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.
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."
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 #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:
Not being taken seriously:
Repeated violations of your body:
Seeing your rapist around campus:
Being told you have no sense of humor:
Being told you wanted it:
Having your schoolwork suffer:
Realizing all your friends are survivors, too:
Having your experience invalidated:
All tweets used with permission.