There is something which is annoying me. No, it angers me, like no other issue in football at present. It isn’t the increased wages, the greed of players, the rise in ticket prices, or even Arsenal’s lack of trophies. The increasing use of the word ‘rape’ by football fans and pundits to describe certain events in football is the one thing I most despise about the modern game.
But it’s only a word I hear some of you say. To you, maybe. But to thousands of women in the UK alone and MILLIONS worldwide, it is a word which represents a life-changing event, in which the perpetrator most likely escaped without punishment. It destroys families and causes women the globe over to kill themselves.
It is certainly far more than ‘just a word’ and it’s repeated use to describe trivial events diminishes the shock value it should carry. A word like ‘rape’ should make you cringe at the very thought of it. As a society we should be disgusted by the very thought of the word so heinous is the actual act.
I had this discussion via Twitter a while back when I was asked what the difference was between using the word ‘raped’ and the words ‘murdered’ ‘battered’ or some other similar way of describing a footballing event. Well, I’ve known one person who has been murdered, a few who have been battered, and a sickeningly high number of women who have been raped. I won’t speak to the murder, I believe that comparison is too far-fetched, perhaps because the use of the word ‘murdered’ has become common place, or perhaps because it is used in other areas of life to describe something extreme and not just football.
Murder is murder and it will always be so, but rape? Well that is an epidemic and already it is a subject which is not taken as seriously as it should be. It ruins the lives of everyone it touches and the continued and increased use of it by fans and pundits diminishes the word every time it is uttered to express anything other than a forced sexual act.
I don’t expect everyone to agree, and while it will come across as incredibly sexist of me to say it, I expect those who disagree to be men who have never had to watch their wife, mother , daughter, or sister try and repair their lives after being the victim of such an horrific form of attack. I’ve yet to see or hear of a woman using it as way to describe one team beating another comprehensively.
There is a reason for this.
You might think that this is a whole big fuss over nothing, but to compare being badly beaten in football match to being held down and forcibly sodomised is insulting. Think about that for a minute. Think about how you would feel had that happened to you, now think about losing your precious football match and tell me they are even remotely the same thing.
If you don’t care that every time you use the word outside of its proper context you diminish both the severity of the act and the impact it has on the woman and those who love her then I doubt there is anything I can say to make you stop.
To the rest of you, all I ask is that you please reconsider your use of the word. Think about the memories and trauma you stir up each time a rape victim reads that word. Don’t you think she’s suffered enough without having her ‘experience’ likened to a heavy defeat in a football game?
*UPDATE – While I am aware that men also suffer rape, my experience in life has been through that of women who have been raped and that is why I have written this as a female-orientated piece. This in no way dismisses men who have also suffered this barbaric crime.
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