Controversy is building this week over a column in the Washington Post by arch-conservative pundit George Will, dismissing the problem of college campus sexual assault after a new White House report on the issue. Denver-area political communications consultant Laura Chapin hammers Will for U.S. News and World Report today, calling for his firing from the Washington Post:
Memo to George Will: When a woman says no, it’s rape. And since you don’t understand that simple fact, the Washington Post needs to fire you.
Will spent an entire column last Friday belittling campus sexual assault victims and putting the words sexual assault in quotes. Because in his view, those silly college women are just making things up and the Obama administration is helping them. Will devotes a portion of his column to deriding a Swarthmore College woman who was raped by someone she knew and with whom she had had a previous sexual relationship. He writes, “Now the Obama administration is riding to the rescue of “sexual assault” victims. It vows to excavate equities from the ambiguities of the hookup culture, this cocktail of hormones, alcohol and the faux sophistication of today’s prolonged adolescence of especially privileged young adults.”
Memo to George Will: Sexual consent isn’t like a retail store club card. It doesn’t come with a lifetime membership. It didn’t matter if they’d been having sex every day for 10 years. If a woman doesn’t want to have sex, and the man forces her to, it’s rape.
Betsy Markey, a former member of Congress from Colorado now running for state Treasurer, jumped into the fray over Will's column with a timely fundraising pitch today, titled "George Will is an Idiot."
I don't usually talk this way, but a recent column from George Will, the conservative Washington Post contributor, has me pretty hot under the collar.
You may have read that the White House put out a report recently regarding sexual assaults on college campuses. The statistics behind the report are sobering, with one-in-five students experiencing some form of sexual assault while only twelve percent of those assaults are reported…
George Will sees it differently. In a recent column, he warns that all the attention on sexual assault is making "victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges."
Seriously? I'm fired up. Join me today with a $5 contribution and let's show these guys on the far-right they don't have a clue what they're talking about.
George Will isn't what you'd call a stranger to controversy, but he's generally considered to be a more reasonable voice among conservative commentators–at least graded on the curve. But that only makes this boomerang opinion piece harder to understand. What was Will hoping to achieve? It's tough to see how stoking victim-blaming, gender biased animosity over something like sexual assault is helpful to a Republican Party trying desperately to improve its standing with the so-called "Rising American Electorate"–young, ethnically diverse, and–key to today's discussion–women voters.
If anything, more Democrats should capitalize on this like Betsy Markey.