Changing the Narrative: Sexual Violence Language
Sexual violence is a pervasive issue that has plagued our society for far too long. Fortunately, numerous advocates are tirelessly working to raise awareness and champion the rights of survivors. However, there is still a significant amount of work to be done. One crucial way we can advocate for change is by reevaluating the language we use when discussing sexual violence.
As a law firm committed to defending the rights of survivors, we have witnessed firsthand the profound impact that language can have on their experiences. In our society, there is a tendency to downplay the severity of sexual violence by referring to survivors’ experiences as merely “stories.” This language may unintentionally imply that a survivor’s account is something other than their real life experience. However, it is essential to recognize that survivors’ endured these events, so we should acknowledge them as “experiences” rather than seemingly minimizing them “stories.”
This is a small yet significant change we can make in our everyday language to support survivors of sexual violence. Employing language that accurately reflects the reality of what they have gone through is key to ending rape culture and showing our support for survivors. By utilizing language that validates them, we are acknowledging their trauma and facilitating necessary societal change.
The impact our language has on survivors of sexual violence should not be underestimated. When we refer to their experiences as stories, we can inadvertently trivialize the immense trauma involved. Consequently, it can become more challenging for survivors to seek the support and justice they deserve because they fear being disbelieved. It is crucial to remember that survivors of sexual violence have undergone deeply traumatic experiences, and they require our support. Utilizing language that accurately portrays their experiences is an essential part of providing that support.
Even small changes can yield significant differences. By altering the everyday language surrounding sexual violence, we can cultivate a more supportive environment for survivors and foster a society that exhibits empathy and understanding towards sexual trauma.
It is vital that we acknowledge the power of our language to create a world where survivors feel supported, believed, and empowered. As a law firm dedicated to defending the rights of survivors of sexual violence, we firmly believe that this change is long overdue.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual violence and are seeking legal services, contact us for a confidential consultation.
If you are interested in supporting a small business creating change for survivors, consider purchasing from Kamaria, featured in the video above. Kamaria was founded by survivors, for survivors, and 10% of all proceeds go to their own non-profit, Restore Dignity, which gives financial assistance to student survivors of sexual assault to help pay for mental healthcare, rent, and tuition.