I don’t know what program the obviously Australian voice over is from, but the existence of Rapeman has been corroborated. According to the video, Rapeman is a schoolteacher by day, raping superhero by night. He rapes women who have “wronged” men or broken up with boyfriends (same thing, right?). The comic allegedly remains popular today, and the clip is from one of the movies made about the “hero.” The icing on the cake is that the women in the comic are apparently ‘not portrayed as victims,” and tend to fall in love with Rapeman.
I’m aware that this is likely to be considered old news, and the comic is now apparently defunct, but I think it’s still highly worth examining. There’s a lot to unpack here, and this really is rape culture at it’s most overt. Of course, many will claim that it’s supposed to be a “joke” (the person who posted the video filed it under “comedy”) or all in good fun. I don’t know what kind of good fun rape could be, even a fictional rape, for anyone but the rapist and those who condone rape.
And for something that’s not supposed to reflect a reality of people openly condoning rape, it contains a lot of truth about how rape is justified in real life every day. Some may say that no one actually thinks that women deserve to be raped as a form of punishment — except that people actually do think that and act on it, either in very literal ways, or in the sense of showing “slutty” and overly-confident women their place in society. (In fact, according to the Wikipedia page, some of Rapeman’s missions include raping women who are not behaving in a docile enough manner in the workplace.) Rape is regularly brushed off as being deserved based on what a woman was wearing, how she was acting, who she was with, or where she was. So what else is the rape construed as in those circumstances but a punishment for a woman doing things which the observer clearly feels she has to right to do?
Further, it’s extremely common for men who feel they have been “wronged” to rape their girlfriends or wives as a form of revenge, especially for breaking up with them. As the apparent premise of the comic/movies, there is no joke here.
The concept also clearly attempts to further the notion that women enjoy rape. This is one of the oldest and most dangerous rape myths around, from claiming that a woman “really wanted it,” to saying that a rape is “just sex,” so what’s the big deal? And of course, in the same way that many see a woman as unable to be raped by someone with whom she has previously had consensual sex, many think that if a woman were to fall in love with her rapist, it would erase the wrongness of the original rape.
People dismiss rape victims based on their choosing to stay with a rapist, even if it is out of fear, confusion, an attempt to forget, or Stockholm Syndrome. In this view, if a woman doesn’t behave properly, the rape doesn’t count — as the voice over either notes or corroborates in its assertion that the Rapeman comic doesn’t portray the actual victims as “victims.” The concept of Rapeman’s victims enjoying the violence not only promotes the myths that rape isn’t so bad, and all women need is a good deep-dicking to straighten out and start being submissive, but also reinforces the falsehood that if a woman felt physical pleasure during a rape, she wasn’t actually raped.
No, I don’t care that the original comic was written by a woman. Women can be misogynists, too, and the target audience was supposed to be men who might like to jerk off to and have a giggle at this material. Rape culture is rape culture, no matter who’s perpetuating it. And this is rape culture.
With the modern existence of games like Battle Raper (major trigger warning), the idea of rape as entertainment certainly didn’t go out of style in the 90s. Disturbing though it may be, it’s still with us today, and likely is not leaving us any time soon.