Get Your War On: Sarah Palin and rape kits

A couple of my friends found this offensive, but I think it’s a hilarious way to shed light on the fucked-up-ness of Palin’s involvement in charging victims of sexual assault for their own rape kits.
What do you think?

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  • Naama

    You know, people keep accusing us of not having a sense of humor about “ironically” offensive jokes. But offensive jokes that make a political point? There’s a place for those. If this had just stopped at “ha ha, rape is so funny lolol” then it’d be a different story–but this was actually thought-provoking.

  • noone

    I thought “rape is not funny”.

  • Kathleen6674

    It’s not making fun of rape, it’s making fun of cavalier attitudes about rape. I thought it was funny.

  • louveciennes

    Anyone who is offended by this must not be familiar with Get Your War On. It’s not saying “Ha ha, rape is funny”. It’s pointing out how twisted Palin’s policies are by giving voice to the bizarre consequences that could arise from them.
    GYWO is never simplistic “Garfield is fat” humor a la your Sunday funny pages. It’s bitter and dark because the creator is one pissed off person. As should anyone who’s been paying the slightest attention for the past 8 years be.

  • doppleganger

    So yeah that was a little ruff. Rape isn’t funny does come up for me really fast when I watch this. Mostly because the guy defending woman doesn’t state more frankly to his friend that rape isn’t funny. I do believe that it goes further than making a joke and points out how flippant people can treat rape and woman’s issues. That may have been an exageration of how people talk about rape but I don’t see it being all that far from reality.
    It’s teatering on the line though.

  • Jennifer

    That was extremely offensive. I didn’t see anything positive. It didn’t say how ridiculous her policies are, all it did was have some sexist, potential rapist rant about how her policies are GOOD! Thanks a lot, Feministing…

  • getoffmyskittle

    Satire fail.

  • MisukoB

    No this just felt negative, it just sounded like another hateful rape joke.

  • naters

    I personally think it succeeded as a piece of satire by pointing out how utterly ridiculous the policy is as well as the arguments of those that would support it. I understand completely the importance of never taking rape lightly, but this is not that far from the humor of The Daily Show or Stephen Colbert. They also often present extreme examples to show how horrible and hypocritical people can be. We are not laughing because rape is funny, we are laughing because that guy is being a completely ignorant prick.

  • pinkpicnic

    No, it was bringing to light how unfunny rape was, subtly brining in the issues while you’re* not paying attention.
    Yeah it’s tough, because it’s a tough issue and it’s a fucking tough time politically. “A rapist rubbed a magic lamp and Sarah Palin came out”. Exactly.
    But I understand how people not familiar with this strip could misunderstand. They’re not riffing on rape, they’re riffing on absurdity to get you to PAY ATTENTION. Bravo/a.
    *You, being people who don’t usually see the issue.

  • Jessica

    Jennifer, as others noted in comments – it’s meant to be satirical. It’s def NOT touting her policies.
    I just know that when it comes to sexual assault, it’s a hard line to walk when being funny and using satire – which is why I posed the question. I thought the comic/video succeeded, but that’s just me.

  • Chickensh*tEagle

    It ran too long. Other than that, good.

  • Jenn Astle

    Rape = Not Funny
    This Video = Kinda satirically funny
    Sarah Palin = Disgusting
    Jokes that make fun of Sarah Palin’s ridiculous views = Hilarious
    That’s my breakdown.

  • eclectica33

    Maybe I’m missing something, but is there a link to the relevant GYWO? It took me a bit of googling to figure out what y’all are talking about, and I was even familiar with the comic strip already.

  • Jenn Astle

    Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if she said that Dinosaurs should pay for rape kits next.

  • Hilary

    This video kinda got me shook up. Maybe you should have a trigger warning or something, because now I just feel really vulnerable and not good

  • locomotivebreath1901

    “What do I think?”
    I think rape is no laughing matter.
    I also think this is usual loon toon leftist propaganda BS which naturally avoids any facts – and simply embraces hysterical hyperbole.
    “The best evidence available indicates these are entirely false claims.”
    Kind of like
    The Official Wasilla Banned Books List – which is ZERO.

  • Nicole

    I didn’t exactly find this laugh-out-loud funny. But I thought it was smart, and the fact that it’s offensive is why it works. It’s basically saying, “This is how offended I am by Sarah Palin’s policies.” I didn’t laugh hysterically, but it was exactly what Naama called it in the first comment: thought-provoking. Her policies weren’t far off from what these guys were talking about, and it’s scary. So this was funny in a “Wow, she’s so extreme, she’s kind of ridiculous” sort of way.

