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Washington Post Should Fire George Will and ‘Rape Apologist’ Editors

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Trigger Warning

Writer George Will argued in a June 6th column in the Washington Post that colleges promote a climate where “victimhood is a coveted status that confers privileges.” He continued in what can scarcely be called an article, which I will more accurately describe here as a printed defense of rape, to describe the sexual assault of a Swarthmore College student. He unlike myself places “sexual assault” when it appears in his column in quotations. Amazingly George Will is still employed. That needs to change.

Before and after of Adam Kushner's Washington Post Headline.

Before and after of Adam Kushner’s Washington Post Headline.

Unless the Washington Post permanently wishes to have the labels “vile,” “misogynistic” and “rape apologists” branded onto itself it must fire George Will and editors Fred Hiatt and Adam Kushner. These men have facilitated publishing three articles in the span on one week that place the blame for sexual assault on its victims. First Will’s column, then a column Adam Kushner edited which was first published with the subhead “#YesAllWomen would be safer to get hitched to their Baby Daddies.”

This subheading has been edited several times. Sadly the misleading content within the article has not. Kushner apologized for that edited headline because he said “the initial headline distracted people from taking seriously a raft of social science which the author discusses. That was my bad.”

The Post’s own statisticians at 538 have argued against that defense, stating plainly, “The Washinston Post Misused Statistics on the Violence Against Women.”  Kushner published another article this week blaming tough campus rape policies for underreporting – another dubious claim that again serves as a shield for the perpetrators of sexual assault and a trigger for sexual assault survivors.

Hiatt responded to the criticism in an email posted to the International Business Times. “I think George’s column was well within bounds of legitimate debate on an important topic…I welcomed his perspective and I think the ensuing debate, including responses we will publish, is very healthy and exactly what a good opinion section should be offering its readers.” A Washington Post spokesman reiterated this comment to the IBT saying that the paper planned to publish a “variety of responses in op-ed letters.”

This week there has been one post critical of Will’s comments and a rebuttal of the statistics in the Post‘s “baby daddies” article. If you add in Kushner’s third column, we can see that the paper’s editorial intent to post every opinion has slanted towards those that blame victims rather than perpetrators of sexual violence or the institutions that are failing to protect them.

That is an editorial decision. It was made by two men who are bad at their jobs, two men who at present have their jobs and are going to be allowed to continue to publish people like George Will and the equally sexist and racist Richard Cohen, who stated that biracial families do not fit “conventional views” and who thought slaves lived a contented existence until he reviewed 12 Years a Slave. Considering Cohen has remained on the job throughout 2014 despite such comments it’s time these decisions are taken out of the hands of these editors. Until then #YesAllWomen and all men who respect them should cancel their subscriptions to the Washington Post.

Author and activist Wangate Wanjuki of Feministing created a forum on Twitter where women and men are voicing their outrage and sharing their own stories of #SurvivorPrivilege, a sarcastic hashtag that conveys the truth about how survivors of sexual assault are treated. The answer is infinitely worse than George Will or the Washington Post may ever understand.

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About Gabe_Canada

Gabrial is a native Hoosier. He is a blogger for the grassroots media literacy organization Racebending.com and a member of the team at Kind of Epic Show. A weekly pop culture news podcast http://www.podomatic.com/kindofepicshow whose hosts may or may not form a giant fighting robot.
  • Victor Lana

    Idiots like Cohen and Will no doubt will remain employed because there is a societal deficiency when discussing rape, especially if it involves “college athletes” and “co-eds.” There seems to be no end to apologists who are ready to say the boys will just be boys and the girls gave off the wrong signals. It is so pathetic that it is frightening, and what about the situation at Brown (and other colleges and universities) where the use of date rape drugs have been rampant for years?

    In the past barbarian hordes used rape as punishment to those conquered, and it has always been an act of power and humiliation. It is incongruous that in our supposedly civilized society that there are so many of those who wish to dismiss rape (they like to use the supposedly more palatable “sexual assault”) or like to blame the accuser (she is always somehow to blame).

    It’s really time for true men to start acting the part and respecting women and standing up for them in public forums and where it matters most – in the bars and parties where sexual predators need to stopped in their tracks.

  • Jim_Satterfield

    Maybe they should consider hiring the blogger Vox Popoli to further their apparent editorial policy.

  • Rich Horton

    I miss fisking. At least then you could tell what the hell people were talking about. All I see here is a spluttering of uncontrolled rage, which I suppose is to represent the depth of your commitment or something. What would be nice to read is a cogent analysis of what you are taking exception towards. Yes, that is worthwhile even when writing against someone as self-evidently dastardly as Will.

  • Jack

    No, people shouldn’t get fired just because you disagree with them. (I say this as a person probably more in line with your thinking than Will’s.) You can fire Will today. But, soon enough, it would be your head on the block.

    • Gabrial Canada

      Sexual assault is different. Its not a debate. It is wrong. Supporting rapist over survivors is wrong. It says you don’t value women. If your job is your opinions you can not continue as an organization to pay those whose opinions privilege such viciousness.

      • brook

        witchcraft is different. It’s not a debate. It is wrong. Suppo….

  • bliffle

    Hysteria. You all are displaying hysteria and every would-be thief and dictator knows how to manipulate people through hysteria: give them what they want, a chance to commit a grievous crime against someone, anyone, as long as they can later exculpate themselves with “I went crazy. The mob lead me on. Besides, there’s the ‘unwritten law'”. Sometimes we call it a witchhunt. Or the 2% rule: “if there’s a 2% chance they’re guilty we must kill them”. Sound familiar?

    Humans prefer vengeance to justice. We want to tear out the throat and eat the liver. Humans are a sorry lot. I suppose that’s what inspired Randy Newmans “Gods song”.

  • Victor Lana

    Here’s a letter from a rape survivor to George Will.

  • bliffle

    Didn’t we all read “The Ox Bow Incident” in High School as a caution to damp down the excesses of anger, rage, hidden hatred, prejudice, and vengeance? To require a fair trial, evidence, witness confrontation, etc., instead of a hysterical witchhunt?

    DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

    I’m amazed at how easily modern people are stampeded into attacking someone just because a noisy claque is successfully manipulated by a liar for the purpose of cheating someone out of their rights and their money, even their property, reputation and family. Yet, I have seen fathers and husbands so cheated by feminist organizations that contrived evidence against fathers to kidnap his children and move them thousands of miles away and then use the courts to frustrate attempts to change that.

  • http://www.chloethurlow.com Chloe Thurlow

    It seems hard for some men, a certain type of man, too understand that women do not want to be violated under any circumstances. Women are not objects, toys, pets, puppets, bunnies. Women are not there to be used, abused, made into sex objects. Rape is the worst thing that can happen to a woman, for some women worse than death. George Will should be ashamed. You do not want to hear this, but in terms of social development, the United States needs to catch up with Europe. You still have you hearts and feet planted in the 1950s.