Renaming Rape

My thoughts on the term SEX CRIME.

*possible TRIGGER WARNING* *swear words also ahead*

I am recently leaning towards calling rape simply “sex crime.”

Rape has a “boys will be boys” connotation — think Rape of Europa (glorified gang rape), etc. “This is just the silly stuff men do to be jerks, we make paintings about it, sculptures about it, it has artistic merit!”

I’m a professional painter and I’m not pro-censorship. But I intimately understand the power of images and expression. I will bet you a case of craft beer that rape being treated as a “muse” definitely contributes to normalizing it, aestheticizing it, and proliferating its tacit approval — which includes defending men with “boys will be boys” statements as a prime example.

However, sex crimes, as a term and as a legally defined transgressive act, are the opposite of silly, artistic, laudable, normal, approvable.

In the same way we rightly disapprove of images that condone racism (Black Face, KKK photos, Nazi symbols, burning other people’s flags, etc), we must place moral judgement on aesthticising rape and using a term that is historically sorta lighthearted and every day seems to be treated with less and less weight in the media. It gets tossed around like nothing these days. Which, I think is a HUGE problem.

However I think we can be clear that giving guys a free pass for having a penis and doing whatever they want with it is officially unacceptable and is indeed, illegal and a crime punishable by law.

Sex crimes (rapes) are criminal, inhumane, and a human rights violation. By underscoring the criminal aspect of sticking your penis someplace where it wasn’t invited (yes, penis proximity has to be enthusiastically invited for it not to be a sex crime) I think can change how we think about these criminal transgressions. It can shift the conversation to the place of CRIME, a place we already unequivocally understand as bad. Crime is bad: Crimes include hate crimes, discriminatory practices based on disability, race, sex or age (age is curious because it is riddled with double standards), robbery, murder, mass shootings, etc.

So, I am going to start calling rape a sex crime. It feels more weighty and accurate. And like something you really don’t want to commit.

If this resonates with you, I encourage you to start calling rape “sex crime,” and, to pass it on. Language matters. Let’s shift this rape-haha shit, stat.

 

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