It’s Not Groping or Fondling – It Is Sexual Assault

If there’s one thing I have learned in life and feminism, it’s that language is very important, much more important than we often like to admit. 

In all aspects of life, we must convey our messages through our words, in the most compelling and correct ways, to avoid misunderstandings and even worse, downplaying our messages. 

This is why we must express sexual assault as exactly what it is. Not using other “subtle” terms like groping, fondling, etc. 

When we refer to sexual assault casually, using terms that downplay the impact or intensity of the crime, we’re reinforcing it into normalcy. 

For example, saying “ He sexually assaulted her” passes the message better than saying “Oh, he just tapped her bum”. When you say the latter, it almost seems like the perpetrator is carrying out a routine activity, as though it is ever normal to be sexually assaulted. 

Instead of saying “He just groped her”, please say “ He sexually assaulted her, by touching her without her consent.”

This way you’re conveying the impact of the act, without undermining its effects. 

Oftentimes, a lot of people use this language out of compassion, in a bid to avoid addressing the topic for what it is, as though it’ll restore some level of goodwill to the perpetrator. This is a great disservice to victims of assault, as it downplays their entire experience and the possible damages that it may have caused. 

Perhaps using the appropriate language when referring to sexual assault will help us recognize it for the criminal act that it is, and serve as a deterrent for perpetrators. Trivializing the act of sexual assault also trivializes the impact it has on its victims, and that’s a form of gaslighting too. This will also lead to victim-blaming and slut-shaming, because in absence of blaming the sexual abusers, people will result to blaming the victims. 

So please, the next time you come across groping, fondling, or any other sexual assault terms, be quick to replace them with sexual assault. Remember that language is very important and it should not be overlooked. There’s power in our words, and we must use them correctly.

Read Also: Myths About Women’s Masturbation You Should Unlearn

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