Reactions To The R-Word Joker Interrupting My Life
I’m sure that you read my post about the extremely hilarious young man who had us all in fits of pro-rape laughter. And by fits of pro-rape laughter, I mean intense discomfort at speaking up against pro-rape rhetoric for the fear of the consequences for us that would be imminent were we to do so.
After holding my ground on my don’t-make-the-world-worse-for-people-who-have-experienced-rape-with-your-pro-rape-jokes discourse, I decided to post screenshots of the experience on my Facebook page to hopefully garner some cyber-support.
The first responses that I got were from a woman who I’ve just decided should get a little Facebook note just to let her know that she’s awesome and I appreciate her.
Fuck you’re awesome, Cheryl.
The next response – well, perhaps he intended it to be supportive. But it wasn’t.
It’s the old, “Somebody did something unpleasant to you? What on earth were you thinking?” spiel. It’s “victim blaming”. Although, I suppose that in this case it would be called “person who stood up for themselves blaming”. You just can’t win in the aftermath of a man doing something unpleasant to you.
I explained to him why I thought that it was important to speak up about these things.
He explained that the atmosphere in Western culture of widespread hostility toward people who have experienced rape doesn’t exist. I hadn’t realised that, so I graciously thanked him for informing me, and I moved out of my fantasy world where pro-rape rhetoric is common. No wait, no I didn’t. I explained to him how this example linked back to the hostile climate to which I had alluded, and hinted that our culture is currently pro-rape by describing that I would like it to be reversed so that it is anti-rape.
The next response was nearly there. Unfortunately, it also attempted to educate me on the state of the current social climate with regard to rape and to people who have experienced rape.
Oh, and also in this piece: “I would shame people who said anything pro-rape. It’s just what I do.” Are you sure? I mean, really sure? I don’t watch you every moment of every day, so I couldn’t dictate to you whether or not that’s true. But given the high incidence of pro-rape rhetoric in our culture, and also the high incidence of denial of self-pro-rape attitude (including among people who I have known who have committed rape or sexual assault), I would posit that it’s highly unlikely that you somehow managed to avoid that conditioning.
I would say that it’s highly unlikely that we live in a world, both where somebody makes a pro-rape joke and everybody else confesses to being too scared to speak up against it, and where that person confidently and self-assuredly shames anyone who does try to speak up against it, and in a world where all of you (including you) are anti-pro-rape rhetoric. How did the pro-rape joker get so confident, if our culture – and when we’re talking about attitudes forming a culture, we mean the majority of people in a population being either active or complicit in expressing these attitudes over a very long period of time – told him that it wasn’t okay for him to do so?
Here’s the other thing: it’s also highly unlikely that you would have noticed whether or not you support pro-rape attitudes if you’re in a position where it’s not essential to your survival or your comfort that you notice it. Read: People who feel directly hurt and pressured by certain attitudes are much more likely to be cognizant of it when these attitudes are expressed. People who are not affected by others expressing these attitudes are far less likely to notice it.
On a positive note, I do admit that I was entertained by the thought of mobbing pro-rape jokers.
Sadly, when the activity on my profile died down and I zipped back over to my Facebook News Feed to see what else was going on, I found, in between some of my posts of screenshots of the pro-rape joker and his rhetoric, a disparaging status update. I can’t say for certain whether or not it was intended to be directed at me, but given its content and the fact that it appeared around the same time as my posts, I feel quite sure that it was.
This one’s not so simple. I didn’t even read the disparaging remarks as being disparaging at first. I just felt terrible. You see, Jo, from the miniscule understanding that I have, also experienced something terrible many years ago. I believe that it was a long process for her in going through the system to overcome it, and judging by the myriad pregnancy and new baby photos on her Facebook profile of late, she’s moved on in life and is now having happy experiences.
I sent her a long Facebook message immediately upon seeing the status update, explaining how she could set it up so that my posts won’t appear in her News Feed, that I should really be more careful in warning people of the content of my posts, and that it’s important to me that I do what I do but that doesn’t mean that she should be forced to see my stuff. She didn’t reply, and that’s okay.
I kept feeling terrible, and as I went back and reread her status a few more times over the next few days, I saw the disparagement in it. “This is how I use my Facebook, so you should do the same.” “If you’ve been through something, then all of your actions regarding that instance should be to try to help yourself.” “The way that you’re choosing to help yourself is the wrong way.” “You should consult a mental health professional.” That last statement is perhaps the most insidious. It’s relying on the basis that: experiencing something terrible means having disordered mental processes (requiring medical attention); having disordered mental processes is bad; and the way to cope with disordered mental processes is to speak privately with a professional, not to speak publicly or with your friends.
And yet, these implicit messages that I’m sure she intended to send don’t therefore negate what she went through, and how she must feel about that. This doesn’t mean that she’s going about her stuff in the wrong way any bit as much as as it means that I’m going about my stuff in the wrong way. It’d be easy to get pissed off at her for being disparaging toward me, but that sort of a reaction just wouldn’t be helpful in a situation like this. And besides, she really shouldn’t be forced to see my stuff pop up on her without warning, and she mightn’t have known yet that she could block it.
Going back to my profile the day after posting, the next response was so much more supportive. It still didn’t quite sync with my position on it all, but it was much, much closer. I felt really supported after reading it.
(It’s a different Jeremy to before.)
I’m going to leave it there, because that’s a positive note – somebody who just faces up to the fact that maybe, if somebody tells you that they experience something popularly considered to be terrible and taboo every day, then just maybe they’re telling the truth. Maybe they really are seeing this stuff all around them, and feeling pressure from it. Perhaps people aren’t lying just because they tell you about something that they’ve noticed that you’ve never noticed before.
There’s a little more to this story. Some more grimness followed by something that is, quite frankly, inspirational.
The thrilling conclusion tomorrow, on qvaken.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
- Porn Documentary: Inside Deep Throat, Part 1
- Advertising! Part 12: Killing Us Softly 4 and Sexualising Little Girls
- Advertising! Part 11: Killing Us Softly 4 and Silencing, Humiliating And Dominating Women
- Advertising! Part 10: Killing Us Softly 4 and An International Ideal Image Of Beauty
- Disappointment Followed By Inspiration: More Reactions To The R-Word Joker Interrupting My Life