Wednesday, 15 August 2012

What the Hell were they thinking?

I'm not going to sleep well tonight. I don't after things like this. Tomorrow I'll be scritchy and grumpy and snap at the students and hide at the back of the staffroom with a book or something so I don't have to make small talk. I'll be like this because I'm upset. I'm upset and I'm angry.

I'm angry because I live in a world where fast food companies believe that rape sells pizzas.

"Don't read of you are easily offended" Or, y'know, against raping people. 

I'm angry that I live in a world where people think that not only is rape and sexual assault OK, it's actually marketable. That people who are dithering over which fast food choice to make of an evening might be swayed towards a company that rewards accounts of sexual violence. I live in a world where people who can drive, vote, be parents, teach kids, not just defend this marketing but don't think there's an issue in the first place. Apparently putting a mask on and sticking your genitals in the mouth of a complete stranger isn't rape, it's FUNNY. HAHAHAHAHA. FUNNY. 


Not pictured: misanthropy
It brings out all kinds of horrific feelings in me. the people all posting their "LOLS" and "SHOT BRO" high-five bullshit could be the people who drive the night bus. They might be the guy working the late shift at a bar. They might be the driver of your taxi. To quote Fight Club "We guard you while you sleep". 

How safe is that meant to make me, a denizen of this country, feel? That maybe the bouncer at the club where I saw that girl blind drunk isn't going to put her in a cab, because he thinks rape isn't a problem? Maybe the teenager I teach is going to have something hideous done to her by a person known to her who thinks she just needs to lighten up? Maybe some dude is going to wake up, a bit drunk, a bit disorientated, to find himself being violated by a masked assailant and then read an account of his being violated on facebook, along with hundreds of comments applauding your assailant's actions? 

What's almost as bad as the original post was Hell Pizza's response. 

Not "We are very sorry. We were wrong". They apologise to "those offended". "They saw the bad light the post could be taken in."


Apparently, being a masked rapist is offensive depending on the light quality! It can be seen as a prank, y'know, between friends! Shit, I bet this stuff happens all the time!

"Hey bro, you remember that time you were asleep and I, like, totally raped you?"

"Shit yeah dude, you really violated me! In front of a crowd of people! Fuckin' A!"

Because that is what friends do, apparently. They rape each other. For the lulz.

Now, clearly I am doing friendship wrong. When I went to friend upset about the assault I went through, I should have asked to be orally violated! Would have cheered me right up. When, late at night, talk has turned to the outrages we've suffered at the hands of others, and tears have been shed and glasses drained, what we should have done is commit an act of sexual indecency on someone! Silly me!

So, people, here's the thing. If you think hearing about someone being raped is funny, then you're an apologist for rape. That means you think rape is acceptable. To do so means you side with the rapist, not the victim. There's no "lighten up" on this one. If you work in a company that uses tactics like this to sell your wares, you are implying that you think your customers are rape apologisers, or worse. That's not a matter of a dodgy lightbulb, that's you using rape. To sell pizza.

Go to hell.


  1. Perfectly put. But please don't think the majority are the high-fiving morons who lack the emotional or intellectual capacity to think before they rape. Nobody found it funny. It's not okay and if I can hear about their grossly inappropriate marketing messages all the way from London in the UK, I'd say they will end up losing more than just a few facebook likes. Noone has the right to make light of sexual assault. And I'm pretty sure Hell's Pizza is about to find that out the hard way.
    Warm thoughts, @iamkatythomas x

    1. That's just it Katy, plenty of people DID find it funny. Hell's facebook site had plenty of messages of support from people who were rolling out the "It's the PC Police!" rhetoric. Seeing not just proponents of "lad" culture but women, even mothers, saying that if their child grew up and had something similar happen to them they'd tell them to "learn from it and get over it" (or something very similar) suggests victim blaming and rape apology are deeply, poisonously ingrained.

  2. Agree, but then Hell Pizza are very good at providing amends: Entirely appropriate!

    1. It's great that they've done this, and to think all it took was widespread outrage and several reports in the press condemning them and spreading the idea of them donating to Rape Crisis! If only it was always this easy.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased that they're making an effort to put this right. What sticks in my craw is the fact there was something this abhorrent that needed putting right in the first place.

  3. Excellent, excellent commentary. Love your anger, insight and eloquence. I'm sharing this. :)

  4. really rubbish and indecent marketing aside - have you actually SPOKEN to the people involved in this story?! Rape is only rape if one or more parties feel violated. If he thinks his mate was a bit of a dick doing this "prank" but isn't psychologically damaged by the action, then there really isn't an issue between them, but moreso that Hell used the story and in doing so removed the stigma of what is otherwise a really disgusting and despicable thing to do to anyone!

    1. Have I spoken to two unidentified individuals in a marketing campaign? No. Is that at all relevant? No.

      As I said in this post, and on twitter, and on facebook, the issue is that we have a major company who are using a depiction of sexual assault to sell pizzas. You seem to be agreeing with me on this.

      That aside, rape isn't actually defined as a party feeling "violated". Article 128 of NZ Law describes rape as:

      "Person A rapes person B if person A has sexual connection with person B, effected by the penetration of person B's genitalia by person A's penis,—

      (a) without person B's consent to the connection; and
      (b) without believing on reasonable grounds that person B consents to the connection."

      "Article 128 (3) outlaws "unlawful sexual connection" (which refers to sexual acts other than those described in 128 (2) – i.e. without the penetration of genitalia by the penis – committed under the same circumstances of 128 (2)." (wikipedia-

      As such, rape in this and in most other Western countries is sexual contact where one party has not CONSENTED to the sexual contact, or if that consent was obtained due to coercion or intoxication. Someone who is sleeping is unable to consent to having a masked stranger put their genitals into their mouth, and it therefore qualifies as a sexual assault under the law.

      To think that something is only illegal because one party is upset by it is phenomenally dangerous. Kids who grow up in abusive homes might be massively traumatised, but would still tell social services they're fine because they don't want daddy to get into trouble. Victims of DV have been known to retract complaints or downplay the effects of the abuse on them due to their relationship with the abuser. If a man rapes his wife but she's so used to the abuse that she just carries on with life, is the perpetrator still in breach of the law? Of course he is.

  5. very valid points to consider - thank you for bringing that to my attention

    1. All good. This is the problem with educating people about sex and criminality, as a society we have a very hazy notion of what constitutes "consent". As a result, juries can (and have) decided a victim consented because she had a short skirt on. Or had consented to sex (with other people!) in the past. Or had been drinking. Young people are told almost exclusively not to get raped, but almost nothing on how not to rape.

      Imagine a world where people were confident enough in themselves to ask each other if they wanted to continue? If they were happy to go further? And if we were confident enough to answer honestly, and take honest answers without getting angry, violent or upset?

      As a society we should be teaching and learning how to say NO and how to respectfully listen to someone else saying it. That way when someone doesn't listen, there's less of this "they were asking for it" bollocks.

  6. Just love this whole post and the comments with insightful replies.. when I first saw the picture, I did laugh, I'll admit that... And its only because its what our world and society has been accustomed too.. its what I've been influenced by and what I've learned to let slide and just agree, or laugh about it.. but after reading what you had to say, I realize it wasn't just a joke, but also something that can become as serious as rape itself.. thank you for writing this and showing an entirely different perspective of the situation, I would have never looked at it that way...

    1. Thank you for writing this, really. Very, very much appreciated.