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Simcha FisherJuly 12, 2019

How arguing over whether Epstein abused ‘girls’ or ‘young women’ hurts all victims of injustice

In this July 30, 2008, file photo, Jeffrey Epstein, center, appears in court in West Palm Beach, Fla. Mr. Epstein pled guilty in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution and now faces new charges in New York of sex trafficking. (Uma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post via AP, File)In this July 30, 2008, file photo, Jeffrey Epstein, center, appears in court in West Palm Beach, Fla. Mr. Epstein pled guilty in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution and now faces new charges in New York of sex trafficking. (Uma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post via AP, File)

“I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender,’” Jeffrey Epstein said in 2011. “It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.” Mr. Epstein had just completed his outrageously light jail sentence for the outrageously soft-pedaled crime of soliciting prostitution with a minor. The many credible accusations of his long, well-documented history of buying, selling and raping underage girls were somehow whittled down to a manageable offense, and his heinous behavior went largely unpunished.

Happily, plea deals are not irrevocable, and on Monday, Mr. Epstein was arrested again. He may actually face justice this time. The legal system may be ready to charge him for victimizing girls, but the public is less clear that’s who his victims truly were. A few years ago, a Rutgers biologist told Reuters with respect to the Epstein case, “By the time they’re 14 or 15, they’re like grown women were 60 years ago, so I don’t see these acts as so heinous.” Reporters for The Palm Beach Post and The New York Times have repeatedly referred to his victims as “young women,” CBS News has weirdly called them “underage females,” and The Washington Post originally referred to them as “underage women” before quickly changing the term to “girls.”

More than one prominent Twitter commenter thought it was important to hash out whether his crime was pedophilia or ephebophilia (though The Stranger’s Katie Herzog added, “not that this makes it okay”), and, in a now-deleted tweet, whether we can call a girl a “child” if she reaches the ripe old age of 14 before she is bought, bound and raped by a man four times her age. (Full disclosure: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, who wrote the deleted tweet, has previously written for America).

Legally, and morally, and by any sane measure, she is a child, no matter how much makeup she wears, how sassy she talks, what crowd she runs with.

The answer is, of course: Yes, she is a child. Legally, and morally, and by any sane measure, she is a child, no matter how much makeup she wears, how sassy she talks, what crowd she runs with, or what she does next after her predator lets her go. No matter how much taller she is than, say, a 5-year-old. Those were children Mr. Epstein is accused of trafficking; and people who want to argue that a teenager is not a child, per se—well, it is fair to wonder why they care so much.

Some of them will say it is just that accuracy matters, and they like to be precise in their speech. And that is fine. I know people like this: They will go to their grave insisting that they are emitting “terminal respiratory secretions” and not a “death rattle.” Some people just like precision, and they like it all the time. These people are rare.

Use technically accurate terms that sanitize the truth and you can often plea bargain your way down to a lesser charge in the public eye.

Most people are comfortable with imprecision when it suits them. They deal in a variegated mishmash of facts and hyperbole, poetry and science, precision and allusion; and this is normal. That is why the assertion that precision is of the utmost importance, especially if it implies that a lesser evil has been done, may be a red flag. We need to ask, at those moments, if these careful distinctions serve to ignore, oppress or denigrate someone who is vulnerable.

When Mr. Epstein made his ghastly joke about being a mere “offender,” like someone who steals a bagel, he was onto something powerful. Use technically accurate terms that sanitize the truth and you can often plea bargain your way down to a lesser charge in the public eye. We saw this when indignant voices were appalled that anyone would accuse our own countrymen of something as barbaric as torture in Abu Ghraib. No, what they were engaged in was something very specific and clinical-sounding, a precise kind of technique they called “enhanced interrogation.” (Which is torture.) We saw this when pro-choicers suddenly went to the wall for the notion that “fetal pole cardiac activity” was the proper nomenclature to describe the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in a four-chambered organ (which is what medical experts and we pro-life bumpkins alike call “a heartbeat”).

Cui bono? Who benefits from squeezing language until it bleeds jargon? The guilty, of course.

But another important question is: Cui plagalis? Who stands to lose? Whose suffering is likely to be minimized if normally careless people suddenly become very careful about their word choice?

Whose suffering is likely to be minimized if normally careless people suddenly become very careful about their word choice?

