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Rape: It’s not funny; or, why I’m never entirely comfortable in Azeroth

September 24, 2010

WARNING: This post is potentially triggering. Read at your own discretion.

So… I wasn’t gonna do a srs post. And then I realised that whenever I think about blogging, I’m STILL thinking of what happened to one of my guildies recently when she was in a PUG.

UPDATE: Lee says to link. Therefore, I link! The Original and The Follow-up.Now, I’m not going to link to it because there was already a lot of drama in the comments and I know it stressed her out some, and I don’t feel like stressing her out more, but the story is… really all too common. (I apologise for the epic ramble, but I got into rant mode and I refuse to change a single word.)

She’s in a PUG, and some guy over vent jokes about raping another guy in the run, and there are laughs and it goes on, eventually hitting “there’s no such thing as rape unless the check bounces”. She’d whispered the guy who put the PUG together, and he mentioned at the end how the tossing about of the word “rape” had made some of the ladies in the group uncomfortable. Then some of the guys start saying how it’s funny, really, it’s a joke! When she gets so pissed that she actually pushes her PTT and lays into them for it, it’s met with “Well, I’ve never been raped, that’s why it’s funny!” Yet another guy is insulted that she says that men are less likely to be raped than women, and also says he doesn’t believe a woman’s body will respond with arousal if she’s not actually turned on, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

And then the comments on her post ranting about it… a well-meaning friend linked to the post from her FB, and a couple dickheads followed the link and got all up in her business in the comments. How people who’ve been raped should just suck it up and move on, because it’s not the end of the world. How people shouldn’t make a big deal about it used in such a situation because it’s not like the guys are gonna go out and ACTUALLY rape anybody.

This is stuff that makes me see red, people. I have been sexually assaulted. Has it ended my life? No, but for a long time, it influenced the kind of clothes I was willing to wear, the kind of places I was willing to go, the kind of men I was willing to be around. I was a scrawny 12-year-old hanging out with a few kids her age and a grade above her at her church. I was a dumb 15-year-old who’d run away for an afternoon, gotten lost, and had the bad sense to hitch a ride back to her neighbourhood, and was too scared to say no when the guy who picked her up started making advances.

My life isn’t over, and most of the time, these memories are no more than a bit uncomfortable to think about. But I’m one of the lucky ones, in that sense. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days. And that doesn’t mean that people tossing around the term “rape” like it’s funny doesn’t both really knock me off kilter, emotionally, and make me REALLY FUCKING ANGRY. Rape is not a joke to me, and given how goddess-damned common it is, it shouldn’t be a joke to anyone else, either. When you fucking joke about rape, in my mind, you are the boys who cornered me in my church and stuck their hands down my skirt, and you are the man who intimidated me into having sex with him when I just wanted to get home. I don’t care if you’ve never sexually assaulted anyone in your life and you never would – making a joke out of it is an implicit approval of such an action.

The rape-jokers aren’t the only people who make me both want to cry and bash heads in, either. It’s the people who use “fag” or “faggot” to mean “stupid”, “idiotic”, “slow”, “unmasculine”, or any other insult. It’s the people who say, in all seriousness, that in their country, they “don’t let fags walk down the fucking street. [They] fucking murder the sick bastards.” It’s the people who say anyone looks/sounds/acts “like a tranny”. It’s the people who assume that because I am a woman, I don’t belong in the game/can’t play as well, who tell me (with the obligatory “lol” tacked on) to “get back in the kitchen” or to not “get [my] panties in a knot”. (“Knickers in a twist” is the exact same thing, for you sexist pedants out there. Don’t fucking talk to me.) It’s the people who laugh at these things, or don’t speak up against these things.

I run into these types of people rarely enough that they haven’t ruined my internet dragons, but goddess knows they’ve ruined internet dragons for countless women, sexual abuse survivors, homosexuals, and trans-people.

