Feminism | Posted by Steph L on 07/12/2010


I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who’s disturbed by the number of people who casually use the term “facebook rape” or “frape.” For those of you not familiar with facebook (if such a rare species exists any longer) or this term in particular, it means hacking someone else’s account (usually your friend’s) and posting as them as a joke.

And while posing as somebody is a crappy thing to do, this seems to justify being named after one of the worst crimes of humanity. This usage cheapens a word that should not be used so lightly, and the fact that we live in a society where rape not only exists, but can be turned into a joke is disgusting. As such, I have decided to start calling people who use the term “frape” out, and asking them what their reason is for using such a term.

Inevitably, I am sure I will be told that it’s only a joke, and that I am over-reacting. Those of you who have ever used the term (I must confess to having used it myself, before I had a hard look at the true implications of it) might be thinking that it doesn’t relate to actual rape. But the word is being used, and each time its name is taken in vain, it is an insult to the millions of victims of rape worldwide. It is attitudes like this that perpetuates rape, that allow victim-blaming in court and ultimately to the subconscious belief that women’s rights and choices aren’t important.

There is only one way to make people think about the words that they are using, and that is to question. To make those who use this degrading language justify its usage, and when they can’t, to request that they stop. So next time you see “frape” in someone’s status, ask them “Why isn’t saying hacking enough?” whether it was the hacker or the hacked who posted the comment. And maybe people will start to realise the terrible injustice they do to victims when they laugh about the word rape.

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  • Amy CT @ at 12:15 pm, July 12th, 2010

    I have a friend who is suffering the aftermath of a brutal rape, and who was casually asked by another friend (who doesn’t know this) recently “have you been fraped?”

    Watching her reaction to it has made me detest it as a term – it’s sickening.

  • Zoe Y. @ at 5:59 pm, July 12th, 2010

    @Amy – I feel sickened to imagine how your friend felt.

    I’ve never heard this term, though I’ve seen this action multiple times. I would have just said that I got hacked or something. That makes more sense.

  • Katherine C. @ at 9:38 pm, July 12th, 2010

    Ugh. Well said. I hate the minimalization and trivialization of rape in any form, and while I didn’t know about the term “frape,” I’m glad I do now so I can spread the STRONG disapproval and disgust.

  • Samuel W. @ at 12:46 am, July 13th, 2010

    Never heard that phrase before. Sounds really, really silly aside from its tacky, abhorrent disregard of rape’s seriousness and weight. ‘Frape’? That just sounds to me like a really tacky piece of furniture that only those with no taste purchase.

  • Alexa @ at 7:19 pm, July 13th, 2010

    @ Amy: that’s horrible! People have to recognize to not take words like that so lightly.

    This is one of the cases that how something is phrased can be more hurtful than its actual meaning. It could become one of those inaccurately used words like “gay”. :(

  • K8 AH @ at 11:21 am, July 14th, 2010

    I definitely would never use this term and it would make me shudder to see one of my friends do so. I want to raise an issue that some of you might want to comment on… You know how sometimes something carries so much weight, seriousness and terribleness that some people can’t even talk about it because it makes them uncomfortable? Then someone tries to make a joke to give it some levity and ultimately make them self less uncomfortable. Perhaps on some level this phenomenon is what is responsible for these irresponsible jokes… What do you think? Does that make any sense? I am talking about the non cerebral, emotional and psychological responses to topics that make people uncomfortable. Do you think in any way this is at the root of some peoples insensitivity?

  • Elise @ at 1:29 am, July 15th, 2010

    never heard the term, but am shocked that people use it lightly. so many don’t even think about it anymore, they just joke about it for laughs. realization time please?

  • Markita S. @ at 2:32 pm, July 15th, 2010

    K8 AH, That’s a really interesting idea. It does seem to me that, especially among teens and young adults, uncomfortable topics are brought up only as jokes. This seems to offend some and get nervous giggles from others. Obviously, I don’t think it’s healthy for teens to go around laughing about “frape,” but maybe, and I’m just thinking out loud here, jokes that are made about difficult topics are good in one way. More mature people (not necessarily age-wise) can use these jokes as conversation starters about the matter really at hand. It seems like anything of importance is pushed under the rug because we don’t want to talk about it if it will lead to anyone being uncomfortable. But the people who use jokes like “frape” might just want to discuss the real matter at hand, and they don’t know how.

  • Hunter @ at 11:56 pm, July 15th, 2010

    . I think you’re overreacting. Feminists always overreact. They think they’re the shit just because they have a vagina but they can also think for themselves.

  • Lenora @ at 2:04 pm, July 18th, 2010

    This is seriously awful. I didn’t know about this term because I’m not on Facebook. But we should like, open a blog against/about that. Or like a zine or something…

  • Steph L @ at 1:45 pm, July 19th, 2010

    @ Hunter

    Why are you on a feminist blog if you think women belong in the kitchen, or whatever other skewed ideas your mind comes up with? I’m sure it’s not because you have nothing else to do with your hate-filled life. And incidentally, yes, I am proud of having a vagina and a brain.

  • gina @ at 11:19 pm, July 26th, 2010

    Hacking into someone else’s Facebook account and posting things pretending to be that is a personal violation. I had never heard the term “frape” before, but it’s seems a relatively accurate description, especially if the person perpetrating this violation is supposedly a friend.

    The most common use of the word “rape” is forced sexual intercourse, but that isn’t the only meaning of the word rape. It also means forceful seizure or abuse. That sounds like what someone is doing when they break into another person’s Facebook account. If the hacker is a friend, it’s a huge violation of trust. Regardless of who the hacker is, it’s an identify theft of sorts. Rape or Facebook Rape or “Frape” sounds like the right terminology for such a violation.

