A friend of mine recently approached me; he had a “secret confession” to make. He told me about a time we had hung out together months ago. Apparently he had made a rape joke to a group of our friends, and I had immediately retorted, “Rape is not objectively funny.” We engaged in a 25 minute debate in which I confidently explained why I felt rape was not objectively funny, and concluded that the only way to counter rape jokes, and preserve whatever sensitivities we had left, was to voice your abhorrence for them upon hearing them.
Honestly, I had forgotten about the whole episode. I was so used to being the odd one out in terms of my lack of humor for rape jokes. It’s almost second nature for me to admonish anyone who tells a rape joke. Isaac however, really took what I had said to heart. Apparently, he respected the fact that I had stood up for what I believed in, and my explanation of the potential harm rape jokes pose to our society really resonated with him. After retelling the story, Isaac admitted that since that night, a few months ago, he has never made another rape joke. In fact, he has voiced his concerns about rape jokes to his friends; and together they have become more conscious to not joke about things such as rape, molestation and gendered violence.
This story may not seem like a big deal. I did not spearhead a campaign to raise awareness about rape, nor did I raise funds for an already established organization that fights rape, and apathy towards rape. I did however stay true to my beliefs, and voiced them, and in doing so, made a difference in the lives of my friends. I am an activist.