This sort of shit is NOT OKAY. I don’t care if you think that it’s “just a word”. I don’t care if you find it funny. It doesn’t matter. Because it is not okay. So many rapes and sexual assaults don’t get reported because from the very beginning, the weight of proof is on the victim. Prove you were raped, even though it’s horribly painful for you and possibly permanently traumatising. Prove you were raped, even though he had the presence of mind to force a douche before letting you go, washing away the proof you needed. Jokes about rape perpetuate this horrific culture where the victim is silently assumed to be faking it until there’s proof that she wasn’t. And even then, if there’s any indication that she liked it, if she was at all physically aroused, if she didn’t shout loud enough or struggle hard enough, then it couldn’t have really been rape. It’s not rape if she liked it. And anyway, she was out drinking, and wearing that tiny little skirt and that revealing top. She was asking for it, right? And guys, well, guys can’t get raped, right? They ALWAYS want sex, it’s just hardwired into them.

Here’s a hint, you fucking turds: It does not matter what her body does, it does not matter what he was wearing, or where she was, or what he was doing, or how much she flirted, or how much he likes sex. Rape is rape. Assault is assault. The victim was never-fucking-ever asking for it.

Rape jokes are not funny. Rape jokes will never be funny as long as we live in a world where 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted at least once in their lives, and where the majority of those people will be assaulted more than once. And once we live in a world where sexual assault is unheard of? Well, by then we’ll be taking it seriously enough that people would be horrified by the very idea of a rape joke.

Rape jokes. Will never. Be funny. Not ever. Not under any circumstances.

If you can’t deal with that, let me know now so I can block you from every fucking interaction I can think of, and let my friends know what kind of person you are.

36 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2010 8:03 pm

    Every player should be required to read this before engaging in interaction with other players. Period.

    • September 24, 2010 8:13 pm

      This or something like it. Just. Holy fucking FUCK.

  2. September 24, 2010 8:06 pm

    Link it. Link the blog post I wrote. I really truly don’t care. I don’t blame “O” for sharing it with people she knew. I blame the people who didn’t bother to read it all the way through, who with their short-sight, and quick-typing, thought it was okay to belittle and demean anyone who’s been assaulted or raped. I didn’t have to do anything for the true colors to be seen.

    Honestly, I invite people to come discuss (like an adult). Here or there. Don’t be afraid to link it.

  3. Dblade permalink
    September 24, 2010 8:13 pm

    Yeah, you have a lot of idiots. With guys on guys, sometime it’s used instead of owned. He raped/owned me. I got raped/owned. Its a very bad case of semantic drift that needs to be corrected.

    It’s kind of like how kicking a guy in the groin on TV is funny, and the same for a woman is horrifying even in a dramatic context. Guys losing power like that is treated as comedy but seriously, no man with anywhere near half a brain would ever suggest that for a woman.

    It sounds like you had some real losers there. Most guys honestly would apologize and clam the hell up if a woman complained. I don’t think it matters though, sounds like you had some horrific experiences in the past, and you’d be right in suspecting any of us based on that.

    • September 24, 2010 8:21 pm

      See, I really have no problem with guys. I am wary of guys, sometimes, but… really, they just make me MAD. And it makes me mad that WOMEN sometimes do this, too.

      The thing is, that clamming up when a woman complains doesn’t fix the problem. All it means is that they’ll (sometimes) try not to make those jokes around the person who complained. It’s more that they don’t want to deal with a “hysterical female” than that they actually feel bad, 95% of the time. I don’t just want guys to shut up, I want them to realise why they should be shutting up, and to not start again when there’s no more girls around.

  4. September 24, 2010 9:27 pm

    First things first. I’m sorry to hear about your guildie’s bad experience, and very sorry to hear that you’ve had bad experiences with assholes, Apple. /hug

    I think it’s important to differentiate between using rape/raped in a sexual attack manner (which is never, EVER okay, acceptable, or funny) and using it as another word for “owned” like Dblade said, in which case it’s more …a bad choice of words.

    Those idiots in your guildie’s pug? They’re stupid. It’s akin, in my opinion, to using gay/fag/etc in a derogatory sense, or being racist. I think any REASONABLE person would agree 100% in this regard. Someone using rape in this context clearly is implying the act or desire to sexually attack someone.

    However, when someone says rape but clearly isn’t referring to any sort of sexual act, I think getting really upset about the use of the word is almost…diluting legitimate concern for when rape is actually being used in a sexual context.

    For example, if I say “Man, the auction house fees on these epic gems are raping me,” I am CLEARLY not implying that the auction house is actually sexually abusing me, but rather that I am suffering/miserable/unhappy, etc. Is it a poor choice of words? Of course. But there’s a big difference between advocating sexual abuse and making poor vocabulary choices.