I do not believe that we can assume anyone who argues for a bright moral line between teenagers and children is a pedophile (or ephebophile, or oh dear lord please stop making me know about such things). It is tempting, but probably unfair to assume that anyone who soft-pedals abuse is an abuser himself.

Then why do it? To sound smart. To sound edgy. Or because they want to believe the victim is partially guilty. This is what we saw after news of systematically abused seminarians came out. Young men were pressured or forced into homosexual acts with their superiors. It was dreadful news, but less dreadful for Catholics who imagine you could only find yourself in such a fix if you were partially willing, or even part of a deliberate campaign. Why didn’t they fight back, or at least report the abuse? After all, they were men, not children. Can we call it assault, precisely, or did they let it happen? And the question remains the same: With this thirst for precision, cui plagalis?

Social media convulsed over whether we could justly call an ICE detention center a “concentration camp,” or whether that name demonstrated disrespect to Holocaust survivors and victims of the internment of Japanese Americans. And as the tweets flew back and forth and hashtags multiplied, all the while a 14-year-old child paced up and down, up and down her concrete cell, trying to quiet the sobs of a urine-soaked baby she had just met. That baby doesn’t care what name you call his cell. Neither does the girl. They just want to be released.

Games over semantics, no matter who is playing them, are just games; and when we play, that means we are not working. That means we are not fighting for justice for the very people whose status we are wrangling over.

As soon as we create a hierarchy of victimhood, we are asking victims to compete with each other, shoving them into an amphitheater of suffering, goading them into fighting it out to earn our precious compassion. One portion of the crowd roars, “Save death row inmates!” while another one answers, “No, save unborn babies!” “Help starving Africans!” hollers one throng. “No, help homeless vets!” another screams back. And meanwhile, inmates and babies and the starving and the homeless wait, and wait, and wait for help.

You do not have to play this game. You do not have to choose sides with one victim against another. You do not have to enter into some excruciating examination of the details of a crime before you can call it evil, before you can say the victim needs justice. Just call it evil, and leave a more precise diagnosis to the experts who are trying to rectify it.

So take note, whenever a new word or phrase is “trending.” It’s trending for a reason. Almost certainly, someone has deliberately introduced a carefully chosen bit of semantics into the environment for the purpose of altering public opinion.

Cui bono, and cui plagalis? Ask yourself.

You do not have to play this game. Look instead to the victim, and look for justice.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
A Fielder
4 years 11 months ago

Simcha, I think you fail to make an important distinction between the word-smithing of sophistic rhetoricians advancing their own self centered ideology (what ever it happens to be on any given day of the week) with something that may appear similar, but in truth is much different. Some of the examples you cite above are actually well intentioned attempts to participate in a community of moral discernment. We do live in a complicated world with many competing interests, and if the human community can not create, use and benefit from language that does justice, we will all be poorer for it. Sometimes language does need to be precise enough to be able to make important distinctions, and sometimes language needs to be able to pull at the heart strings, in order to influence others and do justice. If someone is abusing the power of speech for impure motives, than it is up to the rest of us to call them out. I am left to wonder if some of your criticism is not projection, after all you also spill a fair amount of ink. Is your rhetoric here any more important that the elected representatives who are trying to end the condition of children in cages at the border? Can you claim any more success? I do not believe that semantics are games, I believe that language is serious business with important moral consequences. And despite your rant, I am willing to bet that you do too.

Sheila Kelly
4 years 11 months ago

Thank you Simcha. This article was so needed. So often we do pit victims against each other, determining who is more "worthy". You have it right, just say it's evil.

Katherine Nielsen
4 years 11 months ago

"Games over semantics, no matter who is playing them, are just games; and when we play, that means we are not working. That means we are not fighting for justice for the very people whose status we are wrangling over." Amen! You put into words something I have been thinking. About those who wax pedantic over what a heartbeat is. About those who insist that "assault rifles" are not an accurate term. And of course most lately that the places where they put children taken from their parents are not "internment camps". Cui bono, indeed.

James M.
4 years 11 months ago

Semantics matter. To blur the necessary distinctions between concepts, is irresponsible, because it leads to confusion of thought, and to many bad consequences.

