Senate Dems: George Will ‘trivializes’ sexual assault

A group of Senate Democrats blasted Washington Post columnist George Will Thursday, saying he trivialized “the scourge of sexual assault” in a recent column.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) sent Will a letter saying his June 6 column contradicted “everything we know” about sexual assault on college campuses. The lawmakers took issue with him writing that sexual assault victims have a “coveted status” on their campuses that “confers privileges.”

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“More egregiously, you trivialize the scourge of sexual assault, putting the phrase in scare quotes and treating this crime as a socially acceptable phenomenon,” the senators wrote. “It is in fact a spreading epidemic, and you legitimize the myths that victims and victim advocates have worked tirelessly for decades to combat.”

Lawmakers and the administration have made a push to hold campuses responsible for high sexual assault rates. The Department of Education has made a report documenting which schools have the highest incident rates. The senators said Will’s column questioned the accuracy of sexual assault statistics.

“Your writing, which purports to be based on accurate facts and figures, has not only shown a fundamental disrespect to survivors, but also includes a harmful rhetoric that has made addressing this issue so difficult,” the letter stated. “There is no acceptable number of sexual assaults; anything more than zero is unacceptable.” 

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