This week, Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten took a “deeply respectful” but skeptical eye to the Sexist’s ongoing groping series. “Basically, the column seemed to divide the world into two types of people: 1) Women, and 2) Gropers,” Weingarten said of the sexual assault stories. “I believe I have never groped a woman who was not a willing participant in said gropage, so I was somewhat taken aback by the underlying assumptions here. But, not being a woman, I don’t really know what I am talking about. I need to hear from the ladies.” Because your sexual assault experience isn’t legitimate until it’s been confirmed by a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist, am I right ladies?
So: In order to determine the accuracy of the groping coverage, Weingarten set up two reader polls, one for men, and one for women. The good news: The poll confirms that groping is a serious problem for women! The bad news: 84 percent of Gene Weingarten’s female fans have been groped.
Some key results of the poll for women:
* Of the 1553 women who took Weingarten’s quiz, 84 percent attested to have been groped at least once; 18 percent claimed to have been groped “so often I lost count.”
* 78 percent of women said that they never “officially complained about being groped”—-whether to the groper or some sort of authority.
* 61 percent of women said that if a stranger touched them in order to become aroused on a crowded train or bus, “I would quietly try to get out of there, but not make a scene.”
* Despite those numbers, women were pretty divided on whether my groping coverage “overstates the problem.” 21 percent of women say that the column “seriously” overstates the problem; 44 percent say that the column overstates the problem “maybe a little bit”; 34 percent don’t believe the column overstates the problem “at all.”
Meanwhile, 1001 men submitted their thoughts on groping to Weingarten’s quiz. Ever wonder how many readers of Gene Weingarten’s column are serial sexual assailants? Now we know!:
* 90 percent of men think that it is “ethically and/or morally wrong” to grope a woman.
* 77 percent of men claim never to have committed a grope; only 12 guys (1.2 percent) admitted to practicing groping “often.”
* 5 percent of men have this view of groping: “I think playful touching is exactly that, playful touching. If a woman complains, Ill stop, but otherwise, cmon.”
I thank Weingarten for taking up the groping issue over at the Post, and for crunching the numbers for a significant slice of the D.C. population. I do wish that the groping quiz had asked the fellas if they thought the groping problem was overstated, as well. Ninety percent of men think it’s wrong to grope a woman. But do they believe groping happens?