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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