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Language too informal for story on sexual assault program?

04/21/2014 4:39 PM

04/22/2014 6:52 PM

I received an interesting email from a reader about a story that appeared on Page A1 of Sunday’s print edition, about the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention Center

on the Fort Riley base near Junction City.

The program sounds like an admirable improvement for victims of sexual assault, but I was dismayed to read it described as a “one stop shop of services” with a “grand opening”, as if it were a trip to the mall! This struck me as a trite, insensitive description. Describing it as “a consolidation of services to reduce further traumatizing of sexual assault victims” on it’s “first day of operation” would convey a proper respect for such a serious, sensitive topic. I understand that the writer wanted the article to be accessible to the average reader, but a level of respect should have been utilized as well.

Here, the reader smartly observes that the writing style is intended to make the subject matter accessible. But I can absolutely understand her feeling that it subjectively just doesn’t feel right in her opinion.

I don’t know that the style would rub every reader the wrong way necessarily, but readers often alert me when the pursuit of variety in the use of language conveys connotations that the writer may not have intended. I’ve share this feedback with the reporter.

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