Friday, September 08, 2006

It's important how you say things

A number of times recently, I have noticed the news describing a story, and it doesn't quite come out right. Today on the news, it was announced that DNA tests are going to be used to detect a rapist. A girl with severe disabilities was raped and is pregnant as a result. That's a terrible tragedy, but the bulletin went on to say that because she couldn't speak, she couldn't have given consent.

Now, when they catch the guy, and it comes to trial, this issue will be examined. I am sure there are people who can't speak who would be very upset to be described as incapable of consent or other decision. I am sure this young woman has been traumatised by a terrible attack, and I expect there is other evidence to support the case against her attacker. Precisely because these issues are so sensitive, it is especially important to get the reporting right.

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