And What Do We Call People Attacked by Republicans?

[Trigger warning for discussion of harassment and sex crimes.]

Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Republican state legislator in Georgia, has introduced a bill that would "eliminate the word 'victim' from statutes dealing with stalking, rape, obscene telephone contact with a child and family violence and replace it with 'accuser'."
It wasn't clear why Franklin's legislation includes only those specific laws.
Hmm, let me see if I can have a guess at that.

Could it be because those are the only crimes around which we have narratives about multitudinous false accusations, despite the fact that false reports of sexual violence are lower than false reports of auto theft, and despite the fact that there is a higher threshold for convincing law enforcement to take action on reports of sexual violence and harassment than any other crime, and despite the vanishingly low percentage of reports that go to trial and the miniscule conviction rates?

Could it be because implying that people who report sex crimes and/or harassment are liars is an integral tool and prevalent narrative of the rape culture, which exists to protect rapists—a pretty significant constituency of any politician, since around 12% of men (pdf) have, by their own admission, committed sexual assault or rape, which is certainly much higher than the percentage of the population who commits auto theft, or bank robbery, or fraud?

Could it be that women and marginalized men (trans men, gay men, incarcerated men) are more likely to be victimized by sexual violence, harassment, and/or domestic abuse—and the Republican Party has made attacking women and marginalized men a central part of their national platform for a generation?

Franklin had no comment.

It's not that I have a problem with the concept of using neutral language in court cases—but limiting the use of neutral language to only these crimes is inappropriate, and, more importantly, "accuser" is not neutral language.

At least not in the context of legally mandated language limited specifically to crimes laden with narratives of false accusations.

Carol Tracy, director of the Women's Law Center, is quoted in the article noting that in her state of residence, Pennsylvania, the word used is "complainant." For evident reasons, that is a much more appropriate word, but only if it's also required in all cases, irrespective of the nature of the crime.

Which are of course, the same reasons that Mr. Franklin did not propose its use.

[H/T to Shakers BlueRidge and Danielle.]

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