Another reason we need strong voices & YA books: Comedian Daniel Tosh suggests an audience member should be gang-raped

I can’t believe *anyone* actually thinks it’s okay to tell rape jokes–never mind that they mind be funny. To me, that’s a sign of great disconnectedness from compassion, from emotion, and from their own vulnerability. Yet that’s just what comedian Daniel Tosh does. Apparently he frequently tells rape jokes in his spiel.

And when, in a recent performance, he was telling rape jokes, and a woman audience woman yelled out that rape jokes are never funny, according to the audience member, Daniel said: “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…”

Okay. Wow. Let’s just pause here for a minute. In a world where women are frequently raped–every 2 minutes in the US, someone is raped, and 9 out of 10 of them are usually women–this man thinks he suggest a woman get gang-raped? Seriously?

As a woman, I am offended and outraged. As a incest and sexual abuse survivor, as a ritual abuse survivor, I am horrified. I know what it’s like to be raped. It leaves emotional and psychic wounds that don’t go away. It dehumanizes us. It makes us feel worthless, dirty, like garbage.

Stances like Daniel’s are one of the reasons I write the kind of books I do. Books that talk about rape and sexual abuse, victimization and oppression. Books that also talk about the strength of survivors, and our ability to not only fight back and heal, but to thrive after something so traumatic. To find safety for ourselves, and to help others find it, too.

We need strong voices to counteract voices like Daniel’s. And so I am so grateful to the woman audience member who stood up to him in the show, and who then blogged about it so other people could hear about it. When we raise our voices, we are often heard. We CAN make a difference.

That’s something that, to me, is so powerful about books. We can help others who don’t understand an issue really get inside another person’s experience and emotions through story. We can help them feel. I’m always grateful when people stand up to oppression–in real-life situations, in conversation, and in books, film, art. I hope for a world without hatred. Without abuse, rape, oppression. I will never stop hoping for that. Care to join me?


10 Responses to “Another reason we need strong voices & YA books: Comedian Daniel Tosh suggests an audience member should be gang-raped”

  1. Brian Katcher Says:

    Why on earth would he think that was funny?

  2. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Yeah. I don’t know, Brian. I really don’t get it. It’s not funny on any level….

  3. Raven Says:

    Wow. That is absolutely horrible and unacceptable. I am also an incest survivor and his ‘humor’ infuriates me. I absolutely love your writing and support you a 100%. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    It infuriates me, too, Raven! I agree–it’s unacceptable and horrible. And thank you so much! I’m so glad you love my writing and support me. (beaming)

  5. Stina Lindenblatt Says:

    That just sickens me. I hope that tasteless humor spells the end of his “comedy” career.

  6. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    It really sickens me, too, Stina! I don’t think rape jokes–or suggesting that someone be gang-raped–is ever funny. Ug. I’m glad the woman spoke up.

  7. Stacey Pierce Says:

    What bothers me even more is that when I searched Twitter for info, since I missed it, the responses were even more disgusting! A lot of the comments cheering him on or saying it was just a joke were from women. It disgusted me beyond no end. We as a society have moved so far from normal behavior. What woman thinks a joke about rape is funny? I would’ve been the woman in the audience if I was there. Great post!!

  8. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Stacey–yeah, it’s disgusting, and to me scary. I don’t understand how people can hate so much. BUT I think it’s always been there. (And so have people with compassion and kindness and fighting for justice….) And yeah–I might have yelled it out, too, if I’d been there. 🙂

  9. Beth Fehlbaum Says:

    There’s a petition on Change.org that is being served up to Comedy Central, requesting Tosh.0 be cancelled. 30,000 signatures so far.

  10. Cheryl Rainfield Says:

    Excellent, Beth! Thanks so much for letting me know.

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