#SurvivorPrivilege: because being raped earns you status

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The conservative journalist George F. Will who is a walking, talking Republican stereotype, has managed to infuriate a lot of feminists and survivors of violence this week when he recently posted an editorial editorial in both The Washington Post and The New York Post. He claimed being a survivor of rape on college campuses is now some kind of “coveted status that confers privilege” to the point where “victims proliferate.”

That’s right you read those words correctly.

In Will’s world, where he sounds like a Fox News anchor on overdrive, being a rape survivor actually gains you privileges. In fact, he believes women on college campuses want to be raped so they can gain some kind of magical rape status. In other news, unicorns exist. And The Washington Post paid Will to write this hyperbole?!

Will’s editorial claims the rape epidemic on college campuses, a phenomenon that Time Magazine recently covered extensively, is just part of hook-up culture and young women having drunken regrets in the morning, and in turn cry rape.

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Apparently there is no end to some people perpetuating rape myths. Fact: it is estimated only 2-8% of all rape complaints are falsified. And yet the widespread myth that some diabolical women have created a plot to destroy the lives of young men everywhere by crying rape is, evidently, alive and well.

It is clear that Will has undertaken a count of zero interviews with rape survivors or people who work in supporting those who have survived violence for his editorial. If he had, he would have learnt what I have known since I was a young girl; rape is not fun. Rape is harrowing. Rape is soul destroying. Rape is a horrific violation. Rape is not a status symbol. It is silencing.

Will, in his editorial attempts to “debunk” the 1 in 5 statistic relating to rape survivors, said:

“The statistics are: One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college, and only 12 percent of assaults are reported. Simple arithmetic demonstrates that if the 12 percent reporting rate is correct, the 20 percent assault rate is preposterous.”

Will provides no real evidence to back up his own preposterous claim; he has clearly gone to great lengths to ignore the staggering weight of evidence that rape is not only epidemic on college campuses but around our world. Last month the New York Times reported that the Obama administration released “…guidelines that increase the pressure on universities to more aggressively combat sexual assaults on campus.” Obama himself has condemned campus rape and has created a task force to combat the problem.

The reality is that an estimated 20-25% of women who attend college in America will experience sexual assault. The number of male victims is unquantified. The Guardian recently asked students on campuses to recount their experiences in reporting rape at universities and colleges. If the words of the brave young women who submitted their stories are anything to go by, as Jessica Valenti of The Guardian wrote, ‘…it’s that survivors of sexual violence are treated abysmally by administrators, peers and campus police. But to someone like Will – who calls this a “supposed” scourge of rape and puts the term “sexual assault” in scare quotes – rape is hardly even a real thing.’

How anyone could think a rape survivor, whether male or female, living through the aftermath could somehow benefit or gain privileges from what they have survived, defies reason.

Of course, the republican dinosaur George F. Will and his rape apologia editorial has received a major smack down from the feminist community. When will these conservatives learn that no good can come from spreading lies and disinformation? Activist and feminist Wagatwe Wanjuki pushed back on Twitter with the hashtag #SurvivorPrivilege, which went viral. Wanjuki told Buzzfeed she created the hashtag because…

“I honestly started the hashtag as a way to share my frustration with the notion that survivors have privilege. It’s one of those situations where I felt like I should laugh so I don’t cry, so I used my sarcasm to start a conversation about how difficult it is to be a survivor.”

Thousands of women and men joined Wanjuki on Twitter – using the hashtag to tell their stories; these tweets create a powerful counter narrative to the lies, myths, and misconceptions that survivors face, while also exposing the slut-shaming and consequences that survivors endure when they speak out:

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I remember when words and stories like those expressed publicly were something me and my friends whispered to each other in private. Stories of pain and frustration and quiet suffering told over wine and cigarettes and shaking hands late at night. And no, it was not just my female friends telling me their stories; some of my male friends had survived sexual assault and violence as well – they often struggled, even more than my female friends, to find the words to convey the mental and emotional pain the violence had caused them.

