Thursday, July 25th, 2013
214

A Poem By Patricia Lockwood

Rape Joke

The rape joke is that you were 19 years old.

The rape joke is that he was your boyfriend.

The rape joke it wore a goatee. A goatee.

Imagine the rape joke looking in the mirror, perfectly reflecting back itself, and grooming itself to look more like a rape joke. “Ahhhh,” it thinks. “Yes. A goatee.”

No offense.

The rape joke is that he was seven years older. The rape joke is that you had known him for years, since you were too young to be interesting to him. You liked that use of the word interesting, as if you were a piece of knowledge that someone could be desperate to acquire, to assimilate, and to spit back out in different form through his goateed mouth.

Then suddenly you were older, but not very old at all.

The rape joke is that you had been drinking wine coolers. Wine coolers! Who drinks wine coolers? People who get raped, according to the rape joke.

The rape joke is he was a bouncer, and kept people out for a living.

Not you!

The rape joke is that he carried a knife, and would show it to you, and would turn it over and over in his hands as if it were a book.

He wasn’t threatening you, you understood. He just really liked his knife.

The rape joke is he once almost murdered a dude by throwing him through a plate-glass window. The next day he told you and he was trembling, which you took as evidence of his sensitivity.

How can a piece of knowledge be stupid? But of course you were so stupid.

The rape joke is that sometimes he would tell you you were going on a date and then take you over to his best friend Peewee’s house and make you watch wrestling while they all got high.

The rape joke is that his best friend was named Peewee.

OK, the rape joke is that he worshiped The Rock.

Like the dude was completely in love with The Rock. He thought it was so great what he could do with his eyebrow.

The rape joke is he called wrestling “a soap opera for men.” Men love drama too, he assured you.

The rape joke is that his bookshelf was just a row of paperbacks about serial killers. You mistook this for an interest in history, and laboring under this misapprehension you once gave him a copy of Günter Grass’s My Century, which he never even tried to read.

It gets funnier.

The rape joke is that he kept a diary. I wonder if he wrote about the rape in it.

The rape joke is that you read it once, and he talked about another girl. He called her Miss Geography, and said “he didn’t have those urges when he looked at her anymore,” not since he met you. Close call, Miss Geography!

The rape joke is that he was your father’s high-school student—your father taught World Religion. You helped him clean out his classroom at the end of the year, and he let you take home the most beat-up textbooks.

The rape joke is that he knew you when you were 12 years old. He once helped your family move two states over, and you drove from Cincinnati to St. Louis with him, all by yourselves, and he was kind to you, and you talked the whole way. He had chaw in his mouth the entire time, and you told him he was disgusting and he laughed, and spat the juice through his goatee into a Mountain Dew bottle.

The rape joke is that come on, you should have seen it coming. This rape joke is practically writing itself.

The rape joke is that you were facedown. The rape joke is you were wearing a pretty green necklace that your sister had made for you. Later you cut that necklace up. The mattress felt a specific way, and your mouth felt a specific way open against it, as if you were speaking, but you know you were not. As if your mouth were open ten years into the future, reciting a poem called Rape Joke.

The rape joke is that time is different, becomes more horrible and more habitable, and accommodates your need to go deeper into it.

Just like the body, which more than a concrete form is a capacity.

You know the body of time is elastic, can take almost anything you give it, and heals quickly.

The rape joke is that of course there was blood, which in human beings is so close to the surface.

The rape joke is you went home like nothing happened, and laughed about it the next day and the day after that, and when you told people you laughed, and that was the rape joke.

It was a year before you told your parents, because he was like a son to them. The rape joke is that when you told your father, he made the sign of the cross over you and said, “I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” which even in its total wrongheadedness, was so completely sweet.

The rape joke is that you were crazy for the next five years, and had to move cities, and had to move states, and whole days went down into the sinkhole of thinking about why it happened. Like you went to look at your backyard and suddenly it wasn’t there, and you were looking down into the center of the earth, which played the same red event perpetually.

The rape joke is that after a while you weren’t crazy anymore, but close call, Miss Geography.

The rape joke is that for the next five years all you did was write, and never about yourself, about anything else, about apples on the tree, about islands, dead poets and the worms that aerated them, and there was no warm body in what you wrote, it was elsewhere.

The rape joke is that this is finally artless. The rape joke is that you do not write artlessly.

The rape joke is if you write a poem called Rape Joke, you’re asking for it to become the only thing people remember about you.

The rape joke is that you asked why he did it. The rape joke is he said he didn’t know, like what else would a rape joke say? The rape joke said YOU were the one who was drunk, and the rape joke said you remembered it wrong, which made you laugh out loud for one long split-open second. The wine coolers weren’t Bartles & Jaymes, but it would be funnier for the rape joke if they were. It was some pussy flavor, like Passionate Mango or Destroyed Strawberry, which you drank down without question and trustingly in the heart of Cincinnati Ohio.

Can rape jokes be funny at all, is the question.

Can any part of the rape joke be funny. The part where it ends—haha, just kidding! Though you did dream of killing the rape joke for years, spilling all of its blood out, and telling it that way.

The rape joke cries out for the right to be told.

The rape joke is that this is just how it happened.

The rape joke is that the next day he gave you Pet Sounds. No really. Pet Sounds. He said he was sorry and then he gave you Pet Sounds. Come on, that’s a little bit funny.

Admit it.





Patricia Lockwood is the author of Balloon Pop Outlaw Black (Octopus Books, 2012). Follow her on Twitter at @TriciaLockwood.

You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.

214 Comments / Post A Comment

DEVASTATING

The Future is Here (#10,633)

this is incredibly good

Nomie @twitter (#226,424)

Chills. This is phenomenal.

16866830@twitter (#245,942)

oh, man

aughhhhhhhhhh

tricia you're a goddamn legend

growler (#476)

Holy shit, that was phenomenal. And I am sorry for your suffering.

Helen Jane (#239,941)

This. Powerful.

offthewawl (#8,258)

Just here to compliment this.

This is the best poetry I have read in years.

karion (#11)

Utterly shattering. Mesmerizing and perfect.

Emily Morris (#14,069)

<3 PL

yeah-elle (#245,946)

Holy shit. I am primarily a Hairpin commenter, Awl lurker, but I finally created an account here just to say: this is incredible. Some of the best, most powerful poetry I've read in ages.

marel (#245,967)

@yeah-elle I just did exactly the same thing–registered so I could comment. I merely glanced at it because the title was uncomfortable, then couldn't stop reading. Thank you.

drpkp (#246,071)

@marel Yes – I three – registered just to comment on this poem.

cardiganboots (#232,781)

Love this. Familiar in its distance and heart-rending.

zenvelo (#245,947)

Required reading for every man and boy, and required to discuss with a woman afterward. Difficult but necessary to read, and but a jot of what some women I love have been through.

Stetson (#246,000)

@zenvelo Because EVERY man and boy is a rapist?

88384517@twitter (#246,031)

@Stetson no, required reading because all men and boys AREN'T rapists (only the ones who've raped someone are). Kinda interesting you're so defensive, huh? Might you not want to read this to better understand how rape might affect a woman's life, to be a better supporter and ally to women who have suffered or fear sexual assault? To try and prevent rape?

Clay Shirky@twitter (#241,483)

@zenvelo No, because every man and boy will likely know a woman who has been raped.

Jerzygirl45@twitter (#246,106)

@zenvelo Because some boys and men would not consider it rape. But it is. Because some boys and men may have done this themselves and not realized they're a rapist. But they are. Because some boys and men will think it's her fault. But it's not. That's why.

Smitros (#5,315)

Harrowing.

Tuna Surprise (#573)

I'm speachless – but increadibly glad you are not.

jaimeleigh (#1,840)

Maybe I could have saved myself a decade of therapy if I could have read this over and over again. So entirely perfect. Thank you.

16322609@twitter (#245,950)

"Rape can be funny, I'll prove it: imagine Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd." – George Carlin

smartastic (#2,437)

@16322609@twitter No really. Imagine it for real. Not funny.

tales (#7,625)

@16322609@twitter Seriously, get that shit outta here.

Have a nice day (#246,850)

@16322609@twitter The whole GC quote is actually:"I can prove to you that rape is funny. Picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd.
See, hey why do you think they call him "Porky," eh? I know what you're going to say.
"Elmer was asking for it. Elmer was coming on to Porky.
Porky couldn't help himself, he got a hard- on, he got horny, he lost control, he went out of his mind."
A lot of men talk like that. A lot of men think that way. They think it's the woman's fault.
They like to blame the rape on the woman. Say, "she had it coming, she was wearing a short skirt."
These guys think women ought to go to prison for being cock teasers. Don't seem fair to me.
Don't seem right, but you can joke about it. I believe you can joke about anything.
It all depends on how you construct the joke. What the exaggeration is. What the exaggeration is.
Because every joke needs one exaggeration. Every joke needs one thing to be way out of proportion."
George is saying that the whole "blame the victim" mentality is so ridiculously stupid that it's funny.

