#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.