Guys! There’s A Lady Present…

You are with a group of people (could be friends, co-workers, anybody) enjoying a lazy meal and suddenly the conversation stops…You look around wondering what happened…All the faces around you have an uncomfortable look, even a guilty one…Some are staring at you…Gravy dribbling down my chin? No…Something I said? No…Who was just speaking? R…What was he saying? Hmm…Oh, yeah, he just cracked a rape joke…Everybody laughed except me…Then enlightened A said, “Guys! There’s a lady present.”…Suddenly you realize you are the only woman there…

I’m sure you ladies have been in a similar situation at least once…Over time I’ve come to realize that the less unenlightened ones who do speak up do so not to tell the chauvinists to change their opinions, but to keep quiet when someone who wasn’t a member of the club was present…All these men are fine people just a bit sexist and insensitive…The ones who think of themselves as enlightened see themselves as allies in the stuggle for equality…But, the problem is that most only speak up when they are in mixed company…I’ve asked a few of them if they stop their friends from passing sexist comments when they are amongst men and most of them have given me this weird look and said, “No, why?” So, if these men don’t want to change the status quo, why do they even speak up? They speak up because they are uncomfortable being seen enjoying a sexist joke or comment when there’s a woman present…Talk to guys…A lot of them think women need to lighten up – a joke is a joke, they say…It’s not as if they are raping or abusing women…

Aren’t you tired fighting the battle against the trivilization of rape? I know I am…I’m tired of telling people that rape jokes aren’t funny when the butt of the joke is the person who gets raped…A joke can be funny if the rapist or the rape culture is the target…For example, this joke by Borat “In Kazakhstan the favorite hobbies are disco dancing, archery, rape, and table tennis” works because the butt of the joke is the cariacature of Kazakhstan and not the victims…For every one person you get through to, a hundred more insensitive worms crawl out of the woodwork and tell you to stop being so sensitive… These people probably haven’t been raped…They probably don’t know anybody who has…It is very difficult to educate someone whose only exposure to something as heinous rape has been in a trivilized form…Guys, rape is not a feminist issue – it’s a human one…Men get raped too, but unfortunately because of the patriarchal nature of our society, more women get raped than men…

I’ve never been raped but I’ve been groped, ‘eve teased’, brushed against, whatever…Yes, I’m one of the ‘lucky ones’ who doesn’t have a direct story of rape, but I’m well aware that it is not the case with many, many women and men…Find something else to laugh at…

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