Ban rape threats and jokes on Facebook.
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Imagine this, you just got sexually assaulted, or your sister, brother, mother or cousin got sexually assaulted. You feel sick, unsafe and broken. Someone took from you what was not given. The images keep replaying in your mind, you can't sleep and are too afraid to leave your room. You don't understand why this happened. Your mind is confused, you are terrified and everything in you just wants to give up. The smallest thing triggers you and its driving you mad. Then you pick up your phone and read a post that says:
"If she dresses like a slut, you have every right to rape her. She is asking for it, so give it to her." Or "Next time that B#%&@ says no, put something in her drink to make her open her legs. A no can always change into a yes, get what's yours."
Not only will it disgust you, it will terrify you and trigger your memories. It will show you how the world doesn't take assault seriously and that it could happen again. Because that's the thing with rape, its not like the pox, you don't have it once and become immune to it, it happens again and again and again and again. It kills a part of you and takes away your sense of safety. It has you thinking, "when will it happen again ?"
But then imagine if you live with your abuser and you are raped every night. This is your life and you are so sure you have no way out. I know a girl who was sexually assaulted by a family member for years from a young age and her entire family knew and no one did a thing to save her. Imagine how girls like her feel when they see rape jokes and threats on Facebook? Do you think they smile and don't get affected? Do you think they feel safer and happier?
1 in 3 (33%) women around the world has been sexually assaulted and 1 in 6 (17%) men are victims of sexual assault. 1 in 3 men would rape if they knew they could get away with it. 1 in 16 men is a rapist and 97% of rapists will never see a jail cell.
In my country Zambia only 10% of reported cases go to court and 75% of sexual assault amongst minors are perpetrated by Fathers and Grandfathers.
For the longest time rape hasn't been something the world has taken seriously and after the #Metoo movement we have seen millions of women and men come out and talk about their experiences about rape and take action again their assaulters. The world is changing, its moving forward and silence is being broken.
But somehow Facebook is still at the back of this movement. Rape videos are posted almost every month, rape jokes and threats are allowed and Facebook sees no wrong in this. If you see a rape joke or something encouraging rape, Facebook will give you an option to report or block the person. And yet nothing will happen, give it a week and the same person will be boasting about how they would gladly rape someone.
Recently in Zambia a video was shown of how a young woman was sexually assaulted and the comments by many of the men and some of the women were in encouragement of the rape. They blamed the woman for being out at night and some applauded the rapists. Many rape jokes were told and threats were made towards women.
This isn't the first time people are reacting to posts like these. With every rape video or post shown there is a group of people constantly supporting rape and finding pleasure in shaming and threatening women with sexual violence.
As a victim of sexual assault it breaks my heart knowing that even with all this change happening in the world somehow there are still millions of people who think rape is funny, people who believe that threatening women with rape for how they dress and talk is okay. I am almost on all the social media platforms but Facebook to me is the most relaxed one when it comes to sexual assault. It threatened to ban women for using the hashtag #MenAreTrash, a movement that highlights the death toll and abuse of women at the hands of men but has constantly turned a blind eye to people who threaten women with sexual violence.
People constantly love to say rape jokes are just jokes but they aren't. There is nothing funny about rape and neither is there anything harmless about threatening people with sexual assault.
The world is changing, people are being taught about consent and victims are fighting back to ensure we live in a rape free world. I don't know about you but I have no intentions of bringing up a child in a world that let's rapists go free and allows people to speak freely of harming people with sexual assault without any repercussions. Its against the law to Catcall women in France and its now against the law to make racist slurs against people in South Africa. Can rapist jokes end too? Can the making fun of the suffering and trauma of rape victims come to an end too? Can Facebook join the movement and bring an end to these disgusting acts? Can it wake up and change its laws and systems to ensure such posts and people are banned? Because letting people continuely insult sexual assault victims shows the world and rapists that its okay to rape, its accepted and shouldn't end. Its not and should never be tolerated. Let's ask Facebook to take action.
Please sign the pettion and help bring an end to this gross and disturbing trend.
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