Friday, July 22, 2011

Sex abuse is NOT a relationship!

I actually screamed at the computer when I really would have liked to act out a scene in the old Mary Tyler Moore show where she would storm into the editor's office, lean across his desk screaming.  TWO articles in our local newspapers referred to the two year sex abuse of a minor as a "relationship", a "sexual relationship", and "alleged sexual relationship."  I was mad - so I fired off several emails in protest.

When the media uses such words it implies that the victim is complicit in the assault  and it negates the destructive impact of sex abuse. When we use such minimizing language, we allow our culture to stay in denial. They can step back from the fear that sex abuse could happen to someone they love, because after all it was in "relationship" and they would never be in that kind of relationship. This language makes sex abuse "appear" to be less invasive and reduces the crime to an "acceptable" level that happens somewhere else. 

This use of language such as, it was a "relationship", also assists in victim blaming.  There is a sense that if she was in a "relationship" she participated and could have gotten out of it.  So she feels responsible somehow.  And we perpetuate that my accepting the use of this language.

Let's think critically.  Let's really hear what is being said.  Let's change our language!