Thousands of people are writing their personal histories on Twitter to publicly testify to a culture of victim blaming that minimises rape and the trauma it causes. Only weeks ago the hashtag #YesAllWomen exploded on twitter, in response to the Isla Vista Massacre in which Elliot Rodgers shot and stabbed 6 people near, and on, an American college campus. Many feminist commentators have attributed his actions to his extreme misogynistic views. The #YesAllWomen tag spoke to the misogyny women are confronted with daily and told their stories of violence.

George F. Will may feel there are privileges and status rewarded to those who have survived rape (I honestly cringed as I typed that) but as the blogger Michelle Merritt, who is a rape survivor herself points out, his words are far from the truth:

 “Surviving is about living each day even though your best friends, family, co-workers, and random strangers you’ll never meet seem to believe they have a right to decide whether or not you “deserved it.” Surviving is about forcing yourself to block out those who say you were wearing the wrong clothes, in the wrong neighbourhood, out too late, with the wrong people, drank too much, didn’t say no loud enough, or even gave in too quickly out of fear for your life.”

Survivor privilege? The only privilege I can see is George F. Will’s white male privilege and he is clearly oblivious to it. This privilege makes Will feel he has the right to comment, from a safe distance, on rape culture with little understanding or evidence to back up his claims. “Surviving rape is not like surviving breast cancer, Mr. Will.” Merritt wrote, “I don’t get to wear a pretty ribbon or a t-shirt that says I’m a survivor. I don’t get to lift my shirt or bare my scarred chest as a badge of honour. There are no bumper stickers that reads, “Rape Sucks. Fight Like a Girl”…”.

Women everywhere do not secretly wish they could be sexually assaulted so they can gain “rape status” and enjoy the perks and privileges it will bestow on them. It takes a special kind of blind ignorance to hold these beliefs. As Jessica Valenti asserts, “The only ‘privilege’ afforded to campus rape survivors is surviving.”

 

28 COMMENTS

  1. Gawd almighty…

    Would the editors of the Washing Post and New York Post have published that ghastly piece had their wives/daughters been raped?!?!

    What is it with this war on women?!?!

  2. I would like to say something but unless I admit that being a male and therefore a rapist anything I say contrary to what has been written will have me labelled as a misogynist woman hating rapist, so I will refrain.

    • why would you admit to being a rapist unless you are one? My article does not say all men are rapists, it talks about rape culture and George Will’s really disgusting views on rape.

    • Bro, that is some dumb ass shit. It just shows you did not read what Chloe wrote. My guess you got to the tweets and it got real hard for read for you. But, I won’t make any assumptions.

      Look, we live in a world were a group of men use terror and violence to keep women in check. Were the use of fear and intimidation are but some of the tools of a structure which works to dehumanise over half the population. It’s not all men, but when men keep quite and tacitly agree with scum like George F. Will then it keeps this power dynamic firmly in place.

      Lets ask.

      With the shutting of the women’s refugee is our country – has our country suddenly become a better place, are women better off?

      Remember Bob Johns, he wrote the same shit, just worded it differently.

      Roast Busters – did you forgot them, did other distractions get in your face and did it just slips by?

      This list is not exhaustive – but I have work to do and I could spend all day, then the next and the next.

      So how about F DX I won’t call you a women hater, but you believe all men and women were created equally or you just a right wing troll who should go smoke some more of that john key crack.

  3. Just when I think that I can’t be shocked, outraged, or otherwise blindsided by the crass stupidity and blind ignorance of my “fellow man”, something like this surfaces and I’m left thinking, “do I really want to share this planet with people like that”………..

  4. Fact: it is estimated only 2-8% of all rape complaints are falsified.

    How can it be a fact if it’s an estimate? Is the fact that it was estimated?

    And the link is dead.

    • Hey if the link is dead you will have to hit the editors up I can’t do much about that. I said ‘Fact Check’ because it is a fact falsified estimates certainly range between 2-8%. The range of the estimate is where the estimation is. But perhaps I should of said, “reality check” to appease people like who, who would rather debate stats than the issue at hand.

      • Fact check: Wikipedia lists numerous studies showing false rape accusations comprise 2-40%+ of cases, depending on the criteria used.

        George Will is hardly a Fox News anchor on steroids or Republican stereotype as he opposes numerous Republican positions, but he is a social conservative and believes (like most parents, male or female of his generation) that what some call “hook up culture” ie excessive drinking and casual sex, puts young women particularly in danger and is frequently harmful.

