April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and, to kick things off, I’d like to take issue with the growing prevalence of the word “rape” as a slang synonym for “dominated”, “rocked’, or “killed”. Both I and a friend have recently had Facebook “friends” (which of course could be anyone from a mere acquaintance to a spouse) claim to have “raped” a final in their status:
her: is hoping that she raped that final!!! PARRRRTTTAYYYY time!!!
him: Fuckin raped 2 finals and now one more to go
I know the author of the second well enough to comment on it. Facebook now allows a user to “like” or give a thumbs up to something someone else has posted. The following thread ensued:
me: “Fuckin raped 2 finals” …I wonder if one can “unlike” a comment.
him: haha possibly… all you gotta do is type that you dont like it.
me: consider it done
He later changed his status to
him: fuckin destroyed all three finals and now time to turn off the brain!
which I considered a win. I “liked” that status.
But now I wish I’d gone farther. I wish I’d made it more clear that I was offended by the status, and that I was offended by “raped 2 finals” rather than “fuckin”. Swearing on your Facebook page is stupid, but inoffensive to me (I know for a fact that all his managers are on Facebook—I’m friends with most of them). Using “rape” as a description of power and of power over an inanimate object is flat out offensive. When I sent my messages, I felt like the Bad Feminist FriendTM: the one who is offended by little things that “normal” people aren’t offended by and don’t even notice; the one who never finds jokes funny and is just a pain to ever be around. But I simply couldn’t let it slide.
I know that others disagree, but I would much rather replace “rape” with “kill” in the above. I have killed finals in the past (I have had finals kill me, too); I have dominated, I have destroyed, but I have never raped a final. Or anything else (besides the earth, with my car…). This is not a term to be used lightly. This is not a word to be normalized.