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Uncomfortable Situation

Hi everyone,

I’m a regular reader of Feministing, and I’ve commented once or twice, but have never posted.  I’m posting about a situation I ran into at work today, involving a rape joke.  Do you think I handled it right?  How could I have handled this better?

I’m a college student, interning at an organization that hosts a summer camp for high school age students.  I’ve been working with the high schoolers, but I’m not in charge of them, and have only worked with them in the presence of other adults.  Today, when the other chaperons/educators were out of earshot, two of the boys, who I had been joking and interacting well with, brought up a running joke.  One of them had picked up a stick and poked the other one, and this evolved into "the rape stick."  Apparently they poke each other (and others) with the stick and joke that they are sexually assaulting each other.  I said "You guys shouldn’t throw those words around."  They tried to laugh it off, and said they were only kidding.  I stared them down (silently) until they changed the subject.  It didn’t come up again today, and they were perfectly pleasant to me afterward.

I don’t believe that they were purposefully trying to hurt anyone.  They both seem to get along fine with everyone.  Most of their jokes are nerdy and silly, not misogynistic at all.  But joking about rape is unacceptable.  It makes me uncomfortable and really ...