fear. And not just that fear, but the way rape is often treated- as if it's the victim's fault, as if she should have dressed differently, not gone out at night, not been drinking, not lived her life as if she felt safe.
This is, of course, ignoring the differences between rape and other crimes, but I'm going to quickly put it into perspective for you; which means outing myself as transsexual (please don't make me regret this, Escapist.) I grew up as female and started transitioning to male shortly after I was legally old enough to do so.
I was sexually abused as a teenager.
I was raped when I was 16.
I ended up in an abusive "relationship"- I was unemployed, I had nowhere to go, and the man I was living with told me I had to have sex with him, or he would kick me out (even though I was contributing financially what I could via benefits.) Just to make it clear to anyone unsure- that's rape.
So that's sexual assault and rape by three different people before I started transitioning to male at the age of 19.
To continue to put it into perspective, almost everyone I told treated my experiences with derision and scorn. When I told my mother about the rape at the age of 16, she told me it was "my fault" for not fighting this six-foot-four, rather heavy man- or for not yelling so that I could be found in the incredibly humiliating situation of being raped. My own mother told me my rape was my own fault.
Ten years later, I am accepted entirely as male and I know nobody who looks at me walking down the street sees a potential rape victim- they just see a man. But that fear has been instilled in me since I was a teenager. And occasionally, I'm still afraid- not of rape, exactly, but specifically as being treated as a "thing", an object, rather than a person. Because that was what my two rapists, and my sexual abuser, reduced me to- an object for them to exert power over and take pleasure in, nothing more.
And that's something all women have to fear, all the time. And that's why rape jokes, and rape comments, aren't okay.