Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Words I loathe...#1 'frape'

This is a somewhat meandering rant.
A friend of mine has posted, much more eloquently than I, about her rage at the use of the word 'frape'

First, what is meant by the term?
An example: you happen to leave your computer unlocked, with your Facebook page open... a friend walks by, notices and decides to play a joke on you and messes about with your status updates/ info.  You come back and find various bemused comments regarding said changes.  Either you, or someone commenting exclaims that you have been 'fraped' - Facebook raped.  Other comments ensue, such as: 'well, if you leave your computer unlocked, you're just asking for it'.  Oh jolly japes, and comic moments....
However, underneath all of the 'banter', is an appalling and unthinking trivialisation of the crime of rape itself.

While hijacking someone's computer may be rather crass behaviour, to equate messing about on Facebook to being raped goes beyond crass and moves into the realms of eye-popping incredulity.  I loathe the term 'frape' as it casualises or makes light of the serious horror of a particularly agonising type of violent attack.  The other week I was listening to Radio 4 - an interview with a woman from Northern Uganda who had been mutilated by the Lord's Resistance Army.  While she was not raped, the group itself appears to use not only mutilation, but rape and sexual enslavement of women as part of its campaign of terror.  Elsewhere, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, women are systematically raped: a particularly grim strategic /deliberate tool of war.  These are not the only places in the world where women are violently and appallingly brutalised.

Mind you, I still find it shocking that it is deemed to be acceptable in a court of law to ask female rape victims why they were out so late at night, in a particular part of town, and what they were wearing.
Nope.  Not acceptable, actually.
In the same way that nobody walking down the street is just asking to be beaten over the head with a hammer, nobody 'asks' to be raped.
That anyone could even believe that someone is asking to be horrifically assaulted just because they happen to be wearing something deemed 'provocative' astonishes me: it is an all too convenient shifting of responsibility onto the person attacked, when in reality, the attacker is utterly responsible.

The term 'Frape' is an alarming sign to me that as a society there is still an, if not overt, subconscious understanding that violence against women is not only tolerable, but acceptable.
What part of 'no' don't some folk understand?
Hence my twitchiness and loathing of 'frape'.
It is not 'hilarious'.
Just say 'no' to using it, yeah?


spotthegerbil said...

Many years ago, in the case of “assault with intent to ravish” or some similar legal charge, I followed a trial in court. And what follows will be heavily edited to protect the innocent and guilty. I genuinely do not know the names of A or B.

A was walking home from a party along a quiet road, where she encountered B. B may or may not have attempted to drag A into a convenient bush, for purposes unknown. A managed to make her escape before B revealed his intent, and flagged down a passing car. B was shortly after given a lift in a little white car with blue illumination.

So about a year later it came to trial and the twelve (fifteen in Scotland) angry men (actually there were women too) had to decide on B’s fate.

B is innocent before the law, until verdict is given, and does not have to say anything. It is the mater for the court to prove his guilt, not for B to prove his innocence. A has to endure sitting in court where the events of the night are recycled, and in a very broad and roundabout way, it may or may not have been suggested that B might have been foolish in her actions. Obviously B may or may not have been unwise to walk home from a party, and B may or may not have been in some slight way the partial cause of the night’s events. A almost has to prove her innocence.

The trial went on over three days. B was found guilty, without having spoken a word. A had the joy of waiting a year for the trial, plus the chance to be in the same room as her attacker. And that was only “with intent to ravish.” I’m glad the car passed to rescue A when it did.

There’s another chapter to this story, but I can’t reveal in public. Remind me the next time we meet.

And anyone who uses the offending f word should be permanently banned from Facebook.

spotthegerbil said...

Looks like i got my A and B mixed up in the fourth paragraph. Ah well, you probably got the point.

Nik said...

Yup, thanks Spot :)

fandabidozi said...

In the last couple of weeks I've genuinely heard each of these quotes:

"she would be lucky to be raped" (full rant here: http://purplehood.blogspot.com/2011/04/spewing-wrath-upon-blog-page-guilt-and.html)

"she was only a prostitute"

"but they were together at the time"

"he was drunk and didn't remember what happened"

And so many more.

Thanks for the link too m'love. :D

Nik said...

oh that's appalling mate... ugh!