a while ago, a female friend told me about how she was having issues with this friend who uses the word "rape" very casually in conversation. i didn't comment back then, but somehow, my initial reaction was that she was being overly-sensitive. after all, in today's lingo, curse-words aren't really meant to be taken literally, and quite a few abuses that nobody seems to take undue offense to would have been extremely offensive if they were.
which got me thinking aloud on twitter:
i'm afraid to use the word "rape" in female company for fear of causing an outrage. this is not good.
guess my thoughts at that point were focused on two philosophies of cursing (yesh, i do have such philosophies):
- anything not directed at a person isn't offensive
- once something is designated a curse-word, it is not to be taken literally, unless there is no other plausible meaning
thankfully, a friend reacted to my tweet with something that got me thinking:
- the word "rape" is not a curse-word
- rape implies violent damaging sexual abuse. and i'm ashamed to say, with the exception of the sexual part, my usage of the word does imply the other three. so maybe i'm not sticking to principle #2 myself
conclusion: "rape" is not a curse word. and i will never use it as one. i hope you're convinced too.