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Letter to the Editor | There is nothing humorous about sexual assault

I am the President of Women Against Violence and Sexual Assault.

With that being said, I have witnessed a lot of eye rolling, exasperated sighs and crude jokes at my expense at numerous events that I have helped organize in an attempt to raise awareness, as well as at events I have protested in an effort to bring to light the facts and voice my opinion to those who think rape victims are "privileged" (how's that 48k treating you George Will?).

I have always been privy to the fact that people, for some strange reason I cannot comprehend, find rape funny. As someone who endured the hardships of sexual assault, I personally don't find humor in it. People always feel uninhibited to crack a rape joke but then when it comes around to actually talking about rape and assault, and the truthful facts that follow them, people bottle up, sigh in frustration, and walk away believing that they could never be raped or be a person who rapes.

April 10, I helped the men of MARS, Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault, pass out free Gatorade bottles at the Phi Delt Gates. In a smart marketing strategy, the MARS men had placed informational stickers on the bottles promoting MARS, WAVES, and the F-Word.

I would entice my peers and encourage them to come get a free Gatorade by simply yelling, "FREE GATORADE," and nothing else. I would let the stickers and my WAVES T-shirt speak for themselves.

A group of men, no doubt coming back from rowdy Uptown activities were walking by our table, which proudly displayed the MARS logo on a bright blue background, and what their organization was. After my "Free Gatorade" shpeel, one of the men within the crowd yelled in an act of cowardice, for all of High Street to hear, "I'm not against rape." If you are reading this now, and you know who you are, I hope you're ashamed.

I responded "Okay asshole, have fun in hell." In hindsight, I should have run up to him and handed him a Gatorade and told him that he's going to be thirsty in hell.

This is the problem with rape culture. People feel free to joke about rape culture, assault and violence, but then when the time comes to actually face the repercussions and the facts, people are silent.

Rape won't stop being a problem until people don't find it funny anymore. People need to grow up and deal with the facts: rape happens, and there's nothing funny about it.

Mary Williams