Stephen S. Mills

“Why Raping Men is Funny”


Why Raping Men is Funny


I’m watching reruns of Law & Order: SVU again—
            watching as they stand up for female rape victims
and then threaten the male perps with rape in prison.
            The dropping of the soap. The young white male
told he’ll be the “belle of the ball,” passed around
            like a bottle of whisky—everyone getting
a taste. Stabler leans in, whispers against an ear
            like I imagine he might mine if I were found
with blood on my hands in Central Park, or panties
            in my glove box, or child porn on my laptop.
He promises that the cherry will be ripped
            from the perp’s ass (I’m paraphrasing here),
and yes, it’s hot because it’s Christopher Meloni
            who is sexy in that hyper-masculine way
that makes him a good pretend cop.
            In college, the head of security told us men
can’t be raped according to Indiana State Law.
            It’s legally impossible as if law makes things real,
which reminds me of the local man
            who was convinced that having a gay wedding
ceremony was illegal activity and could be punished
            by jail time. It’s the confusion over opposites.
Illegal isn’t always the opposite of legal, and Benson
            isn’t always the opposite of Stabler,
and life doesn’t always work the way we want.
            Like my students who believe they’ll one day
make a decent living, will get out of the projects,
            out of the invisible fence that’s kept them
poor and under-educated. I don’t tell them my truth:
            that education can’t fix everything,
that I’m barely making a living, that standing here
            teaching basic grammar was never my plan,
never my dream. And it’s hard to admit just how close
            we are to the edge, or to that interrogation
room with Benson and Stabler pushing us further
            and further until we confess and spill our lives
onto the table like the piss running down our legs.
            For we are guilty of something, aren’t we?


Stephen S. Mills