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Rape isn't funny, & yet I love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler



TRIGGER WARNING: rape, sexual assault
I've skirted the Bill Cosby story every way I can, because ... well... I have a penis.  If you talk about rape as a man you will get attacked by people who feel you don't have a right to talk about it because of your gender.

Last night some people lost their minds about the Bill Cosby joke (go to about the 8:30 mark on the above video) that Amy Poehler and Tiny Fey threw in to their Golden Globes monologue, and after the reaction they got, I just can't shut up anymore.

Firstly, I don't know why we would ever publicise when anyone is accused of anything, ever*.

If you just screamed 'rape apologist', please read on and keep in mind I'm not limiting this position to rape. I'm not sure why it's okay to print that someone accused you of being a cross-dressing prostitute, just because the article includes the word 'allegedly'.

Which brings me to the actual conversation I'm trying to have - How do I feel about Amy Poehler and Tina Fey's Bill Cosby Joke?  Here's the short version:

  • Rape isn't funny
  • Being accused of rape isn't funny
  • Amy and Tina are smart and funny and I love them for what they did

My mother was 19 years old when she was raped.
My father was 15 years old when he was raped.

I grew up in a bad neighbourhood where bad things happened.  Because of this and their experiences, my parents raised me to be aware that rape is a very real, very silent, crime - and that's what makes it so common, the silence.

I  have met many women, and two other men, since then who have told me of their experiences where they suffered some form of sexual assault. I don't need to see statistics to know how often it occurs and how little action it receives.  I already know.

Of the victims I've met, only four had the assault followed up with formal legal action and only because they were minors and their parents were driving the bus on legal action. Of the adults who took action I only ever met one, and it wasn't legal. She knew her assailant, and thanks to several of her male friends, she conducted a mediation session with her attacker -
... in a carpark....
With a baseball bat as the 'mediator'.

I have also met two men falsely accused of rape.

If you are dumb enough to say false accusations don't happen or they are incredibly limited, know that 1) you're a starry-eyed idiot and 2) you're correct that it is limited, *insert fake excitement here* so being the poor bastard who beats the odds and becomes the target of that kind of thing is extra exciting! Like when you win the cancer lotto but with 10 times the stigma!

 I'm not going to go into the sordid details but let's just say that one of those men medically wasn't 'capable' of performing the act, and with the other, the accuser explained the very next day that she'd cheated on her boyfriend and was afraid that he'd kick her out with no place to go because she had just moved to the city from central Queensland.

Short version, the world has mentally ill people in it, we live in a world that punishes women for being openly sexual and having a vagina doesn't equip someone with scruples any more than a penis does. We're all just people.

However you know what the difference is between Bill Cosby and those two men I refferred to earlier?  Their reaction to the accusation.

If someone falsely accused me of rape, I would want to murder that person.

I remember watching one of those men cry when he found out about the accusation, the look on his face as he just sobbed.  It broke him, the idea of it.  He just looked at me with tears running down his face and in utter disbelief he just said to me, "You don't think I could do this do you?  You don't think anyone thinks I could do this do they?"

It cut him most, because he was one of the men I'd met that had been raped. To be accused of the thing that had been done to him... But when that man moved past the tears, the righteous anger that he projected... you could feel it pouring out of him just sitting next to him.

I don't see Bill Cosby crying.
I don't see Bill displaying righteous anger.
I see him cracking jokes that you need to be careful what you drink around him.
Which is why I'm happy to tip my hat to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Rape isn't funny, being accused of rape isn't funny and I don't think Amy or Tina were actually trying to be funny when they made their joke. I think Amy and Tina were reminding people that even though so many women have come forward to say they have been assaulted, we still treat rape as a topic we can't talk about.  It's uncomfortable, awkward, and we'd rather it go away than deal with it.

We'd prefer to bury it in silence.

Well thank you Amy and Tina - I don't feel like being silent anymore.
And if Bill Cosby can crack a joke about his rape accusations, so can everyone else.

*In the 70s, feminists lobbied to have both the accuser and the accused's identity protected in rape cases, or to have neither protected.  Why? Because as rape is predominantly a women's issue, providing protection to female accusers and not the male accused is state furtherance of the core issue that feminism was fighting to stop, an issue referred to as "woman-as-child".  The state rejected the lobby because it's religiously in favour of gender role.

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