867544633@twitter (#245,952)

@Jules jordan I can't comprehend how many points you just missed, but I'll have to hope you get sterilized in an amusing incident with battery acid.

Murgatroid (#2,904)

Now ask yourself why you felt it necessary to go through the not-arduous-but-still-time-consuming registration process to be a commenter just to post that.

And to PL, thank you.

16131256@twitter (#245,955)

This is devastating and incredible. I literally cannot breathe.

377583661@twitter (#245,963)

@16131256@twitter – Literally? Really?

caw_caw (#5,641)

Unforgettable

Jocasta Carr (#245,052)

This is incredibly well-done and heartbreaking. I'm so sorry that happened to you.

Extremely well-done.

16322609@twitter (#245,950)

"Just woke up from a date rape drug, so it WAS a date!" – @meganamram

16322609@twitter (#245,950)

@377583661@twitter don't you know that if it hurts one persons feelings you can't joke about it EVER.

curry (#359)

@16322609@twitter: you *can* joke about it, it's just other people *can* also call you out on your bad taste and tell you to get the fuck out.

GTFO.

offthewawl (#8,258)

@377583661@twitter Good to see the ol' rape/onion equivalency brought up already. Fuck off, you piece of trash. You're ruining a moment.

Pound of Salt (#15,166)

Wow, so well-told and powerful and utterly devastating and funny, too.

nyssa23 (#4,503)

Heartbreaking and beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us!

i was raped two weeks ago today, which almost stopped me from clicking over to here — it has already changed my sleep and diet, why not my internet movements as well? — but, anyway, i am so so glad i did.

pet sounds.
fuck.

56547531@twitter (#246,103)

@vaingloria in excelsis deo Just wanted to let you know that you were heard today. You have a voice, friend. I want to encourage you by letting you know that I heard you, I believe you, and I empathize with you.

Jerzygirl45@twitter (#246,106)

@vaingloria in excelsis deo

I know this is just a meaningless comment from a stranger on the internet but – I'm sorry. {HUG}

1416329497@twitter (#251,864)

@vaingloria in excelsis deo I want to tell you that what happened to you does not define you. You are still the special person you were before, just as good and strong and still the same. It's a truth I have to remind myself of. In the poem… that part about expecting to see the backyard and the ugly gaping maw staring back at you… oh God, so visually perfect an explanation of an ugly incomprehensible memory that sits right where you don't want it and obscures normalcy.

anon1580 (#245,970)

Before I begin, please keep an open mind because most people are going to try very hard to be offended by what I have to say. Rape deeply affects people and is relatable to people with similar experiences. It is debilitating and certainly a wonderful way for the writer to find a creative release for her experience. That being said, that doesn't doesn't necessarily mean this post can have a positive impact. It promotes the idea that the negativity of rape should be honored by reaffirming that it exists. Obviously it does, I'm not arguing that,, but rallying behind the negativity of rape ignores the symptoms of why people rape and are raped in the first place. This post, to me, is shameless reaffirmation of negativity and in the time it took to embrace these grim and macabre memories, you could have instead providing readers an outlet for positivity that can hopefully in time make living with these experiences easier to live with rather than create a hive mentality of endless angst and negativity. I can't possibly see how this post is positive in any way besides reinforcing the negative feelings people have about rape. If that seems like an ironic statement its because it is. Not trying to cause an uproar, just sharing what I think is a valuable point worth observing.

@anon1580 Honestly, I did not have to try very hard to be offended by what you wrote. And I promise I started with the most open of minds.

listen, lady (#245,976)

@anon1580 this is patently absurd. people are raped because they are negative thinkers? what the world needs now is a post-sexual assault cheerleader for positive thinking because i guess we're just not trying hard enough to have positive feelings about rape.

anon1580 (#245,970)

@listen, lady nono, people rape becauae of negative thinking, its pretty hard to argue that. What im saying is, f children learned to love and respect one another instead of feed repressed aggression, rape would occur far less frequently. My stament is not intended for post-sexual assault its to nip it in the bud before it even occurs.

Jocasta Carr (#245,052)

@anon1580 Not every article, poem, etc. about rape has to explore "the symptoms of why people rape and are raped." It's not Patricia's job to provide us with an outlet for positivity or to explain why it happened – it happened because the guy was a fucking rapist, period. And clearly this poem isn't creating "angst and negativity" if all of the comments above talking about how they loved this, it was relatable and beautiful, etc. are anything to go by. Ignoring the "negativity" of rape will neither help stop it nor make it easier for survivors to live with their experiences. When has ignoring a problem ever made it go away?

It's insulting and hurtful for you to come in, starting off with a disingenuous, preemptive accusation of bad faith ("most people are going to try very hard to be offended"? Really?) and call the experience she so bravely shared with us "shameless", "grim" and "macabre." Also, for god's sake, look up what "ironic" means.

1242858673@twitter (#245,982)

@anon1580 Men rape because they are self-entitled arseholes who think that they have a right to women's vaginas, by the virtue of their gender. The end.

anon8015 (#245,984)

@1242858673@twitter So by telling males that they are self-entitled assholes that is somehow going to reduce instances of sexual violence? Do you realize that biologically sex is the parts you are given amd gender is a set of cultural values that influence sexuality? Because if you dont think we live in a society that promotes sexual inequality you need to stop staring into the sun and turn on MTV to see the billshit the next generation is ingesting about sexuality and re-evaluate how your shameless value system has repressed agression to the point that the only response is an unnatural frequency of it.

anon8015 (#245,984)

@Jocasta Carr For you to say that the guy in this story did what he did because "he was a rapist, period" is as ignorant and offensive as saying women deserve to get raped. Chances are he more closely resembles a human being that is lashing out from his own experiences with violence and/or sexuality, as is often the case with perpatrators of sexual violence. Dont you dare sit here and rant and rave that he was a rapist without entertaining the possibility that he is still a human being and if enough people gave a shit about the warning signs someone could have helped him nip those aggressive tendencies in the bud before it led to sexual violence. Rape and sexual violence are symptoms of a broken understanding of sexuality NOT the cause of it.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@anon8015 "Males"? Forgive me for not taking you seriously enough to consider the possibility that you actually came up with an original thought on the subject all of us in all of our time failed to come up with so far…. when you sound like typical internet dumbass while trying really hard to sound smart so that he can sell some preposterously insulting notion that women who survived rape should take advice from him on how to talk about it. Cite a scientific research or give a personal experience. Otherwise, just resist the urge to type.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@anon8015 "For you to say that the guy in this story did what he did because "he was a rapist, period" is as ignorant and offensive as saying women deserve to get raped. "

And there we go! Equating the rapist with the victim. Didn't take long for the "intellectual" to show the true colors of the misogynist. Fuck off, dummy.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@anon1580 I feel you

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@Niko Bellic No. the post is equating dehumanizing someone in a way that you boil their entire existence down to one horrific action and say of course he did it with the dehumanization required to rape someone…

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Rellikdog I doubt this is Roman Polanski we are talking about. An average human being that rapes another is pretty much completely defined by that act. End of story.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@Niko Bellic Is a soldier who accidentally kills a non-combatant completely defined by that act?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Rellikdog Will you stop comparing rapists to their victims and to our soldiers? Please?

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@Niko Bellic This is my last response to you because I've realized you are a complete troll.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@Rellikdog "If a one time rapist is solely defined by that act, is a soldier who accidentally kills a non-combatant completely defined by theirs?" I would appreciate the input of anyone who has something cogent to say on this question who shares Mr. Niko Bellic's point of view but is not actually him.

anon8150 (#245,992)

@Rellikdog same here, I'm out. People can keeping staring into the sun for all I care, I've said what I needed to stay and I stand behind every statement.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@anon8150 "I stand behind every statement."

No you don't. You can't stand behind anything while being anonymous. You can only argue it intellectually (which you failed).

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Rellikdog Rape is not an accident, dummy. From how many different people do you need to hear that?

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@Niko Bellic "Rape is not an accident, dummy." Neither is squeezing a trigger. When you chose to fire out of fear with out doing a correct PID on your target you are acting in much the same way that a rapist does, reacting with force to your natural instinct to self preservation.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@Rellikdog and for the record both are entirely damning and reprehensible actions

25449279@twitter (#246,002)

@Rellikdog rape is self preservation?

