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Nov 13, 2010

Words of Weight.

I guess the thing that still surprises me (and which I hope always will), is how little thought people can give to the weight of their words - particularly out here in the internet universe. I know, I know - it is somewhat hypocritical - I do it too!

I was in a situation today where someone's words online made me very, very angry. They were carelessly throwing around words that carry huge weight - and the actions that the words describe have a huge impact on both individuals and the world in general. I will freely admit that I did fire off a quick, biting reply.

Have you ever noticed general society's habit of carelessly throwing around words like abuse, torture, monster, rape or paedophile etc? I question how someone could use these words in anything less then a respectful manner - I could not imagine doing otherwise myself. No doubt however, that this perspective is probably due to my own experiences with those words. 

But in saying that, I really do think that the way we treat those words, directly links into how we treat the people that have had experiences with those words - whose life has been touched by the actions those words describe. I have seen from observation, that those whom joke about abuse/rape etc, have been the ones that have struggled the most in helping the survivor/people effected -  to the extreme of being downright callous - and unthinking in their treatment of that survivor.  

These are words with weight - these are words that represent experiences - terrible experiences that have destroyed lives and hurt human beings - to say nothing of those that are no longer living because of them. These words have a deep meaning - to the people whose lives they have touched. And that web of people is bigger then you would think. Abuse has the ultimate knock-on effect - in the long term, it impacts parents, siblings, extended family, children, friends - this is particularly true when the victims aren't supported or given therapy.

This leads me to ask why do we as a society then feel it is ok to say things like "she was dressed/acted slutty, so she asked for it" or "it wasn't rape, she enjoyed it"  or "it wasn't rape because you can't say no after you have said yes to _______ ". I also don't understand why it is a subject that is widely treated as 'ok' to joke about. Those jokes hurt - and on the days when you are down, just confirm what is in your head already.

It is a social problem - an awareness problem. Just because something can be said, doesn't mean it should. But equally, sometimes those words need to be said - to be expressed. But in the proper way, in the proper time.


1 comment:

biojen said...

Thank you, Jo. That was something that really, really needed to be said. I don't know how many times someone has joked about incest around me, and never noticed that I didn't laugh. Do you mind if I link to this on my blog? I really think everyone possible should hear this.


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