The Rape Jokes We Still Laugh At
- Rodney Roussell
- July 9, 2018
- New York Times
In the #MeToo era, punch lines about sexual assault in jail remain acceptable. That needs to change.
In this video Op-Ed, Rodney Roussell tells his painful story for the first time on camera. Convicted of check fraud, Mr. Roussell spent nine years in prison in Louisiana, where he was raped and sold into sexual slavery for $20 in commissary items.
The “Me Too” movement has made Americans more aware about sexism and sexual consent, but that sensitivity often does not extend to prisons, where over 200,000 inmates are sexually assaulted every year.
In April, the comedian Bill Maher used the threat of rape in prison as the punch line of a joke about Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. Mr. Trump’s divorce lawyer told CNN that Mr. Cohen would flip because he was afraid of being raped in prison. And the former F.B.I. director James Comey wrote in his memos about laughing at a prison rape joke the president shared with him in private.