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So…when is George Will going to retire?

There ought to be a pasturage somewhere for out-of-touch old white men. His latest nonsense, in which he tells women to shut up about rape, will raise a few eyebrows.

They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous ("micro-aggressions," often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.

What exactly are these privileges one obtains when one is a victim of sexual assault? Name one. Show me one woman who covets being raped.

Will isn’t even aware of his inconsistency. He tries to do simple math and fails to recognize his failure.

The administration’s crucial and contradictory statistics are validated the usual way, by official repetition; Joe Biden has been heard from. The statistics are: One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college, and only 12% of assaults are reported. Simple arithmetic demonstrates that if the 12% reporting rate is correct, the 20% assault rate is preposterous.

Or that the 12% reporting rate is incorrect. The 20% number has been confirmed by the CDC, including both assault and attempted assault (an attempt can be traumatic, so there are no good grounds to exclude that), so it is likely very sound; the 12% reporting rate is an inferred estimate, because there is no directly measured number of unreported assaults — if there were, they’d be reported. So what should be understood from the “simple arithmetic” is that the frequency of reports is far lower than 12%.

But think about what Will is saying: being assaulted is supposed to be a “coveted status” that “confers privileges” on college campuses, but somehow, even with his inflated number, the vast majority of incidents are being kept secret by the victims. Why? Don’t they want their prize from the box of Cracker Jacks?

I’ll also note that Will complains that sexual assault includes nonconsensual touching as well as forcible penetration. I don’t get this attitude. Why does he want to narrow the definition of assault so much? Does he think it would be bad if someone walked up to him and shoved a dildo up his ass, but it’s OK if they instead slide their hand down his pants and gently cup his balls? There are a heck of a lot of things one could do to George Will short of literally raping him, and I think he’d agree (as would I) that a great many of them would represent criminal violations.

Perhaps he simply thinks all women ought to be accessible to a little involuntary fondling.

Comments

  1. otranreg says

    I’ll also note that Will complains that sexual assault includes nonconsensual touching as well as forcible penetration. I don’t get this attitude.

    Perhaps he is a concerned partaker of the former practice?

  2. colnago80 says

    The big question is why the Post continues to publish his crap. Will is a congenital liar on the subject of global warming, as even the poopyhead editor of the editorial page, Fred Hyatt, admits, yet he is allowed to publish his garbage columns on the subject without any comeback. Several years ago, Hyatt, under pressure, allowed Chris Mooney to submit an op-ed disputing one of Will’s columns, although I understand that it was censored. Like the New York Times moronic Tom Friedman, Will is a total waste of printer’s ink.

  3. colnago80 says

    Re otranreg @ #2

    Let us not forget that Will dumped his first wife in order to trade her in for a younger model.

  4. mikeyb says

    Will has been a denier his whole life on a number of issues from climate change to the corrupting influence of money in politics, as well as implicated in personal corruption such as coaching Reagan in his debate against Carter in 1980 while pretending to be a journalist at the same time. So his sexual assault denialism is just par for the course. After all he is a conservative, what do you expect these days? And he is considered charming in some circles due to his idiotic rantings about baseball of all subjects, only in America.

  5. mikeyb says

    Oh I forgot, ardent enabler of the Gulf War hysteria, and post fact critic when the inevitable predictable clusterfuck followed shortly after.

  6. Becca Stareyes says

    There’s also the fact that folks might be willing to admit something to an anonymous survey, or even to a rape crisis hotline or therapist, without wishing to file a police report.

    Of course, I imagine it doesn’t occur to Will that victims might have reasons not to go to the police (other than ‘they are lying’).

  7. frankniddy says

    Well, he would know. Conservative Christians certainly do covet victimhood status. They keep saying they’re the most oppressed group in America.

  8. says

    I’ll also note that Will complains that sexual assault includes nonconsensual touching as well as forcible penetration. I don’t get this attitude.

    That’s one thing that really creeps me out. It’s bad enough that we’ve got people who don’t realize it’s not a good idea to spank female co-worker as they pass. Excluding forcible penetration? Wow. Seeing people like this keeps me cynical.

    On some rare occasions (as a male), I have a bad dream that features some form of penetration attempt through my, ahem, back door, and it’s unpleasant enough. I can still wake up and shake it off like other bad dreams because I know that’s the end of the experience. I don’t have to worry about strangers doing that to me, and I don’t have any friends or family who show any signs.

    Women aren’t nearly as lucky. Much of the time, it’s someone they thought they could trust, or someone with power over their lives, like their boss or professor. Context matters a hell of a lot, since much of the injury is in the breach of trust or the feeling of helplessness. The latter exists thanks in large part to apologists and victim-blaming after the fact that ensure the perpetrators won’t even feel discouraged.

