Desensitising rape

Rape is a hard word for me, I’ve never gone through it but as a woman the suffering and cruelty of it is one of the hardest things for me to wrap my mind around. I can hear about torture, murders, serial killers but rape is one of the crimes that really strike a nerve with me. There was a time on Facebook when people used the word Frape to describe when someone hacked into their account and posted statuses posing as them, this for me is one of the many ways that rape has been desensitised in our society.

Society has basically taken one of the most horrific crimes that can happen to person (both men and women) and turned into a joke! I say society because even politicians don’t discuss rape as often as they should, police officers are declaring rapes as no crimes. Just the other day ‘trolls’ on Twitter where threatening Miss Caroline Criado-Perez with rape. Why? Because she campaigned to get a woman’s face on a £10 note and won, you can read the story here. First i will never understand why people were even upset about this in the first place (seems like sexism to me!) and secondly how dare people think its funny or cool to threaten to rape someone. It seems that people have totally lost not only their empathy but also their intelligence. You would threaten to basically force someone to have sex with you because of a woman’s face on a £10 note? Really? REALLY?

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One of the things that has really aided in the desensitisation of rape is the Internet. Now I love the Internet, it’s a vast online library of information that is easily accessible but there is one downside to the Internet, anonymity. The fact that no one knows who says what online has given people the power to say the most outrageous things that they would never say in public. It’s shocking to me that people think its ok to say they’re going to rape someone maybe because they’ve never been through it themselves, so they can never really understand the consequences that the victim has to deal with, but I pose this question. How would they feel if their wife or sister was raped? How would they be if their child was raped? Maybe you’ve actually used rape in a joke online or maybe you think it’s funny when people threaten to rape someone else if so think about this question if someone you love was raped would it still be funny? Would it still be a harmless joke?

Many people say oh there’s no need to get offended on the Internet because that’s just how the Internet is but I don’t accept that. I believe in free speech but there needs to be a line. Using rape as a way to silence or threaten someone is not free speech it’s hateful. It’s intimidation, it’s trying to make someone do what you want them to do by threatening them with one of the most horrific crimes in the world. It’s ironic how in a world were people are banging on about human rights, equality and tolerance, rape seems to be becoming a more trivial situation to the point we where people joke about it on the Internet and even blame the victim for ‘allowing’ that to happen to them. On the Internet people aren’t held accountable for their views people think they can say what they want to whom ever they want. I’m just glad that in Miss Criado-Perez some people were arrested for their comments but what about the thousands of rape joking trolls out there we cannot arrest them all but we can raise awareness. Next time your online and you see someone making joke about rape or threatening someone with sexual assault, call them out, deal with them the same way you would deal with someone who was being racist or homophobic. Just say something! I ask you this after someone has insulted and threatened someone else with something as deplorable as rape and then they look at the closet woman in their life, how would they would react if someone threatened her with rape? Maybe that will help us all to think twice before we type.

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