WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Rebranding sexual assault: "Non-consensual sex"

Even as the Obama Administration moves to make universities/colleges more responsive and accountable for sexual assaults on their campuses, a counter-movement seeks to change the terminology.

Rape and sexual assault become "non-consensual sex". See this column from Petula Dvorak in the WASHINGTON POST---


Seems like secular feminists and moral conservatives could make common cause against rebranding rape into the seemingly less threatening term, "non-consensual sex".

Posted at 8:51am on April 29, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Tue, Apr 29, 2014 9:25am
It's already "re-branded." It's "rape" and you re-branded it into "sexual assault" - already less threatening than "rape."

But then things are getting "re-branded" all the time.
"Molesting" became "abuse."
"Child molesters" became "pedophiles."
Homosexuals became "gays."
"Women's libbers" became "feminists."
"Latin Americans became "Hispanics."
"Fundamentalists became evangelicals."
Every generation or so the approved "branding" for the group now called "African-Americans" changes.
Not to mention most of the countries in Africa have re-branded - some more than once.
"George Bush" became "George H.W. Bush."
And the media re-branded Burma without telling anyone leaving people scratching their heads wondering what hell "Myanmar" is.
And remember when Delaware was "the Diamond State" before re-branding itself with the historically questionable "first state" (the 13 colonies became "states" under the Articles of Confederation").

Speaking of actual re-branding, I wonder how many of these "Mr. Trivia" knows....


Allan Loudell
Tue, Apr 29, 2014 9:56am
Mr. Smith,

Of course, things get re-branded all the time, but you are much too intellectually gifted to suggest, or at least to imply, that the practical impacts are the same.

I used both terms, "sexual assault" and "rape", because not all sexual assaults are technically/legally rapes, but all rapes are sexual assaults.

Similarly, neither molestation nor abuse may technically come under the definition of rape. But all of these can put the offender behind bars for a long period.

"Child molester" and "pedophile" sound equally bad to me.

Homosexuals becoming gays (and lesbians) I don't think belongs on this list at all because many of the people in question chose the latter, freely and deliberately.

"Women's libbers" vs. "feminists": The same. (And the former has become more a perjorative term for opponents.)

"Latin Americans" vs. "Hispanic": The former, to me, refers to people originally from the Spanish and/or Portuguese-speaking parts of the Americas (not the Anglo/French/Dutch Caribbean) or people in those countries today, wheras the latter seems to be more a reference strictly to folks from Spanish-speaking countries (including Puerto Rico) on the U.S. mainland.

"Fundamentalists" vs. "evangelicals": People may use those terms interchangeably, but they're not the same. Not all evangelicals are fundamentalists, in terms of an absolutely literal interpretation of the Bible, or being politically/culturally conservative. Jimmy Carter is an evangelical but not a fundamentalist. Progressive evangelicals can be found.

Blacks vs. African-Americans: Same explanation as for feminists above.

Some countries in Africa have changed names more than once since independence (Upper Volta became Burkina Faso; and Congo--Brazzaville became Zaire became Congo again; and the Central African Republican became the Central African Empire, then the Central African Republic again), but most have not. But the former Gold Coast has remained Ghana since independence; Basutoland has remained Lesotho ever since independence (although with three flag changes), etc. And some African countries have retained the very same name throughout, pre-colonial and post-colonial: Swaziland, for example.

The first President Bush only became President George Herbert Walker Bush - President George H.W. Bush - to differentiate him from the son, President George W. Bush, whom some columnists and others began calling "W" (often sarcastically). Just like Pope Francis will become Pope Francis I if another future pope ever again takes the name Francis.

The media didn't re-brand Burma. Its military leaders changed the name to Myanmar. Some of us, to avoid confusion, have used the two names together.

Often, there's a delay in referring to the new name as rendered in English: Peiping to Peking to Beijing, China, for example.

But little of this is the same as lawyers for colleges trying to soften the commonly used term for rape/sexual assault to create better PR for the colleges.

Allan Loudell

Tue, Apr 29, 2014 10:42am
AllanLoudell: George Bush was known as "George Bush" throughout his career. It seems the H.W. provided a less clear differentiation from W. than keeping his name the way it had always been. Besides, John Adams stayed "John Adams" when Quincy became president.

The name "Myanmar" has been around and been in use for some time. The official name change happened in 1989. The US media caved in to a military dictator and started using the name a few years ago without explanation. Just "Myanmar this" and "Myanmar that." Not "Burma, now officially called Myanmar" or "Myanmar, also known as Burma." It was months before newsies started using the two together.

I forgot: "Jungle" became "rain forest."

In any case, the article you cite is clearly by a femi-nazi who wants to do away with the presumption of innocence and the right to confront one's accuser and allow women to have men convicted of rape - just on their say so.

In addition to the examples cited in the article, what about the instances of false accusations of rape by women scorned or out for a payday? There have been false accusations of child abuse, too (kids lie). What about the guy doing time in Georgia because he was 18 and his girlfriend was 17.

People like to make comparisons of the real world to the novel "1984." Well, now our world also has the "anti-sex league."

Tue, Apr 29, 2014 7:15pm
When Men Are Raped

A new study reveals that men are often the victims of sexual assault, and women are often the perpetrators.

...Sexual assault is a term that gets refracted through the culture wars, as Slate’s own Emily Bazelon explained in a story about the terminology of rape. Feminists claimed the more legalistic term of sexual assault to put it squarely in the camp of violent crime. Bazelon argues in her story for reclaiming the term rape because of its harsh unflinching sound and its nonlegalistic shock value. But she also allows that rape does not help us grasp crimes outside our limited imagination, particularly crimes against men...


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