  • Nicole

    I didn’t exactly find this laugh-out-loud funny. But I thought it was smart, and the fact that it’s offensive is why it works. It’s basically saying, “This is how offended I am by Sarah Palin’s policies.” I didn’t laugh hysterically, but it was exactly what Naama called it in the first comment: thought-provoking. Her policies weren’t far off from what these guys were talking about, and it’s scary. So this was funny in a “Wow, she’s so extreme, she’s kind of ridiculous” sort of way.

  • ShifterCat

    Hey, Locomotivebreath1901: First of all, the Rape Kit “debunking” has itself been debunked. Second, I have yet to see a single blog or news article claiming that Palin has actually banned any books or has provided a list of books she would wish to have banned. What has been reported is that Palin asked a librarian whether she would support the censoring of books, and when the librarian refused, she was fired.
    Concerning the actual video: it would be a lot better if the actors spoke more loudly and clearly. I turned up the volume some, and still heard mostly mumbles. Then the explosion at the end made me jump. What I did get out of it was that they clearly weren’t saying “rape is funny”, they were lampooning some people’s callousness about the subject.

  • AnatomyFightSong

    Doesn’t offend me at all.
    Our reality is so close to satire these days. Ratchet up Palin’s idiocy just one notch and you’ve got a cartoon character who thinks women should pay for their own rape investigations.

  • saraswati27

    I’ve always thought GYWO is hilarious, and this piece is no exception.
    But GYWO is also sometimes really uncomfortable to watch. It’s uncomfortable because I think this satire is based on forcing us to confront how horrible or painful certain things are. The person who makes GYWO had tons of strips in 2002 commenting about kids getting blown up in Afghanistan. Not “haha, isn’t it hilarious how kids get blown up”, but totally pointing out how the US continues to talk about Afghanistan policy and completely ignores kids getting blown up. It was pretty uncomfortable to see strips in GYWO talking about kids getting blown up. But it really shocked me into constantly noticing the difference between how the media talks about Afghanistan and the reality of what actually happens in Afghanistan. To me, the Palin/rape kit animation is the same type of satire.
    I’ve heard that under Palin’s watch women had to pay for rape kits. As a feminist that totally outrages me on principle. But I never really thought about what that meant or how outrageous and evil the reality of it really is. I have no idea how much a rape kit actually costs. Some swabs? Genetic material containers? The media never really goes beyond the surface of that story. $1200? That’s insane!!!! If it were me I would have to get a second job to pay for that! I never really understood what that meant until I saw the GYWO animation and really was forced to confront that awful details of that.
    I think that is a worthy piece or art. It doesn’t say “rape is funny”, and it shouldn’t be forced to say “rape is NOT funny” just in case someone can’t figure it out. It does something far more important. It makes us really understand WHY this issue is so important and awful.
    Just because the topic of rape is in there, and it also makes you laugh does NOT automatically mean that the piece says that rape is funny. Just because it makes us uncomfortable or is painful doesn’t mean it is offensive or that it doesn’t have value.

  • Judith Jewcakes

    Rape isn’t funny…and this cartoon isn’t making fun of rape. It’s making fun of Palin’s ridiculously anti-woman policies, and the white dude rape apologist is the Bad Guy.
    Now I do understand what would make people feel uncomfortable about it, because although it’s not encouraging anyone to laugh at rape, but rather to laugh at the asshole rape apologists, it throws the word around a lot and makes light of a very serious crime which many understandably believe should only be discussed seriously. I totally understand if people think, “Well, I don’t want to LAUGH at rape apologists, I want to show them how awful they are/kick them in the face/put them in jail/change their minds so that rape apology ends altogether.”
    My personal bottom line, though, is that the biggest problem with rape jokes is that they de-criminalize and even encourage rape under the guise of harmless humor. This clip doesn’t do any of that; on the contrary, it’s using satire to say the exact opposite: “Rape is a huge crime and isn’t being treated as such; our government officials are rape apologists and that’s just ridiculous.”

  • lawgirlca

    It’s not funny, but it is provacative. Sadly, this might be indicative the attitudes and/or beliefs of some* men.
    *By “some” I mean, simultaneously:
    1. men who do not think they know any women affected by rape or sexual assault; and
    2. to the best of my knowledge, no men that I know personally.

