Did You Hear The Funny One About Rape?

Chris Hitchings

Did you hear the funny one about rape? No, me neither.

Its a bit of a touchy subject, but one so prevalent in society. Yet many still think it okay to make crude and offensive jokes about the victims of sexual attacks. “Facerape” is a prime example, and a staple of most pre-drinking events. For those of you uncommon with the terminology, this is the act of defaming one’s chums, by posting ridiculous, yet often hilarious comments on their Facebook feed. I have no problem with this, but I draw the line at the easy allusion between this innocent act, and one that ruins lives.

Lad culture, the new phenomena of acting like a dick to everyone, and your mates thinking it is funny, doesn’t help. Undeniably, going out is always a better experience if you pull. The feeling of success when you get off with someone you only met a few rounds ago. Especially when they’re happy to make tracks, and head to “somewhere quieter”. When your mates are egging you on, it is easy to get distracted from the facts. Maybe, he just isn’t that into you, and is probably a bit worse for wear.

On top of this are those who wear those hilarious t-shirts. “Keep calm, and rape on”. As if the verbal battering wasn’t enough, now you can adorn your body in its slogans.

Once upon a time I did an interview with a guy who’d been date raped, and had got HIV as a result. It was a bit of an insight into something that you wouldn’t think happens every night, in every bar, in every town across the UK.

As much as it is a taboo subject, with many shying away from the discussion of drug use in polite company, victims of rape find themselves isolated, and without easily accessible support. Some are even abandoned by friends and family, in denial and disbelief that such acts occur.

But they do, and the statistics prove this. Shockingly, in excess of 80,000 women are sexually abused every year. And that is just the cases that are reported. Many victims feel unable, or are unwilling, to report crimes of violation against their bodies.

Such is the prohibition of the discussion that it holds us back as a society from open discourse of the subject. Right now my journalism tutor would be turning in his grave, where is the interview? The first hand experience that this happens? True. Maybe it’s something I should have included, but you try and find someone that has been abused. I bet you don’t find someone willing to talk about it, and on the record.

Rape is a four letter word. Once the time comes where people are willing to cast aside what other people may think of them, and what has happened to them, then we will be ready to talk about it.

We need to stop joking about it. We need to stop pretending it doesn’t happen. Like stepping over those less fortunate than ourselves on the street on the way to work, we need to stop ignoring the problems in society, that every day get forgotten about.

About Chris Hitchings

Chris Hitchings is a slightly disorganised journalism student living, working and generally trying to scrape a living in Leeds. Born and bred in the Welsh valleys Chris has a penchant for the countryside. He has previously been compared to the love-child of Bridget Jones and American Dad's "Roger".