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When Will People Stop Trying to Defend George Will's Awful Rape Article?

Anyone remember that wretched column George Will wrote in which he said that because of the federal government and "progressivism" that today on college campuses, calling yourself a victim of a sexual assault is now something of a badge of honor? Yesterday in the News, one of their columnists — a woman, I might add — said that the uproar over it was overheated.

Yet when veteran conservative columnist George Will wrote a perfectly reasonable piece questioning those numbers, shock and outrage followed.

How dare Will challenge a politically correct assumption? Critics prefer to ignore professional number crunchers like University of Michigan-Flint economist Mark Perry, who have shown those sexual assault statistics are vastly overstated.

Well, first of all, the reason why people were outraged by George Will's column wasn't that he disputed the numbers, but because he said that being a sexual assault victim is now a coveted status on college campuses. He said that the reason behind this is because of progressivism and ultimately federal policies. In other words, the nanny state created an entire cohort of college students who would like you to think that they were sexually assaulted. It's outrageous and stupid.

As to the numbers and as to the economist, first off ... the figure one in five is not something invented by the Obama administration. It was the figure prominently used when I was in college ... in the early 90s. Further, it wasn't just a figure arrived at by putting two numbers together. It was produced by different public health studies.

Now let’s focus on the 20 percent of women being sexually assaulted that Mr. Will finds preposterous. The statistic comes from the federally funded Campus Sexual Assault Study, a Web-based survey of over 5,000 women (and more than 1,000 men) attending one of two public universities. The data indicated that 19 percent of women had either been the victim of an attempted or a completed sexual assault while in college, hence 1 in 5 women. Of this cohort 11.9 percent reported they were raped (see the image below for the breakdown, it’s one of the saddest organizational charts I’ve seen in a while).

Please do go follow the link and look at the organizational chart. It kind of gives you an idea how shallow and inane was the rebuttal to the statistic by the think tank guy quoted in the column. It's not just a matter of women who are raped, but also a matter of attempted sexual assaults, which is a pretty broad array of things, from repeated unwanted touching to sexual harassment to putting a roofie in a girl's drink at a party and taking advantage of her.

 

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