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Photo by David Shankbone

Stop referring to perpetrators of sexual violence as ‘predators’

By Dana Cramer, January 11, 2018 —

The term ‘sexual predator’ implies that sexual crimes are a result of biological tendencies in those who take joy in humiliating and abusing — unfortunately — primarily women. The term ‘predator’ evokes images of lions, wolves, bears and other powerful creatures. It also implies that their victims are prey, equivalent to animals that are unable to fight off danger and are one wrong move away from falling victim to it.

2017 was an important year for feminism. In January, the world experienced the Women’s March, aimed at criticizing just-inaugurated United States President Donald Trump. And as the year ends, some women are receiving justice for the harassment and abuse that others are still suffering in silence. Over the past few months, more sexual harassment allegations have been exposed by the media than ever before, and more survivors are coming forward everyday. The latest count reported that over 30 women have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, and more stories like this are being published as the days go by.

It is the media’s job to keep powerful people and institutions accountable. It is time for the media to take a position of power rather than act as bystanders in regards to rape culture. The easiest way to do that is through a shift in language.

Women should no longer be viewed as prey. This view is attached to the assumption that if certain men are ‘sexual predators,’ then it’s the responsibility of all women to keep their guards up and ensure that they do not get raped or abused. Our society has a problem. And when there is a problem that is hurting more than half of the population, then society must reduce or eliminate the problem.

The world must stop using the word predator to describe perpetrators of sexual crimes. The word predator denotes women to a subordinate role, suggesting that they’re unable to fend for themselves. This is absolutely not true. Women are able to work together to fight misogyny. Feminine strength means that not just cis and trans women, but also the LGBTQ community and other minorities, are able to win wars on the basis of working together. We are not petty and small, we are gladiators. We are not subordinates, we are equals. We are more than prey.

Articles published in the Gauntlet‘s opinion section do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.

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