Content Warning(s): rape, rape jokes, unsafe online spaces, disrepsect from close friends.
Submitted for Sexual Assault Awareness Month - Our Voices & Stories.
"I have a fantastically nerdy online "chosen family." The people that aren't your bio family but are so dang close they may as well be. Some of these are people that I met in my first MMO and some I met along the way. We started out with a TeamSpeak server that we all hung out on, then C3, and now Discord. Over time, my small family had grown a bit, they've invited their new friends and now my family is a bit larger. We're a geeky family of nerdom, play MMO's together, watch anime together, have guild movie night, etc.
These are some of my closest friends that have been with me through the years and all that's come with them.
I've told almost all of them that I was raped, and that right now I'm really struggling to come to terms with it, and the emotional fall out, and they know that some days I'm okay and some days I'm really not okay. And one-on-one they've been great. But as a group things have turned to chains of rape jokes, with those who know my trauma both laughing and contributing.
And... while I don't want to ask anyone to walk on eggshells around me, it feels like a huge betrayal. It hurts. The "being cool in a group" apparently still comes before caring for a member of our family that's been hurt. That somehow we went without this sort of thing in the past, but now that people know I was raped, rape jokes are prevalent.
And this betrayal, by my family, my community, the people like me- the other people just as nerdy and geeky and weird as I am, that were loners and get what it's like to not have friends or people who understand and who have been made fun of too- that these people, who are my people, who are my chosen family and after we've spent years forming bonds together over anime and games and life... it hurts. I don't expect much from strangers, but from friends, I expected more."
We're so sorry to hear that this happened to you, E. You deserved to be treated with respect and understanding through not just others' words, but their actions. It's so hard to listen when others make light of something as serious as being raped. Please know that it wasn't your fault that your friends kept making those jokes, and that you're not alone. We hope others reading this will do their part in stopping their friends from making rape jokes.