Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Rape? Not funny.

This Magazine Staff

Rape is never funny. (Perhaps unless you are Sarah Silverman. But that’s a whole other post.)
Rape doesn’t become funny when the target is a man. And in particular, it’s not funny when the target is a male prisoner. Jokes about dropping the soap in the penitentiary shower room? Not funny.
If someone you disapprove of—ethically or politically—is going to jail, it’s not appropriate to speculate in a supportive way that he might get raped while in prison. Sexual assault should not be considered vigilante justice. Rape is also not a metaphor for anything else.
Author T.J. Parcell recently penned a memoir of his experiences in a Michigan prison from 1978 till 1982. Purcell was jailed at age 17. He spoke up 25 years later after walking into a video store and witnessing a group of young boys laughing at a depiction of prison rape.
Parsell’s first day in the general population, he was drugged and anally raped by a gang of men. Then the perpetrators flipped a coin to determine whose “property” he would become. It got worse from there. The reality of prison rape is that it’s a brutal form of social control and sexual violence wielded against the prisoners least able to defend themselves.
No one deserves to be raped.

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