Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Facebook-rape" No More!

We've all done it: your friend forgets to log out of Facebook and leaves you unsupervised, and within moments you are declaring to all the internet your friend's unusual sexual predilections or Justin Bieber fandom. I myself did it to a good friend just a few hours ago. It was, and is, very funny.

What's not so funny is the popular name for this practice: “Facebook-rape”, or “frape” for short. People, this is not a cool thing to say. I know that if I tell you this kind of language trivializes rape and perpetuates rape culture, some of you will roll your eyes and tell me to get a sense of humor; but spare a thought for this statistic:

One in six women have been sexually assaulted.

One in six.

Do you know more than five women? Then, statistically, one of them has been sexually assaulted. Your friends and relatives are not exempt. You may not be aware of it, but you know people who have been raped.

And it's just possible that, when you are explaining your sudden linkspam to Justin Bieber fanvids, one of them will see the word “frape” and be triggered into reliving the worst thing that ever happened to them.

I agree that “I left Facebook logged in and unattended, and one of my joker friends posted these things under my name” is a little long-winded, so, as an alternative, I propose that we refer to this phenomenon as “Facebook-pranking” – “franking” for short.

It's short, it's snappy, and it just might spare someone a traumatic flashback. If we change our language, we might change people's thinking, and our culture might stop seeing sexual assault as something to laugh about.

Don't frape your friends. Frank them.


  1. I'm not "friendly" enough for Facebook, anyway, but "franking" is a cuter word - reminds me of hot dogs.

    Now the question is, will I be able to sleep tonight? What a creepy statistic! I had no idea how duck-like humans could be (I know some disturbing facts about the animal kingdom). Yeesh. I've never known anyone who's *said* they've been raped, but it's not the kind of thing you ask about.

  2. Thanks for this post. Trivializing rape is the worst thing anyone can do with language. I can't imagine that context doesn't matter for anything--except this. This is NEVER okay, no matter who says it, no matter how they meant it.

  3. I so appreciate this, both the humor and the sensitivity.

    Here's to franking!