Well, after hemming and hawing for weeks and weeks and being inspired by a fellow blogger to revive my blog I have finally been irritated to the point of writing a new blog post. It has been almost a year since my last post, and though I have read many articles in the interim that were blog worthy, for some reason today is the day. I in no way credit George Will for my inspiration, and wish that the Washington Post would finally fire this curmudgeonly windbag so I wouldn’t have to write this blog entry in the first place. For a moment I considered naming this post “If there was ever a doubt in your mind…George Will is a dick.” but then thought better of it. Name calling gets you nowhere fast, and isn’t worth the smug satisfaction. As I clicked on the headline on the noted feminist website, Jezebel, which read “Ladies love being rape victims, says asshole” (another excellent title for this topic), I thought surely this is a case of the liberal media cutting and pasting words. No credible, sensible, human being could in good faith entertain such an idea. I read the article; partially because I was skeptical of the liberal media bias but partially because began to suspect this might be an article from The Onion. But sure as the sun shines in Albuquerque, George Will has stunned me yet again with his conservative sputtering about the rape epidemic plaguing America’s college campuses. After clicking the link to his original Op-ed from the Washington Post, (which you can access from the previously linked Jezebel article, but I won’t do him the favor of pointing readers to his piece), I see that this is not a sleight-of-hand perpetuated via feminist witchcraft which has brought the topics of privilege and sexual assault together in the same breath.
The point of this article isn’t even about rape per se. What it is about is the interference in university policy by big government. “Academia is learning that its attempts to create victim-free campuses — by making everyone hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimizations — brings increasing supervision by the regulatory state that progressivism celebrates.” This is the thrust of the argument. Universities are exaggerating the incidences of rape, by encouraging people to report cases which are not instances of violent or forcible rape, thereby over-sensitizing the community which has lead to an over-reporting of this non-epidemic and thus, government is here to save the day. Ignore the logical inconsistency that glamorization of rape creates coveted victimhood status which should lead to an increase in reporting, which doesn’t happen. The best way draw attention to the audacious pomposity that is George Will, is by pointing you to the sentence that set me off, “They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.” Take a moment for that to sink in…victimhood is a coveted status that confers privilege. Just let that percolate. I won’t even descend into a semantic analysis of the implications and associations of a derivation such as victim-hood. The nouniness of the state of being a victim speaks for itself.
The linguistic high horse that I am about to ride is Will’s use of scare quotes for the phrase “sexual assault.” Yes, you read that right, “sexual assault,” as if the words imply something else, something which is outside of its apparent meaning. Or perhaps an attempt to discredit this liberal label by intimating that the term refers to an imaginary issue. “Sexual assault”. Does this term include alleged instances that Will himself does not consider rape? Such as his example from a report from Swarthmore regarding an incidence of alleged assault where the woman didn’t decline forcefully enough, enough times for her assailant to heed her wishes not to have sex. Which of course was made even less rape-y because she has already been sleeping with him for 3 months, so when she just acquiesced and let him, then decided to report it 6 months later, it was clearly not “sexual assault.”
Not only this, no not only this, but Will has the nerve to say, “the supposed campus epidemic of rape…” Supposed? How many rapes need to occur in order for Will to bequeath these incidences with the title of “epidemic.” Clearly more than 98. He cites numbers from Ohio State, from 2009 to 2012 during which time there were 98 reported sexual assaults. This is not an epidemic. Will insists that while the Obama administration is spouting off about 1 in 5 women (20% of college females) are raped, only 12% report, and if you do the math from the numbers provided by Ohio state, “a sexual assault rate of approximately 2.9 percent — too high but nowhere near 20 percent.” Oh, well then, 3%, that’s not an epidemic.
I know that by even discussing this article on my blog post that I am feeding into the media machine that keeps people like George Will and Rush Limbaugh employed by those heinous entities that seek to incite anger and vitriol from bleeding-heart liberals like me. I won’t waste anymore energy on this topic, other than to end with this. George Will has a daughter. As a woman, as a feminist, as a human being – I cannot comprehend the complacency, the cover-up and the excusing of rape-culture when you have a daughter. We owe it to our children to break the cycle of violence that has been perpetrated by patriarchal power structures. Don’t be complicit, don’t be complacent, be the change.