Although the Daily News printed one paragraph of a letter to the editor I submitted in response to the “sex romp” debacle, it has yet to issue an apology or retract the egregious term. As such, what follows is my open letter to the newspaper. Please feel free to “sign” it as well in the comments section!
Dear New York Daily News,
I had the opportunity to read Jennifer Cunningham’s article regarding Lawrence Taylor’s sentencing for rape. I take serious issue with the fact she conflated rape of an under-aged, forcefully prostituted girl with “a sex romp” — not only in the lead paragraph, but in also in the article’s title. In no way is this responsible reporting. It should go without saying, but this type of insensitivity fosters a culture that diminishes the severity and impact of sex crimes, and contributes to rape apologist attitudes that already permeate our society.
I am completely astounded that a Daily News writer and her editor deemed the term “sex romp” an appropriate use of words to describe a violent, misogynistic act. It is a slap in the face to victims everywhere and you should be ashamed.
The article even states that the teenaged victim reported being forced into prostitution, and it quotes the Rockland County Assistant District Attorney, who plainly stated that this case was one involving sex trafficking. What is it, exactly, about forced prostitution and sex trafficking that indicates a “romp” in the hay?
Victims will forever fear being taken seriously when respected news outlets refer to rape as “sex romps,” a term that connotes consensual, fun sexual relations. We must call rape what it is and not mask it with sugar-coated euphemisms. The only ones who stand to benefit from doing so are rapists and sex traffickers.
I respectfully ask that you issue a correction to the article, and retract the words “sex romp.”