“Man pointing gun has financial transaction at bank. Huh!"
By David Clohessy
Ever seen that headline in your local newspaper? Me neither.
It’s absurd, isn’t it? There’s a word for a guy who uses a pistol or rifle to get what he wants from a bank teller. That word is “robber.”
There’s also a word for an adult who uses sex or power to get what he or she wants from a child. That word is “predator.”
OK, so why does my local newspaper have this headline today: “Woman accused of sex with boy.” Phrases like “sex with” imply consent. And consent is not possible in child sex cases. And it doesn’t matter whether the predator is male or female.
Again, does the bank teller have a “financial transaction with” the robber? Of course not.
Another pet peeve are phrases like “the girl performed oral sex on her teacher.” At best, that makes the child sound and seem like an equal partner. At worst, it makes the child sound and seem like the initiator.
The child is the victim. The abuse is perpetrated on him or her. The adult is the initiator. And the criminal. Period.
I know headline writers and journalists have tough jobs. I know space and deadlines are tight. But can’t we all try harder and do better with language that could heap more blame and shame and pain on the already wounded?
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.