Dapper Laughs. Wonder why I’m not…

Just when you think TV can get no lower, ITV comes up with this.

But it’s ok right?  Just banter.  Harmless joking around.  He doesn’t mean anything by it after all.  ITV are even arguing that he’s respectful to women, so it must be true!

I suspect Daniel O’Reilly has no idea what it’s like to be a victim of sexual assault or harassment.  Well, just as a users guide, here we go.

Rape (or sexual assault) is a physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and sexual violation – all at the same time.  Imagine that every part of you, every fabric of your being, every molecule and fibre is being ripped open at one time.  It’s excruciating – often physically, definitely mentally and emotionally.   And when it’s over, days, weeks, months later, there are those shouting voices.  “It was my fault.  I deserved this.  I’m broken.  Worthless. Useless.”

Projecting?  Yes, definitely.  And that’s perfectly valid, because this is my lived experience, and the experience of women all over the world.  And so when I hear rape jokes, harassment jokes, discrimination jokes, being bandied about as “just a bit of fun”, what it does to me – and other people – is minimise what happened to me.  It’s no longer a defining part of my life, it’s something to laugh about.

Except I can’t laugh about it.  I can live with it, in a way I couldn’t for many years, but I can’t laugh about it.  No one should.  No one deserves it.

Dapper laughs – you need to stop laughing.  You’re not funny, and you’re definitely not respectful.  You’re trivialising pain, and that’s profoundly degrading to all humans, everywhere.  And what scares me more is that you’re normalising it – telling people that it’s ok to behave this way.  Letting the boundaries down.  Objectifying women.  It’s really not a massive jump from joking about women as objects to treating them as objects.

I run a Brownie group.  11 7-10 year old girls, and I can already see some of them judging themselves by their appearances or abilities rather than their personalities.  I care about these girls, and I don’t want them growing up in a culture that says “yup.  Your body is much more important than your mind”.  I don’t want my three year old boy growing up in a world that thinks being manly is about being abusive.

It has to end here.  Because we’re all worth much more than that.

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