A short history of things that have been compared to rape

Johnny Depp said partaking in photoshoots to promote his movies feels “like you’re being raped somehow”.

Johnny Depp said partaking in photoshoots to promote his movies feels “like you’re being raped somehow”.

Similes and analogies! They're an English teacher's favourite thing. They are also routinely used by people who want to make a serious point about something really bad. And we all know by now that if you really want to convey that something is bad, you compare it to rape.

The latest in this storied history of eloquence comes courtesy of the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network, which posted a campaign image on Facebook comparing (by implication about as subtle as a brick through the window) vaccination to rape. "FORCED PENETRATION," the accompanying text bleats, pasted over an image of a man holding his hand over a woman's mouth, "Really - no big deal, if it's just a vaccination needle and he's a doctor."

With this moment of idiocy, AVSN join the ranks of a select club whose membership rests solely on the likelihood that, were you to employ similarly lazy simile and analogy in your Year 12 English class, you would receive at best a D- if not an F. Let's call it the It's Like Rape Club.

The anti-vaccination Facebook post.

The anti-vaccination Facebook post.

Don't worry about all those pesky facts from the World Health Organisation about how "recent global prevalence figures suggest that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime." WHATEVER! You need a powerful simile and you need it NOW, and you're not going to let anything stand in your way!


The president of the It's Like Rape Club is former Texas gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams, who inadvertently founded the organisation when in 1990 he likened inclement weather spoiling the annual cattle roundup to rape, in that, "If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it."

Williams' Club vice-president must surely be Charlize Theron, who last year told a journalist she doesn't Google her own name to check gossip because "When you start living in that world, and doing that, you start, I guess, feeling raped."

Who are some of the other noted members of the club? Why, they include Mary Ann Twitty, the former Ferguson city court clerk fired for sending racist emails from her work account, who described the aftermath of the federal report as "the feeling of being raped and thrown under the bus", and Johnny Depp, who said that partaking in photoshoots to promote the movies he stars in feels "like you're being raped somehow".

(One noted actress and director last year failed to gain entry into the It's Like Rape Club because she actually understands how to correctly employ metaphor: Angelina Jolie described the drugging of the eponymous fairy in Maleficent and ensuing forced removal of her wings as being "a metaphor for rape". A+ for you, Angie!)

But wait, there's more! Present at the It's Like Rape Club annual general meeting is recording artist and icon Madonna, who decried rough demos for her album being leaked as "artistic rape", and League Of Legends Origen team-member 'Amazing', who described a particularly bracing invitational win as having "raped" the opposing team. And, look! Over by the refreshments table: there's the Canadian politician who compared baptism to rape.

Basically, what I'm saying is, the It's Like Rape Club has an open-door membership policy: all you have to do is compare something that is not at all like rape to rape and your membership card will arrive in the mail.

"But Clem," I hear you cry, "what is left to compare to rape when winning a MMORPG tournament and vaccination have already been name-checked?"

To which I say, rest easy. Just have a look at all the other things that have been compared to rape. There's losing 7-1 to Germany in the World Cup, being followed to the cinema by 30 motherf***ers, looking at paparazzi photographs, Netflix increasing the price of their streaming + DVD rental combo, republishing a blog post without permission, a car accident and/or a flood (depending on how you feel on the day), developing a TV show, The Artist's score paying homage to Bernard Herrmann's Vertigo score, Foie Gras production techniques, reviewing books without reading them, vivisection and animal testing, and that classic thing that is totally like rape, being sent to jail for shooting an unarmed teenager.

See? It's easy to do. Forget about all these people saying "please, don't do this", and just go ahead and say and do whatever the heck you want. Which actually reminds me of something, but I can't quite put my finger on it.