Recently pundit George Will wrote an extraordinary op-ed where he implied that concerns about rape and sexual assault on college campuses were overblown and that claiming to be raped conferred some kind of privileged status on women. Here’s how he begins:
Colleges and universities are being educated by Washington and are finding the experience excruciating. 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.
I was incredulous that claiming to be a victim (of rape and other sexual assaults) “confers privileges” on women and thus causes them to “proliferate”.
There were enough strong reactions to his column that I did not feel the need to add my two cents. But I did come across this blog post by an OB/GYN that I thought worth passing on to a wider readership. After describing her own experience of rape while in college, Jennifer Gunter says:
You labor under the fear (as some men do) that there is an epidemic of false rape. That good young men will go to jail for consent withdrawn after the fact. And while false accusations likely do happen (the Duke Lacrosse case is a recent, well-known example) these are the exception and not the rule and each time a male with a platform spouts off about a false epidemic of rape it only makes it harder for women who have been violated to come forward.
There is no woman who I have ever met personally or as an OB/GYN who thinks that surviving a rape confers some sort of privilege. I am genuinely curious if you interviewed a few young women hoping to earn their college rape badge or is that just a conclusion you reached looking at the issue of sexual assault through the myopic lens of misogyny?
Come spend a day in my clinic Mr. Will. Come see how the scars of rape linger even decades later.
There is no survivor privilege, just survivors.
The whole thing is worth reading.