Jocelyn Castillo, community health specialist with Yakima Health District, right, answers questions and gives out information about the COVID-19 vaccines at a Community Health Night on Friday, July 30, 2021, in Sunnyside, Wash.

To the editor -- In his Sept. 13 letter, Joe Harveaux compared the vaccine mandate for state workers to rape. While this analogy has many logical flaws, I want to address the misuse of the word rape.

Rape has a clear, legal definition. Rape is forceable sexual intercourse. It is a violent sexual crime, most often committed against women and girls. As a felony criminal act, rape has serious, codified consequences, though because women and girls are most often raped by people they know, many perpetrators never face those consequences.

Changing the meaning of a word like rape to suit one’s purposes is not only fallacious, it minimizes the seriousness of this heinous crime, and it minimizes the trauma of the 1 in 5 women and girls who are rape victims (CDC).

While Mr. Harveaux disagrees with the vaccination mandate, he has options. He can apply for the religious or medical exemptions he qualifies for. Or he can change employers. There are plenty of job openings, many with employers who do not (yet) require vaccinations. Or, if he has a legal case (not “rape”), he can sue to keep his job.

In other words, Mr. Harveaux has something rape victims do not: a choice.