Thursday, May 31, 2012

Your Definition Of Harm & Mine Differ

I read an article online the other day & it got me seeing red.  Yup.  RED.  

The article, which can be seen in its entirety here, reported a sexual assault that had happened on the U of S campus.  My alma mater. 

Now, I'm sure this isn't an isolated incident.  I'm sure sexual assaults were occurring while I was drinking & smoking studying my way through 3 years of Arts & Science classesThankfully, I was never a victim, & neither was anyone that I hung around with {to my knowledge}.  So, this isn't new news.  

The line that sticks out for me, however, is this:

The woman wasn't physically harmed during the incident.

Um... what?  

Boys & girls, I am aware that there are many different levels of sexual assault.  The Canadian Criminal Code definition:
Somebody touches you in a sexual way on purpose, directly or indirectly, without your consent.
Someone grabbing my boob could be charged with sexual assault.  Or brushing up against my backside {Former Rider Tillman can attest to this...but enough about that}.  Rape is also now included under the broad spectrum of "sexual assault".  

 I don't know exactly what happened to this woman.  I don't know to what "degree" she was assaulted, or where the man touched her {& with what part of his body he used}.  All I know is when you include a phrase like that, you are, in essence, dismissing what she went through.  "She wasn't physically harmed, so what's the big deal?" 

Ok, maybe she doesn't have a broken arm, or a black eye, or cuts, or a concussion, but when reporting things of this nature, you have to be damned careful the words you use, the tone that can be interpreted, & the language in which you describe the event & the victim.  

Am I over-reacting? 

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