Check out one woman’s experience in the audience of a Daniel Tosh stand up show:
Tosh then starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc. I don’t know why he was so repetitive about it but I felt provoked because I, for one, DON’T find them funny and never have. So I didnt appreciate Daniel Tosh (or anyone!) telling me I should find them funny. So I yelled out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”
After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…”
Rape jokes are a way to silence people with fear. It’s a way to put people “in their place”.
I, for one, experience a very real fear when someone jokes about raping me. (And it’s happened, of course, many times.) The men who joke about it are using it as a tool to let you know your opinions, body, and dignity aren’t valued. It’s viewed as a punishment for not being the sort of woman the “joker” expects you to be – quiet, agreeable, dressed “appropriately” (whatever that might mean), sexually willing, sexually modest, or any number of other attributes.
It’s time for comedians to know it’s not ok to joke about this stuff. It’s serious and it’s real. Half of all women have experienced sexual violence, so a comedian will be bringing up an extremely traumatic past experience to about a quarter of his audience. I don’t know about you, but I go to the comedy club to forget the really awful things in life, not be reminded by some jerk comedian.
If Tosh is coming to a comedy club near you, I encourage you to let them know you won’t be in attendance because you don’t support threats of sexual violence.
Update: Tosh says his words were “taken out of context,” and sort of apologized on Twitter. If those really are his words though – and he seems to be admitting they are – I don’t think it matters what context they came out of. Rape jokes just aren’t funny, and I’m glad he’s noticed the outlash. Maybe he’ll think twice before “joking” about gang rape again.