  5. Wills is a pig. Would the Washington Post or NY Post publish material enabling child sex? Of course not. So why publish offensive rubbish like that??

    Is there an “open season” on women that I missed hearing about??

  6. @ Frank . A war on women ? No . Not specifically I don’t think . It’s a war on empathy . It’s a war on love . It’s a war on humanism . The war is evident in sexual assaults , common assaults and where ever there’s an opportunity to take advantage of the vulnerable . In a world where there can only be winners and losers . Survival of the fittest . It’s the Animal in the Human .
    The advertising media sells flesh daily . Hourly . By the second . It never puts a human persona to a body in order to sell , sell , sell .
    I can’t imagine the mind that might propel a man to rape a woman . To hurt her and then leave her in distress or worse . I literally can’t imagine that and I find trying for the sake of this comment deeply disturbing .
    However , there are many men out there in all walks of life who can and indeed thrill at the thought of it . What mechanism is it that creates such enthusiastic monsters ? What is it about societies that produce these men ? Gleefully violent men who use their penises as weapons ?
    And what is it about societies who produce such monsters as paula bennett ? She not only knows she’s doing the terrible harm to our societies which produces such dysfunctional behaviour but from what I can tell from her body language , she enjoys her work ?
    anne tolly understands that our prison systems do not work . She knows that . And yet she enthusiastically encourages an environment of torture within which she keeps the damaged so we can get a feeling of vengeance by knowing those prisoners are suffering daily with no hope at all of rehabilitation . In fact , it’s been shown that prisoners who experience hard ship in prisons are far more likely to reoffend than prisoners who are shown kindness and love .
    But there’s no money in that . There’s no money to be made from peace and love . There’s no money to be made in redundant courts and empty prisons .
    Rape and violence is a by-product of a sick society once having become managed by sociopaths .

    If you want to blame something , blame society . But remember , we are society .

    Mr George Will ? He’s just dumb . He’s clearly educated beyond his intelligence and he’s not the only one with the ability to reach an audience with empty skull syndrome and a perverse desire to be titillated by absurd statements . Otherwise would we be ‘ led ‘ by jonky ? Would we have a minister of welfare as cruel and brainless as bennett ? Would we have tolly as ‘corrections’ minister ? Would we have gun toting colloins , liar and swindler as minister of police , not to mention ACC ?

    I repeat ;

    If you want to blame something , blame society . But remember , we are society .

    • Profound and insightful way beyond expectation.

      Thank you country boy. Comment like your is why I read tdb

      life affirming sanity in the midst of much madness

  7. Like the satanic ritual child abuse and “recovered memory” hysteria orchestrated by the feminists in the 1980s – eg Peter Ellis, this is yet another witch hunt in the form of “rape culture” hysteria.

    Feminist rape statistics are bogus. Obama claimed 1 in 5 women are raped. That stat comes from a US Center For Disease Control and Prevention study in 2010-2011. It was a telephone survey with a low response and non representative sample. Worse the respondents were not asked if they had been raped or sexually assaulted, instead answers to vaguely worded questions were assessed by the CFD on whether any alcohol or drugs were involved in the sex ie a few drinks or a puff of weed, if yes then it was “rape”.

    Same with the sexual assault figures – questions like “had you ever had sex because someone made false promises about the future they knew were untrue.” A “yes” reply = “sexual violence”.

    That is how the CFD padded out the stats arriving at numbers massively higher than the US Justice Departments annual crime survey – the gold standard in crime research.

    Rape culture activists and politicians are heavily invested in the sensationalised and exaggerated figures. It gets them media attention, funding and political milage.

    • yeah you are right, rape is not really an issue. I guess 1 billion women who have survived violence globally as reported by V-day and WHO are mostly telling fibs. Rape is obviously a none-issue. People like you are tiring.

      • Rape is an issue like other crimes and vices. If it is the issue you Feminists claim it is, why the manipulation of the stats? To get media attention and political mileage with “Rape is everywhere!” propaganda.

        Your UN figures suffer the same manipulation as what I cited above.

