Washington Post columnist George Will doesn’t believe the statistic that one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. Instead he believes that liberals, feminists and other nefarious forces have conspired to turn being a rape survivor into a “coveted status that confers privileges.” As a result of this plot, “victims proliferate,” Will wrote in a weekend editorial that ran in the Washington Post and New York Post.
Further compounding the crisis of people coming forward about sexual assault to stay de rigueur is the fact that “capacious” definitions of sexual assault include forcible sexual penetration and nonconsensual sexual touching. Which is really very outrageous, according to Will. It is really very hard to understand why having your breasts or other parts of your body touched against your will should be frowned upon.
It’s not very surprising that George Will does not think that sexual assault on campus is a big deal. It’s also not very surprising that he thinks that definitions of sexual violence are somehow overly broad because they factor in forms of sexual contact other than penetration. But what is puzzling — about this editorial and the army of nearly identical pieces of rape apologia that find a way into national newspapers with some regularity — is how much one has to ignore in order to argue these points.