Rape is Not a Joke. Our Response to Recent Disturbing Social Media Trends

Statement by Planned Parenthood of Greater New York’s Survivor Support Services

Trigger Warning: Sexual Violence

Planned Parenthood of Greater New York stands with all survivors of sexual violence. As allies and advocates to survivors and members of the community, it is our duty to build safe and supportive spaces for all by standing up to rape culture and fiercely condemning behavior that encourages and excuses sexual assault and rape.

Conversations that minimize survivor experiences or make jokes about sexual violence are harmful. They create a dangerous culture where rape is to be expected and regarded as acceptable. Whether in-person or in online spaces, comments and jokes that encourage people to commit rape and sexual assault have a severe impact on our communities. They instill real fear in the people we teach, work with, serve, and love and they threaten our sense of safety. If not called out, they can threaten our actual safety.

It is up to each one of us to call out and condemn behavior that encourages and normalizes sexual violence. We each have the power and responsibility to ensure safety and community in online and physical spaces. Each of us can do this by being an active bystander; speaking up and intervening when we see online comments that blame victims, hear jokes that mock or encourage assault, and witness behavior that is sexually aggressive and violent.

Comments and jokes that promote and glorify sexual violence are dangerous not only because they are scary and threatening but also because they are triggering to those who identify as survivors. Like everyone else in our communities, all survivors deserve to feel safe, respected, and supported in physical and virtual spaces. If you are feeling impacted by conversations likes these, PPGNY Survivor Support Services is here for you. You can call our 24/7 hotline to speak to an advocate today and access counseling, referrals, and other support services.

We’re Planned Parenthood of Greater New York Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization.