No doubt George Will expected a firestorm after he labeled campus sexual assaults: ‘”micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye,” in his column last week, noting they “are everywhere.” He went on (unfortunately) adding that rape and sexual assault victims are now more likely to report because they have earned “a coveted status that confers privileges.”
What’s Will’s beef? He takes issue, as many have, with the data that has said 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted on college campuses.The study was commissioned in 2007 by the Department of Justice and if anything, it opens one’s eyes as to why sexual assaults go unreported. The statistic so bothered Will and others that Washington Post writer Glenn Kessler dug into the numbers and came up with some ambiguities.
Says Will, “The statistics are: 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.”
The rape “epidemic” that Will refers to (20 percent) he claims is affecting colleges and universities now “learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere). He even suggests that the 20 percent number is due to victimhood being elevated to a “coveted status that confers privileges.”
Privileges? Coveted Status? How about death threats that often accompany accusing athletes. The privilege of testifying about a night of partying and drinking that often accompanies the sexual assault where the victim is ashamed and feels partly responsible. The coveted status must refer to the place the victim is afforded with her friends, family and future boyfriends.
Back in 2011, I reviewed author Kelly Valen’s book, The Twisted Sisterhood: The Dark Side Of Female Friendship Explored. What troubled me the most is the fact that she didn’t even realize that she had been raped.
While she was unconscious, the pledge raped her, but Valen calls it a “deflowering.” She even praises some of the fraternity brothers for removing her after the rape.
Valen saw her sorority sisters as conniving and evil. She felt no anger toward the boys for what happened. It’s not surprising that she found fault with her sisters. What is surprising is that after so many years, and even after writing her book, she still didn’t see the true picture of what happened to her that night.
Preposterous? It doesn’t even touch the surface. And yes, “Micro-Aggressions” count even if they “are everywhere.” I would put that number at 50 percent based on my previous college experience then extrapolating today’s behavior among young people. No still means no, but for young women today aren’t sure when to use it and what responsibility they have in the overall scenario.