on euphemisms, for a third time.

Seriously, what the fuck is “non-consensual sex?”

There is no such thing. Sex is something that happens when the parties involved are all consenting. Rape isn’t sex, it’s an act of violence, and if there’s no consent it’s rape. (I can’t believe I actually just wrote that. Haven’t feminists already made this one clear, over and over and over and over and over again?)

"What the hell is ‘non-consensual sex,’ " by Jos at Feministing

I’ve recently written two posts on euphemism, the first in which my ornery side comes out and I argue that “euphemisms often seem more repulsive or inappropriate than the neutral concept the softened word purports to replace. ” In the second one, I respond to a friend’s rebuttal, conceding that yes, euphemism can be used quite playfully and intelligently. 

I’ve shared the quote above as a third example of the powers of euphemism: this is euphemism gone wrong, to the point where it is capable of hurting whole groups of society. Jos at Feministing argues that when the media calls rape “non-consensual sex,” they are in effect promoting rape culture. “Non-consensual sex” is a euphemism; it allows journalists (and therefore the audiences these journalists reach) to brush off what really happened as a mere “unwanted encounter.” If the media can’t talk about rape honestly and admit that this is a real problem, how are we supposed to effectively fight against it?

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