We had an extensive and remarkably cordial discussion with the founder of a Facebook site devoted to jokes about punching women. That site has now been transformed. Those jokes are still there, but rather hard to find– what’s prominent, and all over the place, is anti-domestic-violence messages, and links to relevant resources. They now clearly see it as part of their mission to change the minds of people who think that domestic violence is acceptable.
It’s fine to tell a joke, and it’s fine to be offended by that same joke or to laugh, But it’s not fun to think it’s just a joke. Imagine this, If for every 3 people who joined this group 1 person thought it was real, then there are 10,000 people who believe domestic violence is acceptable, If just one of those people change their mind because of this group, then we’ve done more than ever imagined.
Admittedly, this is a somewhat unusual way to try to get an anti-domestic-violence message out. And many of us probably still have problems with it. But it is an improvement. (And maybe it *is* a good idea to have a site that offers domestic violence jokes then bombards the viewer with anti-domestic-violence messages. It may be a good way of reaching people who might not otherwise be reached.) However, I think it’s worth giving credit where it’s due: to Lekan, who made these alterations, and also to all of you who joined in the discussion that brought this about. (I say this even though I still think the jokes are hate speech. An interesting question is whether, in full context, surrounded by anti-violence messages, they can still be seen as legitimating violence.)
It’s worth noting also, though, that the some of the original site’s fans are not well pleased by this development and have set up a new version. (Thanks, T and Bakka!)