OPINION: Assault jokes aren’t funny

Gabrielle Korein, Photo Editor

In his first comedy set since admitting to sexual harassment allegations, Louis C.K. decided it was the perfect time to make a joke about sexual assault, highlighting the warped belief system that lies beneath these “harmless jokes.”

Rape is not funny. Diminishing the worst moments of someone’s life down to a bite-size bit for your comedy routine or your locker room joke session is not silly or goofy. You are the problem.

Rape is an epidemic worldwide, but especially in the United States. According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

So, let me ask, what about that is comical? And how many people that make rape and assault jokes have ever personally experienced sexual assault? I assure you if you had, you would not find it so funny.

Rape and assault are all about power and control. The act robs people of power over their choices and control over their bodies. What kind of person do you have to be to find that entertaining?

Rape jokes are not dark humor or witty. And I’m not just “being sensitive” for not laughing at your insensitivity. They are proof of something fundamentally wrong with how our society views rape and assault. To think that this act of dehumanization is at all funny or light-hearted instead of tragic and savage is mind-boggling.

Survivors of assault already face a myriad of challenges after rape has taken place. There is victim blaming, mental and physical health issues, police reports, court, and a very high chance that your assailant will walk free.
Survivors that do decide to report are often re-traumatized by police, healthcare professionals, their family, their friends, their lawyers, and their peers.

Rape is so normalized in our culture today that people have become too comfortable with the idea of assault. Assault shows up casually in TV shows like Bridgerton and The Magicians. It shows up in the lyrics of Top 40 Hits. It shows up in Oscar-winning films. It is depicted in advertisements from major companies like Dolce and Gabbana. Media has found a way to make rape sexy rather than savage.

This normalization of rape and rape culture has led to serious consequences for survivors who face courtrooms of desensitized jurors and judges.

If rape is funny, society does not have to be as harsh in its punishments for rapists. If rape is funny, people do not have to worry about survivors’ mental, emotional, and physical health. If rape is funny, survivors do not need as many government-funded resources. If rape is funny, then it is one less thing to care about.

So, to all those that still make rape jokes in 2023, I would say shut the fuck up.