George Will Is Really Asking For It

The clueless 'Washington Post' neocon columnist has come up with a new one: "rape privilege." Huh.

The proudly anti-intellectual right wing has always sported an All-Star-Varsity roster of deniers of unpleasant realities. Climate change? No way! Gene-mutating levels of pollution in the air and water? Get lost, Flipper boy! Rape? Get over yourself!

Denying that women are the victims of rape is no new thing for the GOP, nor is downplaying it. The Good Ole Papas would have women who are being sexually assaulted, as GOP wannabe Texas governor Clayton Williams once said, “Relax and enjoy it,” because aren’t being sexually assaulted you’re just, well, asking for it.

Rape is all the rage with the conservative Cro-Mags. A day can’t go by without some idiot politician stepping it, or some trollish entertainer mocking rape victims. Witness the rib-tickling rape skits on Glenn Beck’s radio show, “Blaze.” But people take the opinions of established pundits like the neo-conservative egghead and Washington Post columnist George Will much more seriously. And Will, taking issue with the statistic that suggests 1 in 5 college women have been sexually assaulted, is suggesting female rape victims are liars.

“Consider the supposed campus epidemic of rape, a.k.a. ‘sexual assault,’” Will writes, barely able to restrain himself from calling female college students who claim to have been sexually assaulted scheming, man-eating lesbian devil-worshipping glasses-wearing hysterics. His question: Why are these little coeds crying rape?

Will divides the blame three ways. One, it is Obama’s fault. Duh. The Obama administration’s campaign to stop rape and sexual assault on college campuses, “A Renewed Call to Action,” is responsible for telling young women that being the victim of the crime of sexual assault was not their fault, nor should they be ashamed of it.

Two, it’s the fault of colleges for embracing progressivism and encouraging victims of sexual assault to speak out. You can hear the glee in his voice as he writes, “The regulatory state has decided it is academia’s turn to be broken to government’s saddle.” (Note: Rodeo analogies are super for describing the act of brutally forcing someone to submit to your desires. Also good: rape.)

Will seems to be arguing that if colleges are now bumming out that women are reporting rape, then they shouldn’t have started down this road of women’s rights. Hey Colleges, You should have thought about this before you got in that car.

What did colleges expect? Will says, “Make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.” You reap what you sow. He argues that women are crying rape because they just want “privileges.” Next thing you know the Good Ole Papa party will be calling rape victims “the new rock stars.” Let’s see those privileges would be … people calling you a liar and a whore and threatening to hurt you if you report the crime, along with post-traumatic nightmares and panic attacks? Those privileges?

Yeah, those young women who end up committing suicide after being raped—I guess they just couldn’t take all the adoration.

The statistics Will cites were published on the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) website. The AEI is among the most prominent neo-conservative think tanks in the country. Some of their proudest moments include helping to cook up the Iraq War. Although their simple “Let Them Eat Soup” recipe—field stones in hot water salted with tears—is a real crowd pleaser at GOP prayer dinners, especially with the families of veterans. The headline of the study Will uses to back up his allegations is “Using White House claim of under-reporting, only 1 in 34 women at Ohio State are sexually assaulted, not 1 in 5” authored by Mark Perry.

Will writes, “One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college, and only 12 percent of assaults are reported. Simple arithmetic demonstrates that if the 12 percent reporting rate is correct, the 20 percent assault rate is preposterous.” Ludicrous! I say, an outrage!

“For example,” he explains, “in the four years—2009 to 2012—there were 98 reported sexual assaults at Ohio State. That would be 12 percent of 817 total out of a female student population of approximately 28,000, for a sexual assault rate of approximately 2.9 percent—too high but nowhere near 20 percent.”

How humane for him to drop in that “too high” to remind us that he is not dead inside. It does beg the question, what is an acceptable number of rapes? Is there any one group who is more deserving than another?

Will fails to figure in the most obvious reason for the disparity in these figures. Women don’t report rape. Especially at large universities with sports programs that treat athletes like gods. Golden-helmeted Gods who are told that their status confers on them the right to take whatever it is that they desire, whenever they desire it. They are entitled. Girls are the spoils of victory.

I know women are not supposed to be good at math. However, even if you think 1 in 5 seems a little high, 1 in 32 lacks the truthiness that the GOP is so fond of relying on as evidence. Any woman, any man with any female friends knows, in their gut, that 1 in 32 is ridiculously low.

Ladies, I know what you’re thinking: Is it possible that I’m wrong and these guys are right? Maybe I got lip-gloss on my calculations, or maybe I was using the wrong end of the pencil or maybe it wasn’t rape because I was wearing a mini skirt and well, I guess, I did lend him my history notes.

But no, we really can do the math, and study after study has born out the real, depressing numbers. But the math the GOP is most focused on here is not trying to add up the actual number of sexual assaults on campuses (not to mention trying to stop them) but adding up the votes of the Electoral College.

Will and the GOP would have you believe that the Obama administration’s campaign to stop rape and sexual assault on college campus is a cynical move to target female voters. Given the radical GOP’s flagrant he-man woman-hating policies, I think it’s fair to assume anyone who doesn’t think women deserve to forced to breed has the woman vote locked up tighter than a Mormon chastity belt. I guess George Will was too busy combing his toupee to read the memo about the GOP’s plan to put a kinder, gentler, less-misogynistic mask on the party.

Lest you want to do the rape-math yourself—and why not, what a great way to unwind after a day protesting outside an abortion clinic—Perry (the suspect “study” Will gets his “math” from) ends his post with a call, “Over at the Political Calculations blog, Ironman has created a neat app that simplifies the calculations above. You can input annual data on the actual number of reported sexual assaults at a given college, along with the estimated percentage of sexual assaults that are reported, the college student population and the percent female, etc. and you’ll get results for the percentage probability that a female student will be sexually assaulted while in college. Thanks to Ironman for doing that.”       

So what do we call this logarithm? The rape-o-meter?

Thanks for the public service, guys!

Will ends his column with, “What government is inflicting on colleges and universities, and what they are inflicting on themselves, diminishes their autonomy, resources, prestige, and comity. Which serves them right. They have asked for this by asking for progressivism.”

Serves them right? Don’t you mean, they were asking for it?



Your financial support helps DAME continue to cover the critical policies, politics social changes impacting woman and their allies.