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June 15 2014

George Will Answers Democratic Senators on Sexual Assault Statistics

Charlotte Hays

We have already commented on George Will’s column on the Obama administration’s highly suspect figures on sexual assault on campus.

Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut), Dianne Feinstein (California), Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin) and Bob Casey (Pennsylvania) did not like Will’s column and wrote an open letter to him challenging his “antiquated” attitude and accusing him of “trivializing” the issue of sexual assault. Here is a news story on their letter.

Will’s reply is a masterpiece. The Washington Post prints an excerpt:

Dear Senators Blumenthal, Feinstein, Baldwin and Casey:

I have received your letter of June 12, and I am puzzled. You say my statistics “fly in the face of everything we know about this issue.” You do not mention which statistics, but those I used come from the Obama administration, and from simple arithmetic involving publicly available reports on campus sexual assaults.

The administration asserts that only 12 percent of college sexual assaults are reported. Note well: I did not question this statistic. Rather, I used it.

I cited one of the calculations based on it that Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute has performed {link}. So, I think your complaint is with the conclusion that arithmetic dictates, based on the administration’s statistic. The inescapable conclusion is that another administration statistic that one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college is insupportable and might call for tempering your rhetoric about “the scourge of sexual assault.”

As for what you call my “ancient beliefs,” which you think derive from an “antiquated” and “counterintuitive” culture, allow me to tell you something really counterintuitive: I think I take sexual assault much more seriously than you do. Which is why I worry about definitions of that category of crime that might, by their breadth, tend to trivialize it. And why I think sexual assault is a felony that should be dealt with by the criminal justice system, and not be adjudicated by improvised campus processes.

I urge you to read Will’s reply.

 

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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