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@25449279@twitter

Ask prejudicial questions much?

Rape is obviously not self preservation but neither is firing upon a non combatant. You cannot deny that the evolutionary drive to procreate exists(which is part of our psychological drive for self preservation) or our species would not be where we are today.

katerpillar (#245,461)

@anon1580 This poem is about exploring the experience of a victim of rape. This poem is about how "rape" and "rape joke" relate to each other. This poem is NOT about why rape happens, or what leads rapists to rape, or about humanizing a rapist.

You seem to imply with your remarks that anything written about rape should be "an outlet for positivity." I disagree. Imagine that someone you love has died, and you are hurting and angry. Imagine that as you suffer, all that anyone will say to you is, "Cheer up! At least they aren't suffering anymore!" Sometimes "an outlet for positivity" is not what is called for. The reality is that victims of rape experience negative emotions about rape. I think that exploring those experiences and the way that lives are shaped as a result is much more important than a shiny, silver lining.

I challenge your declaration that there can be no positive impact from this poem. I see people identifying with this narrative, and feeling that their own experiences are validated. I see people empathizing deeply with a victim of rape. I see people challenging the assumptions they make about rape and rape jokes. I don't see how any of this is negative.

I agree with your later statements that rape is complex, and that rapists are people, too. I do not agree that "love and respect" taught to children is enough to combat sexual violence, or the oppression of victims thereof. I am genuinely curious to know what led you to conclude that the "repression of violence" leads to its expression through rape.

I would also like to recommend that when you begin a post with the assertion that "people are going to try very hard to be offended" by it, that you not get angry when people are inevitably offended.

Jocasta Carr (#245,052)

@anon8015 Nowhere in my statement did I say that being a "rapist" and being a "human being" are mutually exclusive. But I am damned tired, almost every single time I hear stories like this, of being asked to understand and sympathize with the perpetrator's motives and life experiences. I am tired of hearing people, even in the comments here (not talking about you!), say that what happened to her isn't "really" rape – because she was drunk, because he was her boyfriend, because because because. So by saying "he's a rapist, period," I'm not saying he's a monster – I'm saying let's call it what it is. For one goddamn second can we hear what she is saying, can we listen and empathize with how truly awful and damaging it is to the soul to have something like that happen to you, without policing her feelings and her reaction to what happened and without immediately saying "but what about the man?"

If bad stuff happened to him in his life that caused him to "lash out," as you said, then I am sorry for it and I do wish someone could've gotten him whatever help he needed to not become a person who was capable of raping someone. But the truth is that there are many men who haven't had anything out of the ordinary happen to them who still grow up to be rapists. People do bad shit to each other and there isn't always a ready excuse or a reason. And no, calling him "a rapist, period," is not as bad as saying someone deserves to get raped. Being a rapist (and yes, possibly also someone who has had bad experiences with violence/sexuality)cannot be equated to being the victim of a rape. Because whether he did it because he's a monster or because he's a poor, tortured, abused soul, the effect is the same – he pushed his evil, his pain onto someone else and hurt them in a life-changing, terrible, intimately awful way. Can we just fucking say that for once without any qualifiers?

@Jocasta Carr There are also many men who do have terrible things happen to them who never grow up to be rapists, or violent, or emotionally abusive, or any other awful behavior. It's true that everyone is the way they are because of their experiences, but that doesn't release them from responsibility for their behavior.

Jocasta Carr (#245,052)

@fondue with cheddar Absolutely, that's the point I was trying to make (perhaps not as clearly as I thought!). That was why I said "the help he needed to not become a person who was capable of raping someone," rather than "become a rapist." And it is important to remember that just as there are those who become abusers without being hurt themselves, there are those who are able to have bad things happen to them and still go on to live good, non-harmful lives. Your experiences shape you, but the choice to hurt or not to hurt is still yours.

Aloysius (#1,808)

@anon8015 It's so creepy to me how you're trying to deny the author the right to respond to her rape with her actual feelings about it. Rape is a denial of agency, and your view would only compound that denial. One can recognize the causes of crime without having sympathy for criminals. A victim does not have any obligation to empathize with his or her aggressor.

SP_AWLZ (#246,042)

@anon1580 I think your assumption that the world does not need a better understanding of the devastating consequences of rape is incorrect. We live in a world where somewhere around 20% of women at some point experience sexual assault yet we fail to do everything in our power to make that stop. When one of the largest hits of the summer contains the classic rape excuse, "You know you want it" aka "She wants to have sex with me she just isn't saying yes," people aren't totally outraged. When men try to take away the ability for a women to choose whether or not to have a surgical procedure, we aren't outraged that this is an acceptable political position that reinforces the notion that a woman does not have the ability to make a choice about her own body. When a woman makes a suggestion that in schools we should have "anti-rape training" so as to promote a culture where rape is less acceptable than it obviously is today given the statistics, the response is, "That's a waste of time. I never raped someone and never went through a training like that." If we were truly outraged about the far too high percentage of women raped and the devastation it causes, we'd say, "Yes, I'll sacrifice some of my time if this possibly lessens the number of women that undergo sexual assault from the ridiculously high proportion of 20%." I'm not going to say that positive thinking and hope and love and whatever you prescribe to fix the problem can not be used, it should definitely be used if it has any chance of fixing this problem that is insanely large. It should be used even if it doesn't have a chance. But there is also a necessity for making the world better understand the devastation that is caused for far too many women in our world. In a world where rape jokes are acceptable as edgy humor, we have a lot more to learn about the extreme seriousness of this situation.

386106164@twitter (#246,046)

@anon1580 Why does the rape experience have to have a positive outcome? There's nothing positive about it – why can't she just feel shit about what happened to her, because it was shit.

Helen L (#246,048)

@Rellikdog Rape has nothing to do with the "evolutionary drive to procreate"; it's about exerting control over another human being. It's not an accident or some impulse that men are unable to repress. To assume that is to assume that all men are naturally rapists–that rape is part of a man's default setting and that it takes strong effort of will to prevent oneself from raping.

@Jocasta Carr for the record I definitely am on your side and I think anon1580's comment about not being negative about rape was extremely misguided. That being said, I'm going to be unpopular for a minute and pick on you: "For one goddamn second can we hear what she is saying, can we listen and empathize with how truly awful and damaging it is to the soul to have something like that happen to you, without policing her feelings and her reaction to what happened and without immediately saying "but what about the man?""

I've encountered variations on this statement in numerous internet debates and it drives me crazy almost every time. The problem is that almost everyone on this board has expressed only support and admiration for the author of this poem. So almost everyone is reacting the way you think (and I think) is most appropriate. However, there are people in this world (and I am one) who are not particularly interested in adding another "I agree" to the pile, because at a certain point it becomes meaningless. There are certain types of intransigent problems which can only be solved by stepping back and looking at things a different way than conventional wisdom would suggest. I think anon1580 is barking up the wrong tree with the whole "avoid being negative" thing, but I do think that it's worth exploring the concept to see if it makes sense. I 100% agree with you that it's not Patricia's job to do this. Her poem is perfect as is and I wouldn't dare change a thing. But can the rest of us use it as starting point for a conversation that may go in other directions? I think absolutely.

Here's another way to look at it. Your demand that "for one goddamned second can we hear what she is saying?" has been met by 95% of the people on this board. To demand that the remaining 5% march in lockstep is, imo, asking unreasonably much of humanity, which is an extremely large and diverse group of people. I believe, in any discussion, we need the 5% to bring us the differing viewpoints from which true innovation and enlightenment emerge. Most of those outside the box ideas will be wrong. Almost all of them will be wrong in fact. But we owe it to human progress to allow and encourage a lot of wrong ideas to be aired and discussed so that we can find the 1 in 100 that shows us a truth we wouldn't have found otherwise. As I said, I don't believe anon1580 has found that truth, but I can't jump aboard the "s/he shouldn't have even said it" train. I guess what I'm saying is, we should be able to disagree without bemoaning the fact that disagreement exists. Disagreement is vital in any discussion. (edited for grammar fixes)

drpkp (#246,071)

@anon1580 Not offended just sorry for your lack of ability to understand powerful irony.

drpkp (#246,071)

@Rellikdog I have never heard of any study anecdotal or scientific which has found that the act of rape is predicated upon a biological imperative – the comparison falls short.

caligirl06 (#246,082)

@anon1580 so a person who has experienced rape should self-censor herself to create a more "positive environment" for potential rapists?
no. education and prevention come from people speaking out if they want to.

sinplicity (#246,161)

@anon1580 Would it be fair to say that a rewording of your position might be, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, not more lemons"? And that, by feeding other people the lemonade, they too will be less likely to sow lemons, so that eventually there are no more lemons? If so, you're placing an awful lot of trust in the healing power of lemonade, but it's a very sweet idea.

