Washington Association for 
the Treatment of Sexual Abusers

September 2017 WATSA Monthly Meeting

  • Fri, September 15, 2017
  • 12:00 PM - 2:30 PM
  • KCSARC (Renton WA)

Topic:  WordWatch: Reflecting on how language impacts our response to assaultive acts

“Language can never be neutral; it creates versions of reality. To describe an event is inevitably to characterize that event.” (Bavelas & Coates). The way that sexual assaults are documented-- by the legal system, law enforcement, the media, and service providers-- impacts the public discourse surrounding sexual violence. This interactive presentation will explore different categories of language used to characterize sexual assault: the language of consensual sex vs. language that conveys inherent violence; victim blaming language vs. offender-focused language, and minimizing language (passive voice and euphemisms) vs. accountable language.

Discussion Leader: Laura Jones, JD

Laura Jones joined KCSARC in 2010 to manage its CourtWatch program, the first court monitoring program in Washington to focus on sexual assault cases. The purpose of the program is to improve and inform the system response to sexual violence. As program manager, Laura oversees CourtWatch staff and volunteers from the community who gather information about the courts through observation and research, and provides feedback to stakeholders about patterns and trends of behavior surrounding sexual assault cases in the legal system. In this role, Laura has been involved in legislative efforts to improve the laws surrounding sexual assault protection orders, and has worked with Washington’s Supreme Court Gender & Justice Commission to create resources and educational programming for judicial officers. Laura graduated Phi Beta Kappa with her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Washington, and obtained her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law.

WATSA meeting location:

King County Sexual Assault Resource Center

200 Mill Avenue South, Renton, WA 98057
(425) 226-5062


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