Because I watched the video and was able to see everyone’s responses and body language, I don’t actually believe that Charlamagne meant his not-so-thought out comments. Instead, I think he’s just so used to saying any and everything, and without processing what his words actually meant, he blurted them out and then hopelessly tried to justify the damage with an even more ignorant response. He was in over his head and didn’t quite know how to swim out. I gathered it was a joke gone all the way wrong, but it still rubbed me the wrong way because rape is not anything to joke about. It’s one of those sensitive subjects that can’t be made funny, no matter which angle you take.

Marital rape, in particular, isn’t comical because it is in fact a real issue, and as Charlamagne implied, it’s a crime that is extremely difficult to prove. As a result, many victims go without getting the justice they deserve. Last March, a woman pressed charges against her husband, Forest Freeman, after he allegedly raped her. Mrs. Freeman claimed that she and her husband had consensual sex, and after she got up to take a shower, he penned her down for an hour and raped her as she told him “no.” Despite a nurse’s testimony that there were two inner thigh abrasions consistent with sexual assault, and Mr. Freemans self-admitted alcohol problem, Mr. Freeman was found not guilty. Though we may never know what really happened with Mr. and Mrs. Freeman, the truth is that similar cases of marital rape happen more often than we know and our lack of sensitivity, like Charlamagne’s inappropriate joke, diminish the severity of the social issue.

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In addition, because rape in general does affect so many people, it’s never one of those subjects that should be brought up in such a casual manner to people who we know so little about—as it was with Claudia and Charlamagne. Because we don’t know people’s backgrounds and baggage, it’s quite possible that they could be affected by the very issue we are lightheartedly joking about—which could in turn trigger an emotional uproar that we are not equipped to console. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, “every two minutes, someone in the US is sexually assaulted.” There is also an increased likelihood that the person we are so freely joking with rape about is a victim who never received justice, as “97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail,” according to RAINN.

Bottom line: think before you speak; marital rape is a crime and taking advantage of the fact that it’s hard to prove is repulsive; and some things, including rape, just aren’t funny and never will be. Period.

What do you think of Charlamagne’s comments? What are your thoughts on society’s views of marital rape?

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