Whereas, to stretch the metaphor, Ms Lockwood might be said to be holding her lemon up in front of everyone and making them take a bite to realise the bitterness of lemons. An educational approach rather than a reformative one, but still helpful, surely?

@anon1580 I'll be less nice than everyone else and ask you – are you fucking high? What kind of peace and love hazy bullshit paradise do you live in that you DARE come and criticize a poem – A POEM – for not doing everything you think it should do? Where's your fucking poem?

Instead of trolling people on The Awl, which, thank god, which don't usually get so many anons and twitter users and what have you – why don't YOU go and make up some positive bullshit about how getting raped turned into a really neat experience because you had an epiphany, or whatever other absolute bullshit you think you have the right to criticize others for not doing. Unbelievable. Actually unbelievable that someone could read this piece and have the utter nerve and total lack of human empathy or even a common understanding of WHAT FUCKING POETRY IS and how rape survivors don't have to spend their lives recovering in the way you think necessary.

Inconclusion, Jesus fucking Christ, you're an asshole.

cdiaz71 (#246,467)

@drpkp –You stated: "I have never heard of any study anecdotal or scientific which has found that the act of rape is predicated upon a biological imperative – the comparison falls short."

Well, here's a research note that provides an entire literature review on the evolutionary psychological reasons that men rape. Turns out, we're not much different from our primate cousins, and for that matter, other animals (birds, reptiles, amphibians).

http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/gpr/12/1/86/

snipercatz (#258,572)

@katerpillar are you serious? HELLO?!?! The poem is about the authors experience being raped. Perhaps you're too damn dumb to realize that because the piece was complex and articulate

anon1580 (#245,970)

@SarcasticFringehead go back to your hive I stand by my point. All this post does is reaffirm negativity. How about instead of telling people to not rape and not get raped you could instead reaffirm love and respect for one another in manner that renders the roots of rape defenseless. Whether you are offended or not, I have a point.

listen, lady (#245,976)

@anon1580 no! you actually don't! really! you don't! sorry!

anon1580 (#245,970)

@listen, lady sad that you think so for someone who has been a victim.. bless you I hope you have a wonderful day, just give some thought to what I believe:) it came from experience..

dawson (#245,977)

@anon1580 You have a point about raising kids to respect and be respected, but it is entirely separate from the experience of being raped. Your response is disrespectful; it invalidates and negates the experience of rape victims everywhere.

This poem doesn't have to "reaffirm" that rape exists: rape exists. Pretending that it doesn't, and that we can make the complex personal, societal, and cultural factors that drive the crime of rape disappear by "reaffirming love", is absurd.

I recommend you take your own suggestion. Begin by showing love and respect for rape victims like the author of this piece.

Jocasta Carr (#245,052)

@anon1580 Right, because "go back to your hive" is definitely both loving and respectful.

anon8015 (#245,984)

@dawson when did you become so pious that you fail to realize i AM a victim you dumb ignorant fuck.. take my own suggestions do you even realize what you're saying?? GET OUT

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@anon8015 "you dumb ignorant fuck."

Haha… so much for being opposed to negativity, I guess?

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@listen, lady saying "no you don't" is not a logically valid counter argument

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Rellikdog Stop creating new accounts for each post, dimwit. That was not intended as a "logically valid counter argument" but as a ridicule, because you don't deserve an argument.

anon8015 (#245,984)

@Niko Bellic you're right, would be nice if I didn't feel like I had to use that type of language to get my logically valid point accross. Maybe I'll write a short story that deliberately feeds on negativity and ignores the gravity of the problem, call it a poem, and watch the vagina warriors line up to fight for a cause they are disillusioned by. I'm upset just like everyone else but its not because I'm feeding on negativity its because I'm frustrated that a victim can be treated so crassly just because I don't agree with the cause. Whether you like it or not, I am a victim of sexual violence, and the way I've been treated on this page is nothing short of repulsive.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@Niko Bellic Why don't I deserve an argument? Also why is it that I am not allowed to agree with a post without being anew account?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@anon8015 I know, I know… you are the "black" guy on racism thread arguing for black people to stop complaining about racism because it's too negative and aggressive. It's been done to death and it never works. Just drop it.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Rellikdog You don't deserve an argument because you are not smart enough and you are not educated enough (especially not to argue something so preposterous that you had to preface it with "bare with me"). This is not an elementary school. We don't have "no child left behind" policy here.

anon8150 (#245,992)

@Niko Bellic whether you like it or not, THERE REALLY ARE people that think that women deserve to be raped in various situations or that they "were asking for it" and when vagina warriors like you go spouting off about equating rapists with victims it reaffirms the stereotypes that result in sexual tension. To make the assumption that men are violent sexual aggressors does nothing but reaffirm the stereotypes and supresses aggression until the response is the unnatural frequency of agression. I am NOT saying that this isn't an issue that needs to be discussed because it is too offensive like your example (incredibly speculative by the way). What IS offensive is that its easier for people to say crucify me because I don't agree when in reality I AM a victim of sexual aggression and the way I've been treated on this page is nothing short of repulsive. But no, according to you, just because I don't agree, I am a misygonist instead of a victim. GREAT.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@Niko Bellic uhm… Niko you seem to be confused… I am not Anon, I have never before posted as an anon. I use this handle all over the internet. I was directed here from a link on Jeph Jacques twitter because I am a fan of his web comic(Questionable Content(check it out)). No where on this message board have I typed a phrase even closely resembling "bare with me." I'm not sure how you came to the conclusion that I am too uneducated to participate in the discussion because I pointed out that just saying nonononono doesn't really further the conversation in any way shape or form.

anon8150 (#245,992)

@Rellikdog he's right, I'M anon and this is my 3rd account because someone seems to have a problem with my first ammendment rights.

The First Amendment is about the government. I'm not the government. I'm a proud American private business owner who likes to delete blog comments.

@Choire Sicha <3 you Choire

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@anon8150 This is a privately owned site. You have no "rights" here, you dimwit.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

I'm sorry anon but these people are either too fucking stupid or too emotionally involved to actually read the posts.

@Toast
1. I am not a rape victim… but anon is. (point rellikdog)You can argue that anon was lying but to that same degree we can argue that Ms. Lockwood is lying and I'm sure no one is affirming that… I certainly am not.
2. I agree with you(point toast)
3. I agree but you are setting up a straw man argument by misrepresenting our point. It was Jocasta Carr who first posted " It's not Patricia's job to provide us with an outlet for positivity or to explain why it happened – it happened because the guy was a fucking rapist, period."
To which anon replied, "For you to say that the guy in this story did what he did because "he was a rapist, period" is as ignorant and offensive as saying women deserve to get raped."
The point being that he is not a rapist… he is a human who raped another human… the devil is in the details. Anon was pointing out that to say "he did it because he was a rapist" is ignoring everything integral to the actual discussion on our comprehension of rape and there is no way we will ever determine a solution without first broadening our comprehension of the problem. (point rellikdog)

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@toast. yes he is a rapist but we are arguing over terminology at this point. Before the rape he was not. To say he did it because he was a rapist is logically invalid. Anon wanted a poem not about the fact that he is a rapist but rather a poem about what made him become one.(unless you believe he was born one which is a point of view I personally cannot subscribe to.)
To your first point Anon was very unspecific about their experience and never even specified their gender. So you have no ground to say what they did or did not experience and what is unique and what is not to each experience.
Thank you again for the intelligible back and forth

monstrosity (#246,032)

@Rellikdog It seems to me that the last person to ask to write a poem about why someone committed a rape is the person who was raped by that person. If that is what Anon wants, Anon should appeal to the rapist.

That said, I don't think that is what Anon was asking for. I'm not sure what Anon was asking for. I would just like to advocate for the author's right to express feelings about their experience, whether they be positive or negative or some mixture of both. Art is for the person creating the art, and if any of the rest of us get something out of it, so much the better. And this poem has resonated with a large number of us, so I am glad that it is in the world.

@anon8150 I'm sorry, where did someone make the assumption that men are violent sexual aggressors? RAPISTS are violent sexual aggressors. Some men are rapists. Not all men are rapists.

Loving each other is not a magical "cure-all." Having parents who love and respect you does not mean you will not grow up to do awful things to people. My rapist had loving parents. The problem is not that simple. If a victim wants to share their story, they should do so. Talking about it helps other victims, and it may help prevent others from becoming victims in the first place. Talking about it helps men to understand (to the extent they can) what it's like to be a rape victim. It helps them be more compassionate in their own relationships with women who have been raped. There was no harm in this post. The only harm was in the chain of events that led to its creation.

loud and proud (#246,325)

@Niko Bellic – Awesome point – s/he's the "black" guy on racism thread…!