    I personally think it’s more important to recognize the intent behind a statement rather than the inclusion of a single word. I mean, what is more offensive? The previous statement about being raped by auction house fees? Or saying that I’m going to sneak up & sodomize my upcoming arena opponents? Only one of those sentences includes the word rape, but it’s the other sentence that is actually about sexually attacking someone. And yet so many alarm bells go off at the sight of the word rape, I’m sure some people would get upset about the first sentence and not even blink an eye at the second.

    I find this very distressing. Rape is a legitimate issue, but it seems that discussions about rape seem to be more and more focused on the literal presence of the word rather than the actual meaning. Look at the story about infamous guild “Sapped Girls Can’t Say No” that was floating around. Many people were upset about it, yeah. But if it were named “Sapped Girls Are Easier to Rape” – which has the exact same meaning – suddenly many more people would be up in arms and angry about it. Why? Because it now include the R word.

    Basically what I am saying is this: if talking about rape isn’t culturally offensive until you actually use the word rape…something is very wrong. /sad

    • Zem permalink
      September 24, 2010 9:53 pm

      ‘However, when someone says rape but clearly isn’t referring to any sort of sexual act, I think getting really upset about the use of the word is almost…diluting legitimate concern for when rape is actually being used in a sexual context.’

      No. Rape is rape. Comparing other things to rape is trivializing it and making it out to not be the massive and beyond fucked up thing that it is. Just stop.

    • September 24, 2010 10:02 pm

      Ugh. I had a comment, but WP ated it.

      I am not saying that it’s only a big deal if the “R” word is used. I honestly only focused on it because it’s the one I’ve seen and the one I’ve had issues with.

      In regards to the “bad vocabulary choice”… I get what you’re saying. But look at things from my perspective:

      Statistically speaking, I know at least one male who has sexually assaulted someone. This doesn’t mean I do, obviously, it just means that it is more statistically likely for me to know at least one than for me to not know any. I trust my friends. I trust my guy friends. I’m a very very trusting person, on the whole. But I get to thinking about that statistic, and I wonder… did I just luck out? Did I luck out and I actually don’t know any guys who’ve ever sexually assaulted someone? Or maybe one, two, ALL of my male friends, whom I trust, have sexually assaulted someone at some point. Well, someone uses “rape” and the idea of it to mean… a minor frustration. AH prices being horrible. Another person uses it to describe the sound of bad music – raping their ears. Just bad vocabulary choices, but it minimizes the impact and the seriousness and the travesty that is sexual assault, and those guys who’ve sexually assaulted before start thinking even more “hey, it’s no big deal”. These men who could theoretically be my friends, who are bigger than me, stronger than me, and more than capable of physically overcoming me, start thinking that sexual assault is no biggie. It’s annoying for the victim, sure, but it’ll be fine.

      And then maybe they do it again.

      Maybe it’s me.

      That is when I get scared. Not walking down the dark alley, not getting drunk with a bunch of guys. When I think about the fact that men that I know might already be rapists, and that the casual use of the word by people making bad vocabulary choices might dull whatever sense of morality they had regarding it, and that maybe, when they decide to just take what they want, it’ll be from me. “It’s just rape, she’ll be fine in the morning.” “It’s just rape – it’s no worse than going on a boring date.” “It’s just rape – it’s not like I’m KILLING her or anything. And she’s gotta be enjoying it, look at how her body’s responding!” “It’s not rape, it’s not like I stuck my penis in her vagina! I just made her blow me, that’s no big deal!”

      Bad vocab choices may not be ADVOCATING sexual assault, but they’re sure not going to be discouraging sexual assault from happening, and they encourage the treatment of sexual assault as something not to be taken too seriously.

      …all that said, I agree with you – if it’s not offensive until someone says the word “rape”, then people are DOING IT WRONG. It’s just that, for the most part, that’s the only word that’s used.

      • September 25, 2010 1:19 pm

        Hey Apple, this is the reply that got eaten by WP yesterday.

        Re: casual use of the word rape, very good points Apple & Zem, I was struggling with how to properly word what I meant but Apple when you said “it minimizes the impact and the seriousness and the travesty that is sexual assault, and those guys who’ve sexually assaulted before start thinking even more “hey, it’s no big deal” – you’re completely right.