        After all Feminists don’t see rape as an ordinary crime. They use recondite Marxist ideology to argue rape is a tool of oppression used by the male gender ‘class’ to ‘oppress’ the female gender ‘class’. I believe it was the book ‘Against Our Will’ published 1975 by the lesbian radical feminist Susan Brownmiller that got the ball rolling. Her central idea is “[rape] is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.” – Against Our Will: Men, Woman and Rape, chapter 1.

        That’s where the whole Feminist agitprop “Rape Culture” and “All men are (potential) rapists” nonsense derives from.

        I like the way the V-Day Feminist agitprop is deliberately done on Valentines Day. That’s like setting a Child Abuse Awareness Day on Christmas Day – twisted. The fact that the majority of those celebrating Valentines Day are romantic heterosexual couples probably explains why it is a Feminist target.

        • So you think rape is not used as a tool of oppression? That all rape stats are manipulated by feminists? And by the tone of your post you believe rape is not a serious global issue? Alright. Thank god I have men, like you, to explain my failings to understand the conspiracy of rape culture.

          • P.S I like the way you manage to ignore, Like George Will, staggering amounts of evidence that contradict everything you have posted. That must take some serious concentration and effort on your part, I tip my hat to you.

    • Were to begin. Kiwi-Guy

      “the US Justice Departments annual crime survey – the gold standard in crime research.” Were did you pull that little gem of propaganda from. Wow, do you really believe that? and if so can you give me the name of your drug supplier – because that level of deluded would take some hard core crack guy.

      “Like the satanic ritual child abuse and “recovered memory” hysteria orchestrated by the feminists in the 1980s – eg Peter Ellis, this is yet another witch hunt in the form of “rape culture” hysteria.” How the hell do you make this connection? Seriously dude, a case of child abuse – abuse being the guiding word here. On the second half of your assertion I kinda agree, the atrocious interview techniques used by the police produced very bad ongoing outcomes – not only for Mr Ellis, but the children involved. Funny you still got little to no sympathy for them as human beings. But bugger me, a man being victimised and your up in arms.

      And finally your saying all this stuff and you got no proof. It’s just a bunch of baseless assertions. Here’s one, you think your mom does not like you, so you hate women. And because you hate women, seeing anyone trying stopping violence against them you will spin any old lie to keep the violence and oppression going.

      Baseless on my part I know, as I know nothing about you – who you are or what you do. But anyone can make up crap any day of the week – it’s called propaganda in polite circles.

  8. @priss- I agree although pig is too nice an expression. what about hyena?
    cockroach, rat, or rancid piece of second hand phlegm?
    As for ‘society’, which we are, apparently, why does ‘society’ tolerate the endless bilge disguised as ‘entertainment’ which leaves no sacred stone not only unturned but kicked into the next universe?
    Why does ‘society’, allow and fete the mass production and dissemination of a vast array of little blue pills, potions bled from captive bears, elixirs distilled from the ripping apart of whales and dolphins, ground down deer horn, endangered tiger testicle, monkey gland extract, just for the extra hard on?
    We are slaves to our own ideations made celluloid and weasels that try to plant their own little flag atop it’s stinking dungheap clearly wouldn’t know a hard on if it hit them in the face or they wouldn’t be wasting their time trying to get the attention.

  9. Kiwi_Guy – WTF ?? What sort of callous mindless insensitive dribble is that? Everyone knows that rape ans sexual assault is under-reported.

    Whether the true figures is 1in 5, or 1in 10, or one in 100, who gives a fuck? !

    Do you care more for numbers and statistical evidence than you do for victims of rape?

    • @Tim I find some men, really, really, really need to debate the stats I use in my articles on rape. Because then they do not have to face the reality rape is really horrific, and that there is intersection between rigid stereotypes of masculinity and epic volumes of violence against women. Facing those facts, would be uncomfortable and challenging.

    • George Will’s answer to your question (in a letter he wrote to several US senators who disagreed with his column) is that the definition of rape/sexual assault has been widened so much that that it has trivialised the serious issue it is supposed to address.

      Surely its obvious that accurate statistics are important – the amount of resources allocated to solving a crime issue depends on how big the issue is perceived to be.

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