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?