        I think my original comment got a bit sidetracked – when I spoke of people using the word casually and how it wasn’t as significant as someone using it intentionally with malice, I didn’t mean to imply that using it casually was acceptable…just that it was “less bad” I guess. For example, all the response likely required might be “Hey you should probably use another word, a lot of people find that offensive”, where as people like those pug idiots clearly find the idea of rape humorous and a simple request would do no good, since the issue with them runs much deeper.

        • September 25, 2010 4:04 pm

          It’s a mindset difference. THAT is a valid point – it’s significantly less bad when you can point out “hey, that’s probably not the best word to use, y’know?” and the person’s response would be “oh, shit, I’m sorry, I wasn’t even thinking about that!”, because they’re willing to step back and see that it’s really not a good word to toss around lightly, and they’ll likely come away with a more conscientious view of their vocabulary.

          Whereas the jerks who say “it’s not rape unless the check bounces” and laugh in the face of someone who has already expressed discomfort… are much more of a problem.

    • Erinys permalink
      September 25, 2010 12:26 am

      I have mixed feelings about the word itself. I’ve been raped but I came out of that experience more with a phobia of knives than anything else. I still hate strangers touching me, even shaking hands is too much contact and I’m not always comfortable with friends/family getting close either but I can’t blame the word. The word didn’t hurt me, a person did and I can’t spend my life panicking every time I hear someone use it, whether it’s appropriate usage or not. Actually I hate being called a “survivor” more. My life was never in any real danger, killing me wouldn’t have been half as much fun. Coping mechanisms are weird right?

      However I can understand why other people hate hearing or seeing that particular word. For me, my bad flashbacks come sometimes when I’m going to grab a knife to cut up vegetables or when I catch the smell of vanilla, especially if it’s a candle. I’ve run out of more than one restaurant in tears, restaurants shouldn’t be burning scented candles anyway. Then I panic and start going through all the different stages all over all. Fear, then anger, then self hatred and then back to fear again.

      I’m not convinced that using the word rape to describe killing a boss will make someone a rapist but then quite probably everyone is capable of it, it’s just that the lucky people never get in a situation where the circumstances collide leading to rape. That said, I know it’s far more common that the appalling statistics in virtually every country show.

      In terms of the post you linked, personally I think the biggest jerks are the ones that having read the original post, comment with such horrible stuff. Sure the guys saying things in the PuG were insensitive and ignorant, but some of the people commenting were being plain nasty. I think ignorance is the biggest issue here and I know I’m pathetic in the sense that unless I know someone else in a group hates the use of the word, I tend not to say anything because I don’t want to show vulnerability even online. It’s part of my safety mechanism. I’ve played with the same people for almost four years now. They know my name, where I live, what I look like and given my experiences I don’t want them to know what scares me. I don’t want them to know what bothers me because I showed vulnerability once and it didn’t go too well. I don’t want to give anyone that power over me again.

      I also think that the very nature of WoW (i.e. a competitive game) gives rise to the use of aggressive language. We’re basically pretending to play war, albeit with pretty dresses and dragons. (I’m not saying that makes it excusable). How do you stop people reverting to their baser instincts and generally opening their mouth without thinking? I grew up on military bases and it’s always seemed to me that environments which men perceive to be mostly male, always seem to have higher instances of people either using negative language towards women or taking things like rape as a joke. Whether it’s because they think it’ll make them look more of a man to their mates or w/e I’ve no idea. Posts like this should help (although based on some of the comments topics like this tend to attract… some people are quite possibly beyond help). Education at school level would definitely help as well, especially as cases of sexual abuse seem to be occurring earlier and earlier. Reading about kids of seven or eight abusing other children is heartbreaking. Maybe hearing what other people have been through, so that they realise just how serious rape is. Understanding that it’s not about sex, but that’s all about power and that being completely in someone else’s power is the most frightening thing in the whole goddamn world. That knowledge burning in your head that you can’t make them stop, that you’re vulnerable and weak, that’s the part you never forget, the part you never quite escape from. That you’ll always look at the world differently from that day onward.

      Anyway this is the first time ever I’ve written down my thoughts on rape, so regardless of whether the community manages to stop anyone being a jerk, thank you. Although this is possibly my fifth or sixth draft (I kept deleting the previous attempts), it’s been a remarkable cathartic experience even though it made me cry.

