By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Your Views: Sexual assault should not be labeled as a sex case
Placeholder Image

I am writing to ask that The Times consider different choices for the language used to report on court cases where sex acts were used as weapons. Headlines such as "Teen girl pleads guilty in sex case" (Dec. 1, Local page) are good for catching the eyes of readers, but are a disservice to the community.

Our citizens and potential jury members need to understand that these kinds of court proceedings are not "sex cases." They involve violations of Georgia law, crimes that people perpetrate on each other. They are about felony and misdemeanor offences, not about people having sex.

The rape referenced in the Dec. 1 article was also described as "alleged" three times in the first three paragraphs. Once a case has been adjudicated it is no longer alleged. In this case, the disposition indicated that this crime happened. A young girl was hurt.

Making sense of the suffering that human beings can inflict upon each other is difficult and sometimes impossible. Victims of sexual assaults are pushed and pulled by opinions, overwhelming information and complicated processes. Criminal cases against their offenders make their way slowly, if at all, through the courts. Often shame, perhaps the most powerful human emotion, dominates every step for victims of this violence.

Citizens of our community can be proud of our medical professionals, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors for the way in which they respond to reports of sexual violence. Readers interested in information about a rape in our area and how to help may go to www.raperesponse.com or call our hot line, 770-503-7273.

Dana Chapman
Director of Victim Services, Rape Response, Inc., Gainesville

Regional events