Free advice: Rape isn't funny. Ever.

It's been a while since I offered an installment of free and valuable unsolicited advice, and I apologize for the delay!  I hope you'll find this tip useful:

Stop laughing at rape jokes. 
from the tumblr Rape Jokes Are Not Funny
I was recently scandalized by a comedian on Comedy Central whose tired premise is shock-appeal dressed as apathy.  The majority of his jokes had to do with either rape or domestic abuse.  He actually enumerated his rape jokes and let us know more were on the way. The crowd was loving it.  I was not.  I felt like, in the random flip of a channel, I learned that all the work women and men have done for the past 50 years to get people to take rape seriously had been laughed under the table. 

I did some googling.  Turns out there's a whole subculture of young, largely-not-that-funny-in-my-opinion comedians vying to out-rape-joke each other in the ratings/pseudo-radical mainstream comedy wars.  Which is about the lamest controversy imaginable, and absolutely disgusting to me at a time when men should be clamouring over themselves to help women protect their rights. But it got me thinking, and I don't know what else to do about this problem. Speech is free and laughs sell, so this guy's not going anywhere.  Not much we can do about that but maybe petition, or boycott the sponsors, but that just draws attention to the problem and increases its impact; I refuse even to give the comedian in question free publicity by saying his name.  

But there is something we can all do.  We can stand up and call it out: rape jokes are not funny.  Silence is not always consent in the bedroom, but it most certainly is in the world of public opinion.  We cannot continue to be silent about this issue in an age when young people are trying to negotiate relationships with each other in a culture that normalizes rape videos, rape jokes, and violence of every kind.  Expecting them to sort through that on their own is negligent and unrealistic.  We must play active, vocal roles in making sure the kids in our lives grow up prepared to deal with this crap and filter it smartly into the garbage.  

So here's my big advice:

Teach your sons and daughters that rape is never, ever, ever, funny. Ever.

Teach them to respect themselves, and each other, by respecting them yourself. 

Teach them to live with dignity, and to value their rights and their bodies.

Teach them to use their brainpower to make a positive difference.

Teach them how words matter, why it what they say and how they say it is never harmless.

Teach them to trust their voices, and use them.

Teach them that silence is NOT consent when it comes to sex, but silence IS consent when it comes to speaking out for what's right.

Teach them that it's better to speak out and stand alone than to stay silent and share the blame.

Teach them to love themselves, and to shine that love out into the word without fear. Teach them to take pride in who they are.  Teach them that the only person's whose judgment really matters to them is their own. 
Teach them to be confident enough in themselves and their talents that they won't one day find themselves on a stage somewhere grasping for approval by attempting to normalize something they know is awful, pretending their actions have no impact on the world.

Teach your sons and daughters that rape is never, ever, ever, funny.

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