JMC398201 (#268,633)

@anon1580 @rellikdog @Niko Bellic
This entire discussion is demeaning to the subject.
This is a POEM. A POEM is something people write to express inner thoughts, feelings, private experiences in a way that feels safer because you aren't saying it to someone's face. It took a lot of guts for her to post about this, and then for the three of you to go on and on Bitching over wording back and forth is disgusting and disrespectful and the author of the poem doesn't need to see it.

anon "Vagina warriors" that is some bullshit language buddy, offensive and disrespectful of the people fighting for women's rights, because there is STILL a very real problem with inequality.
and when you said," ..and when vagina warriors like you go spouting off about equating rapists with victims it reaffirms the stereotypes that result in sexual tension." You unveiled a prejudice against "vagina warriors" which i can only deduce means feminists. Do you respect women anon? if the answer is yes you are a feminist too, if you don't then i don't give a single damn. ah look at that i wasn't telling you how to post, think or feel about anything or instruct you in how to post personal materials.

to niko and rellikdog, the proper spelling is "bear with me" not "bare with me"
that in and of itself showed a little stupidity on both of your parts. and Niko, you aren't really helping your cause posting angrily which makes you look like a pissed off child with no real argument to champion.
Rellikdog you started with good intentions then got pissy that you were being attacked for supporting someone who (though apparently also a "victim of sexual aggression" )made comments that he was aware were going to cause a stir and then was unable to actually handle it when there was a fall out.

The fact is ( similar to Pedophilia) rape is normally about power. the power you have to take what you want, the power you have over another person, the power you have to get away with it because no one will believe them. Honestly the only way to make someone with this need for power is to present them with something they fear. Consequences.
Harsh, and unprejudiced consequence. If a person with these "urges" knew the consequence for having sex with that drunk girl without consent, or for sleeping with that man because, "he's a man, he wants it or he's gay" or whatever their justification, if they knew that they would have their penis, or their uterus and all other reproductive organs, surgically removed and then sent to prison, Rape would become very rare indeed. If judges and police officers, family, actually took the victim seriously rape would become one of those terrible things that decreased rapidly overnight.

But this isn't the place for this discussion. This is a poem about how the author was finally able to tell everyone her story, in an elegant, heart wrenching series of words that translate that she felt betrayed, angry, cynical, hurt about the situation.

This is not a discussion board about the policies of Rape.

To the author:
I experienced molestation from the time i was 4 to about the time i was 6 by someone who was supposed to protect me, When i was 6 i finally told my mom about the funny videos he showed me when he did it. and when i was 12 i finally told the psychologist everything.
when i went to sign the papers, circle the body parts on the little pictures of the boy and girl, when i finally wasn't scared to speak anymore, They told me there was nothing they could do. I had waited to long and i was too young. I couldn't possibly remember, i was maybe making things up. but i know he'll get his comeuppance. I have faith because the world is slowly becoming more aware that it can't keep the ugly truths in the dark.

glasstwizzlestix (#242,762)

The funniest rape joke I ever heard went like this:

One guy to another: "…I mean, he definitely raped her– that definitely qualifies as a rape– but other than that, he seems like a nice guy."

Thank you for this extraordinary poem.

Zuru (#245,979)

Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem!

mama&her2boys (#245,981)

I do not have an account here, but I had to create one because this I just had to say, amazing writing. The pain ran so deep I felt it, and I just want to humbly say thank you for sharing this poem with us.

Miguel (#245,983)

That was the most deep poem I have read in so many years. I have three daughters and if that happened to them, I would be devastated. The poet was so dislodged from the action it was almost as if she was watching this terrible tragedy happen. If it is true, it is a travesty, if not it has the same feeling in my heart. Blessings to the great writer. Miguel

Jules jordan (#245,949)

oh, get over yourself, you attention whore. he was your boyfriend. you were drunk. he was drunk. that aint rape. you're not a survivor, you're not important and no one feels bad for you. you're the rape joke.

Elmo Keep@twitter (#192,504)

@Jules jordan How very, very unfortunate for you, that you are stuck being the person you are for the rest of your life.

348882015@twitter (#245,998)

@Elmo Keep@twitter This jules jordan character lacks for personal growth and emotional empathy.

loud and proud (#246,325)

@Jules jordan – Jules Jordan is just a joke. I hope he remembers his dumb comment here when he has more wisdom and intelligence (possibly another 40 years from now), and feels the intense shame he should feel about this cruelty.

508264674@twitter (#245,985)

Wow. Powerful and beautiful. I'm speechless – and that pretty much never happens.

Also: anonweasel, please go away. For the sake of the author and other survivors on this thread. You may mean well – may – but regardless, you are harming people. Stop.

(@irisvanderpluym)

anon8015 (#245,984)

@508264674@twitter Tall, blonde, blue eyes, full chest, skimpy clothes. Is this pretty close to the way society portrays what a woman should be? Yet somehow my good intentions come to question and are harming people for exposing the value system that reinforces sexual inequality? I have said this a thousand times I am not intending to be offensive. Look at how woman are portrayed in the media. I would be harming people by NOT standing up and saying that sexual violence is a symptom of a broken understanding of sexuality in our society, NOT the cause of it.

@anon8015 You're not communicating very well. Your intentions are irrelevant in this case. You don't make people stop raping by telling the victim's to shut up and deal with it the way YOU think they should. That's unbelievable condescending and disrespectful. You think sexuality is broken? Or is it working exactly as it should when patriarchal mores and values permeate our culture? Look up the "Don't be That Guy" ad campaign if you want to help disseminate a strategy that might actually reduce cases where men rape women. Policing how others deal with their trauma is seriously assholish. Which I hope you're got by now.

franzo (#245,987)

important message, really not great as a poem tho

508264674@twitter (#245,985)

Ooh look everyone! Thankfully, Jules jordan – who is totally not an "attention whore" – is here to 'splain to all of us who empathize with and relate to this poem and its author that we really, really don't.

IgotthisISWEAR (#245,193)

This is upsetting and brilliant. Thank you for writing this.

46530125@twitter (#245,991)

…This…just made a lot of things click for me. Thank you for writing it…

hapax (#6,251)

This poem changed me. Thank you.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

First and foremost I wanted to say that I found this poem to inspire many emotions and be a great work of art. I have no problem what-so-ever with the poem but only a slight misunderstanding of the rhetoric used therein.

Why call it a rape joke? Rape is never a joke, much like murder. The thing about a joke is that it is just that… a joke… The difference (as i see it) is that it can only be a joke if it has no basis in reality. We joke about a variety of gruesome things in my culture, rape included, and not nearly the worst. (last time I checked rape victims are still alive unlike the victims of lynching, war, aids, cancer, parental abuse, miscarriages, etc.) Why is rape the only thing no longer acceptable to joke about?

Again I think this was an incredible poem… my only suggestion is that I would have called it "The Rape" instead of adding joke to the end. Because again… if it really happened to you… then it's not a joke.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Rellikdog my only suggestion is that I would have called it "The Rape"
Nah. The poem you would write should be called Stupid Joke.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@Niko Bellic The poem I would write would be called "regret." You should write a poem about how you know everything everyone everywhere has ever been through.

katerpillar (#245,461)

@Rellikdog "Because again… if it really happened to you… then it's not a joke."

I think this is part of the point.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@katerpillar I understand the point and the irony behind it. I just wanted to voice my opinion that I thought it would have been better written literally.

And to those who say I have no right to critique her work, this is part of the artistic process. I have self published on the internet and my poetry got TORN TO SHREDS. I appreciated the opinions because he at least they took the time to read it and in the end my art is my own and I have no obligation or compulsion to change it to appease others. If you really can't handle someones respectful questioning of or suggestions for your art then DO NOT put it on the internet or ever show it to anyone… whether it was inspired by trauma or not. Good night all and thanks again to Ms. Lockwood for sharing this with us.

katerpillar (#245,461)

@Rellikdog Of course you are entitled to provide your opinion on the construction of the poem. Perhaps I am confused about your point. You say that "rape is never a joke," then that rape is not the worst of things that are joked about because the victims live, and then you question why rape is unacceptable as a subject for jokes. This seems to me to be missing an understanding of what makes "rape joke" an effective device. If you haven't already gone to bed, I'd love to chat for a sec about what makes rape jokes a little rougher than jokes about war or cancer. For the record, I doubt that jokes about lynching would be all that acceptable, either.

drpkp (#246,071)

@Rellikdog I think that the "Rape Joke" can be interpreted as the 'rapist' and the most profound form of healing and devictimization is when one can laugh at one's abuser – i.e. Springtime for Hitler, where Nazi's became an object of ridicule. When that transition can truly be felt the "power" has truly shifted. Just a thought.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@toast Where did your comment go? I actually thought you had good points to make and I enjoyed responding to you.

stewbert (#245,999)

My rape joke was my husband. I divorced him and I haven't spoken to him in years, and even then, he insisted I remembered our marriage differently than he did. Thanks for your poem.

amativus (#9,835)

I'm really sorry that these pieces of shit in the commenst think this is an appropriate time or place to give us their unwanted opinions.