      • September 25, 2010 3:55 pm

        Thank you so much for your comment. Honestly, I… really don’t have much to say, but thank you so much. /hug

    • September 25, 2010 5:03 pm

      I’m not sure if I completely follow you, Rades: you’re saying a person getting upset by a player’s use of the word “rape” in PVP is doing more to trivialize the horror of sexual assault than the person who uses the word? I could not disagree more.

      There are two very good reasons why we shouldn’t use “rape” in that context. The first and foremost is not that it’s “offensive” but that it is potentially triggering. Triggering means that the use of the word can evoke emotional, psychological, and even physical reactions, causing a survivor of sexual assault to relive the trauma. Not all victims have PTSD but a lot of them are triggered by certain things — sometimes it’s benign like a certain aftershave, sometimes it’s more direct, like hearing a guy bragging about raping a paladin in AV. My objections to the word aren’t because they offend my delicate sensibilities: I think it’s safe to say that most WoW players have been on the internet and have read some pretty abhorrent things. We can tune out a lot of it. But “rape” is a word that can evoke emotions like fear and anger, and that’s much, much worse than the rest of the crap we find online.

      The second reason is that using the word rape in such a manner contributes to our rape culture. Our society reinforces the idea that sexual violence against women is normal. This is evident from the amount of victim blaming that goes on (she shouldn’t have been drinking, she was dressed a certain way, she’s had tons of partners already, we fooled around first and she just didn’t want to admit she wanted to go all the way, etc.), and from the fact that we spend all our time telling women how to avoid being raped (don’t go out alone at night, don’t take a drink from a guy, go to a party with a friend and leave with the friend, etc.) instead of talking to men and telling them not to rape. We should be having seminars where we talk to men and women and tell them about enthusiastic consent, but instead we just teach women to be afraid and let the men do what they want. The use of the word rape so casually plays into this culture: it’s okay to joke about something that affects as many as 1 in 4 women.

      I do believe people can joke about taboo subjects. However, I believe that those jokes need to be done with awareness, in safe spaces, and handled in such a way that it’s clear you’re being satirical in your commentary. That is absolutely not the case with the word “rape” in gaming culture. And every time this gets brought up, someone trots out the dictionary definition and points out that it also means plunder, but that’s just bullshit. Words have meanings, and the primary meaning for “rape” is to have sex with someone against their will. The people who object to this term know damn well that the speaker doesn’t mean rape in that sense, but intent isn’t magical. You can still be saying things that are offensive and insulting without intending to do it.

      Basically, it comes down to this: you (general you, not just you, Rades) have the right to choose what you want to say. But if you choose to use the word “rape” in that fashion, you’re choosing a path that is potentially triggering and emotionally damaging to your listeners. You can say whatever you want to say, but deliberately saying words that you know have a good chance of being bothersome to people — possibly to the point where the hear has a panic attack or cries or gets angry — well, that makes you kind of a dick. End of story.

      • September 25, 2010 8:53 pm

        Hey Meta, I wish I could edit my original comment as it definitely came across wrong. I posted a response to Apple’s comment above, but basically: I didn’t mean to imply that using the word casually (AH example) was OKAY, but rather that such an incident may not require anger or outrage – a simple whisper may be enough to make them realize their error. Whereas with people talking about literally raping someone, there is clearly a deeper issue, and IMO those are the times people need to publicly speak up and denounce their behavior & protest.

    • September 25, 2010 5:12 pm

      “Only one of those sentences includes the word rape, but it’s the other sentence that is actually about sexually attacking someone. And yet so many alarm bells go off at the sight of the word rape, I’m sure some people would get upset about the first sentence and not even blink an eye at the second.”

      You tweeted this last night and I replied that both bothered me. “Sodomize” has a negative connotation since it’s associated with immoral behavior. “Anal sex” doesn’t have ethical connotations to it, but “sodomy” is derived from Sodom and Gomorrah, where the cities were destroyed by G-d for their wickedness. (It is interesting to note that the crime of S&G wasn’t gay sex: the townspeople just wanted Lot to bring out his two guests (who were angels) so they could rape them. It’s dumb to read that story as a condemnation of gay sex when the entire town was all “Bring out those dudes so we can fuck ‘em all night!” Lot, however, offered his virgin daughters to the angry mob instead so GOOD FOR HIM.)

