The wife of a friend of mine wrote a letter to a local publication, the Monterey County Weekly, in which she badly misquoted George Will’s recent statement in a column about victimization on campus.

My reply to her letter was published yesterday. Here it is:

Claire Mounteer and the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center are doing valuable work. That is why, at the request of local men’s group leader Fred Jealous, I gave a talk to their volunteers some years ago. It’s important that those who are serious about rape get their facts right. In her recent letter, Ms. Mounteer did not do that (“Letters,” June 19-25). She wrote: “And then there’s George Will, whose recent column was syndicated in many publications nationwide, calling being a rape survivor on a college campus a ‘coveted status that confers privilege.'”
Here’s what George Will actually wrote: “[Colleges and universities] are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (micro-aggressions, often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.”
Do you see the difference? George Will does not say that being a rape survivor is a “coveted status.” Instead, he says that victimhood is a coveted status. Indeed, a large part of his column was about how the number of women on campus who are victims of sexual assault cannot be as high as one in five. That trivializes sexual assault, something that sincere opponents of rape, such as Ms. Mounteer and I, cannot afford to do. David R. Henderson | Pacific Grove

One of the easiest things to do is to “win” an argument by badly misstating the argument of the person you are disagreeing with.