a positive moment in dealing with the symptoms of rape culture

So yesterday someone posted an image on a friend’s fb status that was a two-panel photo, as a joke.
 — — TW: implied rape — — 
The first panel was a photo of what looked like a person sexually penetrating another person who is looking at the camera with a blank expression. The second panel zooms in on that face and adds the caption, “you said netflix and chill.” I commented that this was gross, and later went back to add an explanation, that the text turns the image into a story of violated consent.
 — — end TW — —

I asked why they would post such a thing. They responded and said that they weren’t trying to be an asshole but they were sorry that they ended up being, and deleted the original comment. I had composed a response and when I went to post it it didn’t go because the thread was deleted, so I sent it to them in a message.

Me:
About the photo on [my friend]’s thread- I appreciate you responding seriously. Rape jokes are harmful in that they invalidate the experience of victims and they make perpetrators feel at home. People often react very defensively when it gets pointed out, because they almost never intend to do that, but it has that effect anyway. Thanks for your willingness to listen.
Them:
It’s ok. I appreciate your saying something so that I could remove it and not bother anyone. Honestly I try not to take anything too seriously so I often find humor in things where there shouldn’t really be any in actuality. Coping mechanisms, laughter is the best medicine, etc. I meant no harm and don’t wish to hurt anyone, not for a laugh or any other reason.
Me:
I get that and I think it’s fine with a chosen group of people that know your real attitudes about consent and people who you know won’t be triggered, but in public there is almost always a victim or perpetrator around because it just happens so often. Anyway, thanks again for the compassionate response.
Them:
My pleasure. I am definitely all for enthusiastic consent. And I prefer DVD rentals to netflix [winky face]

I was all geared up for a long and fruitless discussion (mostly because it was on the status of a friend who I know is sometimes triggered by rape jokes, and they told me they felt lost on how to deal with it), and instead it was easy and effective! at least in the moment. It’s such a relief to find someone reacting by caring more about avoiding causing harm than about defending their intentions.


Originally published at belenen.livejournal.com.

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