The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

A sad side of Twitter.

[If you're not familiar with Twitter, sorry about all the jargon up ahead. You'll understand the principles, regardless.]

At last night's sad Padres game, I checked Twitter during a particularly dismal inning and happened upon an uncomfortable tweet from Morgan Murphy, a comedian who has written for Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, etc. She's very funny and I often laugh out loud embarrassingly at her jokes and retweet them annoyingly often. But last night, this is what she wrote:
"Bad news: just got raped. Good news: guess who's a brand new member of the mile high club?!!!"
I shook my head, clicked the "unfollow" button, and wrote this tweet in response:
"And another unfollow for a rape joke. Seriously, , you are very funny. But rape is not."
I have a principle of unfollowing comedians who joke about rape. This is the third otherwise very hilarious person I've unfollowed, and it's a principle I'll stick to. I'm very aware that, in the grand scheme of the world, this is unbelievably unimportant. But fighting the trivialization of rape is unbelievably important.

And as sad as this is, the saddest part is yet to come. Within minutes, Morgan Murphy had retweeted my tweet to her 42,000 followers. Within seconds, dozens of people who do not know me tweeted at me their stupidest rape jokes, insults, and other awful words. I decided not to respond to any of them or make any mention on twitter of their existence, but, for you to really understand how disrespectful these people were, I'll give you the lowlights.
"Not enough details to judge. She could have been asking for it." 
"Rape isn't funny! Unless it happens to " 
"Depends on what style the rape was, could range from funny to super funny" 
"rape isn't funny, unless of course you're being raped by a comedian, then it's " 
"The best way to indirectly announce to the world that you're a rape victim is to overreact to rape jokes."
I didn't glorify any of these with a response, though I very seriously considered it with that last one. 

I'm just disgusted. Fortunately, I am not a direct victim of rape. But someone I love is. And because of this, I know that there are many, many indirect victims of rape. And that is the number one reason why a rape joke will never be funny to me. And even if my concern for rape victims was just general, this would still be disgusting. What hurts me the most about this is how quickly all of these strangers wrote some hurtful words to me without having a clue who I was. 

The internet is an incredible thing. People all over the world are connected to each other, and can communicate about anything at lightning speed. It's really awe-inspiring. But the travesty of that is how quickly people can hurt each other. 

I know that Morgan Murphy is a comedian. I know that it is her job to make jokes. A few of her followers reminded me that it is even her job to be offensive, though I'm not totally sure that that's true. There are so many things going on in the world that can be joked about that do not trivialize the complete violation of the mind, body, and soul of a human being. 

Rape is not a joke.


A week in our nation's capitol.