Semantics Are Important to a Rape Survivor

According to RAINN, Rape is forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object. Sexual Assault is unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling. (But, be aware: Some states use this term interchangeably with rape.)

After Lydia Cuomo was brutally raped by a police officer in New York City, she understood that semantics matter. (Although the title of this article could be read as mocking her.)

After being orally, anally, and vaginally raped, the state of New York told her that she wasn’t raped due to initially finding the officer not guilty on the vaginal rape. (New York’s definition of rape requires vaginal penetration.) So she paired with Representative Catharine Young, and spoke out, identifying herself to all kinds of media outlets. They lobbied for the Rape is Rape bill, fighting for the same punishment for oral and anal rape, as vaginal rape.

They got so far, just for Rep. Young to get cold feet and back out of the bill because she was worried rapists may not be convicted under the new law. What??

A disappointed Cuomo continued to speak up and said:

“It’s semantics, but semantics are really important . … As a survivor, hearing the word solidifies what you went through and helps you to move on.”

Not only is Cuomo doing so much good for herself, but she’s trying to help others heal and understand their own experiences. What a wonderful woman.

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