#FixedIt – why is this difficult? Abuse, rape and assaults are not “sex”

Knowing what words mean and how to use them should be a fairly basic requirement for editors and journalists. You would think.

You would be wrong.

Sex = acts between one or more people, where everyone involved is able to, and does, give full consent.

Rape, abuse, assault = acts between one or more people where someone involved is NOT able to, or does NOT give full consent.

Where the case has not yet been heard in court, you can put “alleged” in front of “rape”, “abuse” or “assault”.

Simple, right? Embarrassingly so, right?

Apparently not.

When you are reporting on testimony to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, perhaps taking a little extra care, taking a moment to wonder about the effects on these victims (and all the others) before you put out salacious headline that erases the abuse and abusers, perhaps that might be a good idea.

This is pretty basic stuff. Even if you have fired all the humans from your newsroom and filled it with barely literate orcs more interested in eating ticks off each other than reporting news.


1800 RESPECT
Sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and support.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ph: 1800 737 732
www.1800respect.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ph: 1300 659 467
www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Kids Helpline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1800 55 1800
www.kidshelp.com.au

Child Wise National Abuse Helpline
Mon-Fri: 9 am – 5 pm
Ph: 1800 99 10 99
www.childwise.org.au

MensLine Australia
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1300 78 99 78
www.mensline.org.au