Join Jenny Eclair and support the #RapeIsNotFunny Campaign this Edinburgh Festival
Jenny Eclair, Peter Egan, Josie Long, Kate Smurthwaite and James Mullinger are just some of the performers who are questioning just how funny 'rape jokes’ are as the Edinburgh Festival kicks off this year.
The Campaign #RapeIsNotFunny has been launched by Stand Up For Women (the ‘Comic Relief’ for women’s charities), Object, Zero Tolerance and Rape Crisis Scotland. They are questioning jokes that trivialise rape or are made at the expense of victims.
“Don't Worry! We’re not calling for a ban on free speech or for material to be pre-screened or for some form of Orwellian censorship!” explains Roz Hardie, CEO of OBJECT. However, the campaign is asking all comedians, promoters, venues, Award providers and even audiences to think about this:
#Everything is Funny “Maybe,” says Dr Sasha Rakoff, Director of Stand Up For Women “but how about laughing at rapists not victims? How about laughing at 'rape culture' - an entire culture that has trivialised rape so much that it has become little more than a strapline on a Tee shirt?”
#Nothing is Out of Bounds in Comedy “Maybe, but how many racist jokes have you heard lately?” asks Rakoff.
#Kill Joys “I in 4 women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime” explains Hardie. “That means 25% of the women in any audience are likely to be assaulted. It is almost certain that some have been already. And this is the kind of effect these jokes will have on them:
‘I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach when the act just casually joked about how ‘'rapable' different female celebs were. It makes you feel like what happened to you was nothing. The comedy was over for me’ Rape Survivor.
“Is there is a comedian in the world who would want to make anyone in their audience feel like that?” asks Hardie.
#It’s Just Being Edgy! “Really?” asks Rakoff, “but isn't rape the least edgy thing to joke about, after all who’s going to complain? A rape victim? They don’t even complain about being raped!”
#What Are You Laughing At? “The problem is” explains Hardie “that trivialising rape is known to be a factor that lessens the barriers to a man, or boy, committing it. It becomes a ‘non crime’. So a society that constantly jokes about rape, constantly refers to rape as if it was just ‘sex’ or ‘sexy’ plays a significant role in chipping away at those barriers”
#Censors!!!! “Not really” says Rakoff, “we are not asking for a ban. We are just asking people to think, to really think 'What Are We Laughing At'?
#RapeIsNotFunny is inviting anyone who shares these concerns to join Jenny Eclair and others by signing up to the campaign here