Many people are criticizing Will Farrell’s new movie “Get Hard” because of the racial and homophobic stereotypes it portrays. But I see a much more important reason to complain about the film, i.e., it makes light of prison violence. It depicts prison violence and sexual assault and rape behind bars as both acceptable and funny. This is not the first movie to do this. Many more have preceded it. The sad thing is that very few people seem to be bothered by it.
What if someone made a movie that made light of domestic violence? What if, in Farrell’s movie, the main character was instead a woman seeking to “toughen up” in preparation for entering a marriage with an abusive husband? Tell me, would that be funny? Of course it wouldn’t. Such a movie would never be released. So why then do people think a movie about a “soft” man trying to “toughen up” in preparation for going to prison is funny? He doesn’t deserve to be a victim of violence any more than a woman deserves to be a victim of violence at the hand of her husband or boyfriend. So why do people think prison violence is okay?
While we are, as a society, changing our attitude about domestic violence, we need a change of heart about prison violence as well. No one deserves to be a victim of violence – not women, not children, not men, and, yes, not even those whom the courts have incarcerated for various crimes. There should never be a need to "get hard" before being locked up, as we should demand that our prisons and jails provide a safe environment for all.