Meryl Jagarnath

Rape as slang

Meryl Jagarnath
Meryl Jagarnath

By Meryl Jagarnath

Almost everyday, I hear something that disturbs me; the use of rape casually, as a slang, mostly by males, on social media and in conversations.

“Rape” is used either negatively to represent damage (“That chemistry exam raped me”) or positively, representing triumph (“Yeah, I raped that chemistry exam”,  “Did you watch the game last night?”, “Did you see how that football team got raped?”).  Also, the term “frape” (Facebook rape) when a friend accesses your Facebook account and posts stuff without your permission, because it’s totally comparable to sexual assault. The casual use of “rape” undermines the seriousness of sexual assault. And when I point it out, I’m seen as being too serious or “not getting the joke.” Really, a joke about rape!

Therefore, the way the usage of “rape” as a casual term  is distressing and it disturbs and angers me because rape disturbs and angers me. Society has an inherent problem in dealing with rape and the rape culture, where violence against women is seemingly tolerated and treated indifferently. You see it in misogynist and violent Facebook and Twitter posts and images depicting sexual assault and violence gets thousands of likes, you see it when rapists do not get convicted and if they do, their sentences are lenient. Committing rape and equating it with winning, or something worth celebrating is disgusting.  Comparing “rape” to losing a sports game or failing test is equally as insensitive and damaging.

We need to be cautious about the words we use. My opinion is that language can alter perceptions and spread ideas, which become the basis of action, and using “rape” so casually trivializes the crime and contributes to the notion in society that rape is “not that bad.” Using “rape” as a slang is frivoulous and desensitizes the crime and reinforces the view that sexual assault is not an important crime and also makes light of the victims experience.

Even though rape is not the only word that people use casually in the context in exactly the same way. I also use words like kill (“My parents will kill me”). However, the use of murder is not as problematic because both rape and murder, although used in the same situation have completely different histories and meanings in society.

Murder is universally accepted and has always been considered as a horrible crime, it is reported and investigated and the fault lies with the murderer and not on the victim. We know that society’s view of rape is still murky when it comes to understanding and prosecution and it is somewhat supported in society, where the objectification of women is seen as male privilege. Even when rape is reported, it is often not investigated properly and the rapist has a greater chance of not being convicted. According to the One in Nine Campaign, in South Africa, 90% of rapes are not reported, and when the case is reported only 15% make it to trail and thereafter, only 5% are convicted. Also, the “fault” of rape is more often than not, portrayed as being the victims’.

I am not accusing the male youth who use “rape” as slang as condoning rape but it shows exactly how far we still have to go on raising awareness and understanding rape especially with the focus on young males, as it has become associated with other things rather than a serious, inhumane crime. Statistically we all will know someone who has been sexually assaulted. We cannot be politically correct all the time, but we can be sensitive to others.

If we say we know rape is wrong then why can’t we reflect that knowledge in our words and actions?


8 thoughts on “Rape as slang”

  1. People seem to forget that words can build and destroy people’s lives,thoughts,goals etc. Using rape in such a casual, not caring manner is dangerous and mentalities have to change before this rape epidemic can change.


  2. Certainly food for thought. I haven’t heard the word “rape” being used in this way, but it is certainly disturbing to know that it is being used thus. It is being trivialized instead of being discussed in a meaningful way that can possibly bring about change in the way victims are viewed or tougher legislation for the criminals.


  3. Very thoughtful and spot on. We know that the conditions of life influence us, and language is a powerful part of the conditions we experience. Have you ever noticed how much aggression, dislike, and outright hatred are expressed with sexual terms? I don’t believe this is harmless, and it’s both effect and cause. We are part of a chain of verbally sexualizing violence and infusing our consciousness, our attitudes, with assaultive sexuality. I especially note the use of slang terms for women’s genitals as ways to deride, degrade, and insult others. This is not harmless! So, thank you for this post and please continue your thoughtful analysis in this vein.


  4. I enjoyed your article. I was molested for 6 years. and I am currently working on a book I am writing of my experience to raise awareness, heal, and reach out to others like me. The first chapter solely focuses on what rape and molestation are as well as the way society views it. I am referencing your writing and if I use it in my book I will most certainly give you your credit. I would love for you to get in contact with me in regards thank you


    1. Hi thank you for your comment. I would also love to find out more about your book. My email is mjagarnath (at) gmail (dot) com. Looking forward to hearing from you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s