This story is horrible, and it’s particularly frightening to me as a parent to think that this kind of thing can go one at school at all, let alone for such a long period of time.
But I must confess, I’m a bit lost on the language used to describe this story. From the article:
a third-grade student had been sexually assaulting a classmate for several months.
One boy allegedly coerced another boy to perform sex acts
Let me preface the following question by saying I am by no means trying to downplay the severity of this story or trying to make it sound as if it’s not as bad as it really is, or anything like that.
But is there not a significant difference between assault and coercion? Assault brings to mind violence (as in forcing his target to do something on threat of physical pain), while coercion brings to mind non-violent manipulation (as in blackmail, trickery, or promising something desireable in return).
As I said, I’m not trying to take any of the severity away from this story at all. I’m merely questioning the use of terminology here. Am I simply being too picky about words? Has the colloqiual use of “assault” been broadened to non-violent acts? Or has the media gotten habituated in labeling all situations of sexual wrong-doing as assault?