Overextending the definition of sexual assault is also harmful

Ruth Ann Dailey writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the recent spate of sexual misconduct allegations.

We are going to need some new words. 

As allegations of sexual misconduct continue to flood our mass media, the term “sexual misconduct” won’t suffice. Neither will “sexual assault” or “harassment.” 

“Misconduct” is a handy catchall when we are not sure which actions under discussion are criminal and which are merely disgusting, but the legal terms of assault and harassment are surprisingly and unhelpfully broad. 

Since the incidents recently revealed range from lewd remarks to forcible kissing to self-exposure to groping to rape, it’s clear we need new terminology and some careful redefinitions.

Read more of Dailey’s column online at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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