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Where Do You Stand: Using the Word "Rape" Casually

Where Do You Stand: Using the Word "Rape" Casually

I was talking to a friend the other day about how her home is being renovated. It's costing her a ton of money, and instead of just saying, "the contractor is taking advantage of us," she said, "the contractor is raping us." I was really shocked to hear such a strong term used in such a casual way. I took offense that she was comparing a horrible thing such as rape to something as unimportant as how much it's going to cost to put in new hardwood floors.

Am I overreacting here or do you think it's OK to use the word "rape" in a casual way?

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Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
I HATE when people say ignorant things like that. That's nothing but ignorance, to say a forced crime is equal to something so insignificant. I can't believe their removing sex ed. a lot of people need it.
Valynn Valynn 9 years
I'm a reader, so the the way I use my words is in context of the way I first read them. I do use tact when I speak, but sometimes only certain words can get across exactly what you are feeling. The OP never said "I was offended because it happened to me", so I do believe she was a bit overly sensitive. By the way, telling someone "wait until it happens to you" is real uncool. How could you wish something horrible like that on another person?
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 9 years
Just to add--I do use the word gay, but so do my gay friends...it's actually a habit I picked up from them. I'm careful about it, though, because some gay people might be sensitive to it. I also quit using the word Jesus because even though I'm not very religious, my mom said it really offends those who are. Maybe people should get over themselves and not take offense, or maybe those causing offense should stop expecting others to see things the way they do...
bbkf bbkf 9 years
I don't use it that way, but it doesn't bother me when other people do.
Advah Advah 9 years
Whether 'rape' has different meanings that don't always involve a sexual context, I think the word is now mainly used in that context - so maybe instead of following the dictionary's definition, we should update it. I personally don't use it lightly, I'm ok if people do, but only to a certain extent (I have to say I'm not comfortable with "the contractor is raping us"). It's like people who think it's ok to tell offensive jokes about gay people from the moment there's only heterosexuals around. You don't know the history of the people around you - so even if you're ok with using the word lightly, think that others might not.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I have never used that term casually; it's a horrible act of violence and to use it in such a casual manner disgusts me.
Daisie Daisie 9 years
I just looked up "rape" in the Random House and American Heritage Dictionaries and all of the first 5 or 6 definitions are about the forced sex act.
Daisie Daisie 9 years
I absolutely hate it. I think it is simply uncouth and cold to use it casually. Rape is torture and horrible. I mean, I'm not terribly "PC" but some things are just not right. Also, just to show comparison....if someone says something is "gay" they usually mean it's weird or queer as in strange or odd. Possibly reminding someone who is gay that they are gay isn't traumatic. The definition of rape is primarily rape as in illegal, forced intercourse. Secondary definitions still include violent, forceful meanings. People take it all too lightly.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i think word choice is a reflection of the speaker, so there you go. people who use words that they know others find offensive do so for a reason. usually when someone i know uses a word this way, i make a note of it. a slip or 2 is one thing, but i don't like to associate with people who use words to "batter" or shock people. if they know it's offensive to you it's rude. there are lpts of other people to spend time with.
sweetnshy5282 sweetnshy5282 9 years
I am on the fence about this one... first of all, I used to be one those people who threw words around such as "gay" and "retarded". when i was younger I never really thought about how those words could offend a person. I have since removed them from my vocabulary. but I also see what people mean when they say that the word "rape" doesn't necessarily mean a sexual assault. it has many other definitions. in the context of charging too much for hardwood floors, a person is obviously referring to the contractor seizing way too much of her money. it really is a matter of whose company you are in. as someone else said..it's all about being socially sensitive.
ainje ainje 9 years
I don't think it's a -shock-, but I would say it's definitely uncouth... But then, I've heard worse things out of people's mouths.
Nyrina-Windu Nyrina-Windu 9 years
I would never use that would as casual. You never know who has actually been literally raped by someone, that may be standing around you somewhere in the same room. I would not want to hurt someone in that manner. And I would never want to bring up any bad memories for anyone just because I wanted to "casually" use the word 'rape' inappropriately.
demeter demeter 9 years
I don't use it like that, but it's not heinous when other people do. They could be doing worse things - like actually RAPING someone.
alphaxigirl07 alphaxigirl07 9 years
i don't think you are overreacting. it's the same as people who use the word "retarded" or "gay". it's not right and there are definitely better and more appropriate words to use other than words like that. and i don't think you are being sensitive either. these types of words are words that should not be used to describe anything but what they are and by saying them in the way that people say them in, negatively, it makes it seem like it is not a big deal (rape) or that it is wrong (gay) or bad (retarded). i don't think i'd say anything to my friend, but i would probably be a little stunned to hear it said.
emalove emalove 9 years
I personally would never use this word in a situation like you've described. I think it's somewhat offensive.
Tamma1387 Tamma1387 9 years
Hmm..this is interesting. My ex raped me twice, but I regularly use the word rape in different context. Does that mean I'm being insensitive to myself? Having your house broken into can be a horrifying, traumatic experience and make you feel insecure in your own home, so should we cut back on saying the word "robbed" to describe something? I.E. "I was robbed by Uncle Sam on my taxes". Get over it.
MandyPinecone MandyPinecone 9 years
I think it should not be used casual.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
I think using the word "rape" casually is low-class, and insensitive to others. I would've been very surprised.
PJ-PJ-PJ PJ-PJ-PJ 9 years
Wow, I've never heard anyone use the word rape so casually. I think I would have been taken aback also.
AnnaLove AnnaLove 9 years
Well, most of my best friends are some very politically incorrect guys who love rape jokes and use the word at any possible occasion. So,I've become desensitized to the meaning of "rape". After reading your guys' comments though, and seeing how offended so many people are by it, I'll definitely try to refrain from using the term around people I'm not super close with. I've never been raped and don't know anyone who has been, so I can't imagine how offensive it must be to hear it being used so casually. As for your friend, she's probably just ignorant like I was and I'm sure if you let her know the word offends you she would stop using it. I'm sure she didn't mean to upset you.
hottpink hottpink 9 years
asia84, wait until something like rape happens to you or a loved one. Maybe then you won't see people as being "overly sensitive". After being raped by not one but two men, yes, it does offend me that people can throw it around so casually.
kristinhomesick kristinhomesick 9 years
asia, if i am to assume you meant to type "archaic" then it seems pretty clear that even merriam-webster agrees that definition has fallen out of favor.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 9 years
yea i use it sometimes.. BUT i would be horrified if i accidentaly said it in front of someone who has been raped :O
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
everybody is becoming politically correct these days, and it's annoying! people say things all the time, but when the word RAPE comes up, everyone wants to get a pitch-fork. lol. i laugh, because it's not that damn serious. get over it. you can't control what people say.
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