  • nightingale

    I like the attitude of Shakesville: Rape jokes are only okay if a rape victim would find it funny. Not that it’s a completely off limits topic, but you have to be sensitive to the victims.
    I found it funny. Perhaps a “Rape based economy” will enable McCain to veto every spending bill, huh?

  • Mariella

    I liked it for the most part. There were a few jokes that made me a little uncomfortable because they’re the type of jokes lots of men I know would laugh at. I’ve been hearing a lot of rape jokes from a lot of different sources lately so I might just be a little sensitive on the subject at the moment.
    All in all, it made enough clever burns on mccain/palin to win my approval.
    doppleganger – this is indicative of lots of people’s attitude towards rape (flippant at least as long as it’s abstract or hypothetical. ie i’m sure most people wouldn’t laugh if a crying woman they were close to was telling her story)
    lawgirlca – i know those men. this *is* indicative of their attitudes/beliefs.

  • cameo

    tacky? yes.
    a little rude? yes.
    offensive? yes and no.
    some valid points being made? absolutely!

  • maggie1

    Maybe the reason for charging the kits is because false rape accusations are on the rise in America and are harming lots of men as a result.
    Many women accuse decent men of rape to win a custody dispute, or simply get even or be malicious. I’ve noticed that this truth is something a lot of you don’t like to talk about to much.
    And by the way, in case anyone is planning on using the argument that false rape accusations are no different than any other false crime report. The difference is that with rape, a man can be arrested, taken to jail and held based on no evidence, only the accusation. Now an innocent man has a suspicion of rape arrest on his record for life because a woman decided to be vindictive.

  • Rebecca

    Oh, no! Those poor rapists, getting sent to jail!

  • Jewel

    I call bs on maggie1. Rape victims ARE required to demonstrate some evidence, in the worst possible way. If the victim refuses to spread her legs and expose her most intimate parts to strangers, then charges will be dropped. (In fact, charges are often dropped or ridiculous plea bargains offered even when she does.)
    Rape is one of the most UNDERreported crimes…yet it is the only crime I know of where the sacred cow of “false reports” must be bowed to at every mention of the crime. I’d say there are more false reports of burglary than rape — after all, someone can sell their own stuff, report it to the insurance company and make money on it twice. But what does a person have to gain by being a rape victim? It’s not the fantastic experience the maggie1s of the world would have us all believe.

  • redwards81

    maggie1, what a hideous thing to say, and the very worst part of your statement is you offer NO proof of your point, no studies, no statistics, just unassertable opinion…and a nasty one, at that.

  • nattles_thing

    Funny as hell, and very, very pointed. I’ll have to check out GYWO.

  • SaraLaffs

    I’m a rape survivor, for whom Sarah Palin’s candidacy (especially the Wasilla rape kit policy) was really triggering at first. Personally, I thought the clip was funny. Maybe not in an SNL/Daily Show way, but in a “holy sh*t, I can’t believe they just said that!” way. To me, the cartoon lampoons the attitudes of people who still don’t think rape is a “real” crime. The “rape-based economy” bit in particular made me chuckle. That said, I can completely understand why some people would find that it crossed a line for them. Personally, I’m offended by the attitudes that GYWO skewers here.
    And “maggie”? If you want to comment on the state of rape/sexual assault prosecutions in this country, you should probably educate yourself by talking to actual victims and law enforcement. This isn’t an episode of frakking “Law & Order.”

  • ShifterCat

    I suspect that maggie1 is the latest incarnation of bobbigirl.

  • manifestadestiny

    The only thing I had a problem with was the gunshot at the end. That was startling and didn’t need to be there. But yes, it’s completely necessary that her policy is mocked for its absurdity so that we all remember what decency is when some brand of insanity like this is trying to creep up and overtake our realities.
    “maggie1″: your point of view is equally absurd. Sounds like you’re working on the Rapist Protection Act.
    Making rape victims pay for their rape kits means that women have one more reason to think again before attempting to prove in a court of law that they were raped.

  • Dayna

    I agree with Nicole. I did not find this video funny but it was smart in the fact that it brought about issues that Palin really stands by. It is scary to me that after so many years of feminists who worked hard to obtain these rights for women that a woman would want to take it all away from them. The issue of rape is a serious topic that brings out issues on Abortion and how to deal with this and I feel that to take such an issue away is putting women back a step because it is taking away their freedom to make their own decisions.