Lisa Weber
4 years 11 months ago

Words are important because they are how we discuss realities. And there is such a reality as a hierarchy of victims. Children are usually at the top of the hierarchy because they are vulnerable and defenseless. What I find disgusting is our current president’s penchant for calling himself and other sexual assailants “victims” when they are called out for their crimes. Also disgusting is the labeling of such a man “pro-life” when nothing about his actions would suggest that he ever cared about anyone but himself. He paid lip service to being anti-abortion in order to get elected. His administration is now separating children from their parents and jailing them in squalid conditions. This is entirely consistent with his previous history of sexual predation against girls under the age of consent. Actions speak louder than words - nothing about his actions says “pro-life.” In weighing someone’s words, don’t forget to give a greater weight to their history of actions.

Crystal Watson
4 years 11 months ago

Epstein's victims were girls. There's a reason minors legally can't make contracts - they lack the capacity to make informed decisions. That's not a moral opinion it's a biological fact. Teen brains are not fully developed and work differently than adult brains. PS - the reason pro-choicers say embryos at 6 weeks ("heartbeat" laws) don't have hearts is because 6wk embryos don't yet have hearts.

Lisa M
4 years 11 months ago

Thank you Simcha for a great article. The battle is not whether these young girls are children or not. They are children, as we were at that age. The battle is how do we on the one hand call them children, too young to enter into a contract, yet call them women when at 14 or 16 we want them to have the 'choice' to abortion. We can't. So we refer to them as women in all circumstances to protect the pro choice cause, despite what biology, and the development of the brain tell us.

rose-ellen caminer
4 years 11 months ago

I do get what you are saying Simcha. Regarding the use of words like "torture" vs. "enhanced" interrogation, and regarding words used to deny the reality of abortion being the deliberate killing of [often sentient capable of suffering] human beings in the womb.When it comes to teenagers having sex, including with adults, there IS a categorical difference, morally and biologically between a person who has reached puberty and one who has not. Call a teen an older child or a young woman[or man] ;tale your pick ,the words mean the same. are the same. A teen is not biologically/emotionally, the same as a pre pubescent person.A teen can have a sex drive, and know that adults have a sex drive.,including lusting for them.

Consensual sex between a teen and an adult can be exploitative of the teen but is not always and inherently exploitative, and therefore sex with a teen is not necessarily a grave evil.[IMO].If the teen is agreeing to sex because they are in a desperate situation obviously that is a grave evil of exploitation. If the teen is looking to an older person to "open up doors for her"[ as that song goes; city girls just seem to find out early how to open doors with just a smile, a rich old man and she won't have to worry, she's dress in lace and go in style] ,then that is more of a rational quid pro quo.[leaving aside when two people do fall in love even with the age differences between them].The teen in fact may be the one who is actually using the adult as a means to an end; a career move , a foot in the door of power and influence, money, some material future benefit. While the adult may be the one who is not using the teen as a means to an end; the end and means being the same; sexual pleasure and delight in the other person which the adult is not pretending otherwise.If the adult is not tricking the teen, promising love ,marriage, or denying that it is sex they are after[ like Dr. Nasar the gymnasts doctor telling them it was some medical procedure]then they are being honest in their dealing with the teen.The adult is the authentic one,while the teen is the calculating one.So unless one believes that sex is inherently degrading, and projects that belief on to the adult[he's bad for degrading her] and on the teen[she is being degraded] which is a mere bias; as both the adult and the teen may not share that belief regarding their sexual encounter] the adult may be the innocent one in these teen/adult sexual encounters . One is using the other as a stepping stone[teen], one is delighting in the other's very being; sexual delight which is a realty[ a biological existential norm] which the teen is aware of[having reached puberty] and can rationally consent or not consent to for whatever reason.

One does not need years of adult experience or "maturity" to agree to a quid pro quo with an adult.I have empathy with the adults when they are faced with spending the rest of their lives in prison for having had consensual sex with teens. I do not believe it is a grave evil, if consensual.I think sending an adult to prison for years over consensual sex with a teen IS a grave evil.

Lisa Weber
4 years 11 months ago

An adult who has sex with a teen under the age of consent is guilty of statutory rape, in other words, rape because of legal definition. You seem to be willing to deny underage teens protection from sexual exploitation by adults. Perhaps your thinking is why morally unfit men like Donald Trump and Roy Moore see no reason why they should not be elected to political office to represent a state or the nation. I wonder if you see any age at which a person is too young to consent to sex.

rose-ellen caminer
4 years 11 months ago

I know what statutory rape is. What constitutes statutory rape differs across states because a pre pubescent child is not the same . biologically,emotionally sexually as a [pubescent] teen, and the line therefore between teen and adult is not definitive, And also unlike puberty[teen] and prepubescent [child], the line between [teen]child and adult is not the same for every individual[ or the same in every state].
I want to see anyone; teen or adult or child, protected from any form of exploitation. The response to you musings are already stated in my above comment.
Perhaps that is what Moore believes. I have not heard of adult Trump being accused of lusting for teens ,have you? If not why are you putting it out there by lumping him with Moore who went after teens?That is dishonest.As dishonest as your "wonderings" which my expressed beliefs preclude any such wonderings!
Considering Trump has not been removed from office[yet] apparently there are just enough people in positions of power who believe he IS fit for office, or not SO unfit that it is their ethical duty to impeach him out, pronto!