I think this is one of the best pieces the Awl has ever published. I hope writing this was helpful to you in some way. I hope you're getting what you need, whatever that might be.

Rellikdog (#245,988)

@amativus The intrinsic purpose of the comment section is to voice your opinion…

I am not a reader of awl but I agree with your second point maybe next time make it without the drivel that came out first

whateverlolawants (#19,108)

@Rellikdog I think one should at least consider the impact of their comments. And also observe the commenting standards and group norms of the website that they are visiting.

@Rellikdog Time for you to fuck off from the Awl comment section and never return. What – did some shitty "Men's Rights Activist" site send an alert out, or what? Ugh. Go hang out at A Voice for Men.

whateverlolawants (#19,108)

I could never write such a thing publicly, due largely to many of the comments I've seen on here. It would just devastate me (and then I'd be further criticized for being devastated.) But thank you for sharing it with those people who need to read it, and I wish you peace and joy.

liftedeyes (#246,016)

"The rape joke is that you asked why he did it. The rape joke is he said he didn’t know, like what else would a rape joke say?"

That line is where heaven meets earth. Or in other words, that was when this went from being a fantastic poem to one that I saw my own story in. This was the answer my sexual assaulter (aka my ex) gave me. I didn't know it was a "common" situation. Thank you for posting this

The rape joke is the "related stories" links that keep changing but always reflect a very different view of women that The Awl pretends to present here. I've never read anything on this site before, and I never will again. Examples:

RELATED STORIES
–Korean Ladies: Not as naturally skinny as they'd have you believe.
–"Then it’s time for the gang bang"
–Lena Dunham, Adele, Lady Gaga, Amy Adams All Very Ugly, Says "Esquire"
–How Slutty Can You Be And Still Trick Someone Into Loving You? –

Oh for pete's sake. Do you have ZERO reading comprehension? You're a very silly person.

jolie (#16)

@Choire Sicha Thank you for coming in and addressing these comments. I woke up this morning and was like, "Did I dream that comments section up or did it really happen?"

Stunning piece, nonetheless.

Julia duMais (#237,428)

@First time, last time oh, sweetie, I think you may be my favorite.

monstrosity (#246,032)

Tricia Lockwood, thank you for this beautiful piece.

Helen L (#246,048)

Thank you for this beautiful poem.

Magic Mike (#246,049)

Great stuff. Makes me want to pop my copy of Irreversible in the old dvd player with my lotion and Kleenex and relax to the smooth sounds of a screaming Monica Bellucci. Cheers!

@Magic Mike Hey look, a soulless maggot who will die alone. Cheers!

KarenUhOh (#19)

The piece? Good work.

The comments? Good lord.

jolie (#16)

@KarenUhOh Honestly, I cannot begin to understand what happened here. (What happened here?)

brettfish (#246,061)

Wow, great powerful piece of writing but heart-breaking and i am sorry that you had to go through that. I'm also sorry that it didn't take long for the stupids to take over and mess up the comments section but i hope it won't stop you from reading all the positive responses to your writing. i hope you found some people in your life who were able to listen and be what you needed them to be in that space. much love.

Craig Brownson (#4,257)

Thank you, this piece is incredible. Also don't mind some of the commenters, they aren't from around here and are having a hard time right now.

Positive Mojo (#246,065)

Rape Joke

The rape joke is that you were 19 years old.

The rape joke is that she was your girlfriend.

The rape joke it wore a goatee. A goatee.

Imagine the rape joke looking in the mirror, perfectly reflecting back itself, and grooming itself to look more like a rape joke. “Ahhhh,” it thinks. “Yes. A goatee.”

No offense.

The rape joke is that she was seven years older. The rape joke is that you had known her for years, since you were too young to be interesting to her. You liked that use of the word interesting, as if you were a piece of knowledge that someone could be desperate to acquire, to assimilate, and to spit back out in different form through her goateed mouth.

Then suddenly you were older, but not very old at all.

The rape joke is that you had been drinking wine coolers. Wine coolers! Who drinks wine coolers? People who get raped, according to the rape joke.

The rape joke is she was a bouncer, and kept people out for a living.

Not you!

The rape joke is that she carried a knife, and would show it to you, and would turn it over and over in her hands as if it were a book.

She wasn’t threatening you, you understood. She just really liked her knife.

The rape joke is she once almost murdered a dude by throwing him through a plate-glass window. The next day she told you and she was trembling, which you took as evidence of her sensitivity.

How can a piece of knowledge be stupid? But of course you were so stupid.

The rape joke is that sometimes she would tell you you were going on a date and then take you over to her best friend Peewee’s house and make you watch wrestling while they all got high.

The rape joke is that her best friend was named Peewee.

OK, the rape joke is that he worshiped The Rock.

Like she was completely in love with The Rock. She thought it was so great what he could do with his eyebrow.

The rape joke is she called wrestling “a soap opera for men.” Men love drama too, she assured you.

The rape joke is that her bookshelf was just a row of paperbacks about serial killers. You mistook this for an interest in history, and laboring under this misapprehension you once gave her a copy of Günter Grass’s My Century, which she never read.

It gets funnier.

The rape joke is that she kept a diary. I wonder if she wrote about the rape in it.

The rape joke is that you read it once, and she talked about another boy. She called him Master Geography, and said “she didn’t have those urges when he looked at him anymore,” not since she met you. Close call, Master Geography!

The rape joke is that she was your father’s high-school student—your father taught World Religion. You helped her clean out her classroom at the end of the year, and she let you take home the most beat-up textbooks.

The rape joke is that she knew you when you were 12 years old. She once helped your family move two states over, and you drove from Cincinnati to St. Louis with her, all by yourselves, and she was kind to you, and you talked the whole way. She had chaw in his mouth the entire time, and you told her she was disgusting and she laughed, and spat the juice through her goatee into a Mountain Dew bottle.

The rape joke is that come on, you should have seen it coming. This rape joke is practically writing itself.

The rape joke is that you were facedown. The rape joke is you were wearing a pretty green necklace that your sister had made for you. Later you cut that necklace up. The mattress felt a specific way, and your mouth felt a specific way open against it, as if you were speaking, but you know you were not. As if your mouth were open ten years into the future, reciting a poem called Rape Joke.

The rape joke is that time is different, becomes more horrible and more habitable, and accommodates your need to go deeper into it.

Just like the body, which more than a concrete form is a capacity.

You know the body of time is elastic, can take almost anything you give it, and heals quickly.

The rape joke is that of course there was blood, which in human beings is so close to the surface.

The rape joke is you went home like nothing happened, and laughed about it the next day and the day after that, and when you told people you laughed, and that was the rape joke.

It was a year before you told your parents, because she was like a daughter to them. The rape joke is that when you told your father, he made the sign of the cross over you and said, “I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” which even in its total wrongheadedness, was so completely sweet.

The rape joke is that you were crazy for the next five years, and had to move cities, and had to move states, and whole days went down into the sinkhole of thinking about why it happened. Like you went to look at your backyard and suddenly it wasn’t there, and you were looking down into the center of the earth, which played the same red event perpetually.

The rape joke is that after a while you weren’t crazy anymore, but close call, Master Geography.

The rape joke is that for the next five years all you did was write, and never about yourself, about anything else, about apples on the tree, about islands, dead poets and the worms that aerated them, and there was no warm body in what you wrote, it was elsewhere.

The rape joke is that this is finally artless. The rape joke is that you do not write artlessly.

The rape joke is if you write a poem called Rape Joke, you’re asking for it to become the only thing people remember about you.

The rape joke is that you asked why she did it. The rape joke is he said she didn’t know, like what else would a rape joke say? The rape joke said YOU were the one who was drunk, and the rape joke said you remembered it wrong, which made you laugh out loud for one long split-open second. The wine coolers weren’t Bartles & Jaymes, but it would be funnier for the rape joke if they were. It was some pussy flavor, like Passionate Mango or Destroyed Strawberry, which you drank down without question and trustingly in the heart of Cincinnati Ohio.

