The U.S. Constitution is displayed with a brown gavel on it

Civil Rights Don’t Get ‘Violated’; They Get Raped

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“Rape” is one common dictionary definition for the word “violate”. Image Credit: Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

I have learned a great deal from my numerous misadventures with “Batman” and his “Justice League Gang” . Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that this linguistic convention of using a word like violated to describe what happens when someone “breaks” or “disobeys” a Civil Rights Law is ethically dubious — possibly cruel.

Civil Rights don’t get “violated”; they get raped.

In my opinion, to describe a Civil Rights crime with any sort of neutral, or objective, or “politically correct” word like violation is to risk minimizing or invalidating the trauma suffered by the victim.

Even if that victim was not really sexually assaulted, an act of Civil Rights rape can be psychologically traumatic, which for the victim is also a kind of rape — psychological rape. And I’m really not sure this is some sort of figurative interpretation of rape. Consider that rape is commonly held to be about power, not sex, suggesting that a lack of sexually related physical contact need not necessarily disqualify a given event as an example of rape. Also, however important may be the actual physical trauma of sexual assault, in the long run it is the psychological trauma that matters most. Bodies heal much more quickly than minds. Long after the stitches are removed, the STD’s are treated, and any unwanted fetus is aborted, the mind is probably still oozing pus.

The next time you catch yourself or someone else talking about a given Civil Rights “violation”, I invite you to consider that what actually happened was a Civil Rights rape.