“Can we stop with the rape jokes already?”

– February 7, 2016.. Article in today’s The Malaysian Insider

– Full text at:…/can-we-stop-with-the-r…

“Why does your hair look like it has been gang raped?” So asked a friend of mine as I stepped into the cool air-conditioned room after a long afternoon walk under the scorching George Town sun, my hair fried to a crispy frizz.

Rape jokes are aplenty in the world, and just like perpetrators of any acts of violence against women (VAW), those who “crack” rape jokes can be anyone – of any gender, age group, religion, class, etc.

In this case, it was one of the sweetest and friendliest person I know. A person who happens to be a woman. It is not that she advocates rape or thinks that rape is a laughing matter, but somehow something got lost along the way that has tricked her (and people in general) into believing that using rape as a punchline is okay, regardless of how strongly they may feel against rape.

I have heard friends, good male friends who are trustworthy and caring, say things such as “I hope she rapes me” of women they find attractive and “Can’t wait for her to grow up so that I can f*** her” of teenage girls. For some reason, this group of men thought they were being funny and paying the women a compliment by saying such things.

They do not realise that joking about hoping women would rape them is not funny nor being predatory towards women is a way to pay them a compliment. Why? Because the world we live in places women at a clear disadvantage and leaves them vulnerable to violence regardless of how they dress, act, behave or what they do.
. . .
It makes one wonder what exactly goes in our heads that tells us it is perfectly normal to say or even think such things. What is it about rape or VAW that we find absolutely impossible to empathise with unless it happens to us or women close to us?

The reality is that one in three women worldwide will face VAW in their lifetime, and here in Malaysia, one woman is raped every 35 minutes.

The threat of VAW is very real, and women face it when they walk on the streets, do their chores, work in their offices, stay at home. In short, the threat of rape is a real possibility for a woman, whereas thinking rape is funny is nothing but social conditioning that must be unlearned.

– Full text at:…/can-we-stop-with-the-r…

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About the editor:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at and @ericbritton

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