Recognizing the Power of Language

by CCASA Communications

The language that we use to talk about men, women, children, sex, sexual abuse and sexual assault all help to shape our ideas and expectations around these issues. Using language that degrades and objectifies women contributes to gender inequality, which is strongly connected with an increased incidence of sexual violence. Phrases like ‘she’s my b—ch’ and ‘don’t be a pu—y’ place women in a markedly lower position.

Slang such as “That test raped me” or “We raped the other team” trivializes sexual assault. To clarify, sexual assault (rape) is not:

Losing in a sporting event Failing an exam A surprise A debate or argument

Examples from Public Figures:

Quote from Johnny Depp comparing a photo shoot to a sexual assault:

‘You just feel like you’re being raped somehow,’ he said. ‘Raped… It feels like a kind of weird… just weird, man.’

Quote from Kristen Stewart (from the Twilight Movies) comparing the experience of being photographed by the Paparazzi to a sexual assault:

‘I feel like I’m looking at someone being raped. A lot of the time I can’t handle it. I never expected that this would be my life,’ she said.

‘What you don’t see are the cameras shoved in my face and the bizarre intrusive questions being asked, or the people falling over themselves, screaming and taunting to get a reaction.

Quote from Rainn Wilson (Dwight from the tv series the Office) around the issue of sexual violence:

“If I were ever date raped I would want it to be to ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin,”

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