I am troubled by the front-page story in the Sept. 24 issue of The GW Hatchet, “Student allegedly raped in residence hall.” This headline makes inappropriate use of the word “alleged,” which means “questionably true,” according to Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary.
The word “alleged” is generally used to refer to a suspected criminal, not to the victim of a crime. While it is appropriate to speak of an “alleged rapist,” it is not correct to speak of an “alleged rape.” As it is, the headline implies that the rape victim’s honesty is in question. Such an implication is an example of the unfair, but all-too-common practice of victim-blaming in cases of rape. The young woman who was violated must be treated with seriousness and respect, not have her credibility doubted, whether through intentional thoughtlessness or sloppy editing.
As His Grace Artemy – the Bishop of Kosovo – told members of Congress in his mission of peace to Washington last week, “suffering in Kosovo knows no nationalities.” Indeed, all sides of the tragic conflict that has engulfed Kosovo have suffered immensely, but I was dismayed to read your one-sided editorial that seemed to point the finger of blame for the conflict solely at the Serbs (“Murder in Kosovo“).
Your editorial enumerates in considerable detail the rumors spread by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) – a secessionist group that has been rightly labeled a “terrorist organization” by the U.S. State Department – in attempts to lure the West into this conflict.
But nowhere do you mention scores of mass graves and makeshift crematoriums abandoned by the KLA and found throughout Kosovo – death camps where hundreds of Serbs lost their lives at the hands of their Albanian captors.
Nor does your editorial mention the fact that the International Red Cross has compiled a list of 170 Serbian civilians who have been abducted and are held hostage by the KLA to this day, their whereabouts still unknown to their families.
The history of Kosovo and its significance to Serbs is too complex to explain in sound bites. But it is vital information for anyone who seeks to understand the current situation.
-N. Neno Djordjevic