    It’s bad that we have rape and sexual assault. It’s worse that the perpetrators can count on the cheerleading of rape culture to rationalize everything away so that nothing is done about it.

  9. anteprepro says

    Just goes to show that even the most “moderate” and “intellectual” of conservatives, pretending to be nuanced and reasonable, are ultimately horrible human beings. George Will will retire as soon as being a cranky and callous right-wing asshole stops being profitable. Place your fucking bets.

  10. Konradius says

    Simple arithmetic? He means arithmetic by a simpleton. Why would you think different reports use the same definition of assault? The ‘12% report rate’ report would probably use a definition where the assault is severe enough to warrant prosecution. The ‘one in 5′ report probably asks women to self identify whether they have been victim of assault.
    And the most important point:
    These statistics are atrocious! The whole reason these numbers are so disputable is a systematic neglect of a widespread crime. This idiot is employed by a newspaper. He should get off his lazy arse and do actual investigative journalism.

  11. Andy Groves says

    ..if they instead slide their hand down his pants and gently cup his balls?

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

  12. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Will wrote:

    and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.

    Let me translate: He is saying that we, anti-rapists, are making it a coveted status to claim victimhood, and that results in a lot of girls claiming victimhood to receive those benefits.

    But, really Bill, what are those benefits of claiming victimhood? The joy of seeing some random guy get tossed in jail, just on their say so? Does that “hypothetical” ever happen in reality? Even actual victims pointing at the actual rapist is often dismissed as lying about it. And you are just buying into the fantasy that she is lying because she don’t like him. Am I missing some other “benefits”?

  13. anteprepro says

    Oh my Christ. It is taking me a while to figure out what mathematical error George Will thinks he is finding. Is it really that George Will thinks that “12% of rapes are reported” is a smaller number than “20% of women are raped”? Is it really that George Will thinks that “12% of rapes are reported” is the percentage of all women who are “officially” raped, rather than the percentage of women who are raped who go to the police? Is George Will so stupid as to bleat about simple arithmetic without understanding how words and percentages work?

    Please, if someone else could explain what George Will thinks he is doing, confirming or denying my hunches, it would be much appreciated.

  14. anteprepro says

    Konradius

    The ’12% report rate’ report would probably use a definition where the assault is severe enough to warrant prosecution. The ‘one in 5′ report probably asks women to self identify whether they have been victim of assault.

    The report rate is the percent of women who were raped who actually go to the police. It’s not that it is severe enough to warrant prosecution: it is that women are too afraid to come forward and provoke their abuser, can’t trust the legal system, think it would burn bridges to make the accusation, or would just prefer to keep quiet rather than being shamed by bringing the issue to light. The one in five are the number of women who are actually raped. 20% of all women are raped. Per George, 12% of those women report it. The latter is a subset of the former, not the percent of all women.

    Oh, except George Will is even stupider than I thought.

    Look here, pg 16: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sexual_assault_report_1-21-14.pdf

    12% is the percent of rapes that lead to arrest . Not the percent that are reported.

    Per this source, the actual reporting rate is around 40%: https://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates

  15. tsig says

    According to MRA for a woman to be “truly raped” she must :

    Be Dressed appropriately and in an approved location

    Be physically forced and have marks to show it

    Go to the police immediately.

    Be willing to share intimate details with on line voyeurs.

    Have two witnesses.

    Plus film evidence

  16. slatham says

    I have no experience reading George Will, but what I thought he was saying is this: “If 20% report being assaulted, but only 12% of assaults are reported, then more than 200% of women were actually assaulted (assuming uniform distribution of assaults among women).” Then he uses his misinterpretation to malign the figures themselves. Of course, this is stupid.

  17. rossthompson says

    Please, if someone else could explain what George Will thinks he is doing, confirming or denying my hunches, it would be much appreciated.

    I think it’s this: only 12% of rapes are reported, and 20% of women report being raped, therefore 166% of women have actually been sexually assaulted, if you can believe those lying trollops.

  18. arakasi says

    I think that the “simple arithmetic” that Geroge Will is pontificating about is: 20% of women are assaulted and those 20% are the 12% which are actually reported. Therefore these two numbers taken together mean that 167% of women are sexually assaulted, which is preposterous.

