Laughing In The Face Of Trauma

Lindy West praises the short film Meet My Rapist (seen above) as an effective comedic take on rape, especially from a victim’s perspective:

It’s a brilliant, troubling example of how “rape jokes” can be cathartic and complex and difficult and empowering—for victims and allies, not for the predatory and indifferent. As I’ve said many times before, I don’t want to ban rape jokes; I want to see more rape jokes, everywhere, targeting rape culture instead of perpetuating it. Because nothing punctures and deflates hypocrisy like humor. Nobody speaks truth to power like a sharp-toothed goofball.

The filmmaker, Jessie Kahnweiler, describes how she translated her own experience of rape into comedy:

I think the distance between making the film and the actual rape (which occurred eight years ago) and the frustration came with this feeling, like, “what the fuck, it’s been eight years and I’m STILL not over this? what the hell, man?!” The film deals a lot with my frustration and trying to reconcile being a “strong/ badass feminist” with a “hurting victim,” and being a sexual being as well. There is such a certain amount of guilt and shame around my own body with this experience, and the film was a chance to confront all these lurking fears.

My immediate reaction was just that: a reaction. I was formulating my feelings around my rape based on what other people felt and thought about it. Does that make sense? Like, I was so busy making sure my friends and family knew that I was “OK” that I forgot to ask myself if I actually was “OK.” Perhaps I used humor to skip over the pain and move straight to the hero rape victim, but obviously that shit caught up with me.