I was 15 years old when a man pushed me against a wall in the subway with his arm to my throat, holding a knife with one hand and fumbling to open my jeans with the other. Thank God for quick reflexes honed by growing up in a house with three brothers, because I kneed him in the groin and he fell to the ground before I even had time to think about it. I just got out of there as fast as I could.
Little did I know that one day, this scary little incident would pay off for me as a "coveted status that confers privileges." Woo hoo! What do I get for my trouble? The VIP line at the airport? Buy one, get one free at restaurants?
Katie McDonough in Salon:
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 penetrationand 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.
Now, how exactly should I define what happened to me? I believe the legal term would be "attempted sexual assault," which is a felony in most places. There was force, there was intent, there was a weapon, and I can't think of any other reason why he was trying to open my jeans. Is there some kind of test I need to take before George Will is satisfied I meet his standards?
If anyone should know about claiming victim status, it's a Republican pundit.
More to the point, why does this buffoonish asshole still have a position of influence in our media?