The Conspicuously Absent Word

Has anyone else noticed that the word “rape” is missing in action from the news lately? (both one and three on the TV, I have no clue about Prime, and the Dom is also suffering from a bout of rape-avoidance)

Not once have they described Josef Fritzl, who drugged, imprisoned, neglected, repeatedly impregnated, and essentially treated his own daughter as a sex slave as either “abuse” or “rape”. Not even with the qualification that it was “alleged”. Or even in reference to his previous conviction.

Just because a word is emotionally charged (like “murder”, which makes the news all the time) doesn’t mean you can never use it. It merely means you need to reserve it for extreme cases.

If this is not an extreme case, I would like to see what is.

3 Responses

  1. That is such a good point.

    I think people avoid the word “rape” because “rape” is such a strong word and people can’t link it to the idea of family (which is considered a sacred institution even by people outside the church). Rape and family and two words that do not exist within the same sentence in polite society.

    Incest is still a taboo in our society – and why it continues.

    The guy is a rapist. “Incest perpetrator” is just a euphemism.

  2. […] This blogger makes a really good point, why are the word “rape” and “rapist” censored in […]

  3. Incest doesn’t rule out some sort of consent- whether misguided or otherwise, which is why it’s not enough. Incest is just a line in the sand, it’s a taboo, not an outrage. Fritzl didn’t just have sex with his daughter, he raped, abused, and neglected her. I think weasling our way around the things he’s admitted to doing is irresponsible- whether or not the fact that the rape victim was his daughter causes cognitive dissonance. If you have a hard time thinking of sex with a daughter as rape, imagine what it feels like for wives, especially in deeply sexist countries, who are raped by their husbands.

    The shocking thing about what he did is not that it was incest. It’s not that he kept someone in a dungeon. There are plenty of people who like to be treated that way now and then, and they’re no issue at all- because most of them respect other people’s sexual and individual sovereignty- their right to make their own decisions.

    The shocking thing is that he dominated the will of his daughter, forcing her to accept things that she never asked for and presumably didn’t want. There are stories emerging that he may also have taken a similar domineering role in his relationship with his wife.

    Men don’t rape more often because we’re men- we do it because we’re more often in an unchecked position of power, and because others don’t always consider it appropriate to check up on women to see if they’re okay. That needs to change. It’s better to reassure ourselves that our friends and family are honest than to trust blindly.

    I do agree with you though that leaving victims of incest-rape with the offending relatives is asking for trouble. They need to be seperated until the offender has been properly treated and is regarded as relatively safe, which could take years.

    I also agree that Fritzl is not a monster. He’s possibly a sexist, or a control-freak, with some very deep issues to be able to do that to his own daughter, but he is very much real and that should make him all the more frightening.

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