Module 11
How Accurate Language About Sexual Assault Supports Victims in the Criminal Justice System


“Language can never be neutral; it creates versions of reality. To describe an event is inevitability to characterize the event."1

Begin this module with a short word association exercise. You will need a pen and paper for this.

What do the words and phrases on the short list below make you think of?


Take a few minutes and write down the first thing that comes to mind with each.


  • Sexual intercourse
  • Have sex with
  • Relationship
  • Perform
  • Fondle
  • Caress

Disclaimers and Footnotes

1. Jean Bavelas & Linda Coates, Is it Sex or Assault? Erotic versus Violent Language in Sexual Assault Trial Judgments, 10 J. Social Distress & the Homeless 29 (2001).

This module will be available to you as soon as you complete Module 1. To complete a module, you must read each of the lessons and complete the review quiz at the end.

It is important to finish Module 1 so that you have sufficient context for the rest of the program. After that, you'll have full access to jump between lessons however works best for you.

Tip: In the left sidebar, you'll notice a vertical bar of squares. Each square represents a lesson in that module. You can see at a glance which lessons you've done (brightly colored) and which ones you have not (gray).

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