September 30, 2019

A most unfortunate statement was transmitted via the social media platform Twitter recently. A young man, who was filling out a document for a public event, tweeted, “mi a go rape smaddy daughter”.

After being attacked on social media, he then said that it was just a joke. It is not my intention to vilify this individual, but there is a most important lesson that he should learn from this situation, as well as our society. There is no such thing as a rape joke.

There are many women and men who have suffered as a result of someone violating their bodies. Many continue to suffer on a daily basis from the trauma and shame that they endured, and there is nothing funny about what those persons went through. Rape is having sexual intercourse with someone without his or her consent. So serious it is that it is an offence under the Sexual Offences Act, and an individual, if convicted, may get the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

I wonder if the men who joke about rape would do so if they were on the receiving end? Though, by law, a man cannot be raped. But I wonder how a man would feel if someone violated his body in that violent manner. What about his mother, sisters, nieces, aunts, or just close female friends?

Uptown privilege

The tweet did not refer to his girlfriend, as he alleges, and even if that was his intention, that is still wrong! Some persons are of the view that it was blown out of proportion and he was only joking. But I wonder if it is because he had on a shirt and tie, was in an affluent business place and holding a cheque in his hand was what ‘softened’ the blow for some? If it was a ‘ghetto yout’ wid him face bleach out, him pants sagging and a spliff in his mouth, would it be taken as just a joke? And would people, including women, find an excuse for him and give him a boy?! Uptown privilege is very real!

The statement was abominable and insensitive, and a clear message needs to be sent that rape is no joke and, as a society, we will not condone such insensitive, despicable comments or actions. It cannot be a young boy’s error – because he is a grown man! Statements like those only revictimise the victims or survivors of rape. We need to get a grip! Though persons have the freedom to put whatever they want on social media, that freedom comes with responsibility. Think before yuh type and tweet!


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