WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- Democratic senators wrote a scathing letter to columnist George Will ripping him for his "antiquated" piece doubting the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses.
In his column, "Colleges become the victims of progressivism," Will said that the narrative on campus sexual assault is skewed because students are claiming they are victims because it brings a "coveted status that confers privileges."
"Combine this with capacious definitions of sexual assault that can include not only forcible sexual penetration but also non-consensual touching," Will continued. "Then add the doctrine that the consent of a female who has been drinking might not protect a male from being found guilty of rape. Then comes costly litigation against institutions that have denied due process to males they accuse of what society considers serious felonies."
The column quickly received backlash from readers. The women's advocacy group Ultraviolet has already received 100,000 signatures for their petition to get Will fired.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., wrote a letter condemning the piece saying Will's rhetoric makes it harder to prevent sexual assaults.
"Your thesis and statistics fly in the face of everything we know about this issue," the letter read. "More egregiously, you trivialize the scourge of sexual assault, putting the phrase in scare quotes and treating this crime as a socially acceptable phenomenon. It is in fact a spreading epidemic, and you legitimize the myths that victims and victim advocates have worked tirelessly for decades to combat."
Blumenthal recently drafted a "bill of rights" for college sexual assault survivors as part of an effort to curb the increasing incidents across the country.
"The culture you described is so antiquated, so counterintuitive and so contrary to anything we heard that we hope you will make an effort to hear the stories survivors bravely shared with us about the struggles they face in addressing what has happened to them -- often with little meaningful assistance from authorities expected to help them. In this instance, 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."