    From this, we can conclude
    1) George Will is an idiot
    2) George Will took two numbers and divided one into the other without paying any attention to what they actually meant in order to claim that the result made no sense (well, no shit, Sherlock)
    3) George Will is really an idiot

  19. twas brillig (stevem) says

    George Will wrote:

    The statistics are: One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college, and only 12% of assaults are reported. Simple arithmetic demonstrates that if the 12% reporting rate is correct, the 20% assault rate is preposterous.

    I wanted to translate how preposterous his arithmetic is, but, I’m lost. Is he saying that other people, who claim that only the 12% is actual rape, are wrong because if they were right, then the 20% would be preposterous, even though it is actually correct? Or am I giving Will too much slack? Either way, Will is supposed to be a writer, his trade is to to make his point clear. It ain’t workin, Will, go home, retire, job is done.

  20. llyris says

    I suspect that George Will imagines the stranger gently cupping his balls to be a lovely blonde supermodel. He’s going to be upset when he discovers it’s Ron Jeremy. He’ll then tell us that that’s somehow different.

  21. twas brillig (stevem) says

    2nd attempt:
    20% of X ARE assaulted. Assaulted = X/5
    12% of Assaulted are Reported: Reported = 12*(X/5)/100

    uhhh, what’s George saying is preposterous?

    e.g. : 12 reports -> 100 assaults -> 500 students

    what’s the problem with those numbers, George? Did I mess up that “simple arithmetic?

  22. Howard Bannister says

    So, I clicked through to see what his argument about the numbers actually was.

    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. Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute notes, for example, that 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.

    …and it’s atrociously bad, actually.

    Cherry-picking one college, when we know that some colleges are more likely than others to discourage official reports.

  23. Howard Bannister says

    Note also that the 2006 number for reported rapes at Ohio State was 53; more than half of the 4-year total posted. Cherry-picking years with substantially lower reported numbers changes those statistics.

    And then he’s basically comparing lifetime victimization rates against yearly reported rates–again, a surefire way to muddy the water.

    It’s hard to believe he isn’t intentionally obscuring those numbers.

  24. Ed Seedhouse says

    So, if 20% of women are assaulted, but only 12% of those assaulted report it to
    authorities, then the percentage of women who are both assaulted and report the
    assault would be 12% of 20%, or 2.4% of all women. So this could be phrased as
    “while only 2.4% of women report being sexually assaulted, other evidence shows that
    overall about 20% are assaulted”.

    This computation, however, requires advanced mathematical skills, namely multiplication and
    division. and we can hardly expect Mr. Will to be so specialized!

  25. moarscienceplz says

    George Will’s brain has been slowly fossilizing for decades. I used to read his opinion pieces back in the ’80s, and while I never agreed with him, I at least felt that he seriously considered the other side. The last few times I saw him on This Week it was pretty obvious that he now approaches each question with a knee-jerk response, then he goes digging through stacks of 50 year-old news magazines that he apparently keeps in his garage in order to find one or two dusty old quotes or statistics to support him.

  26. insertsymbolshere says

    The “privileges” he’s talking about, according to him, are:
    Ability to convict anyone on your mere say so, absolute belief on that mere accusation, attention, catering, mollycoddling, people bending over backwards for you, and social decimation of any and every man on said accusation. Remember, this is *his interpretation* of how things would be if women had their way, not how things are. He likes it the way it is, meaning that every accusation is “appropriately scrutinised”, victims get no more help or courtesy than any other similar small impact crime, and no “real” aggressor is punished disproportionate to the crime.

    From his perspective: Don’t forget that women are prone to making a huge fuss about nothing; you said yourself most of these “crimes” aren’t reported, so clearly they can’t be as bad as these harpies are making it out to be–look, there’s that attention seeking behavior. And penetrative assaults are the only real rapes because sex doesn’t count unless it’s vaginal and involves a penis. That’s why lesbians can’t have real sex, and that’s why virginity is such a big deal in every culture around the world. Everyone knows dicks are magical. They fundamentally alter anyone they come into contact with, changing a woman into used property and changing men into women.

    If you understand how these people think, it’s really not that hard to figure out why they say the things they do.

  27. anteprepro says

    *Reads Howard Bannister’s quote *

    Wow. So it does appear that George Will does not understand the difference between “X women are raped” and “Y female rape victims report their rape”.

    The sad part is that George Will isn’t even smart enough to come up with this bad math on his own. He references Mark Perry, who has the same inability to realize that the 12% reporting rate is for STUDENT VICTIMS and not the entire female population of the school. He basically plagiarized an idiot. Which is simply amazing.
    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2014/05/using-white-house-claim-of-under-reporting-only-1-in-36-women-at-ohio-state-are-sexually-assaulted-not-1-in-5/

    And these right-wing assholes like to blub blub blub about “the White House said” in order to scoff about Obama or some shit, when really, the White House does happen to have fucking citations. Research done by actual scientists. Sure, they had White House support, but in 2007. But as we all know, Obama is to blame for everything, so time travel is hardly beyond the scope of his Powers.

