I am taking part in a campaigning on Facebook to get the site “It’s not Rape…It’s surprise sex!” removed. This invovles getting as many people as possible to report the group as offensive and write into Facebook moderators quoting their own rules. Please take the time to view the comments even if you choose not to join in. While I appreciate dark humour and value a good joke as much as anybody, there are certain thins that are strictly off-limits and subjects that will never be funny. I read a case on Women’s Rights at change.Org, where a 19-year-old was raped at gunpoint and robbed and to add insult to injury, she was charged with theft herself by the investigating officer, on the grounds that she refused to accept rape counselling and did not press the panic button. This was not in some Middle-Eastern backwater where ‘civilisation’ has not yet caught up with reality, this happened in Pennsylvania. While groups and people continue to trivialise rape and blame the victims, this situation will happen again and again.
Carmen Miles, one of the other members of the group, posted this on the group wall and I felt it deserved to be shared. with more than the members of one Facebook group.
when an Australian sex therapist forces her female patients into submitting to their husband’s sexual desires through guilt and coercion. (http://hoydenabouttown.com/20090301.3917/quickhit-bettina-arndt-rape-cheerleader/)
when an Australian judge dismisses a case of anal rape with a bottle as persuasion involving “rougher than usual handling”. (http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/4808)
when men in Afghanistan are permitted to deny their wives food and water if t they refuse their sexual advances. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/14/afghanistan-womens-rights-rape)
when the murder of rape victims is still an acceptable way to restore honour to families. (http://www.moriel.org/articles/discernment/islam_alert/honour_killing_of_rape_victims.htm)
Not asking for a site to be removed when it potentially trivialises a terrible crime, is triggering
for victims and a haven for cyber-bullies.
This brings me to my next point. The group itself has been targeted by people who view US as an oppression site, claim that we are hypocrites and that OUR page should be removed because they find it offensive. This really makes the mind boggle about how these people think. We are not trying to ban free speech. We are not trivialising violent acts against others – that is what we are trying to get Facebook to take responsibility for. We are not saying that ALL dark humour is wrong and I am sure that most reasonable people realise, that for society to function smoothly, there needs to be a set of rules, whether set down or not, that we all stick to. Whether we agree with them all or not is an issue for debate and something we are perfectly qualified to discuss among ourselves. It’s the difference between what is right and wrong and no authority is needed on that front. All we need is our conscience, both public and individual to know this. There are unspoken rules of decency and conduct, and trivialising violent crime while at the same time refusing to acknowledge the true motivations of that violence, is to ignore reality. It paints a gloss of “Oh well, it hasn’t happened to me or mine, so its fair game to laugh at.” over the whole issue of the legal system’s treatment of reported rape cases.
Discussion of this sort over the internet is not futile, as it brings together the people who would not have otherwise met. It allows the raising of public awareness on a worldwide scene, and it those who have a voice to speak up for those who do not. It grants access to information and points us in the direction of sources that would not have otherwise occurred to us. We play our part in a more open world community, just by making a contribution to the discussion. On-line discussion forums allow ideas to change through a natural progression of examination and debate. It is not the decent thing to ignore or keep silent about social injustice. Abdication from the process will only protect that person for a tiny amount of time because what happens when those who have done their three-wise-monkey act experience the same issues they have laughed at, trivialised and dismissed? If they or their loved ones became one of those of whom groups like ours are trying to speak up for? Would the subject still be so jocular to them? Will our stance that the groups who laugh and sneer and are offended by our telling them they are wrong, still be so offensive to them? I very much doubt it. To quote a friend of mine, people who are ‘never wrong’, never learn. If they say they wouldn’t care then they are either lying to avoid admitting that they are wrong, or we should think very carefully about whether we really want to associate with such people.
As I said before; there are some things which are just not funny, and rape is one of them. Our request for the removal of sites that trivialise violent crime is not oppression. Our request is not inciting violence. Nobody’s rights are being abused when this sort of offensive content is rightfully complained about and removed. Is it repression of a rapist to prevent them from committing such horrific acts again? The silencing of hundreds of abused children and their families, in order to protect the reputations of both their abusers and the catholic church WAS oppression. They were prevented from speaking out and those who complain that we, as a group, are offensive and trying to ‘prevent freedom of speech’ ARE guilty of the same complacent attitude to the victims of such crimes.