BEEN on the Internet this week?
Good. Then there’s little left to say about Brazil’s poor performance on Tuesday.
Their dismal 7-1 scoreline against the Germans left pundits baffled, gamblers poorer for their faith in the host nation and your smartphone’s photo folder clogged with memes, with the current favourite being a facepalming Christ the Redeemer statue.
On social media, there was talk of little else.
One colleague, a longtime supporter of the samba squad, scrolled through his Facebook Timeline with a particular determination to absorb the Brazil-themed barbs to the point of numbness.
What an end to the dream! Seven years of preparations to host the greatest show on earth, only to be undone by a deluge of four goals in six minutes.
However, the aftermath is a nightmare in more ways than one.
Facebook communities such as “I was alive when Germany raped Brazil” have sprung up, likening the German victory to a nonconsensual sexual violation of the opposing team.
Status updates are no exception - friends have posted about how they woke up to news of “Brazil getting raped”, with similar jokes made about Spain’s defeat at Holland’s hands.
Another post saw someone lashing out against Argentina for making it to the finals, and expressing a strong desire to watch the Germans - yes, you guessed it - rape them in the posterior.
This is an awful trivialisation of a very real and brutal act, where abusers assert power over their victims through violence and humiliation.
When a team is said to have “raped” another, it usually refers to a superior show of strength and a complete dominance over the losing party.
The losers are usually humiliated for failing to put up a fight and “allowing it to happen to them”.
Such casual references to rape in post-game highs (or lows) is telling of how little consideration is spared for those who have suffered sexual abuse.
It leaves a sour taste to hear “Did you see Germany rape Brazil? Awesome game lah!” in post-match discussions and see it met with hoots of laughter.
So much for the feelings of any victim of sexual abuse within earshot, eh?
One tussle of will is not like the other.
In football, both teams know who they’re going up against.
And whether you’re playing on the school field or at the World Cup, everyone starts with 90 minutes on the clock.
Players know a game will take place on a certain day, training sessions are had, and strategies are devised ahead of time.
On the field, a referee ensures fair play, and fouls are (ideally) properly penalised. The fans cheer and jeer from the stands. One side wins, one side loses.
Rape is a different beast altogether.
Each act of rape is different from the next. It could be a stranger in the darkness, or a familiar face. A single instance, or a repeated violation over the years. Tick tock, when does it stop?
There is no preparing against it. There is no such thing as a 100% effective rape deterrent. Nobody wins - the degradation of another human being is no signifier of success.
No one is watching. Sometimes, too many are. The gang-rape of a 15-year-old schoolgirl by over 30 men in Kelantan comes to mind here.
On the field, an offending player is (usually) carded.
An injured player is attended to with no questions as to whether they purposely placed their vertebrae in the path of another player’s knee.
Off the pitch, a rape victim is scrutinised to see how they might have invited their abuser to violate them against their will.
Rape is a wholly unlevel playing field, and anyone with a sliver of good sportsmanship would refrain from equating such a despicable act of violence to a spectacular win in a spectator sport.
There are many, many terms to describe the sheer satisfaction of a well-earned victory
Such pleasure should not be tainted by rape jokes - to lightheartedly link rape to defeat, is to do a disservice to rape survivors everywhere.
> The views expressed are entirely the writer's own.