My Letter to you: Rape and Jokes- I Am Not Laughing

I was scrolling down my facebook page a moment ago a came across a picture from a guy who is on my friend's list. This person is a club promoter and often posts pictures that are sometimes inappropriate and that is his prerogative. What I am about to say is MY prerogative.
This is the picture that he posted. This is the picture that pissed me off. The more I stare at this picture, the more disturbing it becomes. I didn't post his name because I don't want anybody else trying to tear him to shreds. This is the my letter to you. 


I have a MAJOR problem with this being that I am a SURVIVOR of rape. I was raped by a stranger in a park on the south side of Chicago. I was with my ex-boyfriend and he approached us at gun point. I tried to fight him off but he beat me in my face until I blacked out for a moment . The left side of my jaw was numb for 5 months. I was on 3 different medications for several months along with having to get tested regularly to be certain that I had not contracted any sexually transmitted diseases, HIV or AIDS from him and I am blessed that I did not.  I am even more blessed that I am alive being that he threatened to kill and leave me in that park had I continued to fight him. I could talk about a host of other after effects that came from being raped but I would hate to take up too much of your time. I have a problem that you or anyone else would think the picture you posted is okay. I have a problem with you thinking that rape, molestation or any form of sexual violence can be made a fun of.  Posting a picture such as this one, to me, means that you are pro-Sexual Violence. Furthermore, until you know what it is like for somebody to violate your personal space in the most disrespectful, shameful and frightening way, you may need to think before you post. People can be so careless these days, especially given that society makes light of Sexual Violence. Oh, and just in case you didn't know, April is Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness month. I didn't expect you to know that. Because I am assuming that if you knew that, along with knowing and understanding the seriousness of rape and the after effects of anybody that has experienced it, you would not have posted this ridiculous ass picture. I understand that you like to make jokes. I get that. But this was taking it too far. I really battled between whether or not I should address the photo. I don't want to be confrontational with anybody and frankly I feel like some people just don't get it anyway. I was going to send you a private message (I'd actually started typing the message) but you didn't post the picture privately so why should I have to be discreet?  This has to stop. People like you need to refrain from making comments about rape and expecting everyone to laugh at it. Making light of it is why it happens so much. Making comments in relation to the government "raping" your pockets by raising taxes is not funny to me and I'm sure it's not funny to a lot of other survivors. You didn't make this comment but I have heard so many people say things like this. From the pictures that I have seen on your Instagram, you have a beautiful baby girl. How would you feel if molestation or rape would ever happen to cross her path. Would you still make light of rape? Would you post pictures like the one above?     
Do you think I am I over-reacting? I don't think so. I am offended. I am upset and this is something that people like me need to stop being so afraid to speak up about. We will talk openly about homosexuality, sex before marriage, infidelity and everything else under the sun. Oh, and God forbid someone attacks our spiritual beliefs, we are ready to quote scriptures, lay hands and break out the holy olive oil. 
Anyway......
The problem is that a lot of people don't care about majority of tragedies happening in the world today unless it directly effects them. We make fun of people with disabilities, until it's our child or family member who is suffering. We laugh and make light of depression until we have lost the life of someone close to us because they decided life wasn't worth living anymore. We make light of cancer, diabetes, STD's and HIV/AIDS until it comes knocking at our doorstep. I'm not trying to say we need to hold hands and sing "Kum ba ya". What I am saying is that it would not hurt for us, you- to have a little bit of compassion, empathy and support for one another-whether we know someone or not. It would benefit us personally and the human race collectively if we would learn how to be more kind and if we can't do that, if that's just so impossible- then maybe we should just lock ourselves in our houses and never come out. And if that isn't an option, simply shutting the hell up would also suffice. I hope that something I have said has resonated with you. If not, that is okay. Save this letter. Hopefully, someday it will.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month below I've listed some statistics. I suggest you educate yourself first the next time you think about posting ignorance.

1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).1
17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.1


9 of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003.2

Lifetime rate of rape /attempted rape for women by race:1
  • All women: 17.6%
  • White women: 17.7%
  • Black women: 18.8%
  • Asian Pacific Islander women: 6.8%
  • American Indian/Alaskan women: 34.1%
  • Mixed race women: 24.4%

Men

About 3% of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.1
  • In 2003, 1 in every ten rape victims were male.2
  • 2.78 million men in the U.S. have been victims of sexual assault or rape.1

Children

15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.3
  • 29% are age 12-17.
  • 44% are under age 18.3
  • 80% are under age 30.3
  • 12-34 are the highest risk years.
  • Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
7% of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.4
  • 3% of boys grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.
In 1995, local child protection service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse.5
  • Of these, 75% were girls.
  • Nearly 30% of child victims were between the age of 4 and 7.
93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.6
  • 34.2% of attackers were family members.
  • 58.7% were acquaintances.
  • Only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim.

Effects of Rape

Victims of sexual assault are:7

3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Pregnancies Resulting from Rape

In 2004-2005, 64,080 women were raped.8 According to medical reports, the incidence of pregnancy for one-time unprotected sexual intercourse is 5%. By applying the pregnancy rate to 64,080 women, RAINN estimates that there were 3,204 pregnancies as a result of rape during that period.
This calculation does not account for the following factors which could lower the actual number of pregnancies:
  • Rape, as defined by the NCVS, is forced sexual intercourse. Forced sexual intercourse means vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by offender(s). This category includes incidents where the penetration is from a foreign object such as a bottle. Certain types of rape under this definition cannot cause pregnancy.
  • Some victims of rape may be utilizing birth control methods, such as the pill, which will prevent pregnancy.
  • Some rapists may wear condoms in an effort to avoid DNA detection.
  • Victims of rape may not be able to become pregnant for medical or age-related reasons.
This calculation does not account for the following factors which could raise the actual number of pregnancies:
  • Medical estimates of a 5% pregnancy rate are for one-time, unprotected sexual intercourse. Some victimizations may include multiple incidents of intercourse.
  • Because of methodology, NCVS does not measure the victimization of Americans age 12 or younger. Rapes of these young people could results in pregnancies not accounted for in RAINN's estimates.

References
  1. National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998.
  2. U.S. Department of Justice. 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2003.
  3. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sex Offenses and Offenders. 1997.
  4. 1998 Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls. 1998.
  5. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. 1995 Child Maltreatment Survey. 1995.
  6. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2000 Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement. 2000.
  7. World Health Organization. 2002.
  8. U.S. Department of Justice. 2005 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2005.

You can find more information at Rape Abuse and Incest National Network http://www.rainn.org/, Rape Victim Advocates http://www.rapevictimadvocates.org/ or National Sexual Violence Resource Center http://www.nsvrc.org/

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this with me. I have already shared it on Facebook, Twitter and Google. I thank you for writing it. We have to stop the jokes and the rape culture language and beliefs that are going on in our country.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for the clear and concise explanation on why puns and jokes like this are problematic. Especially using the word 'rape' in situations that do not call for it. Many are often ignorant to the plight of sexual abuse survivors and don't think of anything in regards to their usage of the word. Posts like yours are helpful in educating people to take the issue more seriously.

    The Zalkin Law Firm, P.C.

    ReplyDelete

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