There is literally no such thing as 'sex with underage women.'

Words matter. And they especially matter when we are talking about the safety and well-being of children.

While the #MeToo movement has shed light on sexual assault allegations that have long been swept under the rug, it has also brought to the forefront the language we use when discussing such cases. As a writer, I appreciate the importance of using varied wording, but it's vital we try to remain as accurate as possible in how we describe things.

There can be gray area in some topics, but some phrases being published by the media regarding sexual predation are not gray and need to be nixed completely—not only because they dilute the severity of the crime, but because they are simply inaccurate by definition.

One such phrase is "non-consensual sex with a minor." First of all, non-consensual sex is "rape" no matter who is involved. Second of all, most minors legally cannot consent to sex (the age of consent in the U.S. ranges by state from 16 to 18), so sex with a minor is almost always non-consensual by definition. Call it what it is—child rape or statutory rape, depending on circumstances—not "non-consensual sex."


Another phrase that needs to go is "sex with underage women." Again, if someone is underage, sex is rape by law. But more importantly, the word "woman" literally means "an adult female." There's no such thing as an underage adult. "Underage" means "not adult," therefore "underage women" do not exist.

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Teenagers under 18 are legally children, not "underage adults." Call them minors. Call them teens (though that gets fuzzy, as a teen could be 18 or 19). Call them children. But don't make them out to be young adults.

The phrase "had sex with underage women" is particularly harmful in that the wording downplays the reality of a grown man raping a 14-year-old. When we say that men like Jeffrey Epstein and R. Kelly are accused of "sex with underage women" or even "raping underage women," we paint a picture that dilutes how heinous alleged sex acts with children really are. (It also doesn't help that President Trump described his old buddy Epstein as liking "beautiful women" who are "on the younger side.")

And then there's the sexism aspect. How often do you hear the phrase "underage men"? Honestly, I'm not sure if I've ever seen or heard those words used together.

We have to avoid language that implies the girls involved in these sexual assault allegations were maybe-kinda-sorta willing parties, and that an old man's sexual appetite for girls "on the younger side" is somewhere in the realm of normal. It's not. It's disgusting and wrong and the only parties to blame are the grown-ass men who were the legally responsible people in the room.

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We need to avoid language that unnecessarily downplays that these people preyed on children. If the allegations are true, then these men — R. Kelly, Jeffrey Epstein, Donald Trump, and others who have been accused of raping teenage girls — are child rapists. Wealth, power, and prestige tend to shield people from the kind of swift judgment we'd lay down if a random adult male lured a 14-year-old into sex, but it shouldn't.

Language like "sex with underage women" only serves to protect pervy perpetrators and helps them get away with heinous crimes. It may be less comfortable to use the phrase "child rape," but legally speaking, it is more accurate.

Sex with a minor who can't consent is rape. "Underage women" don't exist. Teens younger than 18 are legally considered children. There's no gray area when it comes to the safety and well-being of children, and we need to stop using language that protects sexual predators and downplays their deeds.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

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Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

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