Language Is A Feminist Issue
The sub-title of the article is "Catholic Priest Who Was Victim of Sex Abuse Draws Fire After Speaking Out." Not "alleged victim." Not "accuser." That is, the writer believes the priest's story, and the language she uses draws the reader towards belief of his story. She speaks mostly in declaratives, not in the carefully couched maybes and "allegeds" that writers on sexual assault stories usually take on, and the story focuses on the victim's ordeal, and his loneliness, and also his suffering. The story ends with the priest, defrocked and miserable, sitting in the back of someone else's mass.
There's one other difference between this and other narratives about rape, of course: in this case, the victim is a man.
Let's compare the language in this case with the language in the Duke rape case currently grabbing headlines. In the same newspaper, news articles about the case consistently call the victim an "accuser."
Eugene Robinson's opinion piece, which focuses on the racial tensions in the case, calls the assault an "alleged rape" and cautions "It will be some time before we know what really happened that night ...and it's quite possible we'll never have a truly satisfactory answer." He also asserts that "It's not blaming the victim to ask if she couldn't have made better choices."
And Dahlia Lithwick's procedural piece on the evidence of the case stops, in the middle of a paragraph criticizing the word choices of conservative pundits*, to call the victim "this nameless accuser," as if the poor woman is responsible, on top of all her other sins**, for the press's longstanding policy of not naming rape victims.
I wonder when the Post plans to do its credulous, admiring story of a woman who has bravely fought back against classism and misogyny to put her rapists behind bars. Oh, right, never. I suppose it's much more newsworthy when a Catholic priest comes forward as a rape victim -- the Post can legitimately argue this is the case. After all, women are raped -- and disbelieved -- all the time. Nothing to see there, folks. Move along.
*read: bebowtied nitwits and pill-popping bigots
**e.g., being poor, being black, getting drugged, getting raped, choosing the lucrative sex trade instead of a McJob to pay for college, and offending Mr. Robinson with her "poor choices"