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The PJ Tatler

Bridget Johnson


June 12, 2014 - 7:47 am

Senate Democrats who have been trying to advance new sexual assault protections on college campuses are blasting columnist George Will for putting the phrase sexual assault in quotes in a recent piece.

In his June 6 Washington Post column, Will wrote about “the supposed campus epidemic of rape, a.k.a. ‘sexual assault,’” and talked about the administration “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,” Will wrote.

That evoked a response from Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).

“You trivialize the scourge of sexual assault, putting the phrase in scare quotes and treating this crime as a socially acceptable phenomenon. It is in fact a spreading epidemic, and you legitimize the myths that victims and victim advocates have worked tirelessly for decades to combat,” the senators wrote.

“Your column reiterates ancient beliefs about sexual assault that are inconsistent with the reality of victims’ experiences, based on what we have heard directly from survivors. Your words contribute to the exact culture that discourages reporting and forces victims into hiding and away from much-needed services. For starters, your notion about a perceived privileged status of survivors of sexual assault on campuses runs completely counter to the experiences described to us.”

They called Will’s assessment “so antiquated, so counterintuitive and so contrary to anything we heard that we hope you will make an effort to hear the stories survivors bravely shared with us about the struggles they face in addressing what has happened to them – often with little meaningful assistance from authorities expected to help them.”

“In this instance, your writing, which purports to be based on accurate facts and figures, has not only shown a fundamental disrespect to survivors, but also includes a harmful rhetoric that has made addressing this issue so difficult,” the senators continued. “Your column questions the accuracy of statistics around this problem. Very few of our conversations with students included numbers; what we have heard are personal experiences – horrifying and tragic stories that show exactly why this problem must be addressed.”

“There is no acceptable number of sexual assaults; anything more than zero is unacceptable.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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Jeepers! Is there anyone besides me who thinks this sudden out-of-blue hysteria-mongering against "sexual assault" in the military, on campuses...etc. has been ginned up out of nowhere and is a co-ordinated campaign to gain more power for the Left and the Obama agenda?

Just like this sudden, mysterious, out-of-the-blue "children's crusade" at our Southern border? Haven't we seen enough manufactured crisis out of this crew already to smell it?

The inability of Repubelican politicians AND conservative pundits AND commentators to connect the dots and just reel about from the punches and intimidation is pathetic. What if Mr. Will had called this campaign for what it is and refused to accept the enemies' premise? Would the response be any less vituperative?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
There should be no tolerance of sexual assault.
There should be no tolerance of false accusations of sexual assault.
There should be no tolerance of calling mutual poor judgment sexual assault.
We should recognize what "sexual assault" actually is. There's a case in my morning newspaper about a woman of 35 fondling a boy of 11. Now there's every reason to object to this behavior, every reason to call it a crime. But call it by its proper name: fondling, sexual misconduct, indecent touching. Something like that. But no, the charge is "sexual assault", even though there's no accusation of intercourse. Later, if she is convicted or pleads guilty, this might be flipped into "rape", when the key act of rape did not occur. That's certainly what happened to a local teacher; he admitted improper touching of a student and was convicted of sexual intercourse without consent, this without any confession to sexual intercourse.
Let's rework the phrasing of the laws so they reflect reality rather than hysteria and hyperbole.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Apparently, Blumenthal, Feinstein, Baldwin, and Casey either didn't read his article, or didn't understand it.

Class, which is worse: Congresscritters opining on things they know nothing about, or Congresscritters failing to understand simple language?

37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Zero tolerance" is the politician's and the bureaucrat's method of invoking the reduction ad absurdum to escape responsibility.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
The real issue here is that it is a chance to ridicule and demean a respected conservative pundit. It doesn't matter what he said, what he is accused of is what will stay in the low information public's mind. Never mind that boys guilty of poor judgement and drinking are now forever tagged as rapist, with the sexual offender label following them forever - it is more important that the conservative voice is silenced and cowed for good.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
How many false allegations are acceptable? I wish someone would ask them that when they spout their talking points.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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