Lynn Hecht Schafran
Legal Momentum’s National Judicial Education Program’s Newest Curriculum:
Raped or “Seduced”? How Language Helps Shape Our Response to Sexual Violence
Legal Momentum is pleased to announce the release of its new model curriculum for judges, advocates, media, and anyone interested in changing the way they speak and write about sexual violence. Raped or “Seduced”? How Language Helps Shape Our Response to Sexual Violence was developed by the National Judicial Education Program (NJEP), Legal Momentum’s award-winning judicial education project, with funding from the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.
Too often we write and talk about sexual violence in ways that allow perpetrators to remain invisible, obscure the harm to which victims have been subjected, and sanitize the violence perpetrated. In the media, in police reports and in court documents, we read about rapists who “have sex with” their victims or “foster sexual relationships” with children. Rapes “occur” as though they are natural events, rather than acts of violence to which a perpetrator subjects the victim. The Raped or “Seduced” curriculum will help you and your colleagues write and speak about sexual violence accurately without euphemizing the violence or misleading your audience.
Though originally developed for judges, the curriculum has been presented successfully to multidisciplinary audiences, including attorneys, military personnel, health care professionals, probation officers, victim advocates, and law enforcement. Writing and speaking appropriately about sexual violence can be a challenge even for advocates, many of whom have also benefited from the curriculum. The curriculum includes a model PowerPoint presentation with Suggested Commentary which can be adapted to the needs of your audience, and a Faculty Manual with exercises and handouts so participants can begin to develop their skills in accurate and accountable communication about sexual assault.
Legal Momentum has presented the curriculum at conferences nationwide and attendees have written rave reviews, including:
- Excellent presentation! Eye opener on how the use of language changes an entire discussion.
- I’m ready to change the language on all my presentations.
- Wow! Such good information. More people need to hear this!
This curriculum is available free of charge at: http://www.legalmomentum.org/raped-or-seduced-how-language-helps-shape-our-response-sexual-violence. Although you may present the curriculum without obtaining NJEP’s permission, please share with us the ways you are using it via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, via Twitter (@LegalMomentum), or via Facebook (www.facebook.com/legalmomentum).
About Legal Momentum
Legal Momentum is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1970 to advance the rights of women by using the power of the law and creating innovative public policy in three broad areas: economic justice, freedom from gender-based violence and equality under the law. For more information visit www.legalmomentum.org.