We've all heard it before: A guy cracks a joke about someone who got raped or abused, and he says, "she was asking for it," "she's a slut," or worse, "she deserved it." This brand of humor comes in many forms, some seemingly harmless and easy to brush off. You might've even laughed along. It's just a JOKE, right?
It is NEVER a joke. This #DearDaddy video produced by aid organization CARE Norway perfectly captures the long-term effects of this "joke" about women that usually starts off innocently. The short film's point of view comes from an unborn daughter who warns her father about boys, and how sexist puns they throw around as kids could influence violent behavior in the future.
Watch the video here:
Here's the transcript:
Dear Daddy, I just wanted to thank you for looking after me so well, even though I am not yet born. I know you already try harder than Superman, and you won't even let mommy eat sushi. But I need to ask you a favor. Warning: It's about boys.
Because you see, I will be born a girl, which means that by the time I'm 14, the boys in my class will have called me a whore, a bitch, a cunt, and many other things. It's just for fun, of course. Something boys do. So you won't worry. And I understand that.
Perhaps, you did the same when you were young, trying to impress some of the other boys. I’m sure you didn’t mean anything by it.
Still, some of the other people won’t get the joke. And funnily enough, it isn't one of the girls. It's some of the boys.
So by the time I turn 16, a couple of boys would've snuck their hands down my pants while I'm so drunk I can't even stand straight. And although I say no, they just laugh. It's funny, right? If you saw me, daddy, you would be so ashamed. Because I'm wasted.
No wonder I’m raped when I’m 21.
Twenty-one and on my way home in a taxi driven by the son of a guy you went swimming with every Wednesday. The guy who always told insulting jokes but, of course, they were only jokes, so you laughed.
Had you known that his son would end up raping me, you would have told him to get a grip. But how could you know? He was just a boy telling weird jokes and in any case, it wasn't your business.
You were just being nice. But his son—raised on these jokes—becomes my business.
Then finally, I meet Mr. Perfect, and you're so happy for me daddy because he really adores me. And he's smart, with a great job, and all through the winter, he goes cross-country skiing three times a week just like you. But one day he stops being Mr. Perfect. And I don't know why. Wait, am I overreacting? One thing I do know, I am not the victim type. I am raised to be a strong and independent woman. But one night, it's just all too much for him—with work, and the in-laws and the wedding coming up, so he calls me a 'whore,' just like you called a girl in middle school a whore once.
Then another day, he hits me.
I mean, I am way out of line. I mean, I can really be a bitch sometimes. But we're still the greatest couple, and I'm so confused because I love him, and I hate him and I'm not sure I did do something wrong. And then one day, he almost kills me, and it all goes black. Even though I have a Ph.D., a fantastic job, I'm loved by my friends and family, I'm well brought up, and nobody saw this coming.
Dear Daddy, this is the favor I want to ask. One thing always leads to another, so please stop it before it gets the chance to begin.
Don't let my brothers call girls 'whores' because they're not and one day some little boy might think it's true. Don't accept insulting jokes from weird guys by the pool, or even friends.
Because behind every joke, there is always some truth.
Dear daddy, I know you will protect me from lions, tigers, guns, cars, and even sushi without even thinking of the danger to your own life. But dear daddy, I will be born a girl.
Please do everything you can so that won't stay the greatest danger of all.
Share this with all the men in your life, and let's do our part as women to spread the message that making light of serious issues such as rape, sex trafficking, and domestic abuse is as good as doing them ourselves, and watching them happen with consent.
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