A friend of mine forwarded another article, posted by the Calgary Herald, with a headline that grossly diminishes the rape of a 14-year-old girl by labeling it an ‘affair.’ The man in this case was in his thirties.
The girl, now 18, told the court, “Being a victim of sexual assault is horrifying for anyone who experiences it.” The teacher’s defence lawyer claimed they were “in love” with each other.
But love doesn’t leave people emotionally shattered. Rape does. Love doesn’t end up in criminal courtrooms or with people needing help from police officers and rape crisis centres.
A headline like that isn’t a fair or honest reflection of the impact being raped had on her or of his predatory behaviour. A headline that reads ‘Calgary teacher gets five years in prison for repeatedly sexually assaulting teenage girl’ is much closer to the truth.
Here’s a headline the gets it right from the Huffington Post:
Getting the language of rape wrong is as much a part of victim blaming as anything else. Suggesting a 14 year-old girl had a ‘sexual affair’ with her adult teacher paints her as a willing participant. She’s wasn’t.
She’s a rape victim.
And he’s a rapist.