FixedIt: Rape is not sex and grooming is not games

The ABC reported that Jackson Tyler Coyle was convicted of multiple offences, including child grooming and possessing child-exploitation material.

The headline, which refers to the rape Coyle attempted to commit as trying to “elicit oral sex” completely ignores the fact that children (in this case, two boys aged 9 and 10) cannot have “sex” with adults. Therefore, anything an adult attempts to do to children is not eliciting “sex” is is attempting rape.

While this case was unusual in that the offender was not someone the children already knew, the grooming techniques he used are common. Calling it a “game”, offering gifts or money, moving them away from the public space in an attempt to keep it secret, these are manipulations often used by paedophiles when they are grooming their victims.

Language matters. When we use the language of rapists and child abusers we are implicitly endorsing their view of the crimes they commit.

If we consistently use language that clearly describes sexual abuse of children as a crime and recognises the techniques paedophiles use to groom their victims, we make it far easier for children to reject those techniques and for adults to protect vulnerable children.

FixedIt is an ongoing project to push back against the media’s constant erasure of violent men and blaming of innocent victims. If you would like to help fund it – even $5 a month makes a big difference – please consider becoming a Patron


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