How do we communicate that sexual abuse is really not ok, without making victims of it feel like it's worse than it actually is?
I'd distinguish between the seriousness of the crime from the suffering of the victim. I think that this distinction is common sense. I agree with you that they are sometimes conflated. It seems like you could communicate this with a message structured somewhat as follows:
"C is a serious crime. Victims of C may suffer X, Y, and Z as a result. Not all victims of C experience these consequences, and it is important to let the victim of C decide how it affected them."
I find this a helpful distinction!
Recently someone did something to me that would have been a very serious violation of trust in ~50% of worlds (involving taking some private feedback I'd written for someone and sending it to them), but on reflection I was happy with what I wrote, so I didn't mind. But I told them that had it gone wrong (which it easily could've) they wouldn't have had any defense and I would have been absolutely furious with them. They realized how close they came to doing something exceedingly costly and changed their policies going forw... (read more)
Yeah, I think the reason sexual abuse is wrong is because it has an unacceptably high risk of traumatizing someone, not because it always in all cases does. (Sort of like drunk driving.)