Humourless Old Trout etc

Standard

I’m finding this describes me more and more lately.

Especially when the ‘humour’ I’m surrounded by is of the sort that looks harmless and innocent but is in fact damaging and dangerous.

Those ‘hilarious’ Facebook tropes, for eg. ‘What women say and what they really mean’. I dont’ know about you, but I tend to say what I mean. If I say no, it means no. If I say I’m tired, it means I’m tired. If I say I don’t want to have sex with you tonight, it means I don’t want to have sex.

On the other side of that, most men aren’t pathetic creatures led by their penises and helpless in the face of overwhelming urges. The only people who really think that are rapists. Men who aren’t rapists understand that their ‘need’ to have sex doesn’t trump their partner’s rights to not be violated.

I’ve seen this four times this morning, on different FB profiles.

I KNOW that the women posting this don’t think rape is A-OK. I know that they don’t really even think like this. But it’s so insidious. Gags about women just needing to be persuaded, men just can’t help themselves, it’s only rape if she wakes up, ‘surprise sex’ (thanks for that one Jimmy Carr), all of these and worse are EVERYWHERE.

We live in a society that normalises and even glamourises rape and sexual assault. You don’t think we do?

1 in 5 women in the US has been raped

400,000 women in the UK are sexually assaulted every year, 80,000 women are raped.

Around 21% of girls and 11% of boys experience some form of child sexual abuse. 23% of women and 3% of men experience sexual assault as an adult. 5% of women and 0.4% of men experience rape.

Rape jokes and myths are prevalent on mainstream television, and are very rarely challenged. Why is this? How many people STILL believe ‘she was asking for it’, ‘she shouldn’t have got so drunk’, ‘It can’t have been rape if she was kissing him earlier’, ‘of course she wanted to have sex with him, he’s a millionaire footballer/celebrity’?

I want my sons to grow up knowing ABSOLUTELY that no means no. It doesn’t mean, ‘pester me until I give in’, it doesn’t mean ‘get me drunk enough and I will’, it doesn’t mean ‘hold me down so I don’t struggle’.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing she is safe from sexual assault. One way to achieve this is to stop normalising rape. No means no.

Consent is not a grey area. If she hasn’t said yes, assume it’s a no. Saying yes the night before doesn’t mean it’s automatically yes this morning. Being in a relationship or married doesn’t mean you are in a constant state of consent. Being too drunk to say no is not the same as saying yes. Etc.

It’s not rocket science.

Women are conditioned to accept rape and assault, did you know that? The default position for most of us when threatened is to freeze. On a thread on Mumsnet a while ago, HUNDREDS of us had tales of what we called ‘small sexual assaults’. The groper in the pub, the flasher on the train. Most of us never challenged it. Lots of us had very similar stories to tell of feeling unable to speak up, out politeness and social conditioning.

I have a low tolerance for men who paw me in nightclubs, but it used to happen almost every weekend. I was dancing, therefore I was fair game to have my bottom felt or even my boobs groped. My reaction? I used to walk away. Nowadays I am more likely to shout ‘GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME’. The most recent time this happened was a few years ago when my husband was playing a gig and I was dancing. Clearly ‘I am dancing’ means ‘please touch my arse’ to a minority of men. Why does this go unchallenged? Why do women feel they shouldn’t shout out about being touched without consent? Why do some men think they are entitled to touch us without invitation?

Well, partly it’s because we are all fed the message from a young age that women dont’ know their own minds, and men have unignorable urges and can’t help themselves. It’s the acceptable face of rape.

So please, lets not perpetuate the ridiculous myth that women and men say one thing and mean another. Lets teach our children that no always means no, and that we ALL have the right not be touched if we don’t want to be.

It really isn’t funny.

http://www.mumsnet.com/campaigns/we-believe-you-mumsnet-rape-awareness-campaign

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About Just Some Stuff About Us

I live in West Sussex with three bonkers children and a Rock God for a husband. I'm somewhere in my thirties but I frequently have to count on my fingers to remember where exactly. I like to talk about myself and my chums. Some people like to read it.

One response »

  1. I think sometimes people don’t realise how damaging this kind of humour can be, considering how common rape and sexual assault is, and how many women NEVER feel safe enough to report it, or even call it rape when it happens to them. They would rather write it off as a misunderstanding or blame themselves for drinking too much or whatever.

    When you see stuff like this in your friends’ walls, if you’ve been raped or sexually assaulted, especially by a ‘date’, or someone you know, or an ‘ordinary bloke who misread the signals’, you think that NOBODY WILL BELIEVE YOU. In fact, you might not even really believe it yourself, and spend years blaming yourself for somehow getting the situation ‘wrong’.

    When people make these jokes, laugh at them and share them, they are contributing to a climate in which women feel they won’t be taken seriously. They won’t be believed. Which I hope is wrong, because most people who share this stuff hopefully WOULD believe them. They think it’s “only a joke”. But when a woman who has been raped hears them laughing, she isn’t sure she can ever speak up. And when a man who has raped hears them, he thinks “Hey, I’m right, everybody does it, everybody knows that women are up for it even if they haven’t said yes”. Even HE probably doesn’t think it’s rape. He thinks it’s sex he’s entitled to. And those jokes just made it a hell of a lot easier for him to feel entitled.

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