Can rape jokes be funny at all, is the question.

Can any part of the rape joke be funny. The part where it ends—haha, just kidding! Though you did dream of killing the rape joke for years, spilling all of its blood out, and telling it that way.

The rape joke cries out for the right to be told.

The rape joke is that this is just how it happened.

The rape joke is that the next day she gave you Pet Sounds. No really. Pet Sounds. She said she was sorry and then she gave you Pet Sounds. Come on, that’s a little bit funny.

Admit it.

Jesterofdeath (#246,077)

@Positive Mojo LOL, actually, suddenly you made it super funny.

KarenUhOh (#19)

@Positive Mojo I don't get it.

@Positive Mojo Oh honestly. Do you think for one second anyone here is denying that women rape men? It happens. It happens on the order about 15 to 1, but it happens. It is devastating. It is wrong. But no, not everything about rape on the internet needs to immediately be scolded because men get raped too. You MRA douchebags need to go back to skulking on youtube and okcupid.

serahfray (#245,844)

=)

drpkp (#246,071)

I am a writer and a psychoanalyst and responding through eyes blurry with tears – This is powerful writing on a searingly powerful subject – Whatever power you may have felt was attempted to be taken has been restored ten-fold. …..

catwomyn (#246,446)

I read this shortly after it was published. Came back today as I moaned on FB about how little useful dialogue can happen on internet sites because everything that happens in life is overdetermined. Each commentator offers one of these causes or insights or perspectives and then everyone else argues about how that one point is not the point that they would make. A friend sent me to theawl as the best place for potentially intelligent dialogue. finally registered so that I can comment. Can never understand the "NO…BUT" attitude when an also/and mindset is the most obvious and useful.

1450037982@twitter (#246,075)

Jeez, I can't breathe. What a haunting and heart-breaking read. Her use of words and the rhythm she puts them to, amazing.

Jesterofdeath (#246,077)

You are pretty messed up aren't you?

1358297388@twitter (#246,079)

hey guys whats going on here

This is a terrible piece of writing.

@Matthew David Wilder@facebook And you're a terrible person, so it all works out.

loud and proud (#246,325)

@Hiroine Protagonist – you crack me up! Thanks for your "slam the door on their faces" comments!

snipercatz (#258,572)

@loud and proud <—- yet another proud rapist. You're sooooo transparent. Sit and spin asshole

Comment Deleted (#246,091)

I know a girl who was molested by her father AND her uncle. She went through foster homes, shuffled around by child protective services until she turned 18. When she was in her older teens, she developed an addiction to oxycontin (and briefly heroin), got pregnant with two girls. She was engaged briefly to the dad. Eventually she left her fiancee and two daughters and moved to another state and got married to another woman who has been in jail for molesting children. They moved in with the uncle who raped her, and they live in a fucked up spiral of depression, anger, violence, isolation and drug abuse.

I wish with all of my soul that I was making this up.

Reading this I thought of her. Her life got completely fucked up. SHE was a victim. A victim of her rapists, of the System, of the shame and social stigma of incest committed by BOTH her father and her uncle.

Something tells me if she read this "poem", she'd laugh in your face. She doesn't give a fuck about feminism, or rape culture, or privilege checking. She probably doesn't even care about other rape victims. All she cares about is getting fucked up. She is completely and totally destroyed, mind body and soul, untouched and unaffected by "beautiful/amazing/heartbreaking" "poems" like this. SHE is a victim. SHE is ignored. You wont hear her story on some fucking blog.

Great job Patricia, you capitalized on some sort of twitter uproar over rape jokes by writing a bad poem called "The Rape Joke", which details your (1) experience with rape by your white trash BOYFRIEND and posting it on some crap website. I now FINALLY understand why rape jokes aren't funny!

@Comment Deleted. You are a cyst on the ass of humanity. Your ignorance is astounding. "Something" tells you? Oh, well then, by all means, police the internet scolding people for their responses to similar trauma! You fucking asshole.

loud and proud (#246,325)

@Comment Deleted – I can see how you're hurting for the "girl" who was repeatedly raped by family members and has buried her life in drugs. This woman you know IS one of the reasons rape jokes aren't funny. Rape devastates and destroys, whether it's as obvious as in the case of the woman you know, or when it's not so obvious because the devastation is all internal. You're right, she won't be blogging about her experiences. Whatever she could have become was completely destroyed by her years of rape. Now, she puts her children in the same harm's way. So, the cycles will be repeated. At some point, hopefully, someone in that circle of people they know will make police reports for the new victims, the children will find safe protective homes, and they can break out of the devastating behaviors. And, how awful their lives are, doesn't negate that others are victimized and devastated deeply by rape as well. It is often through the arts that others can get some healing. That happened with this poem, some women commented that it helped them with their experiences. Your anger shows clearly through your comment. However, the ones you are probably really angry at are the woman's father and uncle, who ruined any chance of her living the life she could have had.

PlatoSunTsu (#246,501)

@Comment Deleted
So because Patricia was only raped by her "BOYFRIEND" she is suspect AND her level of suffering is, according to you, minimized because her life isn't as destitute as 'the girl you know'.
So if I tell you about a 6 year old girl in India that is raped daily (and can pretty much expect that for the rest of her life)for a bowl of curry, then according to your faulty logic that my story invalidates the suffering of the 'girl you know' right?…I'm sure the girl in India wouldn't know what a "feminist" or even a "blog" is.
It's all about comparing stories about who has or knows someone who has suffered more right?
How about we forget about all that and just acknowledge that Patricia has suffered and written something that was probably painful and scary and maybe even absolving and then she bravely put it out there to share with us.
We can only hope that neither of us ever have to experience that.

1416329497@twitter (#251,864)

@ Comment Deleted
Your anger is misplaced. I'm sure what your friend went through has crippled her emotionally, but if she can get the right counselling, she may be better able to empathize with other people's pain. Trauma like hers makes a person totally inward-focused. So you're right at what she would probably think. But that is not a healthy attitude and will only perpetuate her anger and suffering.

Jerzygirl45@twitter (#246,106)

I am so very sorry you went through the rape, the hurt, the victimization and betrayal of your trust. Thank you for sharing this.
Be well

csr (#246,132)

This let me feel the pain of the event and the catharsis of surviving. I've read it several times over several days and it loses none of its power.

Lol I love Pet Sounds.

And stop apologizing. I hardly believe she wrote this so she can have a throng of people that she doesn't know give their condolences. Sorry doesn't prevent it from happening. Your pity is pathetic.

snipercatz (#258,572)

@Contemporary Cynicism oh well shit. let's just be heartless assholes like you!!! No it doesn't prevent rape from happening but that's NO REASON to offer condolences to someone it did happen to. Sit and spin

This is a fantastic piece of work. I think I got a little less crazy myself just from reading it.

Note to self: stop overriding Comment Blocker.

Paul West (#246,179)

The rape joke is Pet Sounds because of the ANIMALISTIC sounds you made as you were made love to, not raped.

Knock, knock
Who's there?
A lengthy poem about rape
A lengthy poem about rape who?
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

@Paul West Douchebag.

snipercatz (#258,572)

@Paul West<—- yet ANOTHER ignorant piece of trash! I hope you're raped douche bag so I can laugh my ass off at you!!

BandGirl (#246,185)

My rape joke gave me yellow roses and robitussin the next day. He's now an Ob/Gyn.

Sandy B (#247,205)

@BandGirl Did the ob/gyn blow a load in you missionary style or was it an ass-to-mouth finish?

snipercatz (#258,572)

@Sandy B you're a piece of trash "sandy". Everyone here realizes you're a dude!! What a pussy to hide behind the name of a woman as if to legitimize your ignorant and hateful comments. Burn in hell

para-esthesiac (#246,223)

the rape joke is that he and he and he are all fathers and i am barren. of feeling.

jamesrode (#246,272)

Perfect!!

loud and proud (#246,325)

@hiroine protagonist – BRAVO!
PL – amazing, poignant, a detailed painted story, beautiful! Cheers to your continuing recovery!

At this point, maybe we should stop responding to the know-nothings. It seems to encourage them to write more non-sense.

Anise (#2,616)

The rape joke said, "I hope nothing bad happened because of what I did."

118500617@twitter (#246,353)

I was going to write this huge missive on the topic, and about how you can't single out rape jokes versus other horrible topics (I even had a snarky quip about how the author's hands must hurt from writing the same article about cancer jokes and 9/11 jokes, etc.), and that you either can tell jokes about taboo topics or you can't.

