A tweet from the Daily Mirror about a story regarding a girl who was allegedly raped by 60 men in a paedophile ring has been blasted by a leading charity.
The tweet read: “Schoolgirl 'slept with 60 men after being passed around by paedophile ring’.”
It has now been deleted, but Rape Crisis described the tweet as using "offensively inappropriate language".
Katie Russell, national spokesperson for the charity, said: “It’s extremely disappointing that media outlets still use this kind of offensively inappropriate language in relation to sexual violence from time to time; undoubtedly this happens less frequently and routinely than it used to, as newspapers and others strive to improve their reporting practices, but even one occurrence is too many.
"Let us be crystal clear about this; 13-year-old children do not have ‘lovers’ or ‘sexual partners’, they do not ‘sleep with’ people or have ‘sexual relationships’. This is because they are legally unable to give their consent to sex.
"This is a way in which the law seeks to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation and it should be widely understood and welcomed.
"A story about a child being ‘passed around a paedophile ring’ is a story about a child being repeatedly raped - subjected to terrible, traumatic and violent crime – and must be reported as such. No child consents to their own abuse or carries any responsibility or blame for it; 100% of the responsibility lies with the perpetrators.
"The deleting of this Tweet implies that the Mirror has recognised how inappropriate and potentially damaging it was but it would nonetheless be positive if they were willing to issue an apology and/or explanation.”
A Mirror spokesperson said: "The tweet was reporting proceedings from court but we recognise it could have been worded more carefully. We deleted it after reflecting on the wording and apologise for any distress caused."
The article itself did not use the same language as the tweet.
Twitter users were also incensed by the tweet…
@DailyMirror 'slept with' seems a bizarre way to describe abuse.— Shappi Khorsandi (@ShappiKhorsandi) June 16, 2015
.@DailyMirror Your refusal to name child rape as child rape is disgraceful. You have minimised the abuse experienced by the child— Victim Blaming (@EVB_Now) June 16, 2015
@DailyMirror she was 13. The term 'slept' impies consent. She was raped.— Veggie Runners (@VeggieRunnersUK) June 16, 2015
@DailyMirror this is everything that is rotten about UK press.She was13, she was raped.— JudithHarrop (@judithharrop) June 16, 2015
@DailyMirror You need prosecuting for this! A child does not 'sleep with' adult men!— Rupert Scott (@RupertScott21) June 16, 2015
@DailyMirror Schoolgirl RAPED by 60 men. Stop the Victim Blaming language— Josephine Wood MBE (@jowood61) June 16, 2015
@DailyMirror disgusting headline— Peter Squires (@11Carras) June 16, 2015
@DailyMirror Please refrain from euphemism 'slept' when 'non-consensual sex' or 'prostitution' is what is meant— Nora Hifon (@nippie_sweety) June 16, 2015
@DailyMirror Wrong! She was raped, she did not sleep with. Why are teenage victims portrayed as promiscuous by your paper?— Graeme (@goonertwoshoes) June 16, 2015
@DailyMirror disgraceful headline— Olly (@olly1993) June 16, 2015