Via chickwithmonkey I have discovered this excellent comment from Time Machine explaining just how rape jokes are harmful. Quoted here in it’s entirety, for truth, justice and the ‘murican way FUCK YEAH and because the original thread is 1000+ comments deep and takes ages to load.
[Note: Many people on Reddit have expressed the sentiment that while they agree with the substance, they have a problem with the condescending tone. This is because the comment I’m reposting was on a blog post and was made in response to a guy who was actually arguing that it’s okay for him to make rape jokes with his friends. While it starts by addressing all men, it’s coloured by the reaction to that particular guy.]
To all those who don’t think the rape joke was a problem, or rape jokes are a problem.
I get it, you’re a decent guy. I can even believe it. You’ve never raped anybody. You would NEVER rape anybody. You’re upset that all these feminists are trying to accuse you of doing something or connect you to doing something that, as far as you’re concerned, you’ve never done and would never condone.
And they’ve told you about triggers, and PTSD, and how one in six women is a survivor, and you get it. You do. But you can’t let every time someone gets all upset get in the way of you having a good time, right?
So fine. If all those arguments aren’t going anything for you, let me tell you this. And I tell you this because I genuinely believe you mean it when you say you don’t want to hurt anybody, and you don’t see the harm, and that it’s important to you to do your best to be a decent and good person. And I genuinely believe you when you say you would never associate with a rapist and you think rape really is a very bad thing.
Because this is why I refuse to take rape jokes sitting down-
6% of Penny Arcade’s target demographic will admit to actually being rapists when asked.
A lot of people accuse feminists of thinking that all men are rapists. That’s not true. But do you know who think all men are rapists?
They really do. In psychological study, the profiling, the studies, it comes out again and again.
Virtually all rapists genuinely believe that all men rape, and other men just keep it hushed up better. And more, these people who really are rapists are constantly reaffirmed in their belief about the rest of mankind being rapists like them by things like rape jokes, that dismiss and normalize the idea of rape.
If one in twenty guys is a real and true rapist, and you have any amount of social activity with other guys like yourself, really cool guy, then it is almost a statistical certainty that one time hanging out with friends and their friends, playing Halo with a bunch of guys online, in a WoW guild, or elsewhere, you were talking to a rapist. Not your fault. You can’t tell a rapist apart any better than anyone else can. It’s not like they announce themselves.
But, here’s the thing. It’s very likely that in some of these interactions with these guys, at some point or another someone told a rape joke. You, decent guy that you are, understood that they didn’t mean it, and it was just a joke. And so you laughed.
And, decent guy who would never condone rape, who would step in and stop rape if he saw it, who understands that rape is awful and wrong and bad, when you laughed?
That rapist who was in the group with you, that rapist thought that you were on his side. That rapist knew that you were a rapist like him. And he felt validated, and he felt he was among his comrades.
You. The rapist’s comrade.
And if that doesn’t make you feel sick to your stomach, if that doesn’t make you want to throw up, if that doesn’t disturb you or bother you or make you feel like maybe you should at least consider not participating in that kind of humor anymore…
Well, maybe you aren’t as opposed to rapists as you claim.
This is a perfect example of how social norms are insidiously perpetuating acts you might not expect. Just from a seemingly harmless activity like laughing as a rape joke, a sexist joke, a racist joke and so on.
PS: Protip (for chickwithmonkey). You can find a permalink to a Disqus comment under the date of the comment (Where it says something like “1 day ago”.) Same with Intense Debate that I’m using here.