Apparently, there really are no limits to the ignorance of rape apologists.
Over at the Washington Post, a supremely out of touch article by conservative columnist George F. Will makes the infuriating claim that victims of sexual assault enjoy "a coveted status that confers privileges." His logic suggests that because of a supposed liberal plot to bestow some sort of benefit on rape survivors "victims proliferate."
Of all the tone-deaf rape-denying arguments we've heard, this one might take the cake.
In his column, Will, a Pulitzer Prize winner, frets about calling alleged assault victims "survivors," the prevalence of trigger warnings and the fact that pesky liberal ideas about bodily autonomy are sucking all the fun out of the good old-fashioned "ambiguities of the hookup culture." Following in the footsteps of so many rape apologists before him, Will also seems to think that, contrary to authorities and statistics, the rape endemic on college campuses is vastly overblown, and he blames progressive coddling for the rise in claims of sexual violence (rather than, say, increased awareness of what actually constitutes assault).
The truth is that most survivors of sexual trauma (60%) do not report what happened to them, due in large part to people like Will contributing to a society that is utterly dismissive of their experiences.
Luckily, survivors are not content to let Will's harmful rhetoric go unchecked. Activist Wagatwe Wanjuki began the hashtag #SurvivorPrivilege on Twitter to highlight the actual experiences of survivors of rape and sexual assault. So far, hundreds have used it to make their voices heard.
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.— Wagatwe Wanjuki (@wagatwe) June 9, 2014
Wanjuki told PolicyMic, "I started the hashtag because I wanted to vent my frustration, anger and disappointment over the fact that anyone could ever imply that being a survivor is a 'covetable' identity."
Having strangers email me asking for details of my rape to convince them it actually happened. #survivorprivilege— Wagatwe Wanjuki (@wagatwe) June 9, 2014
Wanjuki continued, "I do hope that [the hashtag] serves as an opportunity for people to learn about the difficulties that survivors face in the aftermath of trauma. It is not easy being a survivor. There is nothing to gain or to envy surviving such a violent crime."
The #survivorprivilege of being too scared to leave my dorm for fear of running into my perp.— Wagatwe Wanjuki (@wagatwe) June 9, 2014
The #SurvivorPrivlege tweets serve as incredibly moving testimony to the real, lasting impact of sexual assault and rape. Here are some of the so-called "privileges" of being a survivor — privileges that Will, and anyone else who thinks being sexually assaulted is covetable, would do well to read.
Years of therapy:
I get to spend Monday mornings in therapy, seven years later. #survivorprivilege— Sarah Lee (@sarahnmoon) June 9, 2014
#SurvivorPrivilege was being judged for being sexually assaulted and then being judged some more for having to obtain an abortion.— Sue Purb (@suepurbly) June 9, 2014
Not being taken seriously:
#survivorprivilege is having family question whether or not you should call it rape because he was your husband after all. It was rape.— Eugene Debstep (@yourmomsbra_) June 9, 2014
#survivorprivilege is nightmares. Panic attacks in empty & crowded places. Freezing up during intimacy and explaining to your partner.— Katherine (@k_bleezy) June 9, 2014
Repeated violations of your body:
When your body gets turned into a crime scene. #SurvivorPrivilege— Stephanie Davidson (@LadySuperheroes) June 9, 2014
Seeing your rapist around campus:
#SurvivorPrivilege was seeing my rapist every morning in the dining hall, casually pouring himself cereal after he threatened to kill me— Dana Bolger (@danabolger) June 9, 2014
Being told you have no sense of humor:
Being told you wanted it:
#survivorprivilege is being told by the person that sexually assaulted me that I "seemed into it"— Jordan Dashow (@JDashin) June 9, 2014
Having your schoolwork suffer:
#survivorprivilege is having to write a grad school personal statement explaining how your rape was the cause behind your low GPA.— Andrea Pino (@andreactually) June 9, 2014
#survivorprivilege was balancing my freshman year with sleepless nights & panic attacks— Sarah Evonne (@SarahEvonne) June 9, 2014
Realizing all your friends are survivors, too:
Having your experience invalidated:
#survivorprivilege is my univ. Telling me girls cant rape girls. And denying my safety and queer existance all in one breath.— sara kragness (@free_to_breathe) June 9, 2014
All tweets used with permission.