      Sorry, got sidetracked.

  5. Feng permalink
    September 24, 2010 9:48 pm

    Do you have a citation for the 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted statistic you quote above? The studies that I’ve seen that reach numbers that high use very broad definitions of sexual assault. While they may be accurate for what they intend, they don’t necessarily accurately describe the prevalence of the assault that you endured.

    • September 24, 2010 10:10 pm

      I got my statistics from the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. And no, they do not describe the prevalence of the kinds of assaults (plural, more than one, two different sorts) I endured. They describe the prevalence of sexual assault. Period. Full stop. Any kind of sexual assault. It doesn’t matter if the assault was tied down, kicking and screaming rape or entirely verbal/textual harrassment – it’s assault of the body, assault of the mind, it is unwanted sexual activity, and it is all wrong, and it is all despicable.

      This post is not about my assaults, though those do colour the way I view this subject. This is about the use of sexual assault in a casual, joking way, minimizing the impact and the importance of the actual thing, which will do nothing but increase the prevalence of assaults and the suffering of victims.

    • September 25, 2010 10:19 am

      For some actual numbers regarding rape versus sexual assault see:
      http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap-crime-rapes

      From the FBI.gov site regarding reported cases of rape in the United States.
      http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/violent_crime/forcible_rape.html

      • September 25, 2010 4:48 pm

        The number of rapes that are reported are a very small sample of the problem. Most of the rape victims I’ve worked with did not report them to authorities. There’s also the problem with victims not recognizing that what happened to them was rape: our society tells women that if they drink too much, it’s not rape. If they don’t fight back, it’s not rape. If they experienced an orgasm, it’s not rape. If the guy didn’t hold a gun to your head, it’s not rape. If he just forced you to go down on him, it’s not rape. So you have a small subset of women who actually report the crime, and a large group who don’t identify it as rape (though it is) and a large group that don’t report it because they’re afraid or they believe it won’t make a difference.

  6. September 24, 2010 10:38 pm

    Oh dear, so many points here, I don’t know where to begin!

    I don’t correct people who use the word “rape” inappropriately. I get a lot of criticism about it from fellow bloggers, but my reasoning is this:

    – If I forbid people from saying certain words, they’ll just see it as a rule, not a change of mentality. They’ll probably stop saying it around me, but they’ll keep saying it when I’m not around.
    – Call crude/immature/insensitive people out and they’ll get very defensive. Joking about rape after someone gets upset is usually due to discomfort at being called out, not because they actually find rape funny. Yes, it’s still WRONG, but again: not conducive to a mentality change. (Note that joking about rape in general is usually due to being uncomfortable when talking about sexuality.)

    There’s also that most of the time, as Rades mentioned, “rape” doesn’t mean “sexual assault” in certain contexts. I wouldn’t use the word myself and I support anyone who feels sickened by the word, but to me, “the auction house is raping me” has nothing to do with sexual assault.

    In PvP, “raping the other team” does imply a power play, but that’s what PvP is: a power play. PvP is violent, but human beings are naturally pretty disgusting creatures and I’d rather someone take out their aggression on video game characters than on real people.

    How I deal with sexual violence in WoW is this:

    – With strangers, it’s never worth a fight. If something shocks me, I’ll say “wow”. Usually shuts people up without aggravating the situation. If something is really nasty, screenshot and report.
    – With guildies, if something shocks me, I’ll use the “wow” or “that’s not very nice” trick, but mostly I just take opportunities to educate as they come. I’m very comfortable talking about sexuality (I don’t talk about MY sexuality, but being a pharmacist, talking about sex is part of my job) so when topics come up, I’ll let the conversation take a serious turn. When they have questions about “women stuff”, I answer them as honestly as possible. When they complain they don’t understand why a woman gets offended about something, I explain it to them. Surprisingly, it seems to work. Since a lot of inappropriate joking is due to being uncomfortable with sex, taking discomfort out of the equation makes a huge difference. And since I let them bring up the topics instead of acting like their mother, I don’t get any resistance.

    As a side note, I noticed a comment where you observed women making rape jokes. I’ve seen that quite a bit too and it does sadden me since I get the impression that they do it to impress the guys. Also, when I was working at a women’s shelter, I did a lot of extra reading on domestic violence and I was shocked to realize that a lot of females don’t even know was constitutes sexual assault.

