Post by Auntie Vice
December 2 is End Violence Against Women Day here in the United States. Not funny, I know, but directly related to comedy.
Rape jokes are popular. I have addressed that before. Here is a bit more personal post.
I was raped two years ago. I thought I was in a safe space, a private home for a family member’s birthday party. It was a blow-out event: drinking, strippers, etc. Someone handed me a drink. I remember getting way drunker than I should have off of a single drink. Then most of the rest of the night is a blank. I do remember getting into a pool at some point. And at some point being conscious enough to know that multiple people were having sex with me.
The next day, I was too incapacitated to get out of bed. I got up only twice to drink water as I was incredibly dehydrated. At some point, I remember a man coming into the guest bedroom, pushing my legs apart, and saying “look at that pussy, so good.”
Three days later my body was still in full shut down. I hadn’t been able to pee and had gained 15 pounds from retained water. When I got to the doctor, I was positive for GBH (current version of a roofie). At that point, it was too late to start HIV prevention treatments. I was tested for other STDs and had to wait three months to get an HIV test to see if I had been exposed. It took two weeks for my body to start functioning normally after being drugged.
I had a few conversations with people after this happened. The general consensus is that I am a target for sexual assault. I tell dirty jokes, talk about liking sex and work in porn. I agree with this assessment. People, especially men, believe that I won’t mind being assaulted because I am sex positive. There are also men who feel that if I tell sex jokes, they have a right to my body. I get messages from “fans” that begin “I need to fuck you,” and “So, when are your going to blow me?”
Most rape jokes normalize this behavior. They make rape seem less horrible than it really is. They make it acceptable. They are a way for people to cope with the overwhelming influence of rape culture in America.
In a lot of ways, I am lucky. I don’t remember much of what happened. It wasn’t violent. I was not permanently physically harmed from the assault. I never believed “it wouldn’t happen to me.” I know the stats and I knew that it was always a distinct possibility.
As a survivor, when I hear most rape jokes, I know you are laughing at my experience and minimizing what happened to me. You are making it continually acceptable for men to think they own the rights to my body because I admit I like sex.
I refuse to be less sex positive. I still love a good night in the sheets – as long as it is fully consensual. I love blow jobs. Probably always will. But I do not owe you access to my body.
Next time you are crafting a rape joke, please ask yourself, “Am I fighting or contributing to the normalization of rape?” Chances are, there are more than a few of us in your audience who you will be laughing at and saying, “It wasn’t so bad. It is actually funny. Don’t you get the joke?”
I am not the only comic who has been sexually assaulted. If you are looking for a list of resources for help in CA, please check out calcasa.org. They have a full list of resources for men, women and trans folks who have experienced rape.