Lisa Weber
4 years 11 months ago

rose-ellen, Trump did an interview with Howard Stern in which he talked about how troubled teenage girls, the ones without fathers, were the best sexually because they were so eager to please. If you can look at a statement like that and see something other than a sexual predator, you are being stone blind. The physical development of the girl is irrelevant because some girls reach menarche at age ten or less. A ten year-old is not an “adult” simply because she has breasts and menstruates.

Some states have laws that take into account the age difference between the “adult” and the younger partner. These make sense because a 16 year-old in an intimate relationship with an 18 year-old is probably in an equal relationship whereas a 16 year-old in a relationship with a 35 year-old is probably being abused. A 35 year-old seeking relationships with teenagers has developmental problems.

The failure to impeach Trump is not for lack of evidence of his unfitness for office. The decision not to impeach him yet is a political decision based on the fact that an insufficient number of people are in favor of impeachment. People still support him because they get their news from sources that spread lies.

rose-ellen caminer
4 years 11 months ago

What Trump said on the Howard Stern show is considered misogynistic by today' norms, but at the time, on that edgy sex infused show, it was a pop psychology cliche.He did not say that he himself was going after teens, did he?
I reject the term "sexual predator" when used about adult men who are promiscuous and are attracted to teens.I reserve it for those who rape people and those who go after [pre pubescent] children[pedophiles]A predator to me is someone who, like an animal, takes someone against their will.A Moore cruising the mall, looking at teens he was attracted to, and then courting them honestly and openly is not a perversion and is not abuse. Many[ or at least some] a teen may want to be involved with an adult man of that renown , prestige, wealth. Some may even find such a person attractive.Did he not marry such a person?
One need not be an adult to be a sexual being.[ adolescent,puberty is sufficient].Though I doubt that physically a ten year old today,unlike a 14 year old, is able to have gratifying, sex. As it is still an anomaly to have reached puberty so young.The emotional, mental changes of adolescence [becoming sexual; having sexual thoughts desires, attraction etc.] tied to hormones may not be kicking in mentally/emotionally , in ten year old's with such an anomaly. [Hence perhaps they are the ones prone to identifying with another gender to reject their changed bodies they can't deal with yet?]If this keeps up in humans, though ,it may.
I do not buy that a relationship between a 35 year old and 16 year old is inherently going to be abusive while one between two 15yr olds is not.That is a gross generalization.These are individuals and age is not really correlated to being an abusive person or not.An older person may be more solicitous, kind, gentle,understanding,insightful, with the young teen then a partner of equal age who may be competitive,ignorant, self centered. Competing egos may not be there with the age differences as with closely aged couples.To assert categorically that a 35 year old being attracted to a 16 year old must have developmental problems is narrow minded. Many a loving relationship has stemmed from two people with age difference between them,starting when one of them was a teen and the other already an adult.People well respected in many professions

Right;the political decision tracks with not enough people clamoring for his impeachment on the grounds that he is unfit.I agree with your about the lying media.

Lisa Weber
4 years 11 months ago

rose-ellen, The average age of menarche in the USA is 12.5 years. Menarche at age ten is not that unusual. Your comments about older men pursuing teenage girls are bizarre. I certainly would not be pleased to see you chaperone children of any age because of those views.

Lisa Weber
4 years 11 months ago

rose-ellen, The average age of menarche in the USA is 12.5 years. Menarche at age ten is not that unusual. Your comments about older men pursuing teenage girls are bizarre. I certainly would not be pleased to see you chaperone children of any age because of those views.

Crystal Watson
4 years 11 months ago

Pro-life people are very misleading in their language, giving the impression that all abortions are of 9 month old 'children' on the point of delivery, instead of almost 99% of them being of small bits of DNA without spines, hearts, or brains.

rose-ellen caminer
4 years 11 months ago

99%or less, that still leaves at least one sentient capable of suffering human being, being legally killed while inducing horrific suffering.That is unethical and I believe it is alot more then just one such defenseless innocent human this has happened to. since R vs w.

