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Rape is Not a Joke – Why Doesn’t Facebook Get It?

Rape is Not a Joke – Why Doesn’t Facebook Get It?


When people log into facebook, they expect it to be a safe space where they can connect with friends. Women, especially victims of sexual assault and rape, should not have to worry about tripping over pages that promote and joke about rape. However, that is not the case. Pages like “You know shes playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alleyway” promote violence against women.

Facebook, however, doesn’t see any problem with pages like these.  Despite the fact that its terms of reference prohibit content that is “hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence,” facebook says the rape fan pages are acceptable. Defending its decision, facebook said:

Direct statements of hate against particular communities violate our statement of rights and responsibilities and are removed when reported to us. However, groups that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs – even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some – do not by themselves violate our policies. (source: Guardian)

In response to demands that the pages be taken down, facebook also pointed out that  “just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off facebook” (source: techwatch). To make matters worse, facebook has supporters out there on major media sites like Slate.

In an article for The Guardian, Cath Elliott described the problem with these words:

Rapists rape because they know the odds are stacked in their favour, because they know the chances are they’ll get away with it. And part of the reason rapists get away with it, time after time after time, is because we live in a society that all but condones rape. Because we live in a society where it’s not taken seriously, and where posting heinous comments online that promote sexual violence are not treated as hate speech or as content that threatens women’s safety, but are instead treated as a joke and given a completely free pass.

This isn’t the first time this issue has come up. Back in March, Ximena Ramirez  wrote about a similar group of facebook pages, some of which have been taken down and some of which are still there. This problem isn’t going to go away until facebook deals with it head on. Who knows when they’ll have time for that though, since they are so busy taking down so called “obscene” photos of women breastfeeding and fully clothed gay couples kissing.

Currently close to 200,000 people ‘like’ the “You know shes playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alleyway” facebook page. Surely we can get at least double that on a petition demanding that facebook take it down.


Related stories:

Facebook Groups Continue to Poke Fun at Rape

Ad Campaign Depicting Domestic Violence Sparks Outrage

Edgy New “Don’t Be That Guy” Anti-Rape Campaign Launched in Ottawa


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Photo credit: david_shankbone on flickr

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7:14AM PST on Nov 18, 2013

I do enjoy a good joke myself, however any joke which makes fun of other peoples suffering is to me very wrong and should not be tolerated. Most of all anything to do with any crime, race, tragedy etc. We have to be sensitive to others peoples plight and their feelings. Yes there is freedom of speech, but i think that right is heavily abused when we say things which is offensive to other people. Joking about rape is real low in my opinion and it really takes someone with a debased sense of morality to think its funny. People forget that they have mothers, wives, sisters, daughters or even close female friends. How would they feel if one of those were a victim of rape. This is no laughing matter and i think people who see something wrong should speak out and challenge it. That's how evil can flourish, its when good people do nothing.

1:29PM PST on Jan 29, 2013

I think blaming offensive jokes is just more avoidance of blaming the MAN responsible for rape.

We seem to have such a problem with just saying it was their fault alone. They chose to rape.

4:59PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Thank you.

4:58PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Thank you.

4:57PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Thank you.

5:40AM PST on Dec 10, 2011

No, people have NO right to make offensive jokes. What is a joke? Dictionaries say: a humorous anecdote; something taht is said or done for fun; ridiculous circumstance. Can a rape be ridiculous? Yeah, I bet it may be very funny. haha. And what about a murder? A murder of animals? Someone's pain and suffering must not be the theme for a joke. Period.

We just have to be responsible for our words, not only deeds. For many people the internet has become the greatest 'place of freedom' where you can do whatever you want without worrying about others' feelings. But the web is, in truth, a place where you can see human beings coming out in their true colours. That's why I like www.

5:12AM PST on Dec 9, 2011

I tried to add my signature, but the petition has been taken down! :-(

12:33PM PST on Nov 13, 2011

petition signed, one more reason not to be on facebook!

12:28PM PST on Nov 13, 2011

Ashley, I am sure you would'nt feel that way if you happened to be one of the women that have been chased down an alley beaten and raped.. oh but then again "she was playing hard to get" and dont forget "NO!!! means Yes!" As a woman, I am sad to read your opinion. What FB is condoning is an outrage, the fact that a woman supports it, just makes it pathetic..

12:21PM PST on Nov 13, 2011

Might be deleting my facebook page. I can't support that BS.

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