August 2012 Molly second place: Erista (aka Eris)

[An asshole makes a joke about raping the Skepchicks. Erista takes on his defenders.]

Erista (aka Eris) — 23 July 2012 at 12:40 am

No, you know what, I have one thing to say before I go to bed.

I was abused by my father, sexually. I do not have a memory of a time before the abuse because it started when I was incredibly young.

I am fucking tired of being told that I’m not allowed to get upset, REALLY upset, about someone joking about that kind of shit. This is fucking serious: A man just made a joke about raping a woman who he’s never met, who never did him any harm, who he doesn’t know at all, and he did this without considering how the fuck it might impact her or people like her. Or if he did consider it, he came to an appalling conclusion.

But no, the people who are truly bad are the people who are upset. We’re not being fair (as if Pappa WAS)! We’re too upset (about having our experiences minimized and used as degrading humor). It was just a JOKE (because jokes don’t carry power)! Why aren’t we being NICER (to/about someone we’ve never met who is more than comfortable saying terrible things about people he’s never met)? It wasn’t that big of a deal (because they get to tell us how upset to be when a joke is made about raping women)!

FUCK that. I’ve had to bear more than enough of that in my life. I am so completely and utterly tired of the fact that it’s so often the person who is on the receiving end of bad behavior is scrutinized. At no point did Amy or any other women gave a say in whether or not she was up to having people joke about raping her, but somehow the important person is the one who had 100% control over whether or not Amy HAD to deal with someone joking about raping her.

No more, no more, no more. Stop asking us to hold in the highest esteem the feelings of someone who just acted in a hurtful way with complete disregard for our feelings. Just STOP. Can you, for just one second, try to stop other people from lashing out at us even when we don’t know them at all? Can you, for just one second, make this about how rape jokes impact the woman and not about how the woman’s anger and hurt impact the joker? We’re not robots and we’re not inhuman. We have feelings and limits and burdens, too, and we didn’t ask you to come and make jokes about raping us, and we certainly didn’t make jokes about raping you.

I can’t deal with this, can’t take it, can’t stand it. It’s too fucking much. Here we are, trying to get through the day, and CRASH! in comes the unexpected pain tossed at us from an unknown source, but we’re not supposed to flinch, because our flinching will make people uncomfortable. We have to be endlessly polite, endlessly calm, endlessly “logical” instead of “emotional.” But we’re PEOPLE, and our reactions and emotions mean something, too.

So, please, stop treating us like we’re something foreign, something alien, something that doesn’t care when people casually joke about hurting us in a way that many of us have already been hurt. The thought of our pain should not be amusing to you. I don’t know what else to do than say PLEASE care about if you hurt me, to beg you to stop insisting that I have no right to be hurt, because there’s a time when even anger isn’t strong enough to serve as a shield. My ability to take blows is not endless, but the number of people who have the ability to inflict blows when I’ve never even seen them is very nearly endless. To you it might be just one little smack, but to me, it’s a blow that’s falling on an already bruised and broken body. If you throw enough stones at me, even little ones, I will die.

So, again, please STOP.


  1. mythbri says

    Erista, this was an amazingly heartfelt demolishing of the people who were defending the rape “joke” that Pappa made, and I like to think that it was probably mainly this that contributed to his (eventual) not-pology and then real-pology. Thanks for making it.

  2. StevoR says

    So does Erista (Eris) now get to put OM or other letters after xer name then?

    (Confused – more’n’usually that is.)

  3. eddyline says

    Erista, thank you for that post. I’m not sure if ‘congratulations’ is appropriate, considering how painful the entire string was for all of you who were hurt by those assholes, but I’m glad you’ve gotten recognition. Thank you again—these help to open the eyes of those of us with lots of privilege as to how lucky we are.

  4. says

    Thank you, Erista. Your comment is utterly amazing, and says so many important things far better than I could ever say them. You manage to mix both heartfelt honesty and fiery rhetoric into a single amazing post. You are utterly brilliant. Again, thank you.

  5. riftmann says

    The words “rape” and “joke” should never go together.

    I was busy in July/August and didn’t read many blogs, so the thread this post was in was new to me. However, the situation was not. It’s been a year since Rebecca said “guys don’t do that” and it is still ripping the skeptic/atheist community apart??? As if that was any reason to cause it in the first place. They have shown their true nature, and good riddance to them.

    These people are pathetic. I’m sorry you, and other women, had to go through, are still going through, this, Erista. But you are showing a great strength and eloquence. Thank you.

    You are far above the ‘man’ that made the “rape joke”.

  6. exi5tentialist says

    Great post.

    Pappa made an apology, though. In it, he said he couldn’t renounce his joke.

    Atheists are split now, into two sides. Those who have not chosen already need to decide where they want to be.

  7. largeswope says

    Erista thank you for standing up to the people who make these “jokes’. It takes a lot of courage to face your own pain and then to express it. What a wonderful world it would be if we could feel safe from such awful attacks.


  8. crocswsocks says

    Quote from TVTropes:

    “The whole point of a certain type of comedy is to cross the lines, violate the boundaries, and be as offensive as possible. In Real Life, of course, rape is an appalling crime that brutalizes the victim and can destroy lives. But in the wacky world of fiction, particularly those stories written by old-school, non-PC types, rape (or the threat of it) is a ‘hilarious’ way to punish a character.”

    In sum, joking about rape is fine (it’s black comedy, but it’s acceptable) AS LONG AS IT’S ABOUT FICTIONAL CHARACTERS. As soon as your hypothetical rape involves a real human being, it becomes an offensive and potentially dangerous thing.

  9. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    Great post.
    I’m sorry for what you’ve gone through.
    It cannot be said enough: rape jokes are not funny.

  10. says

    In sum, joking about rape is fine (it’s black comedy, but it’s acceptable) AS LONG AS IT’S ABOUT FICTIONAL CHARACTERS.

    Actually, it’s not acceptable at all. I don’t give one shit about what the fuck TV tropes has to say about it.

  11. John Morales says

    crocswsocks, you heard the one about the awful and degrading things that were deliberately done to crockswsocks, a fictional character that happens to be just like you?

    (Hilarious comeuppance!)

  12. Marc Abian says

    It cannot be said enough: rape jokes are not funny.

    I’m not sure it’s possible to convince someone that something isn’t funny any more than it is to convince them that something doesn’t taste nice. I don’t know, but I would assume arguments against the jokes based on their negative consequences, like done by Erista, would be much more effective.

  13. absolute says

    Reacting strongly to a rape joke is OK, people making them should be prepared for that (i.e. not get angry).
    They are still alowed to make them though.