Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Say it with me: Rape is not sex

This happens time and time again: the words "rape" and "sex" used interchangeably. Offenders include every kind of media, every kind of blogger, every kind of person. The latest comes from Inforum, a news site in North Dakota, in the story "Fargo man receives 18-year sentence in rape case" (emphasis mine):
FARGO -A 38-year-old convicted of rape in a jury trial in Cass County District Court in February was sentenced Monday to 18 years in prison.

Tate Pederson of Fargo was found guilty of sexual assault and gross sexual imposition in the five-day trial. He had sex with the victim, who was between the ages of 13 years old and 15 years old, on a regular basis for two years, court records say.
No, he did not have sex on a regular basis for two years. He raped for two years. See how the headline says "rape case" and the lead of the story says "convicted of rape"? According to North Dakota law, it is a crime for an adult to have sex with a person under the age of 15. They do not refer to it in legal terms as rape; there, the legal charge is gross sexual imposition. Either way, it is not sex. (This is a common theme with this story, by the way.) Really, at the least, stories like this need to explain the issue of consent. In this particular case, the victim could not legally consent to having sex. It might be assumed that readers would know that, but explanation never hurts.

1 comment:

Doreen McGettigan said...

As a rape crisis counselor; I could go on and on about how angry this makes me..RAPE IS NOT SEX..it is an assault!
Great post..

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin