[Trigger warning for rape culture; rape jokes.]

Did I seriously just read Ta-Nehisi Coates defend a rape joke by arguing that "Very few people would (publicly) claim that there are 'good reasons' for rape"...?

Good lord. That's the most depressing thing I've read in a very long time.

Ta-Nehisi, whom I respect very much, could not be more breathtakingly wrong here. There is, I'm afraid, no shortage of people who publicly claim there are "good reasons" for rape, from the trolls who tell me that my having been raped is the only purpose I've served in this world, to pop evo-psychers who claim our genes are the "good reason" for rape, to people who commit and endorse and defend and ignore or abet "corrective rape," in this country and abroad, to an international religious organization who defends their protected rapists by scapegoating homosexuality as the "good reason" for bad actions, to rape apologists whose victim-blaming retroactively argues there was some "good reason" for this rape or that rape, even if they will acquiesce that rape in general is wrong, to rapists themselves who actually say the stuff of Louis CK's joke, especially opportunistic rapists who take advantage of incapacitated victims: I wanted to get laid.

They say it in court, some variation that's more acceptable, like "it was consensual," they say it to the press, they say it to cops, they say it to their friends, and they say it to their victims.

I can't even begin to fathom how many female survivors of sexual assault—who are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know than a stranger, and nine times more likely to be raped in their home, the home of someone they know, or anywhere else than being raped on the street, making what we commonly refer to as "date rape" by far the most prevalent "type" of rape—have known their rapist, have looked into his eyes, pleadingly, for some explanation as to how he could have so profoundly betrayed her trust, only to be told there was a "good reason" for what happened.

The 87 million metric fucktons of victim-blaming rape apologia through which anti-rape advocates wade every day, the infinitesimally small conviction rate, the terribly high survivor rate, every ghastly little nuance of the rape culture...each piece of it is a part of the overwhelming message that there are "good reasons" for rape, which is why we needn't take stopping it very seriously.

Ta-Nehisi, I desperately hope you reconsider whether that joke is really as funny as you think.

[Related Reading: How Rape Jokes Perpetuate the Rape Culture; There is no neutral in the rape culture.]

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus