[This post contains rape jokes and discussion of rape culture.]
What I should have said was, “Excuse me?”
What I should have asked was, “The fuck is your problem?”
What I should have pointed out was that when one is in the company of six women in the US, one is statistically likely to be in the presence of a rape survivor.
What I should have done was leave the room, exiting your company altogether.
What I should do now is stop blaming myself for my reaction to your revolting comparison. I had to handle it in a way that would let me go back and teach my afternoon classes, which for me meant filing it away until I was safe at home — in a place where I can rage and cry and name this bullshit for what it is.
Because, contrary to your statement earlier today, you do not “feel raped” every time you go to the movies. No — no matter how expensive the tickets, how trite the plotline, how stilted the acting, or how burnt the popcorn. Allow me to explain this in more detail, perhaps with the clarity only italics can bring: In no way is making the choice to go to a movie like having a non-consensual attack committed on your person. If you still don’t get it, I’m happy to bring out the caps lock.
Rape is not your convenient metaphor for things you don’t like. In fact, RAPE IS NOT YOUR METAPHOR. Period.
Rape is a real, physical crime that happens to actual, flesh-and-blood people. People that you know, people that you work with, people that you love. It’s a violation that can have lasting physical consequences (hi, pelvic floor dysfunction) as well as long-term emotional trauma (hi, PTSD). Part of that trauma comes because we’re often reminded of our assaults time and time again throughout our lives — including but not limited to clueless and misogynist people who appropriate and minimize the term to describe going to the movies.
We already live in a culture that excuses rape and that holds victims partly or entirely responsible for the crimes committed against them. I go through enough days where my experience is belittled, where the implicit or explicit message is that my rape does not matter.
It would be lovely if you refrained from adding your butter-flavored assholery into the equation.