Topic: WordWatch: Reflecting on how language impacts our response to assaultive acts
“Language can never be neutral; it creates versions of reality. To describe an event is inevitably to characterize that event.” (Bavelas & Coates). The way that sexual assaults are documented-- by the legal system, law enforcement, the media, and service providers-- impacts the public discourse surrounding sexual violence. This interactive presentation will explore different categories of language used to characterize sexual assault: the language of consensual sex vs. language that conveys inherent violence; victim blaming language vs. offender-focused language, and minimizing language (passive voice and euphemisms) vs. accountable language.
Dennis Ichikawa is a native to the Seattle area. Having spent the last 15 years living in Phoenix and then Cambodia, he has recently returned to Seattle to join KCSARC as the Court Watch Manager. Mr. Ichikawa has a B.A. from the University of Washington and a J.D. from Willamette University. He has held various positions as a lawyer, ombudsman, policy analyst, law professor, pro tem court commissioner, director (child welfare agency, early education program, and university quality management), and business owner. Mr. Ichikawa enjoys racquet sports, skiing, and cycling.
Mary Laskowski has been working to end gender based violence for the past twelve years. She has been with KCSARC since 2011, where she spent five years in the Legal Advocacy Program before moving into her current role, where she focuses on coordinating a systems-wide response to sexual assault. Mary graduated with a degree in Women's Studies and Literature from Antioch College in 2002. In her free time, you'll find her surrounded by her many rescued pets and baking delicious desserts.
WATSA meeting location:
King County Sexual Assault Resource Center
200 Mill Avenue South, Renton, WA 98057