From David Brauer's Braublog at Minnpost -- I didn't see the Pioneer Press story about that horrific attack over the weekend but did see the Strib story and thought it was lacking a few details regarding use of the word "rape":
Late last week, an alleged sexual assault in Minneapolis’s Powderhorn Park got a lot of attention; from the Pioneer Press’s original story, it’s not hard to see why:
A mother was skiing through the snowy park with her 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son when five juvenile males accosted them. One was armed with a handgun, [police spokesman William] Palmer said. Two of the boys raped the mother and threatened to rape the daughter, but the mother "basically says that's not going to happen," Palmer said.
On Sunday, the family released a compassionate statement that — in its commitment to a “great” neighborhood and recognition of the alleged perpetrators as “hurting, scared children who didn't get the kind of nurture, love and care that they needed” — might be more unusual than the crime.
The statement also included some media criticism:
I do want to correct one major inaccuracy in the news that I have read. None of us were raped, to the best of my knowledge. Yes, I was sexually assaulted but the girls did manage to fight off the boys and escape before anything happened. I really have a huge repulsion at the labeling of us as victims. I see us as strong and capable of taking charge of our safety.
So did an already horrific crime get mislabeled?
The editors at the metros say the criminal sexual conduct charge includes the term "rape," so that's what they went with. That may be true, but most people have a pretty clear idea of what "rape" is, versus sexual assault. I haven't seen the criminal complaint, but the woman says in her public statement that she wasn't raped. That would seem like a pretty big misunderstanding -- more than just a "mislabeling" -- and an error to be corrected.
We generally avoid use of the term "rape" for exactly this reason.