Crystal Watson
4 years 11 months ago

Late term abortions are usually restricted to when a women's health or life is endangered or when the fetus is non-viable. Innocent people die all the time. One way that happens is when the wrong person is executed via capital punishment. Where's all the outrage over that?

rose-ellen caminer
4 years 11 months ago

There is plenty of outrage over capital punishment .Hence it is outlawed in western democracies. Much IS being made of it here by criminal justice reformers.
"Health and life of the mother", means a lot of innocent people being killed. Any claim can be legally made that a mothers health is jeopardized .That only by killing a capable of suffering fetus can a woman be saved, is a catch all to legitimize the killing of a lot of people, and has now [inevitably] expanded to abortion on demand. [ Any reason will do].Killing a "non viable" person in the womb, is as senseless and as cruel and as unethical as killing a "viable" person in the womb.

Crystal Watson
4 years 11 months ago

First, embryos and fetuses are not persons. Second, I am baffled by the disregard pro-life people have for actual persons ... women and girls. How did a blob of protoplasm become more important than women and girls? And how did abortion, something not even mentioned in the bible, become a conservative Christian religious fetish?

rose-ellen caminer
4 years 11 months ago

Zygotes , early very early stage embryos I can see not calling persons.[ but both are biologica[early stage]l humans and hence have a right to keep on living].But saying a fetus is not a person is like saying a minority is not a person. SCOTUS has a history of making political claims which go against evidence. Anyway; I was not talking about zygotes and early embryos but about capable of suffering fetuses. That is not conjecture, or religious fetish,but basic science and basic ethics.
That you will always support the horrific inflicting of suffering and death on such defenseless humans, for any reason[abortion on demand, is a woman's right you claim] and that I will always oppose the legalized deliberate killing of capable of suffering humans in the womb and out of the womb, viable or not, will always be the case. You keep promoting your ethos of supporting the legalized slaughter of innocents, and I'll keep denouncing as unethical the legalized atrocities against defenseless suffering existing PEOPLE!

arthur mccaffrey
4 years 11 months ago

Hey Caminer, you must be a theologian, right? you sound like an expert on how many perverts can dance on the head of a pin-is-- would hate to have to ask you a straight question about whether your daughter was raped or not, then have to book a room in a local hotel while waiting for you to finish your answer. Society has laws and norms to govern what is "acceptable" behavior between adults and youth, and your fictional analysis of consent may look good in "Lolita" but does not cut it in the real world. Your skill in prevarication and semantic gymnastics actually scares the hell out of me, and makes me wonder if you are one of Epstein's defence lawyers.

rose-ellen caminer
4 years 11 months ago

It is not me who engages in semantic gymnastics; He could have been tried for statutory rape, and unless she claimed he had forced himself on her, not with rape. The law in her wisdom distinguishes between the two.He did not rape her and unless she alleged he did, he could not be charged with rape.Statutory rape was the only possibility. A little wiggle room societies' laws have, recognizing that hey, maybe sex with an adult and a consenting teen is NOT necessarily perverse or unacceptable.Teens are NOT inherently unknowing unable to consent truly to sex, children, but sexual human beings at that stage. Therefore adult attraction to them is not inherently a perversion!Therefore we recognize rape as separate from statutory rape;there's your perv on a head of a tip, situation; rape and statutory rape as distinct crimes.You are the one living in a fictional analysis [black or white].fueled either by being a sexual prude or gullible to the loudest clamor out there.

