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What is dictionary.tcnj?

Dictionary.tcnj is a thought provoking and provocative poster campaign developed by AVI.  Each unique poster challenges readers to reflect on the words they choose in everyday conversations and recognize the potential to endorse or condemn sexual violence.  Readers are encouraged to find alternative terms or phrases that more accurately depict their values and contribute to a campus culture that does not tolerate power-based personal violence.

What is dictionary.tcnj about?

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. 

Think about the power your words can carry.

What is said: “That test totally raped me!”  PDF

Definition: rape (verb) – to force to have sexual intercourse; 1. to commit rape.
What were you trying to say? That test was tough! so hard! impossible!
Why make the change? Using the word “rape” casually minimizes the experience for rape victims. It can keep victims quiet and allow perpetrators to get away with a crime, sending the message that we as a community tolerate sexual assault.


What is said: “Oh my God! That’s so retarded!”  PDF

Definition: retarded (adj) –  slow or limited in mental, physical or emotional development
Did you mean? That’s so absurd! messed up! ridiculous!
Why make the change? Using the word “retarded” in a degrading manner can be hurtful to persons with limitations or hidden disabilities.  The fact that persons with disabilities have sex lives tends to go unacknowledged, which makes it difficult to view them as potential victims. In fact, they have an increased risk of being sexually assaulted in comparison to persons without disabilities.


What is said: “Don’t be such a pussy!”  PDF

Definition: pussy (noun) – 1. a cat, especially a kitten; 2. the vulva; 3. slang for sexual intercourse
What were you trying to say? Don’t be such a wimp! baby! weakling!
Why make the change? When using a female body part as an insult, you are sending the message that being a girl or feminine is bad. This suggests that women have less value than men. Think about what you do when you don’t value something. When women aren’t valued, they can be mistreated and abused.


What is said: “She’s so hot! I’d hit that!”  PDF

Definition:  Hit (verb) – To come against with an impact
What did you mean to say?  I’d have sex with her! make love to her!
Why make the change? Where do we begin with this statement…

  • Using the word ‘that’ to refer to a woman, objectifies women. Turning people into objects sets them up to be mistreated and abused.
  • Using violent terms to describe sex blurs the line between sex and violence.  It confuses people as to what is or is not OK sexually.

What is said: “That’s so gay!”  PDF

Definition:  gay (adjective) – of, relating to, or having a sexual    orientation to persons of the same sex.
What were you trying to say? That’s so lame! dumb! stupid!
Why make the change? Using the word “gay” in a negative manner makes people who identify themselves as part of the LGBT community feel ostracized from mainstream society.  This creates obstacles for victims to obtain resources out of fear of being re-victimized or “outed” by the process.


What is said: “I am totally going to Facebook-stalk him today!”   PDF

Definition:  stalk (verb)– 1. To engage in an action directed at a specific person that seeks to cause harm; 2. To knowingly cause a person to fear  for his/her safety or suffer other emotional distress.
What were you trying to say? I am going to look him up/ friend him/ find him on Facebook.
Why make the change? By using the word “stalk” or “stalking” casually, we minimize the experience for stalking victims. This can keep victims silent and allow perpetrators to get away with a dangerous and sometimes deadly crime.


What is said: “He’s such a dick!”   PDF

Definition: dick (noun) – (vulgar) penis
Did you mean to say? He’s such a jerk! asshole!
Why make the change? When using a male body part as an insult, you are sending the message that being a man is bad, or that all men are jerks.  Most men aren’t jerks or assholes.  When using the word ,”dick,” we promote the message that we don’t value men as people or as partners.  However, many men are partners in an effort to end power-based personal violence. But if we continue to disenfranchise men, it will be impossible to reduce acts of power-based personal violence in our community.


What is said: “She’s such a bitch!”   PDF

Definition: Bitch (noun)  a female dog
What were you trying to say? She was so rude! selfish! inconsiderate!
Why make the change? Using the word “bitch” in this manner dehumanizes women and reduces them to the level of an animal. This creates a power differential making men more powerful than women. While most men will never abuse this power, some men will, resulting in sexual assault.


Double Standard   PDF

Slut (noun) – negative term for sexually active female
Player (noun) – positive term for sexually active male 

What’s up with that?!

Why make the change?
This double standard encourages men to have sex in order to be a “real” man. Men who experience pressure from their peers to have sex, may go further sexually than they would ordinarily, even ignoring their partner’s wishes and crossing the line into sexual assault.

This double standard gives men greater sexual freedom than women. Society can easily confuse the greater right to have sex with entitlement to have sex. Men who feel entitled to sex are more apt to sexually assault their partner than those who feel both partners have an equal say in sexual relations.


  Synonyms for Sex

  • Non-violent/Positive
    • MAKE LOVE, to do, hook up, to get ‘it’ in, whoopie, knock boots, to get ‘it’ on, intercourse, to be intimate, fornication
  • Neutral
    • booty call, get ass, roll in hay, laid, make babies, ride, boink, to do the grown up
  • Negative
    • screw, nail, lay (pipe), drill
  • Violent/Negative
    • tap that, bang, smash, nasty, rail, hit, slam, FUCK