Should the word ‘rape’ ever be used casually?
Raped. Murdered. Slaughtered.
Suck it. Go fuck yourself. Kill me. Take a stab at it.
Violent language is strewn throughout our everyday language. Is it a problem? You may have seen articles explaining that violent language banalises violent acts and normalises and perpetuates violent culture. But before we go further let me ask you two questions.
Re-read those opening phrases. Did any of them make you feel at all uncomfortable?
Now, how many of them have you ever used without meaning them literally?
Myself included, many of us might find a contradiction in this. We casually use violent language, even though we’re uncomfortable with it. Let’s talk about this with a specific example.
Is it ever okay to use the word ‘rape’ to describe anything other than rape?
On one side of the argument, there’s a host of people who will say yes, whether deliberatelytrying to be controversial or for their genuine belief in freedom of speech.
On the other hand, there's those that point out that such a violent act is serious and using the word so casually normalises a violent crime, belittles the suffering of survivors and thus perpetuates it.
There's also another camp: those who perhaps have used such language and not thought to the consequence, or been made to think it's okay because it has been normalised. Maybe the word has slipped out as a commonplace phrase.
But it's not okay and it's not necessary.
If you have the freedom of speech, you are free to use whatever alternative word other than rape to describe losing a match badly, to describe being untreated fairly or being in a difficult situation.
If you continue to use the word rape casually after thinking it through, it’s not cool. You're just being an idiot.
Sure, claim your free speech. But if you've really thought your language through and you still choose to use the word 'rape' casually, you are doing so knowing that you are trivialising a violent crime. So don't do it. It's not okay.
Got thoughts on this or other violent language? Leave a comment below!