    I think *both* genders are in need of some decent sexual education.

    • September 25, 2010 3:53 pm

      Thank you SO much for your comment, I can tell you put some thought into it. :)

      I was rather glad WP started acting up last night, because I was in a bit of a “heat of the moment” mood, and was liable to completely bypass all the good points and interesting insights in your comment because of this: I don’t agree in not saying anything.

      Now, granted, I’m never going to say “Don’t say rape. >:|”, because that’s just asking for it, and I’m not anyone’s mum or boss. But I do believe that we should speak out – just say “Hey, y’know, rape is actually still a really big issue in the world right now, maybe we shouldn’t be treating it like a joke”. Now, granted, I can understand where you’re coming from, not bringing it up with strangers, and I think it’s AWESOME what you’re doing with your guildies. I just feel sometimes like… “wow” isn’t enough. A lot of times it’s enough to convey that they just crossed a big line, and shame them into stopping, and sometimes even re-thinking their use of whatever word or words or content that prompted the comment. But sometimes it’s not. And I feel like saying “wow” isn’t quite enough to convey that “hey, this… is really uncool. It’s more than crossing an arbitrary ‘bad taste’ line, it’s actually harmful in the long run, by contributing to the trivialisation of rape and sexual assault.”

      But in the end, I think as long as we’re doing SOMETHING (which you are), then that’s a step in the right direction. Good on you, and thanks again for commenting. :)

      Edited for premature “submit” button clicking. ¬_¬

      • September 25, 2010 4:32 pm

        It depends a lot on context… As much as I love my guildies, if I interrupted them every time someone said “rape”, I’d make myself miserable and burn out very quickly. Believe me, I’ve seen others try.

        They don’t understand the WHY. It happens very often that someone will say something in our guild chat along the lines of “remember back when we weren’t allowed to say rape?”

        They’re not bad people, they’re immature kids. From experience, I know that trying to explain the WHY to them in the heat of the moment is a useless waste of energy and will only result in them saying it more and in me being pissed off. The WHY doesn’t sink in overnight, it takes a long time. I prefer to wait for the right moments to talk about serious stuff and the middle of a pvp fight, or a story, or a raid just isn’t the right moment.

        • September 25, 2010 8:49 pm

          “As much as I love my guildies, if I interrupted them every time someone said “rape”, I’d make myself miserable and burn out very quickly.”

          This is exactly what I was trying to convey, though Ophelie managed it much more smoothly than me. It’s not OK, but it’s going to happen, and I think one can’t possibly protest and call people out every single time the word is uttered because they will go insane. There is of course benefit to spending your energy to correct ignorance, but I think that energy is better spent on people who *actually* joke about rape and talk about it as if it’s not an issue.

        • September 25, 2010 8:53 pm

          Ah! This is much clearer to me now. :D Yeah, I totally agree that saying something EVERY SINGLE TIME would pretty much drain me of the will and energy to do… anything else.

          That’s not a way to live.

      • September 25, 2010 5:50 pm

        I should probably also add that “wow” might be a guild cultural thing for us. I’ve noticed some of our guys (those who don’t usually get involved in that sort of thing) started using it among each other when someone crosses the line. I think the fact that it doesn’t seem like much is actually what gives it strength.

  7. September 25, 2010 1:17 pm

    I tried to make this comment yesterday and WP was being uncooperative, so here goes:

    First, thanks Apple.

    Second, I don’t think it’s fair to differentiate uses of the word that “aren’t sexual” in nature. While there are lots of kinds of sexual assault that *are* sexual in nature, rape isn’t. Rape is generally about power, not sex. And auction house prices are about power (monetary) and pvp is about power (over your opponent). So I don’t think those things are as actually unrelated as they seem.

  8. September 25, 2010 3:20 pm

    First things first, you rock, Apple, for writing this, though it blows that you HAD to, if you take my meaning, and I am truly sorry to hear of this. All of it, really. It’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to head outside and be unreasonable, punch people, that sort of stuff; hurt people ’cause someone else got hurt. Look at me, I’m masculine, hurray.

    My original intention was to not get too tangled in the debate of the use of the word specifically; I’m stupid, insensitive and analytical to the point where I’d consider it from a perspective of language change, probably. I just want to pipe in that I agree with much of the stuff here. Great post, and many great comments.

