I find myself thinking about recent comments by George F. Will regarding the topic of rape. Don’t worry. I have a barf bag handy. Thank you for your concern.
First, I have to ponder: How much consideration are you supposed to give comments from a grown man in a bow tie?
In case you missed it, much of the social media world has been in an uproar because Will wrote a piece that implied being the victim of rape and/or sexual assault is now a “coveted status.” (If you’re curious to know more you can google it up. You’ll likely find more information than was lost in the Library of Alexandria.)
For his part, the very next day Will was quippishly waxing poetic that “intellectual whiplash” from “crimson liberals” is an “occupational hazard.” Oh, boo hoo! Yes, he’s saying he’s the pundit equivalent of Emperor Palpatine. “Everything is proceeding exactly as I have foreseen.” And no, these aren’t Will-ish air quotes, these are damn real quotes.
Ah, to be insulted by such a wordsmith. I was going to be offended but then I noticed the elegant use of language. You! Now I’m just happy about it. What an exhibition of rapier-like wit. Why, what a privilege and honor to be skewered by the likes of you!
When did political commentary get reduced to the moral equivalency of an “I did your mom” joke and then, when there is invariably offense taken, it’s summarily followed by the predictable and accusatory claim that those offended are just touchy-feely-kneejerk-reactionary lemmings? Oh noes! Political correctness? See what I innocently did there?
The only thing we seem to know for certain is this: If you have truth, facts, logic and reason on your side, why not slip in a few blows below the belt just for good measure? Why not seek to offend when you can already win the day using only your wits?
Wait. That doesn’t make much sense. Viola. The crux of the matter.
By the way, if Will didn’t like and/or believe the statistics he included in his article, why didn’t he do something crazy, like actually refute them? You know, counter with facts and stuff? It’s quite telling that he didn’t. All he offered was more wordplay. Very telling.
Some men, like Will, seem to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about rape, reaching conclusions about it, and making their sage pronouncements for all to enjoy. Their input is much more important than the actual experience of being raped. They know best. They are, after all, offended by various things and have voices that need to be heard. Listen up now!
What if, instead, we lived in a world that put the needs of victims first? What might that be like? I can only imagine that theoretical world. What if we said: Every living person has the right to be secure in their person and be subjected to nothing illegal without their express consent. What if that was worth fighting for?
The message should be so simple. No means no. There must be consent. If there isn’t consent, you will pay for what you’ve done. Period.
Somehow, though, our society isn’t interested in that message. It gets lost in all the hyperbole about things like “legitimate rape” and “coveted status” and “asking for it.” Instead we focus on the identity of the victim and their behavior, as if any of that is relevant to the concept of consent.
What the hell do I know? I’m just another man and I have no idea what anything is really like. But I do know this: I live in a country where an unconscious young woman was repeatedly sexually assaulted by multiple attackers, it was all caught on video, would have been swept under the rug if not for the actions of Anonymous, and half of a small American town defended the guilty just because they played a stupid game involving a stupid ball. Because, priorities.
That’s how skewed against women the system really is. A system that allows people like Will to sit around and fret about the effect rape has on men.