My last sentence was something to the tune of, "well if it offends you, don't listen to it", as is my go-to argument about comedy and "offensive" media in general.

Finally I realized that I'M THE ASSHOLE. She wasn't writing this for me. I found this article through a link of another website, and who knows, I may never come across this website again. Maybe I should take my own advice and not read an article about rape jokes if I know I would be so sensitive about the topic.

CarsonB (#246,420)

I would like to apologize, on behalf of men, that you were treated without the respect that you deserve. I regret there was not one of the honorable ones among us there to protect you when you needed it. If you hold a grudge, I understand, and I request that you forgive us for what happened.

46243276@twitter (#246,474)

Just read this…DANG. Powerful emotions. I wasn't able to even understand many of the lines, and for that, I'm beyond blessed. Makes me wonder just why the heck humans were gifted/acquired free will. It's sick.

144123191@twitter (#246,512)

We run a Feminist online Magazine in Germany (frauenseiten.bremen.de) and wanted to make Rape Joke available to our Readers. So we made a Translation – "Der Vergewaltigungswitz" (unauthorized, obviously) and posted it with an article http://www.frauenseiten.bremen.de/frauenseiten_startseite/ Maybe other german Readers will be interested. Glenys – for frauenseiten.bremen.de

Have a nice day (#246,850)

My vocabulary isn't good enough to explain how great this poem is.

mollystene (#246,857)

the rape joke is having this name for twenty-two years before "hearing it"

1445515801@twitter (#246,946)

The rape joke is that if your position on this poem is not one that Women Online Right Now have given you permission to have, you will be judged to be sexist and probably a rapist yourself. Your defensiveness (noted above) which appears simply sharp observation and clarification, not 'defensiveness' will be noted with glee and it will hang in the air and be poked at with sticks until it falls apart, which only some false allegations eventually are. You will claim that's okay, really it is, and because you assented – we heard you say it, you can't take it back – it was not a violation of you. The Rape joke is that it is always too soon. The rape joke is that it is never amusing, which means anything clever will always be judged as "humour" and you are here again, you misogynist, using women's pain to score cheap points. The rape joke is that men and children are also raped. The rape joke is that women rape both men and women, though in numbers far lower than the rape of women by men. The rape joke is that not every allegation of rape is motivated by experience of rape. The rape joke is that we need to understand why false claims are made, which I rather expect is because women often need to use whatever is available to turn the tables, which they sometimes do to exploit or to gain freedom from relations that closely resemble prisons. The rape joke is that even though a situation can have many different interpretations, more than one can be genuine and that sometimes victims are also exploiters.

TrilbyLane (#1,318)

@1445515801@twitter And she wrote about her interpretation. It's a piece of literature, not a polemic about rape. That's how I read it anyway.

snipercatz (#258,572)

@TrilbyLane its a poem describing the authors experience as a victim of rape.

Powerful and upsetting in the best possible way

Sandy B (#247,205)

The rape joke is you were mad when he started dating Miss Geography.

The rape joke is you later enjoyed your subsequent encounters as 3 am booty call.

The rape joke is you became fat and uninteresting.

The rape joke is you were pressured to become a lesbian.

The rape joke is you never let that pussy run wild on vacation with some real fun Dick.

The rape joke is instead of enjoying life you seek pity and perpetually play the victim card

TrilbyLane (#1,318)

Aw, did a woman break up with you and are you mad at all women…? It's a poem about something, you frightened rabbit; not a Big Bad Scary Feminist Coming To Get You.

snipercatz (#258,572)

@Sandy B you are an insensitive, uneducated, ignorant piece of trash! Being raped isn't a badge women are interested in wearing. The assertions you make about her becoming "fat, uninteresting, lesbian, responding to 3am booty calls, and her being cheated on" aren't even correct!! The poem said HE DIDN'T hook up with Ms Geography! Maybe you're too damn dumb to understand the poem or just a rapist yourself. You sicken me. I hope YOU get raped

grancalamgh (#247,286)

My vocabulary isn't good enough to explain how great this poem is.

When she wrote this I wonder if she realized how many people and children that has been brutally raped by strangers,family members,friends of the family or by their own boyfriends or husbands? I really don't see what is so funny about this sick twisted piece she wrote that she calls a joke. I wonder if she realizes the life time of scars and fears that is instilled in people for life from being raped?

1416329497@twitter (#251,864)

@Loretta Terry@facebook Try reading it again, but this time don't picture her laughing and smiling, because she's not. Picture her writing this down in anger and pain because she just ran across someone's sick idea of a funny rape joke and she wants people to know the truth of how ugly, humiliating, confusing, painful, life destroying, etc.. rape really is.

I'd like to apologize for CarlsonB because he doesn't speak for all men. How dare he apologize for all men. Hey dummy.. women do rape men too ya know (and they rape other women and animals too. not all but some.. just like SOME not ALL men). I don't feel any man should have to apologize for something he personally did not do.

This poem is linked to a Sarah Silverman HBO special review. ( found here http://gawker.com/here-is-sarah-silvermans-rape-joke-1472012603) In the show, Sarah says comedy needs more rape jokes and then she tells one. That website has a clip you can view. I couldn't agree more. Rape is damn Funny in the context of comedy. It's not funny in the context of real life trauma.

Rape, like all devastating traumas takes time to get over (or at least bury the pain) but it's not healthy to dwell on unpleasant things which could lead to depression or suicide. Learn to laugh at your rape. Take a tip from every woman's friend Sarah Silverman, and learn to laugh at your rape. Learn to laugh at yourself too. By all means, Don't dwell on the negative aspects of the rape. There is a silver lining. Find something good that came out of the rape (yes, something good will come from it.. just look hard enough) and dwell on that.

Listen to More Rape Jokes !!

The more rape jokes you listen to, the more you will desensitize yourself from the trauma. You may never forgive and forget but it's about helping you cope the best way you can.

snipercatz (#258,572)

@John Phoenix@facebook Holy shit that is the more ignorant thing I've ever heard. OF COURSE shit like that would be coming from a DUDE!! I HIGHLY suggest you read this article: http://bit.ly/1dmrmmU "According to peer-reviewed research, mere exposure to rape jokes actually increases the self-reported likelihood of raping someone. Moreover, these jokes make the person on the receiving end more likely to blame the victim, fail to take rape seriously and support lower sentences for rapists". HAHA right? Ignorant trash

Johns (#254,284)

I still think rape jokes are funny, there like annorexic jokes completey hysterical

243733136@twitter (#256,289)

Sorry for your suffering but thanks for the incredible poem. Not sure if you're familiar with Maggie Estep but your poem reminds me of some of her stuff though obviously not dealing with the same subject matter.

Jesus. Wow. That is all.

Third Wish (#258,071)

I really might not ever be able to listen to Pet Sounds again without running the risk of biting through my tongue. I don't have a way to express gratitude for being able to receive such a communication.

snipercatz (#258,572)

REGARDING RAPE JOKES, an excerpt from http://bit.ly/1dmrmmU: According to peer-reviewed research, mere exposure to rape jokes actually increases the self-reported likelihood of raping someone. Moreover, these jokes make the person on the receiving end more likely to blame the victim, fail to take rape seriously and support lower sentences for rapists. Research also finds that this trend is only magnified for men who already display sexist beliefs.

These jokes also affect the rapists themselves. Research confirms that rapists are more likely to think that what they did "wasn't really rape." In a chilling study conducted in 2009 by David Lesak and Paul M. Miller, male college students admitted to raping (often multiple times), so long as the word "rape" wasn't used in the questionnaire. That's exactly what rape jokes do. They either give the impression that there's nothing wrong with rape itself, or imply that certain types of rape don't count.

anonandon (#258,665)

Another person registered just to say how fantastic this is. The pace is perfect, contains so many chilling lines "The rape joke is that you do not write artlessly" being my favorite. Although I never make it past "the body of time is elastic" without tearing up. SO TALENTED, a haunting piece of art. Thank you PL

anonandon (#258,665)

Also have to drool a little longer over "laugh out loud for one long split-open second" This whole stanza (like the rest of the poem) is so perfectly executed with details that induce a sense of 'this is so realistic/is this real/is this it???' IDK I can't say it like you, PL. But I really think I get you and if not you were able to tap into something very raw and true for me by sharing your experience.

JustAnotherGirl (#262,513)

My boyfriend of 2 years raped me twice the first week I moved in with him and called it love, I told him no and stop over and over. I cried out saying please I love you don't do this. He laughed in my face and forced himself on me. I now understand this poem in the worst way. He tells me it was love, his ex girlfriend says it wasn't the first time he has shown that kind of love.

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