TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE/RAPE APOLOGISM/RAPE CULTURE
“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
“Rape is not worth throwing away a friendship over.”
“Don’t be a feminazi.”
These are a sample of the responses I received this weekend when someone I consider a friend made a callous rape joke on Facebook. I politely called him out, and was inundated with comments of similar ilk, as well as several other rape jokes and multiple excuses for this friend’s behaviour.
Frankly, dealing with this shit is getting exhausting.
I’m tired of telling people that rape jokes aren’t funny. I’m tired of being called a feminazi every time I call someone out on rape apologetics. I’m tired of having to personalise the discussion to “Would X be funny if it was in regard to your daughter/girlfriend/wife/etc?” in order to make my point. I’m tired of the victim-blaming. I’m tired of knowing that these people honestly and truly don’t give a shit about rape culture and aren’t going to, ever.
I’ve reached that difficult point where I want to cut these people out of my life. Their disdain for equal rights, their bigotry, their unchecked privilege, and their blatant misogyny colour every conversation we have. Yet, I haven’t been able to call it quits.
These are people I’ve known for 20+ years. We’ve been friends since before we were in school. They’ve been there through tough moments in my life, and I have, likewise, stayed by their side during suicide attempts, parents divorcing, heartbreaks, rehab, and so much more. These are people who’s opinions I have valued for years. When the giant shift in demeanour came, I thought it was a phase. The longer it lasted, the less I could convince myself that it wasn’t here to stay.
Now, I’m stuck here with friendships I would hate to end over a difference in opinion… but in the case of this opinion, it’s so toxic that it has irreparably damaged the fabric of our relationships. Is this worth trying to salvage? Or will this just end with more frustration on my part and a general sense of animosity all around?
I try to live by the ideal of loving everyone, especially those who don’t deserve it, because they need it the most. It’s hard to resign yourself to knowing that sometimes loving someone means walking away… and sometimes loving yourself means walking away, too.