The Globe and Mail of Tuesday May 17th, 2016, published an article on two female Vancouver co-producers and comedians who are presenting a show with rape jokes. Emma Cooper and Heather Jordan Ross both experienced sexual assault. The show “Rape is Real and Everywhere: A Comedy Show” is crisscrossing Canada and hosted by sexual-assault survivors.  The comedians state about their controversial stand-up tour that they are ready to laugh [now] and that it is empowering. They feel that the approach they are using toward the rape joke can be cathartic and therefore a tool in further healing by taking control. At the same time they rectify the myths of rape and rape victims, such as that rape is committed by a stranger coming out of the alley and that victims should feel shame. One of the comedians disclosed that she was violently raped by a person she was sleeping with. The Ghomeshi and the Cosby trial (see the Globe and Mail of May 25th, 2016 for an update on Cosby] show that sexual assault survivors may respond differently than expected.

There are many rape jokes around, and many of these are told by men. Men who have not experienced rape. Cooper and Jordan Ross state that there are good and bad jokes told by survivors and non-survivors and to tell a good joke means to think it through and to predict and observe how survivors will respond to it. If they laugh, it was a good joke. There are also many infidelity jokes around, also told by males. I was looking at the amount of jokes told in which the wife is unfaithful and there are more of these than the other way around on the sites I checked out. I think men tell these to their mates when in the pub and it may function as more than crude humour. It may cover up fear. When people laugh, they cannot at the same time feel anger and fear. It may however, come later on, if they can still recall the conversation ;).

According to another comedian,  Chris Rock, white people cannot say the n-word as they are not entitled! With one exception (see YouTube “When White people Can Say N…..”). Many discussions erupted after Rock’s statements on using the n word by African Americans with Oprah being strongly opposed to it and with others (the entitled) stating that it empowers them to use the n- word.

Following in Freud’s and his daughter Anna’s Freud’s footsteps, Vaillant (1934-) came up with a categorisation of the defence mechanisms that in general function to reduce anxiety on different levels of consciousness. Vaillant identified four levels and the fourth level he labeled “mature defences“. These include humour, sublimation (transforming unhelpful emotions into healthy actions), suppression (dealing with the distressing emotion later on), altruism and anticipation, among others.



This means that humour can be used to express unpleasant feelings, which still retain distress, but it can serve to help a person to make the feeling more manageable and to use a different way to release pain, fear and in particular anger.

Laughter is healthy and if the laughter is in response to something that is painful, but expressed by someone who is entitled (like yourself) it might empower you. I would like to add that the joke should be made by someone you trust and of whom you know that they are insiders in the sense that they know what they are talking about due to having experienced it. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that females with each other can make jokes about things that have hurt them and that this can be therapeutic.

There are many infidelity jokes around….many are disgusting, distasteful and some of them have some comedic validity….

Can we…shall we….?

Comments invited….



30 thoughts on “POST 33: RAPE JOKES ETC

  1. Wow. I’m not sure how to comment. I understand the need or desire to use humor…I have used it for years…to cover up abuse and pain. I don’t know that I felt “empowered” by it. I’m not sure I felt “entitled.”
    I really don’t know. Different people deal with trauma in different ways, so I guess what every means they use to handle, deal with and heal from that abuse is for them to own.
    I’m not sure I could appreciate disgusting, or distasteful jokes about such serious matters, though.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, tried to post from my phone, but having network issues, so if there is a double up, please delete!

    As a violent and bloody rape survivor (SO MANY stitches, inside and out!) as a 20 year old virgin, by a “friend of a friend” someone I knew fairly well, who felt entitled one night – I would love to see how these women treat this. I am a classic kiwi, in that I laugh at “inappropriate” stuff – including my own mother’s sudden death at just 55. Humour helps me untangle horror. I have laughed at infidelity – yeah, it has been the most painful thing I have ever experienced, but hell, there are some funny aspects! For example, my complete trust, even when it should have been obvious, even when I asked outright and was told all was fine, and I believed him. What an idiot, it never set off any detective alarm bells, I honestly felt that the discussions we had over those more than twenty years (about cheating, etc) would mean if I asked him, and he was actually fucking my “friend”he would not lie. Face palm. Also, the stupidity of him – that it would be a simple case of she will leave me, or she won’t, if he was discovered. Yep. That simple, no painful years of sadness, loss and the forever-changed self worth (of both of us) the loss of something truly special. The sheer humour of the way his brain was SO fucked up back then. It is comical – even having to sit in the same clinic that my teenager’s friends do, to get tested for STIs in y early 40s – HILARIOUS. It really is, in a macabre way!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, These are examples of self-deprecating humour. The British are famous for it as well. It is considered a good trait as long as people are not becoming self-loathing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yep. We kiwis have been called the Poms of the South Pacific. We have this fab fusion of self deprecating humour mixed with pure Polynesian joyful piss taking. Probably one of the reasons why I so get Chump Lady’s humour. Laughing at our own chumpiness. If you don’t laugh …

        Liked by 2 people

  3. OK, here is one, I think has comedic validity….

    A woman came up behind her husband while he was enjoying his morning coffee and slapped him on the back of the head.

