Humor does not have a specific origin that science can pin-point with definite certainty, but there are some things that they are able to theorize. Humor is something that we have evolved to indicate to others in our group that something is unexpected or “out of sync” with expected order of things, but is ultimately harmless.
As humans we find many different subjects funny and it is ruled by individual taste. Making fun of rape or abuse is something that happens quite often in public and private. Our friends, family members, school teachers, and random strangers on the street may make reference to sexual abuse in a joking manner and that can be devastating for a survivor to hear.
I am not writing this post to “shake my finger” at anyone who employs this kind of humor. Instead, I am writing it to open a discussion among survivors. When someone is using humor that touches on subjects that can be hurtful or demeaning they rarely do it out of spite or bitterness. Usually it is because they are just as uncomfortable about the subject as you are (and some of them may be survivors who simply do not know how to handle their own emotions about abuse).
Jokes are created out of controversy and discord. Events that are incongruous to the way things should be are often viewed as humorous if no one is being physically hurt *in that moment*. The person making the joke may not be aware that there are any survivors in the immediate vicinity and are unaware that they could be causing someone a great deal of emotional and mental anguish.
As we are all aware, words can cause more damage than physical blows sometimes and can linger for years, holding a person back or causing them to feel powerless to speak out. Joking about a subject that is so raw for survivors is harmful, but it is also a way of acknowledging a problem. A commentary is opened by a joke that can become educational if someone is willing, and comfortable with, speaking up.
No matter who you are, you deserve to go through life without worrying that someone is going to make light of the horrible crime you survived. That said, we live in a flawed world and understand that sometimes we need to accept that we cannot control what other people say around us, but only how we react to it.
Personally, I don’t want ignorant or deviant people to ruin my day by saying something that might trigger a flashback or anger. So, I accept the fact that such a situation may occur and I am resigned to speaking out if it is appropriate or taking it in and tearing down the fallacies so that they cannot hurt me. It is not always possible to change peoples views on the subject of sexual abuse or to take it seriously, but every chance to educate is a chance to help someone else.
Who knows if the person is hurting and dealing with their own abuse issues, trying to brush them off with crude humor. It is better, I personally believe, not to judge when you do not know the motivation behind someone behavior, but instead to try and lessen the hurtful impact for yourself.
I would love to hear anyone’s comments on this subject as there are many different views and mine is only one of them. <3. Be safe and remember that it is not your fault that “joking” can sometimes trigger you. It is a natural reaction and especially understandable in the case of people who also suffer from the symptoms of PTSD. You deserve so much better than the world is able to give you. It does not make you less of person that a “joke” wounds you in a way that it does not appear to hurt other listeners. <3.