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Cosmo Responds, Tells us we’re “misunderstanding” them

September 5th, 2007     by Stacey May Fowles     Comments

You may recall my earlier post about Cosmopolitan Magazine and their appalling article perpetuating the myth of “Grey Rape.” Well, they’ve responded. Cara at received a letter from the magazine and (rightfully so) was less than pleased with the contents:

I also love the condescension of assuming that it’s a “misunderstanding.” No, you fuckers, actually, I know that you didn’t make up the term, but the fact that you printed a whole damn article about it without any form of criticism means that you promoted it, and you are ultimately responsible for what’s in your magazine.

Here’s the letter she received:

“Dear Reader,

We received your letter of concern regarding our September story “A New Kind of Date Rape” and want to address what seems to be a misunderstanding. Cosmopolitan did not invent the term gray rape. The phrase emerged when the author of our article, Laura Sessions Stepp, was researching a book on today’s hookup culture.

In fact, the words were used by women who were left confused after a sexual encounter they were not one hundred percent sure they had consented to and by women who had known friends who were similarly confused. The confusion, many of these women admitted, was the result of having been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the encounter. Our article endeavored to help victims in these situations make sense of their ordeal, explain their avenues of recourse, and offer advice on how women can prevent so-called gray rapes from happening.

Cosmopolitan has a long history of covering the topic of sexual assault and, more important, of being an advocate for victims. Linda Fairstein, a former Manhattan sex-crimes prosecutor of 25 years, is a regular contributor to our pages. She and other rape experts applaud Cosmopolitan’s efforts to keep our readers educated about such difficult issues as sexual assault.


The Editors of Cosmopolitan”

Tags: media savvy, news flash

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