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Wondering if that joke you just shared is a rape joke? Do you get called out for finding rape jokes funny? Here’s some gyaan for you.
Rape jokes – the most vile of sexist jokes. We often see them shared as garden variety jokes on WhatsApp groups, especially if you have all-bro groups. And even funnier if these are husband-wife jokes, right? After all, our sanskaari society can’t see the rape in abusive or even in apparently ‘happy’ marriages.
Ok, read this properly – our laws, that are behind the times, may not recognise marital rape, but making a joke about it is evil. (If you are still not sure how to identify a rape joke, this one is for you).
So, for your convenience, here is a handy list of FAQs about rape jokes. Read, and learn.
How do you know for sure that it’s a rape joke?
It is a rape joke if:
Is it a rape joke if the protagonist in the ‘joke’ is the woman’s husband?
Yes it is.
But how can it be a rape joke if the protagonist is the husband?
Because it is not ok to have sex with another human being against their wishes even if you are married to them (insert eyeroll here).
Men don’t get triggered by jokes, so why can’t women lighten up and be like men?
You’re mistaken. Men do get triggered by jokes such as those about their penis size, inability to stay erect for longer than 10 minutes, ignorance about basic female anatomy such as location of the clitoris, inability to get a woman to orgasm even after years and years, etc.
Boy, do they get triggered even by statistics and facts that state all this!
Why are women so easily triggered by rape jokes specifically?
Women have collective traumas that have been inflicted by patriarchal systems over thousands of years.
A woman doesn’t have to be a victim of rape to be triggered by a rape joke. She can feel the pain of all the women who have been raped and are being raped this very instant even when she is safely in her house reading a rape ‘joke’ on her phone. Have some empathy.
Isn’t it a waste of time to fight over rape jokes when there are other causes to fight for in real life?
Everything matters. Men who forward rape jokes on Facebook and Whatsapp, indulge in locker-room rape jokes, send rapey memes, etc., may not ever become rapists in real life but they are bonding with other men over women as sex objects and joking over her distress.
How does that not evoke the same fury as a man actually raping a woman?
Why not ignore a rape joke if the man saying it is otherwise a good citizen, husband, father, son, etc. and is trusted, respected, and loved by the women in his life?
A man who is otherwise a good human being may not see the problem with rape jokes because of years of patriarchal blinding. As humans, we always have room to become better human beings than we already are. If he is as good a person as you say he is, then he needs to be called out, and he will take it as a learning opportunity and change his ways.
But the rape joke was nuanced. Can’t you see the humour in the nuances?
There can be no nuances to rape or rape jokes. Period.
Give me a break, it’s still just a joke. Why can’t you women get a sense of humour?
No, we won’t. Why don’t you men change your sense of humour instead?
Image source: a still from the Hindi short film Juice
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Karishma has been writing short stories since she was 8 and poetry since she was
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