I love the internet. And even though I went through school and university without ever using/abusing it, I still can’t remember what life was like before it. I’m not even talking about the wealth of information or the instant, inclusive, accessible nature of that knowledge.

No, I’m talking about the hundreds of thousands of cool and funny  and clever sites and pictures and blogs and videos and communications happening all over the world.

There are a lot of cool people out there.

Of course the internet is also home to many horrible things. But generally I’ve found out that these are mostly fringe. The person surfing next to you is probably not watching child pornography or masturbating to mutilated corpses.

Which is why I was so badly shocked when I saw @youngprettygirl* tweeting “ItsNotRapeIf it’s a lesbian and you show her what she’s missing.”

If this contemptible sentiment isn’t hate speech - especially in the light of the multiple “corrective” rapes being reported weekly in SA - then I don’t understand what hate speech is.

Against my better judgement I checked out the topic #ItsNotRapeIf and saw a whole list of truly stomach -turning rape “jokes”.
When this woman (please note, she was one of many tweeting on the topic) was called out by myself and a bunch of other outraged women she retaliated with the usual sexist insults: we were all a bunch of bull dykes and lesbian activists. Yawn.

When we refused to go away because – as @brodiegal replied: “no: if a single woman is silent in face of your bile, we are complicit. i challenge yr BS” – she started getting really nasty.

To satirist @EmmaTurd she tweeted: “@emmaturd fuck out of my mentions you stupid hoe!!! I hope you get raped on your way to the spaza >:O”

I struggle to imagine a time or place where rape would ever be funny, but in our country where thousands upon thousands of women get raped every month we cannot let this go by unchallenged.
*Not her real name, but I’ll be damned if I give this woman more publicity.

Can a joke about rape ever be funny?

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