Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The "R" Word

For some friends of mine, rape is a rough word to hear people say. I've always had a problem with the detached use of the word and constant way people tend to throw it around in a joking manner. Whether society is causing these jokes to be in television shows or the television shows are just upholding our society’s joking position, either way you look at it, there is an obvious cycle of triviality about sexual assault.

How many times have you heard someone leave a class after they were handed their test and say:
“I got totally raped by that exam.”
Or a disappointed teammate says something to the effect of “Damn, that soccer team just raped us.” after a crushing loss to a game.
The word is thrown around in social situations far too much. It is becoming the okay thing to say when you are trying to express your frustration with someone or something exerting power over you.

The word and the implications of the action are present in television shows as a form of comedy and sarcasm. Take Family Guy, an animated television show that is known for pushing the limits on controversial topics, for example. It is extremely common in any given episode to hear a joke or there be a scene about sexual assault and/or rape making a mockery out of sexual assault.

If you think that I am making a misleading argument about television and pop culture that should could just be fixed with the proper television censorship or the enlightenment of ignorant college kids, this video below should prove my point. It's not just the people of my generation speaking so politically incorrect. Even the politically correct are using this word out of context in a way that can only be considered inappropriate by those who can identify with the struggles that survivors of sexual assault deal with when hearing this word.

***This video is offensive in my opinion, and could be considered offensive to others. I only have it here within my blog as an example of what is present in the media today and to further my argument that the word is used relentlessly without regard to the severity of the topic. ***

There are a multitude of problems with the trivial use of this word through so many outlets of media and communication. Sexual assault and rape are not taken seriously when used portrayed in a nonchalant, joking manner. It chips away at the severity this issue holds over women around the globe, and I know the mere use of the word (whether it be in context or not) causes some survivors to quiver. Jokes about rape and using the word out of context diminishes the reality of the cruelty and the traumatic effects that it holds on people effected by this issue.


  1. I agree with Brittney! The "R" word is thrown around to much in the media and in the general public. I think it makes women ashamed too; because so many people make jokes about the word, that if it doesn happen to a women she wont tell someone in fear she may be joked. I think this word needs to be taken seriously and its not a joking mater!

  2. I never really thought about the implications of using the "R" word in the joking manner that many people use it in. By no means AT ALL do I think that rape is something to joke about but I have definitely been around people that have thrown that word around lightly and I never thought twice. It makes me think twice and realize that this is not a word that should be thrown around as a joke!

  3. I think that video is extremely offensive and really proves your point! That word is used too much in common conversation and that is very inappropriate. I'm really glad you talked about this because I a lot people don't think twice about using the word.

  4. Fantastic post. One of the lowest moments of my teaching career: A student friended me on Facebook at the beginning of the semester. At the end of semester, just before finals she wrote as her status, "I'm going to be raped by this exam." When I saw that, not only did my jaw drop, but my heart sank into my stomach. This class covers a ton of topics, many of them legitimately controversial, and I don't expect or even want everyone to have the same opinions. But one thing that I hope we can all agree on is the fact that sexual assault and sexual violence are wrong. I admire your ability to identify the problem of trivialization and to write about it here so succinctly.