Soraya Chemaly writes (linked above):
Every time you hear or say these types of expressions, the question should be “Who benefits from not saying ‘rape’?” Who is helped when we refuse to be accurate about rape? Because it’s certainly not rape victims. Most rapists in the world operate unchallenged and are rarely punished and they do so because we make them comfortable by misrepresenting the crimes they perpetrate, and language like this is one of the ways we do it. Current estimates are that only 3% of rapists ever see jail.
When feminists say “rape is rape, use the accurate word” it’s because specificity helps usunderstand and confront the problem. It’s not because we delight in making people uncomfortable, but because we understand how complicit language and notions of rape are in defining rights in society.
Writing in her landmark study, Redefining Rape, Estelle Freedman explains that the way we define rape informs rights, reinforces economic inequalities, and sustains discriminatory practices in the law and society. Rape narratives in America have, as she so ably demonstrates, everything to do with social hierarchy and power.
Related Article: How Sexually Violent Language Perpetuates Rape Culture