To Whom It May Concern:
In general, I have the utmost respect for your publication, and typically read at least a handful of your articles on a daily basis. As an abuse survivor and advocate for other survivors, I thank you for making this a consistent, central focus of your work, as education is truly a key factor in abuse prevention. However, I am very concerned about what I see as a disturbing trend in your reporting cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by teachers. When a teacher abuses his/her authority, as well as the age differential between him/herself and a student, by committing any sort of sexual act against that typically underage student, this can only be accurately defined as sexual abuse or sexual assault. It dismisses the very profound trauma and pain experienced by survivors of such abuse when these atrocities are written off using the same language as one could use to describe a politician who had an affair. Furthermore, I am disappointed in the fact that reporting on male perpetrators of such abuse appears to use correct terminology such as, “sexually molesting five female students” or “sexually assaulting a student”, while many cases involving female perpetrators are written off by using descriptions such as, “carrying on a sexual affair with a 14-year-old boy” or “had a sexual relationship with a student.” Such a discrepancy feeds into the incredibly damaging idea that male abusers cause profound trauma but when a woman molests a child (especially, a boy), he “must have liked it,” or that it is somehow less offensive as women are often thought to use less physical force as part of such abuse. Such perceptions can be terribly re-traumatizing to survivors who may already feel guilty because of the misconception that they were, in some way, responsible for their own abuse if they weren’t physically forced into it. As administrator of The System Is Broken, my goal is to make the world a better place for victims of abuse and injustice, and I know that this is quite important to you, too. Therefore, I strongly urge you to alter the language that you use to describe such atrocities immediately. I have posted a copy of this letter on my blog, which can be found at https://thesystemisbrokenblog.wordpress.com/, and would very much appreciate a reply indicating some kind of action on your part. Thank you for your time and consideration for this important issue.
The System Is Broken Administrator
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