A few weeks ago, long-time Washington Post conservative columnist and Fox News Channel commentator George Will wrote a piece about victimhood becoming a “coveted status.” He chided the federal government in general and questioned statistics and the definition of rape.
A handful of Democratic U.S. Senators wrote him a letter expressing their displeasure. One major newspaper will no longer publish his syndicated column, while another refused to publish that particular piece. And there has been a push to have him fired from the Washington Post.
I said at the time I vehemently disagreed with the tone of the piece – it seemed tone death, at best – because the only way victimhood is a coveted status is in the minds of clueless people who are too privileged to understand complex issues, or simply refuse to acknowledge the limits of their personal point-of-view.
But I also said he shouldn’t be fired and that the piece sparked needed discussion and led to some really compelling responses.
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Here is the latest response and another reason it made sense to publish the column: The rape survivor Will referenced in his piece is speaking out.
The survivor in an interview published today:
"I absolutely have not received any privileges from sexual assault. [Will] has clearly never experienced the fear of sexual assault," Sendrow said in an interview with Media Matters published Tuesday. "He clearly has no idea how hard it is to sleep, to walk around, thinking at any moment this person that you live down the hall from could come out."
"No one gives a shit about you," she added. "What benefit could we possibly get? Sometimes I feel like I can't have a real relationship because someone might touch me in the wrong way. How is that okay?"
Sendrow said that the way Will dismissed her sexual assault was dangerous to survivors.
"No one wants to hear that you brought this on yourself," she said. "No one wants to relive the experience or tell that story, when they haven't really had a chance to reflect. You can't really heal if people are telling you that it's your fault. But that's what Will did."
She also criticized Will for making the issue of rape political.
"[H]e's a conservative columnist, but why should sexual assault be political?" she asked.
Finally, Sendrow wondered how Will would have responded if her story had come from a member of his family.
"What if [Will's] daughter -- I don't know if he has a daughter -- but would he say to her, that this didn't happen?" she asked. "If she came to him crying, or even not crying, but if she came to him and told him this story, would he just say it wasn't real?"