Rapists are not sex offenders
In the wake of the Delhi gang rape, I read today a tremendous column by Caitlin Moran in Saturday's Times. I would link it, but it's behind a paywall so if you were able to read it you would presumably already have done so.
Basically she says what I've been boring people with for years, which is that we'd all have a far less ambivalent attitude to rape if we stopped treating it as a sexual offence and dealt with it instead as a species of assault. Here are a few extracts.
That's why I sometimes think we should do away with the word "rape" altogether....Let's call this crime something simpler, and less confusing, instead: internal assault. Intramural attack. Regard it just as we would an assailant violently forcing a hammer handle into a mouth, or puncturing an eardrum with a knife. Does it make any real difference if it's a vagina being brutalised, or an eye? If the weapon is a penis, or a cosh? This is punching, but inside. This is the repeated piercing of someone's body. When you put it like that, suddenly the issue of rape becomes very clear: how many women would ask for that?......
The phrase "sexual assault" confuses a million men and women.....right across the world - that troubled word, "sexual", casting a shadow so deep it hides the "assault" part altogether. it makes people think of rape merely as some sex that just "went wrong"....
Not sexual assault. Just - assault. Not a sexual crime. Just - crime. Not rape - with all the confusions we can't afford, can't bear, another generation to painfully sift through, as we have had to.
Just a violence, like any other.