    I see Rades’ point, and while I personally frown privately whenever “rape”, “gay”, “cunt” etc. are used casually (and they often are when I play competitive games with friends), I don’t think trying to tell people off for it will lead anywhere; even if there isn’t a difference in percieved insensitivity/stupidity, there can be a difference in intent.
    Far be it from me to try to defend people who joke around with it, though. “Forgive them, they know not what they do” etc, I guess, is my point. Except those who do. Don’t give those.

    Language change in progress? Perhaps.
    Reprehensible, defeatist attitude from me? Hopefully not, but general apologies if percieved thus.
    Wondering what’s wrong with good’ol “fuck!” utilized as every second word in a sentence? Perpetually.

    Bleh, see, I’ve already talked m’self about two clicks north-west of the entire topic, haven’t I? I’m sorry, coherency never was my strong trait. I’m gonna press “submit comment” anyways, ’cause editing is for cowards.

    In conclusion, my masculinity-lobe told me to let you know he would like to hug you – but that it is not meant as a demeaning gender-protective gesture, nor intended to cause offense, instead rather as thanks for writing this and to reinforce the opening words; you rock.

    Forgive him, he’s a bit verbose. And me, for I am horrible at these things (comments).

    • September 25, 2010 4:10 pm

      Your masculinity-lobe has not come across as demeaning nor condescending nor offensive. :) And he can have an e-hug if he likes, I’m very fond of them. <3

      I appreciate your comment, incoherent and rambling though it may be. I'd like to see a language change, but I think the problem is that a language change without an actual change-for-the-better in regards to the actual PROBLEM (like, to be perfectly honest, "fag" and "gay" – most people I know who use those words don't even associate the insult with actual homosexuality, and gay people are becoming more and more accepted in many progressive societies (and even the US!), and the problem is getting better. Whereas the problems with rape and other sexual assault are not, and are not being dealt with nearly as much as they should be, in my opinion.

      Bah, whatever. I’m none too coherent when I’m just home from work. XD I thank you for your “RAWR MAMA LION” response (which is how I characterise the “hurt people ’cause someone else got hurt” reaction – hopefully it’s not emasculating or anything to be compared to a mama lion. ;) Those kitties are FIERCE.), and… well, yeah.

  9. September 25, 2010 5:59 pm

    There’s no way that I could offer a comment as eloquent and as compelling as those given by your other incredible readers. So I’ll just say that this was a very well-written, thought-provoking, and touching post, Apple. I wish that I could do something to change the horrible things that have happened in your life, but since I can’t, just know that if you ever need someone to vent to, or a virtual shoulder to lean on, I’m here.

    It’s an honor to be able to call you my friend. :)

    • September 25, 2010 6:10 pm

      /hug

      You rock, my dear. I’m honestly shocked that people seem to think this was well-written, considering I just sort of word-vomited on the page.

  10. September 27, 2010 6:30 am

    This was a rough read. Thanks for posting it – the strength of your statements felt really good to read, and there are quite a few people from my old guild that I would like to rub this in their insensitive misogynistic faces. *ehugs* for you, and I hope that the more posts like these we have, the less we will need.

    • September 27, 2010 5:30 pm

      Yeah, I figured it’d be a little rough, if only because I didn’t pull any punches when it came to my own story and my own fears. *ehugs* for you, too! Thanks for stopping by. :) I’m generally much more… uh, airheaded when it comes to posts. “OMG I GOTS PRETTY BOOTS” and so forth.

  11. September 27, 2010 5:22 pm

    Apple, my comments could so easily turn into a whole rant so I’ll just say this: One thing I’m working very hard to get used to in life is that there will be some people who aggravate the crap out of me, yet I’ll pray they are never forced to change. Those would be the people who only seem to learn the hard way. I can’t wish on them the very things it would take to change their view. Keep speaking up, though… you never know when someone who doesn’t have to learn that way is listening. :)

    • September 27, 2010 5:29 pm

      Gods, yes, I would never wish it on ANYONE. I just with there weren’t those people who refuse to learn until it’s themselves, or their girlfriend or their sister or their mother. :/

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  1. Rape: It’s not funny; or, why I’m never entirely comfortable in Azeroth | Empowered Fire

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