TORONTO – According to statistics compiled by media watchdog PressWatch.org, the most widely used terms in 2015 by media outlets describing rape charges and allegations were “Tryst”, “Moonlight Dalliance” and the ever-evocative “You-Know-What.”
“These kind of topics are a minefield,” explained Vincent Brahm, desk editor for the Ottawa Sun. “In general, news outlets try to avoid the word ‘rape’ unless someone has been convicted at least 4 times.”
“These are serious allegations, whether you’re talking about a celebrity doing Weird Touches without consent, or a politician having Night Time with a minor,” added Brahm. “But just because we don’t like naming these acts directly doesn’t mean we aren’t serious about trysts, interference, indiscretions, or, y’know… Aggravated Caddishness.”
The practice has become more common with many recent accusations levelled at high profile individuals, particularly after it was revealed Bill Cosby had purchased Quaaludes, perchance to steal a lover’s embrace from behind slumber’s dim veil.
Brahm says he believes readers will be far more comfortable with their new terms for rape and sexual assault: the emoji that looks like The Scream, and a GIF of the character Jim Halpert from The Office raising his eyebrows to the camera like “yikes.”