9 times out of 10, this is what male rape-jokers will say in their defence when someone challenges them on their creepiness. Their logic is that because they know they wouldn’t rape anyone, everyone should assume this and understand the “joke” was harmless.

The unfortunate truth for both parties is this: the person calling them out does not know they’re “not that kind of guy”, because a “kind” or “type” that commits rape doesn’t exist. Anybody is capable of committing sexual violence and there is no way of telling at face value who will and who won’t.

I’m confident that the majority of survivors of sexual violence would say that they never expected their perpetrator was the “kind of guy” who would violate them in the way that they did. This is because they tend to be friends, boyfriends, brothers, husbands and acquaintances. “Nice guys” rape; “intelligent guys” rape; “successful guys” rape and “switched-on guys” rape.

We live in a country where 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 16, and over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted and approximately 85,000 raped each year. When sexual violence against women is so commonplace, the burden should be on the joke-teller to give an indication that they understand the trauma that rape causes and that they would never rape someone. Those likely to make light of a violence that is widely misunderstood, deeply upsetting and painful don’t come across as empathetic but potentially dangerous.

If someone who tells rape jokes is desperate to prove that they don’t find sexual violence entertaining, they should check themselves before making such jokes, rather than attacking the person who calls them out for “making a fuss over nothing” or “taking things too seriously”. When these accusations come out, the joke-teller is really digging a hole because if we can’t take rape seriously, then what can we take seriously?

Furthermore, rapists also happen to be very good at telling victims what they are doing or thinking (“you wanted it”, “you enjoyed it”) and belittling a person who calls out a rape joke serves a similar function in controlling them and relieving the perpetrator from feeling guilty. Rape-jokers who try and tell people what to think aren’t doing a great job of convincing others they aren’t like rapists.

I’m also confident that many rapists would say, “I’m not that kind of guy”.

If you are a man who enjoys telling rape jokes and you don’t like being treated suspiciously, don’t blame the person who calls you out. Blame rape culture and the men who do rape because they are the ones that cause women to feel unsafe amongst people they want to be able to trust.

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