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Below Deck Mediterranean’s deckhand Jack Stirrup made an awful joke to stewardess Aesha Scott about rape. He was shocked when it hit so close to home for her, and she admitted that she was raped in the past and that his comments really triggered bad memories for her.
“I can’t even make rape jokes," Stirrup quipped when she got upset.
"I have actually been before so it’s not funny," Scott explained.
Stirrup was remorseful, explaining later, "I went to bed drunk, woke up, went to the interview in the morning, have a laugh and a joke in the interview, can’t remember nothing."
He was truly upset that what he said "brought her back and made her think about a horrible situation."
"I don’t even know half the s--t I’m saying when I’m wasted," he added (as if that's any excuse).
Dr. Elizabeth Lasky, Ph.D., LCSW, explains to Personal Space why even a joke like that can trigger memories of the event. According to Scott, hers came "flooding back."
"Something like rape is a serious trauma. When people are reminded of it, or a joke is made, this can be a trigger thoughts, feelings, and emotions," Lasky explains. "Something like rape can be cause for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and many other things."
Lasky says it sounds like she's got some very good support, but even friends need to be aware when making inappropriate jokes.
"Sexual-harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and rape are things that we need to pay attention to. There is a lot of help available for people who are suffering," she says.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in five women in the U.S. are raped or sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, often by someone they know and trust.
One report describes the aftermath of a trauma like rape "leaving you feeling scared, ashamed, and alone or plagued by nightmares, flashbacks, and other unpleasant memories. It’s important to remember that what you’re experiencing is a normal reaction to trauma."
If you are somehow triggered, they offer some advice:
"Accept and reassure yourself that this is a flashback, not reality. The traumatic event is over and you survived. Here’s a simple script that can help: I am feeling [panicked, frightened, overwhelmed, etc.] because I am remembering the rape/sexual assault, but as I look around I can see that the assault isn’t happening right now and I’m not actually in danger.'"
"Ground yourself in the present," the report adds, and try to center your breathing and come back to the present.
Also, use common sense. Don't make jokes about rape.
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