A version of this blog post was also published on The Express Tribune Blog here.
The whole world watched with a mixture of great shock, glee, anticipation, and disappointment as Germany beat Brazil by an impressive 7-1 in this past Tuesday’s (June 8th, 2014) Semi-Final World Cup soccer game. As a long-time fan of Brazil, I, too, was quite appalled.
However, my dismay wasn’t because Brazil lost (it’s only a game, after all, and countries win and lose all the time; it’s nothing new), it was more so due to the reaction that the game elicited among many fans, especially over social media, going so far as to state the most despicable of all metaphors in existence: “Germany raped Brazil.”
This inappropriate metaphor was especially ubiquitous over Twitter, where many people — both male and female alike — unabashedly and deliberately used the term rape, over and over again, in reference to Germany’s win over Brazil. One only has to type, “Germany raped Brazil” in the search bar to suddenly get bombarded with hundreds and thousands of repugnant tweets, making one wince at the amount of sexual violence that people, obliviously, are promoting, encouraging and taking very lightly.
Here are a few examples of those distasteful tweets:
On the other hand, there were also a few who displayed much criticism and reprimanded the use of this atrocious metaphor; I am highly appreciative of these individuals. Here are a few that I came across, serving as a breath of fresh air, after the mass of deplorable tweets that I felt were never-ending:
While a plethora of these rape metaphors were rampant over Twitter, I also noticed that a debasing Facebook page was also created to further add salt to the wounds, titled, I was alive when Germany raped Brazil. Even more disturbing is the fact that this page has over 1000 likes! And that too in a span of just a few days.
This, hence, begs the question that has been bothering me ever since I learned about all this: Since when did rape become a referral to something good? Something positive? I assume the people who used this reference meant to use it in the context that it was intended to be used: to mean that Germany was so good; so talented; so powerful — yes, I said it — that they “raped” Brazil, which obviously meant that Brazil was the “weaker” team. After all, isn’t that exactly how “being raped” works? A powerful individual forces himself on a weaker individual, snatching and taking whatever he wants using threats and violence, leaving the victim helpless and humiliated. What’s even more disconcerting is that there are many who are totally dismissing this crude metaphor, calling it a mere “joke” and making it seem that it’s not a big deal at all. How is it not a big deal when sexual violence, especially against women, is highly prevalent in Brazil? Even so, recent statistics on violence against women in Brazil have revealed the following:
Every 15 seconds a woman is sexually assaulted; every two hours a woman is murdered; 59 per cent of people know a woman who has been a victim of violence; and 65 per cent of attacks on women happened behind closed doors. It has the seventh highest rate of violence against women in the world and within the past three decades, at least 92,000 women have been killed inside their homes.
I personally believe that most of the dilemma with people using the term “rape” so carelessly — and heartlessly — is that they either aren’t aware or have deliberately turned a blind eye to the poignant problem of rape, and the fact that it’s not only prevalent in Brazil but all over the world. Rape is not a joke and should never be treated as such. Unfortunately, many people, who indulge in such crude humour, also don’t realize that rape in Brazil is excused when a woman wearing “revealing clothing” gets raped. This is further supported in a recent article by Zeynep Zileli Rabanea, in which she stated the following:
58.5 percent of Brazilians agreed that if women knew how to behave properly, there would be fewer cases of rape.
As distressing as the above statement sounds, it is the reality of the many problems that currently exist in Brazil.
So, to all you people who constantly use, or have used, the term “rape” to refer to something “positive”: Don’t. Don’t use it. It’s not funny and it does not, by any means, sound cool. You can argue all you want and tell me that rape doesn’t sound bad, but it does. It sounds very ugly. dehumanizing, actually.
Besides, there are far more better, more appropriate, words that could have been used instead to describe Germany’s win against Brazil.
Rape, however, is not and never will be one of them!