For Christmas, I got myself a Twitter account. Check it out, I put the solar system on it. I love Twitter – it’s like going to a party every day, but better, because you don’t have to talk to people and pretend you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself. But just recently, I discovered another diverting feature of the social network – you can send Jörg Kachelmann rape statistics.
Kachelmann, you might remember, is the weatherman who was accused of rape, spent some time in prison, got acquitted, and then wrote a book saying that too many women report being raped because they think they can make some cash out of it. He calls this the “victim industry”. The book was called Law and Justice, two concepts that he seems to find synonymous with his thesis. “You want more law and justice?” his book rhetorically asks. “Stop letting all these women report rape.”
In the past few weeks, I have developed a sort of perfunctory rapport with the meteorologist-turned-rapist-defender. It’s not exactly fun, but it is strangely satisfying. Maybe you want to join in? All you have to do is every time a new official statistic or NGO study comes out pointing out how many women get raped in a year, or how many sexual assaults go unreported, or how few rapes are prosecuted, or how few rape accusations turn out to be false, basically any rape-related stat, pop it in a tweet, and add @J_Kachelmann. Kachelmann then tweets you back within a few hours and says something like, “All lies.” It’s like a really weird game of Battleship. But so far I’ve only had misses. I’m yet to find a rape statistic which has what he calls “a real data basis”.
Kachelmann is a busy man, so he obviously can’t chase down every tentacle of the victim industry, but with my tweets, I have established that the list of organizations that are in on it includes the human rights organization Terre des Femmes, the US Department of Justice, the FBI, the British Justice Ministry, the British Home Office and the British Office for National Statistics. To his credit, he always replies if you tweet him the stats – the only time he didn’t was when I asked him to sign a petition complaining about a gang of rapists being let off in the US. Then he fell silent.
This week, my Twitter correspondent won the Unwort des Jahres (un-word of the year). This is an award given out by a jury of linguists to a new German word that they think puts “factually unsuitable or inhuman formulations in the public use of language”. Doublespeak, basically. Or lying bullshit. For context, previous winners of the Un-Word Award include the former Yugoslavian dictatorship for coming up with the phrase “ethnic cleansing” to describe mass murder, the Taliban and al-Qaeda, for describing themselves as “God’s warriors”, the German Bundestag, for saying “budget adjustment” when they meant “budget cut,” and the German media, for coming up with the phrase “Döner Murders” to describe the murder of immigrants by neo-Nazis.
This year, they chose Kachelmann’s Opfer-Abo (victim subscription) because it “unacceptably puts women under general suspicion of inventing sexual violence and of thus being perpetrators themselves.”
Ha! There you go Kachelmann, I think you’ll find you just got served by a bunch of cunning linguists.
UPDATE: Read Kachelmann’s Twitter response in the image up left!