    “I found a piece of paper in your pants pocket with the name ‘Marylou’ written on it,” she said, furious. “You had better have an explanation.”

    “Calm down, honey,” the man replied. “Remember last week when I was at the dog track? That was the name of the dog I bet on.”

    The next morning, his wife snuck up on him and smacked him again.

    “What was that for?” he complained.

    “Your dog called last night.”

    (With thanks to

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have not seen the women’s show, but I guess it depends on the jokes and how it is done. I worked for years for the sexual assault center and I wonder what the women would think about the show and whether they would come. Maybe they would if they knew that the entire audience would get it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. Now that I think about it, I make jokes all the time about sketchy people or vans that look like rapists or rape vans to my friends. Nothing major but I don’t know how a more involved joke would be. Or joking about someone we all know was raped in pop culture or something. That would be awkward and not tasteful, especially in an audience setting.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Infidelity jokes don’t bother me at all. And humor is important for people and very personal. It’s such a subjective thing. Humor. Not everyone finds the same thing funny for the same reasons or at the same time. I think it’s therapeutic for me but someone more sensitive can’t handle it. And that’s ok. I don’t expect everyone to have the same personality.
        I’m weird about child porn stuff or rape or stuff that personally/unfairly attacks another person for a laugh from a crowd. Almost like a bullying thing. But not something in a lighthearted offbeat way. So hard to explain! Lol!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You explain it well. It is sensitive and need to be done by people who care and who are aware of triggers and who know what is painful. I think that is the reason why comedians often make jokes about their own life. You probably recall “fat jokes” by an overweight comedian, and Jewish jokes by a Jew and black jokes by an African American comedian.
          Comedians go in the wrong when they “bash” a group to which they do not belong and it has an undertone of hatred (recall Kramer).
          That said, I would totally tolerate jokes made by someone who went through infidelity and who had a “bad” partner. I liked the picture a blogger placed about the colonoscopy and the Doctor found the guys head!
          I have spotted that many bloggers on this topic are capable of making jokes, some very dark, but still also humorous.
          It helps me to be able to laugh. I am not laughing enough anymore. As another blogger told us: Life is too short to be bitter!
          Thanks for your loyal support!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I myself want to try to see humour in tragic things I went through. I noticed that one time my husband made me laugh about a woman who had gossiped about me, it helped me.


  5. There’s no way for me to relate to the emotions associated with another persons trauma. All I can do is identify an experience similar in nature, and reflect upon how that made me feel, then contrast and compare what their situation could have felt like. Writing and talking about our traumatic experiences is in and of itself therapeutic for our own conscious reality. Judging how others deal with their emotions in respect to personal experiences is puzzling. We don’t try to rationalize when others experience joy of some type, we actually wish it were us? When it involves pain and sorrow, we’re glad it’s not us. Brene Brown distinguishes humiliation from shame by the way we internally align our perspective.

    “Everybody’s gotta be someplace…”

    My dad used that to describe how we all vary in our interpretation of life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like Brown’s Ted talk on vulnerability.

      I do feel another’s pain. Sometimes I see it in their face before we even talked. It makes it easy to relate as often they feel that I know. The challenge is to keep on distinguishing between my pain and theirs. I know that others do not want me to take on their pain. They appreciate that I can empathise.

      I appreciate your feedback, thanks


        1. Mine too….Tons of research….my own informal one combined with the peer reviewed stuff. When it comes to stuff that resonates and hits people to the core, it is based on self-knowledge, insight and throwing it all out….allowing ourselves to be vulnerable…. Love him or hate him…Albert Ellis got pretty close to allowing to feel rejection and to reframe it. Those who hated him, blatantly used his work…..
          All the new “so-called pop psychology” is based on the work done ages ago..there is nothing new. People combine and throw their own perspective in it. It makes it understandable to people. Who the heck reads classics anyway?
          Nothing bad about Brown…some other Ted-talkers -.see former post on sex-addiction- simplify something that is too complicated to turn it in an engaging talk.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. because the brain is just what it is, a brain….what makes a person with all the emotions, is genetics intertwined with experiences and first and foremost what we do with it: the choices we make.

              Liked by 1 person

                1. Mmm, we should have a one-on-one on that!
                  E.G. the serotonin imbalance theory, however accepted by the public at large who bravely swallow any SSRI and flavour of the month, has no solid evidence supporting it!
                  True…more research is needed…let them replicate the findings in longitudinal research…..


  6. Serotonin is only one component to this complex situation? Look at effects of hormones along with proteins, fats, and environmental things. We’ve just begun to see these processes in the nano world. Behavior is affected by everything from all these complexities?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. reciprocally….in that case we agree! 🙂

      Environmental things…trauma, upbringing, opportunity, …yes….

      PS: what is your academic background?
      I see myself as a “fact checker”…love research and a good debate. PhD counted for something!

      Liked by 1 person

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