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Why is the term 'child abuse' normalised?

(8 Posts)
OhBuggerandArse Thu 08-Nov-12 21:47:54

These stories are about rape and sexual assault. Offences against adults would be described as (alleged) rape and sexual assault. Why is this term 'abuse', so much woolier, so much less explicit, ok to use in relation to offences against children? I can see it would be upsetting to hear the term 'child rape' used, but really, shouldn't we face up to the fact that these are upsetting crimes and reflect that in the language we use?

BooyhooRemembering Thu 08-Nov-12 21:53:46

when the truth about jimmy saville came out recently i thought the same thing. i kept hearing it being referred to as abuse and assault rather than child molestation, sexual assaults. i'm sure on some news reports it was but on most of the ones i heard it was abuse and assault against 'young women and teenage girls' (err no!! young women and children!). infact the first time i heard the word molest being used wrt the jimmy saville thing was when it came out about the young boy that he sexually assaulted. as if it was worse because it was a boy it happened to. sad

amummienetter Thu 08-Nov-12 21:56:37

Even more depressing is when 'child exploitation' is used in reference to 'child rape'.

OhBuggerandArse Thu 08-Nov-12 22:05:35

I noticed the reporter on the Channel 4 news piece from Wrexham tonight did say rape, I think deliberately. It was effective. But back in the studio Jon Snow kept saying 'abuse'. I wonder how far it's an overt editorial decision and how far it's just what people are used to?

Might be worth pointing out to news organisations, to see if they would change their practice. After the Norwich murders there was a debate which did manage to get some newsrooms to start describing the victims as women rather than prostitutes.

Darkesteyes Thu 08-Nov-12 23:06:49

Boo the female survivors were being referred to as groupies. The male survivors wernt.

BooyhooRemembering Thu 08-Nov-12 23:13:19

fucking hell! angry that is so wrong. how do they not see the difference in how they are speaking?

swallowedAfly Fri 09-Nov-12 08:21:14

i think it's to cover the broad range of what is included as abuse when it is with a child that wouldn't be when with an adult iyswim? where it is an act of penetration yes it should be called rape of course but the point is that with children ANY sexual contact is horrific and an act of abuse and i think it acknowledges that.

totally agree about saying women and teenage girls, or young women etc - it riles me every time. CHILDREN. underage boys are called children or boys, underage girls are called teenagers or young women in these cases. it reflects in my opinion a belief that girls are for sex. they're not children but potential sexual agents in the eyes of men. for example you hear of how 'she led him on', 'lured him' etc - they make her the sexual agent and refuse to recognise her child status even when she is as young as 12 in a way that would not happen with a 12yo boy being reported about.

'groupies' again massively offensive as is the constant reference to young girls throwing themselves at famous men - again it puts the sexuality on the child rather than the male adult who is somehow rendered passive and almost victim like. massive reversals.

ButHeNeverDid Sat 10-Nov-12 09:38:10

It des not help that the phrase "child abuse" is often used on mumsnet in relation to ear piercing, controlled crying, circumcision or any parenting approach that the writer does not agree with.

The has a drip, drip, drip approach to diluting the strength of "child abuse"

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