My friends have gotten an earful from me about people saying “gay” as in “stupid.”
There’s a whole website dedicated to ending the derogatory use of retard(ed).
People on my campus debate all the time about who can use the N-word and who can’t.
But it’s time we talked about another word/phrase that we need to stop using.
And for those of you who just read that, rolled your eyes, and thought “People need to stop being so sensitive!”
Shut up. Just shut up, sit down, and listen to me.
It’s time we stop joking about sexual abuse, not only joking, but trivializing it.
If you did an awesome job on a test, good job. You did an awesome job on the test. But no, you didn’t “rape it.”
If someone says they were raped, assaulted, abused, molested, used, etc. No matter what their character is, no matter how they present themselves, no matter how they dress, no matter how many hook ups they’ve had, no matter how many times you’ve caught them lying before… You believe them, you support them, and you find them help. You don’t laugh about it to your friends or brush it off.
And seriously, if I hear one more trivialized comparison between a sexual remark and sexual abuse, I will throw my already-broken-laptop out the window.
Don’t understand what I’m talking about? Let me explain…
Some students from my university put together a page where people could anonymously submit crushes and flirty remarks. Some of the comments have said things like “Jane Doe has the best butt on campus” “I’d like to ride John Smith” and “SoAndSo can pop out of a cake for me ;)” Yes, they are sexual. Yes, they are over-the-top. Yes, they are inappropriate. But the responses I’ve seen against this page have boiled my blood.
Obviously, people have spoken out against this page. Calling it “immature” “rude” “offensive” “degrading” “disgusting” “childish” and many… MANY.. other words. Seeing as how most of the posts on the page are silly, humorous, or things like “This guy is such a cutie” “She is so gorgeous” and seeing how even the inappropriate comments are mild… I think it is an overreaction. Out of the 54 posts on that site 12 could be stretched to be considered inappropriate. BUT on to my point…
One dissenter of the page wrote “it is nothing less than a form of sexual abuse.” and that’s when I knew I would write this post.
Sexual abuse is “a crime to knowingly cause another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act by force or threat.” Yes, those remarks can be considered inappropriate. But sexually abusive? Not a chance. Degrading? I wouldn’t even go there either. Degrading is to de-grade someone, to lower them down in rank. These comments, although inappropriate and immature, were intended to give someone a confidence boost, not to humiliate someone. I can’t bring myself to call them degrading. It’s just mindless people. Not abusive. And honestly, half of those posts were probably written by guys and their roommates about each other as jokes.
If you still stand by this idea that the people posting on the site are hypocrites and dirty pigs… and if you still think that what is being said on that site is sexually abusive. Consider this. Have you ever been locked in a room, pinned down, struggling to keep unfriendly hands and other body parts away from exploiting you? I have. I am a survivor of sexual abuse. Survivor. It’s a term applied to victims to honor and empower their strength to heal. And I find it offensive that my assault gets classified in the same category as “That guy, the crazy one on the volleyball team, he can give it to me any day.”
To the person who said “it is nothing less than a form of sexual abuse,” I don’t know you. I don’t even think we’ve ever said hi to each other. But I will say this. That page is MANY things less than a form of sexual abuse. I’m not saying this to attack you or vent my anger. I’m saying this to open people’s eyes.
I understand that the Christian community can be highly sheltered and doesn’t talk about sexual things outside of “I get to have sex because I’m married! It’s awesome!” “Ye perverse sinners. How dare you look at porn or quote Family Guy!” or “This is my testimony… BUT JESUS.” I would be willing to say that Christians are so afraid of how desensitized our culture is to sexuality, that they have over-sensitized themselves. But seriously, let’s get our definitions right. Don’t confuse stupid innuendos with sexual abuse. Doing that trivializes the traumatic experience that someone has gone through.
Sexual abuse can tear apart families, destroy marriages, and ruin lives. I’ve seen it cause problems for my friends and their relationships. I’ve seen it make peers run out of classrooms sobbing from triggered memories. I’ve seen it take over and consume my mind. It is real. And it is serious.
People need to understand the weight their words have. No more talk of how your team “raped” the other team. No more disregarding or worse, laughing at, that girl’s claims that she got molested by her date. And no more labeling things as “sexual abuse” that are merely inappropriate.
Don’t be so quick to give something a weighty label in order to drive home your message. You have no idea who you can hurt by doing that.