  • Rosie

    “The difference is that with rape, a man can be arrested, taken to jail and held based on no evidence, only the accusation.”
    Maggie1, USE YOUR NOGGIN! If no evidence was needed to arrest and jail a possible rapist, this whole pay-for-your-own-damn-rape-kit thing would not be a problem, because the results of the rape would not be needed anyway. UH-DUHHHH.

  • Rosie

    Sorry, I meant results of the rape KIT. Kit.

  • Taenia

    Hey, maggie1, I am a rape victim. I was forced to spread my legs in front of a stranger and allow her to penetrate me to collect evidence from my bodies just hgours after being violated. GHB was found in my urine and semen samples were collected from my body. Just four days ago, I was in a doctor’s office, getting an abortion that I needed to carry out as a result of my attack.
    The DA’s office has droped my case, on the basis that there is no way to ascertain whether or not I was actually raped. What about the date rape drugs in my bloodstream? The semen on my body? The fetus in my goddamned uterus?
    Why am I the one who continually has to tell these people that, no, officer, I ain’t making it up?
    In the meantime, a man matching my attacker’s description has been reported as having committed at least one more sexual assault in my town.
    And I am the liar? I am the one who’s being indecent?
    Maybe. But I’m more inclined to think that it has something to do with what is an all-but-institutionalized policy that we don’t prosecute rape.
    Because, after all, if he wasn’t convicted, there wasn’t a crime. And when we’re a college town whose economic survival depends on bringing in students, we want to be a safe, appealing place. Not a haven for rapists. And, to be fair, we do have an awfully low rape rate.

  • keshmeshi

    When I first started watching the video, I was extremely offended, but mainly because I misinterpreted the white guy’s responses. I thought he was meant to be serious, but, after a little bit, I realized that he was meant to be very sarcastic. I can definitely understand why others might not get it though, especially if they had never before seen GYWO.

  • Rosie

    Wow, Taenia. That was sobering. It made me realise that another thing Maggie1 said has to be directly addressed, because there are so many aspects that she (he?) is completely ignoring:
    “Many women accuse decent men of rape to win a custody dispute, or simply get even or be malicious. I’ve noticed that this truth is something a lot of you don’t like to talk about to much.”
    How do you know this? Because you have spoken to or read about women who say “yeah, actually, I was just fucking with him. He didn’t REALLY rape me, I was kidding”? Or is it because you’ve seen statistics that lots of rapes that are reported are not subsequently convicted, and therefore (of course) were fake? If the latter is the case, I think Taenia above completely unpacks that stupid assumption. Just because a reported rape was not legally convicted, does NOT mean that it didn’t happen, or even, as Taenia shows, that there was not enough evidence.
    And again, Maggie1, please use your noggin. Many rapes cannot be proven or disproven using a rape kit. When the issue is whether or not violent, forced sex was had with a stranger, rape kits are often an essential tool in bringing evidence, because they test for things like presence of drugs (date-rape ones or otherwise), presence of semen, whose semen it was, and whether the vaginal area is bruised, torn, or otherwise damaged. In the case of spousal rape, which is what you allude to with your “custody dispute” nonsense, the issue is not so cut-and-dry because, especially between romantic partners, sex does not have to be violently forced to be non-consensual. There are other more complex aspects of consent/non-consent, like coercion, intimidation or threats, emotional manipulation, and so on, although of course you will probably retort that in that kind of situation a woman should just “stand up for herself” or something along those lines. Or maybe you will say that a married/partnered woman should expect some degree of pressure for sex, and not be a whiny malicious bitch when the inevitable happens?
    Anyway, why don’t you find and link to just one report of a woman alleging rape to get custody of children, and it was then irrefutably established that there was no force, no coercion, no intimidation, just a “decent” man and his sack-of-shit, lying, “malicious” wife. You spout these nonsense “examples”, so why don’t you back them up with some cold, hard, truth? One report. If you can do that, Maggie1, I will shut up, I promise you.

