The consequences of modern rape culture

Rape Day is not a joke


Graphic created by Mikayla Finnerty

Not Funny: Some men explain that Rape Day is only a joke, as women struggle with their sexual trauma. Many social media posts and videos were made by men regarding the validity of Rape Day and how it shouldn’t have been taken seriously. “This holiday should have never had an upbringing,” junior Amanda Comfort said.

“‘National Rape Day” went viral on Tiktok after a few accounts announced what was to come on Apr 24. These users informed others that Rape Day was an entire day set aside for rapists to sexually assault their victims. Who exactly brought this “holiday” to light is still unknown. What this day teaches us, though, is that sexual assault is fueled from disrespect for sexual assault victims and survivors.

Many people explained that this “holiday” was nothing more than a sick joke and not of serious concern. Although this may have been the case, it doesn’t change the fact that rape was being taken light-heartedly. This is nothing new when it comes to modern day rape culture.

“Rape Day seems to reflect the fact that we are not doing enough to protect sexual assault survivors. It shows that sexual assault survivors are still treated as ‘jokes’ and generally distrusted, and that sexual predators are still not brought to justice or held accountable,” senior Kyra Gaile Diaz said.

Watching one’s trauma be twisted into a viral trend can be traumatic because it leaves sexual assault survivors feeling as though their experiences are meaningless in the eyes of men.

“I think [Rape Day] shows that women are often made a mockery of when being vocal about sexual assault and their experiences with harassment. It’s like, oh, you got assaulted? Okay, well, let’s make a day dedicated to assaulting women because men don’t take rape victims seriously in a lot of cases, and I think the creation of this ‘holiday’ really shows that,” senior Maddy MacWatters said.

Sexual assault has a history of being discounted. It’s a painful topic for victims, yet some people still view assault as laughable.

“This is not something that gets talked about in society a lot because it’s something that makes people uncomfortable, so they don’t want to talk about it. Because of that, the human reaction is to laugh,” senior Lauren Shultz said.

Rape is uncomfortable. Molestation is uncomfortable. Pedophilia is uncomfortable. Was it a bit difficult to read those last three sentences without wanting to wince? Think about what it is that made you so uneasy. Is it uncomfortable because you feel empathy for the victims and their pain, or because you don’t want to confront their struggles?

Most likely, people aren’t used to dealing with such serious topics, as they’re thrown on the back burner by most of society. People in power are known to turn a blind eye on assault, as we see throughout Hollywood and even within our own government. On a smaller scale as well, we talk in whispers when it comes to sexual assault within our communities, so we don’t ruin the lives of those involved. More likely than not, though, the offender is the one protected, not the victim.

“The victim is the only one who completely understands the toll their assault story took on them,” Macwatters said.

Victims must be taken seriously. Victims must be heard and understood. This not already being the case is unnerving, but makes space for conversation. Women should no longer have to center their lives around how to protect themselves from potential rapists, molesters and kidnappers.

Never Safe: Women watched their backs on April 24 as sex offenders roam the streets. (Graphic created by Mikayla Finnerty)

“I get off work at 1 a.m. I leave by myself most nights, so it’s getting in my car, carrying my pepper spray to my car, making sure there’s nobody under my car to grab my ankles and then immediately getting in my car to lock the doors and checking the backseats. I have to do all of these things because sexual assault is such a common thing,” Shultz said.

Rape Day has set an example of rape culture; sexual assault is viewed as a joke in our society. Even one person finding rape funny is one person too many. This is no longer a problem we can shove under the rug and never deal with-it needs our attention immediately. Misogyny is no longer something that can be accepted and permitted. We must change the conversation from, “how can we avoid this?” to, “how we can shed light on what sexual assault survivors go through”?