    12% reporting rate for college women: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/219181.pdf
    20% rate of sexual assault victimization for college women: http://www.aaup.org/report/campus-sexual-assault-suggested-policies-and-procedures

    But, no, don’t trust random samples. Trust George Will and Mark Perry to fail at basic logic and arithmetic and insinuate that Obama is just a big ol’ liar because they are incompetent, rape apologizing assclowns.

  28. unclefrogy says

    you see if all that were true that things are that bad really then we would have to actually do things differently you know like change. We would have to actually think about things all over again. Like all good conservatives Will learned all the important things he needed to know by the time he was 14. He has to be right anything that disagrees must be a lie.
    The basic underlying concept is all change is bad unless it means I makes me more money.
    He is a modern iteration of the royal historian tell the story of history in the most favorable way for the king.
    uncle frogy

  29. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    If anyone’s interested, the full column (and though George wouldn’t approve, this comes with a TRIGGER WARNING) is here. In case you’re wondering, yes, it gets worse: he dismisses one woman’s rape because she drank and had had sex before with her rapist.

  30. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re 35:

    If anyone’s interested, the full column (and though George wouldn’t approve, this comes with a TRIGGER WARNING)…

    Where Will disparages “Trigger Warnings”. at first, I thought Will was disparaging Colleges for handing out privileges to victims; saying, giving those privileges will make all the women claim to be victims. That he was trying to use arithmetic to show the colleges are doing it wrong. But then it quickly became an indecipherable word salad. Will thinks he is so clever, that he has to school even the schools that he is always right… bah humbug. If George thinks he is so clever, has he ever read one of his own writings a day later, and not seen all the rrors of logic he propounds? blech

  31. shadow says

    @36:

    [snark]

    Of course George Will hasn’t reread his brilliant words. Why should he? If they don’t match reality, then reality is wrong.

    [/snark]

  32. Anton Mates says

    When George Will says it’s preposterous, what he means is that 12% x 20% = 2.4% is a preposterously high proportion of women to have been sexually assaulted and then reported it, given that Ohio State in 2009-2012 reported only 98 assaults, which would be 0.35% of of their female student population.

    And this is a stupid argument he’s making/parroting, let’s get that out of the way. Now, on to why.

    The 12% number comes from a study where female college students were interviewed by phone and asked whether they reported their rapes (specifically rapes, not just all sexual assaults) to law enforcement. The Ohio State number, as reported by Messr. Will via some American Enterprise Institute hack, comes from official campus reports based on statistics released by law enforcement agencies.

    In other words, these are not comparable for a variety of reasons:

    1) The OSU numbers pertain only to assaults committed on campus or adjacent public property, or buildings owned by a student organization. If a student reported an assault in a bar or club or privately-owned house or apartment, it’s not listed there. But the 12% number comes from asking female students whether they reported an assault anywhere during their college years.

    2) The OSU numbers, again, are based on crime statistics released by several cooperating law enforcement agencies, not interviews with victims. If a woman tells an authority figure that she thinks she got assaulted, that doesn’t automatically mean they’ll mark down +1 assaults on the Big Board. Maybe the authority she talked to isn’t affiliated with law enforcement. Or maybe that authority doesn’t find her story sufficiently credible or detailed to be confident that a crime was committed. (The police being overly reluctant to process or pursue a rape allegation? That is A Thing That Happens A Lot.)

    3) The OSU numbers are for OSU. The AEI hack says he’s got numbers for some other universities. But the year-to-year variability in assault stats at a given school is huge, as Howard Bannister points out. Going “Well, these numbers don’t match this school” is a pretty good sign of statistical illiteracy on Will’s part.

    4) Maybe the study’s reporting percentage is an overestimate, because women who were willing to be interviewed by a stranger about their rape, were also disproportionately likely to report it to the police. Their interview refusal rate is low enough that I think this is unlikely, but I include it for completeness’ sake.

  33. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Truthies! I had the EXACT same thought when I read this (via C&L, I think).

    My comment was something like:

    “Die (or Retire), Monster, Die (or Retire)!”

    A variation of my usual dismissal of these walking corpses (they don’t even rate as “zombies”).

  34. Ichthyic says

    I’m confused.

    is it 12% of ALL people have officially filed police reports for sexual assault, or is it 12% of people who have been assaulted actually file reports.

    because those would be two very different numbers.

