Massive fucking trigger warning. Just writing this post is triggering for me. I’m unsure of how to give specifics for it, since it covers many directions and my brain is frazzled, but… take care, take heart and take note.
On that note, each of the links provided have their own examples, of which could be strongly triggering as well.
Hi. My name is Static Nonsense, and I’m a domestic abuse survivor.
Last Friday, I had to be sent home within an hour of the beginning of my shift at work because I had a panic attack. One triggered by coworkers in the break room joking about various types of abuse and ‘enjoying it’. Just a few words exchanged between people on friendly terms with each other, and I had to reveal this very personal information to my managers, shaking and in tears because I couldn’t handle my customers without dropping their groceries.
This is just one example of many of how language can harm and tear at the people around you. One example of so many of why jokes may not just be jokes, but vicious weapons in disguise: reminders that you, and the situations you’ve been through, the struggles you’ve faced, are not taken seriously. That these situations are not commonplace, and that you’re oversensitive because your situation couldn’t have been that bad. And worse – reminders that whoever it was that harmed you can still be harming you even in a situation or environment where they’re completely void.
Things like this are not funny. Things like this are not stories or fairy tales. Things like this happen every day to real people. And many of us have to relive that memory countless numbers of times both during and after the fact.
And no, this doesn’t just apply to abuse. This applies to ableism. This applies to sexism, and to fatphobia . This applies to rape, to cissexism and transmisogyny , to racism , to psychophobia, to heterosexism, to so many fucking things.
These things are real. Joking about them doesn’t take the pain away. Au contraire (translate: to the contrary) – it can make that pain worse, not just through reminders to your peers that these issues, that could very well be their own to struggle with intimately, are not to be taken seriously, but through reinforcement into societies and cultures that already believe this. And not just that we’re not to be taken seriously, but that we’re not worth real consideration (and instead get to be your punchline). That this sort of behavior is okay. That these sorts of mindsets and perspectives are okay. That this sort of treatment toward us, your children, siblings, parents, friends, partners, neighbors, coworkers, even complete strangers passing you on the street or eating at the table next to you in a restaurant, is okay. That this sort of assault on our minds, bodies and souls through the societies we live in and the people herein is okay.
These are not just stories. These are recollections of our lives, day after day, week after week, year after year.
And really. That’s not funny.
So please, the next time such thoughts may run through your head, think about this for a minute. Think about the consequences uttering such things could have on the people around you, what you may or may not know about their lives and what they’ve had to go through. Think about how this can affect the people closest to you. Think about how this could affect you, because yes, it can happen. And if you overhear it elsewhere, think about these words.
Then see if you can really find that funny.
I’m going to end this now, because I’m reaching the end of my spoon reserves. So I’m going to take the rest of the night for myself and drink this cup of comfort tisane.
1. Same link for the two because the post spans into both subjects.
2. Which, while related, are not the same. By far.
3. While primarily about the Roma, one of the example jokes makes a double stab by including Natives.