  • Sasa @ at 5:30 pm, July 30th, 2010

    Having your account hacked isn’t very nice, but it does not compare to rape. The term has been used around me… and I, being honest here, never gave it the time of day until rather recently. Situations that have happened in my family have made me realise how much rape culture has affected our society. Some of the jokes that people laugh at, that I never noticed before, now make me flinch.

    I recently saw some of my friends “like” a page on facebook: “It wasn’t rape, it was surprise sex”.

    There are no words.

  • Dia @ at 2:16 pm, July 31st, 2010

    I don’t see it as a big deal.The actual hacking or it being referred to as rape. 1)you can delete your facebook and really you probably shouldn’t have told your friends any passwords.2) In case anyone else is unaware it’s not the word that does the damage.Using the word isn’t the cause of anything. That’s ignorance. And while this may not be a populer opinion and I didn’t get my panties in abunch over it, that’s how I feel. And I’ve never heard of the term,honestly I think they could’ve been alittle more creative. But then if you’re pretending to be someone else you’re probably not too creative to begin with.

  • Lucy @ at 1:50 pm, August 9th, 2010

    Thanks for this, I never really thought about the origins of the term before even though I’ve heard it said a lot of times by friends and classmates. I’m definately going to call my friends out if I hear them using it. The term ‘frape’ is completely unjustified to begin with. Rape is when you are forced to do something but giving your friends your password or having an easy one (like a pets name) is just asking for your account to be hacked. Furthermore, I’m shocked by how popular the term ‘frape’ actually is. I come from the UK and I thought that the word ‘frape’ was British-derived, I had no idea that it was so popular in the U.S. as well.

  • Gary Lynch @ at 9:12 am, August 30th, 2010

    Steph L, why have a go at Hunter about being on a feminist site? By all means have a go at his opinion. I’d agree with you on it, and I don’t like the word.
    But to get upset cos somebody with a different opinion to yours is posting is quite narrow minded. What’s the point of any discussion board if you only want see posts agreeing with you.

  • TJ @ at 3:25 pm, January 25th, 2011

    Umm…sticks and stones…words only have power over our feelings and reactions if we let them. Making a word “forbidden” gives it greater power to harm us, not less.


    It does not minimize violent crime to make slang memes out of it.

    Frape legitimately describes personal violation, invasion, harm, and damage by electronic means. It elevates the popular definition of ‘rape’ from a strictly sexual context to one of greater magnitude, and thereby causes the general public to view the issue more accurately: as one of violence and personal violation, not as sex.

    If you only look for hatred and ignorance in others’ actions and speech, you will find it. If you look at the bigger picture, you will see a more complicated, but more accurate view.

  • S @ at 6:39 pm, January 31st, 2011

    Heh. Facebook rape? Frape? Haven’t heard those. What I hear all the time is: FACE RAPE.
    I get physically sick hearing it.

  • john samson @ at 7:19 am, February 12th, 2011

    I hate it when people talk about hacking. I have a friend who got hacked to death with a sharp edged tea pot. Every time anyone asks his now ex-grilfriend if she’s ever been hacked on fb you should her reaction. It’s a sickening term and I condone anyone who uses it, I don’t think they understand the offence it can bring to people, how ignorant.

  • Louise @ at 1:55 pm, February 28th, 2011

    This post moves well over the line between “feminist” into HYPER feminist. Why not stick to an actual problem rather than playing word police over some silly made-up word? Hyperfeminists such as yourselves make me ashamed to be a woman.

  • Sean @ at 8:14 pm, May 12th, 2011

    Lighten the hell up peaople! It is just a word. We have many more things in this world to be concerned with!

  • Frape | wwword @ at 11:12 pm, October 23rd, 2011

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  • Bre K @ at 8:28 pm, December 6th, 2011

    I am so glad someone wrote an article on this. It was very necessary and well needed. Let’s not forget the other inappropriate phrases used. “That’s so gay. That’s retarded.” etc. etc. Bravo! Brava! I commend you. :-).

  • Bre K @ at 8:31 pm, December 6th, 2011

    @ Sean and Louise
    Actions start with words. Words are used in courtrooms when victims aren’t taken seriously because after much societal conditioning-rape is taken lightly.

    Please try and understand what Steph is trying to say: cliche yet applicable-it’s the little things that matter. if you watch where our flaws stem from, slowly you can crack at the foundation of larger based issues.

  • Annette @ at 10:39 am, January 6th, 2012

    On a related note, here’s a very good article that explains why rape jokes really aren’t ok. http://www.care2.com/causes/rape-jokes-are-no-laughing-matter.html

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  • PC hater @ at 4:56 pm, September 29th, 2013

    This is absolutely ridiculous, and a classic PC-police thing to say. When you are referring to someone being ‘fraped’, it is highly likely that you are NOT in any way referring to someone being sexually abused. It is a simple, light-hearted word which is supposed to be taken as a bit of a joke, and is a common slang term. If victims of rape can’t deal with seeing the word ‘frape’ then I think the problem lies more with them than the people saying it. It is not in any way an insulting term or one mocking people who have been raped, it is simply a word relating to people violating others’ Facebook pages. The word ‘rape’ doesn’t always mean sexual abuse, and can mean a violation of privacy. It’s only extremely thin-skinned feminists like you who would take offence to this sort of thing.

    I wish you the best of luck in living in the real world when you are insulted by such trivial things. Stop ruining everyone elses fun and get back to making a bonfire out of your bras.

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