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Rape victim or rape survivor, that is a hot topic among those so labeled and the general public as well as among police and medical personnel. The debate over "rape victim" vs. "rape survivor" came up in my training to become a Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) nurse. Several instructors debated this. The explanation I liked best was that early on, in the emergency room (ER) treatment phase, the person is a victim. They are hurt, mentally and often physically. They are suffering. They are victimized. As time goes on and they experience healing they become survivors.

Another SAFE nurse I observed treating a patient said to her "you didn't ask to be a victim of crime". I thought that was sensitive. If I could read minds I'd use whatever words I found are preferred by the person I'm treating. Meanwhile, I think in the context of the emergency room I will simply use their name whenever I can and the word "patient" when the use of the name is contraindicated. I want to avoid the whole knee jerk reaction potential just in case I was to guess wrong for that particular person. Labels serve to over simplify a complex experience. I don't think that would be helpful.


Thanks to stand/alone/bitch for a great nodeshell. I couldn't think what to label this writeup! :)


supernova wrote, in another node, the following quote and attribution: "I've always felt that sexuality is a really slippery thing. In this day and age, it tends to get categorized and labeled, and I think labels are for food. Canned food." - Michael Stipe

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