Sunday, 8 July 2012

To "frape", or not to "frape"

Although by no means a new term, something that has been particularly bothering me this week has been the amount of times the word ‘frape’ or ‘Facebook rape’ has come up on my news feed. For anyone not familiar with the term, it is when someone updates a status on someone else’s Facebook account as a joke, they then the person whose account it is quickly points out to everyone on their news feed that they didn’t post that status and that they have been ‘fraped’. Sure, when this happens it can be annoying, or potentially embarrassing, depending on what is written, but it is in no way comparable to being raped. Being raped is a horrific and violent crime; that can leave physical, emotional and psychological scars that last a life time.  Completely not the same as your friend playing a joke on you.

Normally when I speak out about this, people tell me frape is just a word, and it’s nothing to get upset about and that I should really stop overreacting. They are wrong, it isn’t just a word, and I’m not overreacting. It’s a constant reminder and symbol that we not only live in a society that rape even happens in the first place, but that we live in a society that values women so little that one of the worse crimes imaginable can be turned into a joke. It is an insult to millions of female and male survivors of rape every time it is used.

It also massively bothers me that many people do not consider at all that using the word frape on Facebook so casually could potentially be extremely distressing and traumatic  for someone they are friends with, as statistically 1 in 10 British women will experience rape or sexual violence in their lifetime. It is completely possible that someone they know has been raped or sexually assaulted and they are making light of everything that friend has experienced by using the word to describe an untrue Facebook status. It’s disgusting. Even if this isn’t the case, even if no one they are friends with has been raped or sexually assaulted, by using the word it is perpetuating the message that rape is something to laugh about, that it is a joke, that it isn’t a serious crime and that in society women’s rights aren’t important.

We need people to not only stop using this horrible (and completely inaccurate) word, but to also confront every person they see use it. Simply not using the word frape isn’t enough, we need to challenge anyone that seems to hold the view that rape is a laughing matter.

What about you, do you find the word problematic? Or are there any other words you take offence to?


  1. In a very similar vein and for the very same reasons i take offence to people using the word 'depressed' to describe their mood when they're just bored or whatever. Again its a common problem meaning someone they're using the word amongst may have experienced it directly and the overuse of the word means when people are actually depressed its not taken as seriously.

    It really makes me fume and so can totally understand why you feel the same about 'frape' and i do think that if someone uses it you have the right to bring it up with them that it offends you and ask them to stop using it however i wouldn't say that everyone who uses it believes that rape is a laughing matter, it could just be as simple as naively allowing their personal vocabulary to be infiltrated by a fad term they haven't given much thought too.

    I work in a hospital in the acute neurology ward and find many patients there with mental deficiency yet i have found it difficult to get the term 'retard' from my vocabulary when I've done something silly like drop a cup or something. Its a word I've grown up alongside and while i make a conscious effort not to use the word i do find that sometimes i do accidentally and while i would totally accept if someone became offended of its use and i would apoligise to that person but if someone said to me that i was laughing at those with mental disabilities i would disagree as that's the opposite of how i feel.

    Anyway i love discussion posts like this, keep up the good work :) xx

    1. I take offence to people using the word 'depressed' too, for the same reason. Knowing some people who did/do suffer from it, and having studied it, it isn't the same as feeling a bit upset or sad that day.

      Yea I do agree that not everyone thinks frape/rape is something to laugh about, you are right, it is just people not fully realising what they are saying. I guess that's one of the reasons I wrote this, to hopefully make people think about the words they say.

      It's really hard isn't it to get out of the habit of using a word. Especially when you have been saying it for so long. I feel the same way you feel about saying 'retard' as saying the word 'gay'. I think I was just surrounded by people saying it growing up and picked it up, and now I'm trying really hard to change it. So for example say "that is really gay" or something along those lines, when I just mean thats really annoying/bad/stupid or whatever and I absolutely do not mean being gay is any of those things. If I were to ever get called up on it I'd apologise and be mortified, as like you its the opposite of how I feel. It's so frustrating that it occasionally slips in, but at least I'm trying really hard to change it :)

      Thank you very much! It's nice to know people enjoy reading them, and I love it when things I write lead to interesting discussions. xxx


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