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Growing Social Media Jokes About Violence & Sexual Assault Toward Women

Dr. Lisa Lawless

Dr. Lisa Lawless, CEO of Holistic Wisdom
Clinical Psychotherapist: Relationship & Sexual Health Expert

Cartoon person looking at cell phone triggered by violent jokes
Trigger Warning

This article contains discussions about domestic violence and rape. Please see our helpful rape and sexual assault resources should you need them. 

Jokes About Harming & Killing Women

A disturbing trend on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media outlets are videos showing boys and men joking about committing acts of violence against girls and women or specifically their girlfriends or wives.

These jokes may be made with good intentions and are often seen as harmless, but they trivialize and normalize violent behavior and make light of violence and rape. This article will explore why they can be quite harmful.

What Are The Jokes?

When You Are Sick Of Her Nagging

One popular joke right now are different videos of couples. They begin showing a woman lying on a couch with a blanket covering her completely, including her head. The male appears to use a pillow to suffocate their partner, but the humor ensues as it turns out it was her feet and not her face that he was smothering. She wakes up with a confused and horrified look on her face, and he looks flustered as he is caught trying to murder her. Often this is accompanied by a text overlay that says "When You Are Sick Of Her Nagging."

This joke is somewhat ironic because statistics show that women are often seen as nags when a male partner does not contribute equally to domestic labor, even when they work the same hours, thus putting more significant household responsibilities on her.


Imagine We Are On A Date

Another joke circulating is where a male posts a video with a text overlay saying "Imagine We Are On A Date," and then proceeds to describe how they lure a woman in with romance and then murder, rape, or harm them in some way.


April 24th: National Rape Day

It has recently come to light that certain individuals on the social media platform TikTok have designated April 24th as a "National Rape Day," of course, this is not an officially recognized holiday.

The origins of this disturbing trend are somewhat unclear. Some speculate that it may have stemmed from a video created by six individuals in April 2022 that encouraged others to commit sexual assaults on that day. More videos have been circulating in 2023 with this sentiment.

Why Are These Jokes A Problem?

Making jokes about people who are already at high risk for violence is dangerous. When we portray it as a joke, we risk perpetuating a culture of abuse and minimizing the experiences of survivors.


How Common Is This Violence?

  • Most violence against women is committed by current or former husbands or intimate partners, with over 640 million women aged 15 and older having experienced intimate partner violence.

  • 81,000 women and girls were killed globally in 2020. Of these, 58%, or around 47,000, were killed by an intimate partner or family member, which means a woman or girl was killed every 11 minutes in their home.

  • 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Right now, statistics show that the number is growing.

Desensitization Is Dangerous

The frequency and ease with which these jokes are made suggest a disturbing level of desensitization to the realities of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault.

While many of the individuals making these jokes may not fully understand the impact that their words can have, by making light of domestic violence and portraying it as a joke, we risk perpetuating a culture of abuse and minimizing the experiences of survivors.

What I Have Seen As A Therapist

As a mental health therapist with experience working as a rape crisis counselor as well as having worked with sexually abused girls, I can assure you of the profound impact that this form of trauma can have. I have been on the front lines of picking up the pieces of shattered people.

It's disheartening to see the lasting harm that can result from individuals who are dismissive of the impact of trauma on others. Not recognizing the weight of another person's experiences can perpetuate a cycle of pain, hinder their path to healing, and perpetuate a violent culture for more abuse.

In addition, the prevalence of sexual abuse is truly alarming, and as someone who has my own experience as a rape survivor and who has helped other survivors rebuild their lives after such trauma, we must do better.

Being aware of others' experiences can help us better support those around us. Talking and caring about these things is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is a courageous and proactive step toward making the world a better place. Let us work together to create a culture of empathy and understanding where we can support and uplift those who have been and are being traumatized.

Being Funny Without Causing Harm

It's one thing to use humor to make fun of ourselves and others, it's quite another when we target vulnerable people using examples of the very way they are subjected to violence, such as rape or murder. When we do this, we contribute to a culture of oppression and harm. 

While the trend of making domestic violence jokes on social media is concerning, it is vital to approach the issue with a proactive mindset. We can easily choose to promote messages of respect, empathy, and compassion in our relationships and work to create a world where everyone feels safe, even in our humor.

Silence Is A Problem

Being silent about violence allows the cycle of violence to continue unchecked. Men, in particular, have a critical role in ending the silence and creating a culture of accountability which means calling out abusive behavior when we see it, even in the form of jokes.

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