I’m going to share something that happened to me this morning with you all. I woke up much later than I’d planned to, made myself breakfast, and turned on my laptop to see my messages. In my inbox, I found that someone had replied to a comment I’d made to a YouTube video. The video in question was a Tibetan bowl singing meditation video that I listened to yesterday in order to relax after a long day. When it was over, I had commented, “Whoa, what did that just do to me?” (I was really relaxed afterwards). Between commenting on that video and checking my messages, some merry prankster had replied to my comment with this: “it raped you…with Tibetan singing bowls :)”.

Of course, you can guess how I replied: “not funny”.

And it’s true, rape is not funny, especially when you look at the realities of the problem. It’s estimated that every two minutes, an American is sexually assaulted. One in five female college students will be sexually assaulted before they graduate, usually by someone they know. Often their rapists are not punished as thoroughly as they should be by the university, receiving academic probation or being banned from campus for a year. Imagine having to be on the same campus as your rapist every day until one or both of you have graduated. It’s enough to drive you insane. And rapists who are let off easy like this are likely to repeat and rape again, averaging six assaults before graduation. It’s even likelier for rapists who include violent acts like strangulation in their assaults. Because of these statistics and several colleges apparently mishandling sexual assaults, 55 universities, my own included, are being investigated for mishandling sexual assault cases by the federal government. For some victims, they wish this investigation would’ve come sooner.

And that’s not the worst part about it. In some countries women are jailed or killed if they are raped, sometimes with the permission of the governments that are supposed to protect them. These “honor killings” or jail sentences are supposed to punish the woman for making herself sexually desirable to her rapist and causing him to commit adultery. Sometimes they are even married off to their rapists in order to preserve family honor! For many women, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other psychological disorders can arise from being sexually assaulted, so imagine having to be punished by law or married to your rapist in order to preserve some silly notion of honor.

Even in countries where women aren’t punished or married off on their rapists, sometimes things are little better. Assault victims are shamed or intimidated into keeping silent for a variety of reasons. They may believe that their assault was their fault, or that they’ll be humiliated or disbelieved if they come forward, or that coming forward will forever change how they’re viewed by people. In cases of pregnancy, some won’t be able to get abortions because laws make it difficult or impossible to do so.

Even in the United States, supposedly a progressive country where all are equal, most are seriously misinformed about sexual assault. They believe it only happens to others, that all rapists are strangers to the victim, that it’s a rare occurrence. In reality, rape is all too common, as well as pregnancies that result from rape, most rapists are someone the victims know, and it could happen to just about anyone. And when we do not blame the rapists but find ways to blame or hurt the victims or create reasons why we shouldn’t believe them, we only make things worse.

And so do the comedians who make fun of rape. Whether they make one single joke or an entire act out of rape and sexual assault, they are doing as much damage as some rapists. They tell people that rape isn’t a serious problem, that you can make fun of it and the victims who are assaulted every two minutes in America (there was a great Law & Order: SVU episode about this recently). And some people, like my commenter above, will take these comedians seriously. One or two may actually rape themselves, believing it’s no big deal.

I’m here saying that rape is a very big deal, and it is not something that should be made fun of or turned into comedy club stand-up. Rape is a serious problem people all over the world must face, and that unless we seriously try to change our culture, things will not improve. They’ll stay the same, or get worse.

So if you ever find yourself confronted with a rape joke or you think about making a rape joke, imagine that making such a joke makes someone as horrible as a rapist. And then ask yourself if you should really laugh at or make that joke, or if you should try and change things so that those jokes are never made again. You might get thanked down the road for that.

  1. Why is the Youtube comment section always the depository for lowest rung of society?

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