How do you talk about rape culture?

I have a sense of humour. I actually laugh at some of the most inappropriate things, and if I’m truthful some of the things I find funny might be a bit…odd.

Sometimes I don’t call people out when I should, maybe I don’t speak up as quickly, or explain right away why I’m offended. My friends are pretty aware of my views on misogynistic language though, and luckily I know a great group of people who have similar ideals. Sometimes something happens though that takes me by surprise. The kind of thing I’ll rant about on my blog because I just can’t get my head around it. 

Last weekend, my friend and his girlfriend were having a conversation in my flat; I didn’t pay much attention at first because I wasn’t actually involved in their chat, and there were a few others there. We’d all had a few drinks, we weren’t really discussing anything particularly important, just having a chilled out Sunday evening. My friend’s girlfriend was needling him a wee bit about the fact he doesn’t like one of her friends, he called some guy an asshole, and then this. He didn’t like her friend because he had once pinned her down and stuck his dick in her face.

Well that escalated quickly.

This started a chain of thoughts in my head about how unhealthy our acceptance of rape culture is in the UK, and how we need to change the way we think, and speak, about it. How many people are guilty of “jokingly” saying that some sleazy guy was acting a bit rapey? Obviously when we say things like that, we don’t actually mean somebody was on the brink of committing rape. But the nonchalant use of the word diminishes its impact and the connotations it should conjure up. Rapey should not be used as an adjective, it validates the act in the mentality of an abuser, and it sugar coats something that is a real and horrible thing that happens in our society. 44% of women in the UK will experience some sort of sexual violence in their lifetimes, that’s nearly half of the women in Scotland, England and Wales who have had their consent taken away from them.

It upsets me that we’ve become so blasé about it that it’s almost gone mainstream. Now there are even advertising campaigns that glorify date rape. It’s always been one of those things that I accepted EVERYONE knew was wrong, you know, alongside things like murder, abusing pets and paedophilia. Sure, there were the occasional reprobates and psychopaths out there who do purposely do these horrific things, but they weren’t the norm. You don’t hear people joking about feeling a bit murder-y, do you?

So why is sexual assault something we as humans have ceased to be shocked by? Why do we now have people publicly contesting the existence of rape culture? We consider ourselves as humans to be enlightened creatures, but I have to say that the acceptance of rape and sexual assault not only as something that “just happens” but also the shift in blame to the victim, makes me wonder if we are really as evolved as we though.


  1. There is nothing that can’t be laughed at. That said, there is a difference between a joke that happens to contain rape (There is no reason to shy away from dark humor. It can be a means of coping) and a person harassing people and thinking that being ‘humorous’ is okay.

    I saw it too much. A person acted like a general asshole, coming off like he’s a future wifebeater and people forgave him because he was amusing. I always kept my distance from them.

    1. Author

      Agreed! I just can’t understand why people tolerate this kind of thing; it’s not humour and it’s just an excuse to validate horrible behaviour. I’d say it’s a pretty good indicator of someone being a raging asshat tbh 😉

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