This post was originally written for the website Summit Series for Families.
Yesterday morning, I checked Facebook and noticed that one person I am friends with had made many, many posts on another friend’s page. I’m talking 50 or 60 posts. I cringed because I knew what this meant: I was eventually going to see a comment something akin to, “Thanks for raping my Facebook wall!” Sadly, I wasn’t disappointed; that comment did appear once the posts were discovered. This is not the first time I have seen, in particular, high school and college students throw around the word “rape” in such a casual way. I find it incredibly disturbing. Even more disturbing is that every time I see it on Facebook, it is almost always said by a female. When did this word become socially acceptable to use in such a flippant way? What is going to happen if it continues to be used to describe unfortunate but meaningless situations like having too many posts on your Facebook wall?
There is actually a new term for what happens when someone’s Facebook page is left open and “hacked” by someone else or the Facebook page is hit with hundreds of posts; it’s called “frape”, a combination of the words “Facebook” and “rape” (read an article about the effects of “frape” on boys here, and see the Urban Dictionary definitions offered here, but reader beware – at Urban Dictionary, you will encounter a deluge of obscene language, but realize this is “the site” kids use to pump up their slang).
Rape is no laughing matter. It’s nothing to be taken lightly. It’s not something to make a joke out of. It should never be treated insensitively. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network has compiled some research findings and statistics that have frighteningly real implications for our children, including
• 44% of rape and sexual assault victims are under the age of 30.
• 29% of rape and sexual assault victims are between the ages of 12 – 17.
• Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
• Victims of sexual assault are 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol and 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
• About 2/3 of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.
• 60% of rapes and sexual assaults are never reported to the police.
There is an immense amount of education that needs to be done in order to prevent our daughters from becoming victims of this heinous crime. One of those pieces of education needs to be teaching our daughters AND sons that there is nothing funny, silly, or casual about rape, and that using the word in a joking way diminishes the impact of the word and therefore the act itself and makes it sound socially acceptable. Which is not acceptable at all.