  35. Ichthyic says

    The 12% number comes from a study where female college students were interviewed by phone and asked whether they reported their rapes (specifically rapes, not just all sexual assaults) to law enforcement.

    ah. that’s explains it.

    Will is using the 12% number most dishonestly then. I’d conclude intentionally, since he’s rarely accused of being deliberately stupid.

  36. Howard Bannister says

    Anton, that’s a terrific comment that really teases out the ways he’s being dishonest.

    Or maybe that authority doesn’t find her story sufficiently credible or detailed to be confident that a crime was committed.

    Well, yeah.

    Like… this case. The authorities.

    Where the proper authorities said “You invited him into your room. That’s not the legal definition of rape.” (that’s the NYPD, mind) Where both her university and the police declined to prosecute.

    There is a systemic problem of suppression of these cases by the proper authorities, but G.W. is going to take their word above those of women (shudder, etc.) EVERY TIME.

    Time and time again we’ve caught them out and out suppressing reports. That’s a known factor.

    But he goes back to the authorities and their number, points out it’s lower than what women say they’ve reported, and goes straight to how they’re lying.

  37. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re @38:

    Nice try to decipher George Will’s barflegab, but not quite what I got from trying to read his barfle. Here it is (the barflegab):

    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.

    to Summarize:
    98 = 0.12 * 817 [reports = 12% of assaults]
    817/28000 =.029 << .2 * 28,000 [assaults therefore much fewer than the postulated 20% population]

    Completely missing the order of events that was postulated, and tries to reverse it, but gets it wrong.
    To reiterate: 20% of pop X are assaulted, only 12% of those assaulted report the incident.
    So reports of assaults must be; X * 0.20 * 0.12 = X * 0.024 or 2.4% of X
    which strangely is quite close to Will’s 2.9%, so he is totally wrong; by declaring the correct answer to be absurdly lower than what all the fools claim, who claim much bigger numbers.
    So, again, George, it is time to retire. You are a Writer, not a Math Wiz, and your writing is getting pretty poor. Time to hang up the pen (and typewriter) and rest.

  38. Howard Bannister says

    @stevem

    But the number he’s coming up with at 2.4% is the number after the .12 multiplication. Those numbers are still off by an order of magnitude.

    (for the many reasons enumerated)

    98 = 0.35% of 28,000, by my math.

  39. esmith4102 says

    No one has been more of a disappointment in my political/philosophical development than George Will. He has most certainly “gone over the hill” and endorses, unapologetically, political comments written by his staff of interns. Other than receiving a paycheck by those gullible enough to print his views, he has outlived his relevance by decades.

  40. Pteryxx says

    …Slightly OT, there does appear to be a misogynistic pasturage, and it’s at WaPo.

    Jezebel: Violence against women will end when you sluts get married, says WaPo

    The Washington Post has just published an op-ed entitled “One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married” (the paper later changed the headline). To that, I say: Washington Post: Stop Posting Bullshit And Set Yourself On Fire.

    And the subheader read “The data show that #yesallwomen would be safer hitched to their baby daddies.” Really.

    Screenshot at this tweet.

  41. Pteryxx says

    Also in response to George Will – #SurvivorPrivilege.

    Where’s my survivor privilege? Was expelled & have $10,000s of private student loans used to attend school that didn’t care I was raped.

    #SurvivorPrivilege was that cool feeling I got after getting my cap & gown for college commencement, when my rapist was standing next to me.

    Yes, @georgeWillf, going through HIV prophylaxis after being raped & not being able to tell your family isn’t hell, it’s #SurvivorPrivilege

    #SurvivorPrivilege was being told to go home, be safe & put *my* education on hold — so that my rapist could comfortably conclude his

    #survivorprivilege is coming out over and over again, and wondering every time if someone will believe you.

    But the biggest fear that comes with #SurvivorPrivilege is knowing that it can happen to you, that it did and that it could happen again.

    Tweets collected at Feministing except the last which is here.

  42. carlie says

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which serves the entire metro area of about 3 million people, has dropped George Will and will no longer publish him.

    The change has been under consideration for several months, but a column published June 5, in which Mr. Will suggested that sexual assault victims on college campuses enjoy a privileged status, made the decision easier. The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it.

    We have heard from both conservative and liberal readers asking for new conservative voices. We believe Mr. Gerson’s addition to our op-ed page will be a refreshing and revitalizing change.

    In coming weeks, we plan to bring more diverse voices to this page, and to connect our print readers with some of the other vibrant conversations taking place in the digital universe.