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Rape Jokes on Facebook Aren't Funny, Zuckerberg

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I spent most of the last day staring at my laptop screen wondering how I was going to write about this. I think this is revision number five. It's hard to believe I have to write this at all to be honest and no matter how I tried the words just failed me. I'd start writing and stop when I knew it no longer made sense. It's just hard to get my head around what I need to say being necessary to say at all.

Facebook, one of the most popular and successful companies in the world, has images plastered all over its web site advocating anti-semitism, racism, homophobia, and various other forms of hate speech and ignorance. Unbelievable isn't it? Attention getting to say the least.

Ask yourself how outraged you'd be if that were true? But Facebook, the company that was founded to be cool, to make the world a better place, to make people more empathetic, would never allow hate speech like that. It would never fly on a web site that connects families and friends the world over and promises a new age in communication.

Thus my bewilderment. How is it possible they tolerate that kind of ignorance and hate to be directed at women? At half of their users? At mothers, sisters, and daughters?

Are there no fathers working at Facebook? No brothers or husbands? Where are the men and why are they silent about a company policy that jokes about rape and violence against women are not wrong so long as they appear in the humour section? Have they no love in their hearts? Have they never felt the full hug of a little girl?

I can't image working for a company that would allow for something as sick as rape jokes. Not in my position. Not after seeing what rape did to my beautiful, talented daughter. I can still hear her cry and see the hurt on her face. Far too many parents can say the same thing.

And men joke about this? About rape? What kind of man finds humour in the pain and suffering of others? In devastating their sense of being, their worth, their happiness? I shun men like that. They disgust me.

Ignorance and abuse can't be hidden in a humour section any more than you can expect the attitude it breeds to stay there. It won't. It will walk around at night looking for the next laugh. It will wait at the next party for the girl who had to much to drink. For the girl who sadly finds herself alone and vulnerable. For someone to prey on.

So man up, Facebook. Do women and women's rights groups really need to launch letter writing campaigns targeting your advertisers before you wake up and take notice? What the hell does that say about your company's moral compass?

In the movie The Social Network the idea was put forward that Facebook would be different. Facebook would not be MySpace. It would be cool. It would be something better.

Allowing for rape jokes puts Facebook on the same level as all the other women-hating garbage out there in cyberspace. It might seem funny to a 20-year-old college student who wasn't raised to be a good man but there is no excuse at all for the good men who remain silent.

Someone at Facebook has to see this as wrong. As of April 2011 the company had about 2,000 employees and offices in 15 countries. Somewhere in one of those offices there has to be a cool man. A man who will stand up and say it's wrong to allow this. It's not funny. It's a disease and it's sick.

Man to man, Mr. Zuckerberg, I need your help. You're in control of this business and I've lost a daughter. If you yourself don't find humour in these types of images and the attitude they advocate than I'm asking you to no longer tolerate them on your web site.

It shouldn't take a campaign to get you to see the evil in this and do the right thing.

Rehtaeh Parsons Vigil
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