  • Blitzgal

    *Hugs Taenia* That’s horrific. Ugh, I don’t have anything to say to make it better. I hope you have a support system by way of friends and family who will listen and be there for you. That’s what helped me the most. (I was molested by my female daycare provider as a child)
    The issue of false accusations is a dicey one, and commonly used by rape apologists to distract us from having a real conversation about rape and its prevalence in our society. Yes, false accusations occur. However, a statistically significant number of rapes occur that are never reported let alone prosecuted. I never reported my molestation. And over the years I’ve come across countless women who’ve been assaulted, raped, or molested who also never reported theirs.

  • kurd55

    It’s not only funny, it’s brilliant! Great stuff!

  • Jess

    There are issues with false accusations. But they aren’t in the context of custody disputes and people being vindictive. They are in the context of race.
    That’s why a lot of black men get itchy about this kind of stuff- an accusation of rape of a white woman was a death sentence until recently. Not from the courts, but a mob of people who just wanted to hang a black guy that day. (Why anyone found this an amusing way to spend an afternoon I will never fathom. The photos are chilling). Accusations of rape have been a very real weapon against black men (and by extension black women, as it reinforces the hypersexual stereotyping of non-whites).
    But that is a far, far different issue (and one that honestly, a lot of white feminists do have to confront in discussions of sexual assault, among other things — but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish). it has nothing to do with Palin’s policy of charging victims for kits and nothing to do with the realities surrounding what happens to many women. Maggie1 is conflating some very different things and I am being generous here.
    I mean, one could have a whole discussion about how sexual assault is dealt with by the courts, the legal system, et. al. But saying that women are just being vindictive in such accusations is a weak way to go about it.


    I dont see anything.

  • mary.menville

    I thought it was really funny. Sometimes my friends and I get sarcastic about extremely terrible things as a way to keep sane in the face of so much injustice. This reminded me of that in a really nice way.

  • Misspelled

    (I have a new rule for the preservation of my sanity: Anytime someone with an explicitly feminine username starts making trollish comments on a feminist blog, my suspicion that they’re actually a dude automatically quadruples. It makes the whole situation much easier to take.)
    Anywho. I thought the video was funny and smart, but it’s not the sort of thing I would come back with if sent on a quest to find something entertaining, feminist and topically relevant, and here’s why: Because it comes off as typical for-guys-by-guys comedy, what with the two of them sitting around being all self-congratulatory about having liberal attitudes toward women and being awesome enough to joke about it. (As I see it, after the initial “get ‘em more invested in prosecuting their rapists” moment, the white guy is being sarcastic, not being a dumbass for satirical purposes. The black guy doesn’t contradict him after that, because he knows he’s kidding with the “as it should be!” and the “invoice the rapists!”) It uses the old “What if your wife or daughter…?” Sledgehammer of Guilt, and it makes detours off the Sarah Palin Is a Fucking Idiot theme for the slightly headdesky “sounds like a punk band” and “that would be an awkward job interview” jokes. So I wouldn’t say it’s really written from a feminist perspective so much as a “We here at GYWO are clever and politically informed and feel we are able to safely and effectively implement these qualities in turning out a really solid mockery of Sarah Palin and all she stands for, and look damn good while doing it” perspective.
    That said, I will be showing it to my friends.

  • Nimue

    This wasn’t great, but I did find one bit striking. It really DOES seem like there is some kind of rapists’ lobby and that they make major campaign donations to Palin. It’s probably true.

  • omphaloskeptic

    Satire, is awesome, right? I mean, it can be a pretty effective way of getting a point across to an unreceptive audience, or even sometimes helping us find a way to laugh at the ridiculousness of an impossible or fucked up situation and maybe thereby diminish some of it’s power/sway over us.
    I have to say though that for me this video was a miss. It really just made me feel sick to my stomach, and I’m just wondering, are there really people who need to satire in order to be convinced that making women pay for their own rape kits is deplorable? I’m just skeptical whether anyone who didn’t get how fucked up that is would have their opinion changed by this video. Maybe for some of those who do already get it, it works as a sort of ‘fuck you’ to sarah palin, and I can see how it would work for some people, and maybe it would even work for me on another day. But today, I just found it insensitive, upsetting, and disgusting–just wanted to register my response.

  • Elsewhere

    I found this video fucking HILARIOUS. Posted in on my livejournal. Thank you for posting this!
    I agree with the other posters that it is taking a subject that is already a mockery in our society and turning it – and the people who hold those beliefs (like Palin) onto thier small minded, narrow little heads.
    I am a survivor myself (so many of us are) and find it refreshing that people are willing to tackle this kind of a subject in a manner that can do just that.