I don't know Epstein's situation; were the girls lied to, threatened, in dire needy circumstances, or were they looking for a sugar daddy and a career move?That does make a difference., ethically.That he was attracted to young girls; if they had reached puberty then to me it is not a true perversion.Though it might be exploitation.Depends on the circumstances[ if he tricked them ,held them hostage, if they were in dire needy circumstances. Flying them to a party is not necesarrily trafikking them; did he force them to get on the plane, did he lie to them about the party, did he tell them they would get paid for having sex,at the parties?Did he know their ages. Where were the parents in all this?
Remember when rock stars had groupies; young girls throwing themselves at them;.The media treated it all like it was all so amusing.Were they [media and rock stars]also all a bunch of perverse pedophile sex trafficker or enablers . .Should they all decades later now all be tried for rape or sexual assault, promotion of pedophilia, and if convicted sent to prison for the rest of their lives?
I would not want to defend him only because the prudish hysteria around an adult having sex with a teen is off the charts and the pitchforks are out fully pointed like yours. That's scary. I feel sorry for him and unless all these other horrible circumstances were occurring, and it was not just a bunch of teens taking advantage [yes I said that] of the super rich old dude whose weakness was wanting sex with teens, [which I suspect is the situation but could be wrong]I hopes he gets off.
Even if guilty of the most unethical of conduct[exploitation,]I still would want him acquitted IF all this occurred years ago,when there were still statutes of limitations. That they have done away with such statutes is a dismantling of a sound and just principle of justice; that people change and except for murder, or severe bodily harm one should not have to pay for a crime committed enough in the past as the presumption should be that one has changed and is no longer such a criminal. This applies to sex crimes more then to other crimes. Generally.As peoples sex drives and behaviors change over time.Whether this is true of a true pedophile , pedophilia being also sociopathic if not psychopathic I don't know. If sex with teens were truly sociopathic, those rock stars would all have been arrested decades ago too for inticing their teen groupies.,Societal norms have changed on this obviously, but this new norm ; it is perverted to have sex with a teen if you are not a teen,is what is unnatural and unhealthy as it fails to conform to human sexuality. The way people react to allegations of such crimes is more vitriolic then to how people react to murderers.THAT tells you right there that this is a form of witch hunt sexual mass hysteria.
Kavanaugh at some party decades ago whatever he may or may not have done with other teens, is not the same person sexually today in his married fully adult state. That the fallout from all this new found indignation that a teen and an adult ever had sex together, is that statutes of limitations no longer apply or are extended by years, is a real set back in criminal justice and for humanity.

Many a person who was not really traumatized by such consensual sexual encounters now feels obliged and has been manipulated to believe that they were traumatized and are angry. The power of mass hysteria propaganda.If not opportunistic; this hysteria is a cash cow.,[imo]'

evil, evil pure evil, they all shout in unison;the educated, the ignoramuses, the dopes, the duped, the sophisticated, the innocent. When it comes to a hysterical totalizing mantra of pure evil, the society at large gets caught up ! it is hard to resist.I resist.if I'm wrong I guess God 'll get me for that.

rose-ellen caminer
4 years 11 months ago

dup

James Mullin
4 years 11 months ago

As a society, how far are we from mainstreaming sex with children? Think it impossible? I often ponder what my grandparents would think of 2019 America. Read up on NAMBLA and then tell me that the mainstreaming is impossible.

MJ Painter
4 years 11 months ago

Huh? I don't know anyone who thinks NAMBLA is even anywhere CLOSE to being mainstream. Most people don't even know what it is. Your fear is totaly unjustified, I think.

MJ Painter
4 years 11 months ago

In the news stories that I read where people were bring up the distinction between "girls" and "young women," it was because many people in the press were initially calling Epstein's victims "young women." People said: "No! They're GIRLS!" This was done to magnify the heinousness of Epstein's actions, not minimize it, as Ms. Fisher seems to think. It had nothing to do specifically with being a stickler for word usage.

Maybe I just read the wrong news stories.

arthur mccaffrey
4 years 11 months ago

I couldn't agree more Simcha. I am so tired of reading Catholic apologists splitting hairs about whether a priest's abuse of a youth was pedophilia or ephebophilia, or just plain old rape. It is is truly disgusting to create a hierarchy of offences which benefit the perp and denigrate the victim. Read the book by Prof. Raymond Douglas of Colgate University--"On being raped"--he was raped by his pastor when he was 18--do you really want to quibble about his age and adulthood or do you want to focus on the assault and the crime? It took Douglas several decades to come to terms with his trauma and finally write a book about it--which is a typical pattern for assault victims who may remain mute for years or even go to their grave with their shameful secret. So yes, words do matter, and con man Epstein can get enough lawyers to represent him to twist people's words to water down the offence, so I hope an enlightened judge will tell Epstein that he is going to the chair/death row/the big one/merciful injection/on a one-way ticket/the big house/the slammer, etc. then let Epstein worry about the semantics. Meanwhile, let's save our emotional energy and resources for those who have been exploited by a predator and have the scars to prove it. If I may paraphrase Romeo & Juliet, " a victim by any other name still stinks"!

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