Hey, look, the killjoy is here! I’m not talking about myself, mind you, but this anonymous meme factory that cashed in on a tactless rape joke that reeked of bigotry like cigarette stench sticking to a smoker’s shirt. The difference is, most can handle the latter. Rape gags? Induce disgust and puke.
Days ago, the 3,000-likes strong Facebook page RBreezy posted (and now took down) some words of daily (non)wisdom for his, um, less-than-wise followers: “HINDI KA MAGAGAHASA KUNG EENJOYIN MO.” Imagine reading that after a long day of perfectly piecing your dignity together for the public to see because the last thing you’d want others to say is what that meme contained. Your day ruined yet? It gets worse.
Aside from the fact that I don’t know how the heck this piece of information reached my feed—judging the friends on my Facebook list who follow this dude, seriously—I feel defeated. Not only because such jokes are willingly spread by people with such speed, but because many always miss the point when it comes to talking about rape. No matter how many listicles, journalistic stories, and Maalala Mo Kaya episodes top-billed by Jane Oineza that tackle the topic of consent—and the lack of it— doesn’t seem to be highlighted enough for people who don’t get it.
There’s a disturbing thought going around that sex is a matter of dominance; that for it to be enjoyed, somebody needs to submit. But with that comes a skewed notion of consent. BDSM or other rougher sexual acts, for instance, are acceptable because permission is given before they are done. Rape, however, banks on the impossibility that the rapist can convince its victim to feel grateful for being raped, as if it were an act of validation or mercy.
What sickens us most about jokes like RBreezy’s is how rape is suddenly imagined, like it were a state of mind that victims can mold into positive thoughts that encourage them. Rape—and someone please set this in stone—starts with an action and ends with one: the violation of a man or a woman’s right to their bodies and the trespass against their liberty to choose. Haunting memories of being sexually assaulted don’t resonate like sunny memories of childhood; the best moments in one’s life sometimes get blurred, but the worst times are sharpened by hurt and recall.
How do we keep people from laughing? And how can we kill the joke? Policing content is a step forward to a better world (and hopefully, a more peaceful Facebook feed). But there still remains a gap in how we approach rape and most importantly, the nature of sex. This is now not a matter of religion, of whether or not condoms should be distributed in schools. This is an issue of mass education: Just how far can and will people go to enlighten others of a most basic act that could either be enjoyed or feared by many?
The only thing I’m laughing at now is how it’s 2017 and change still hasn’t come here. I’m proud of the people who took the time to report the page because in my opinion, pages like those aren’t even worth the clicks. Now back to regular programming: What other bad joke did we miss?