Some Shit I’m Sick of Hearing Regarding Rape and Assange
Claim: If you think these rape allegations against Julian Assange should be taken seriously, then you just don’t get it! Wake up and smell the set-up!
Why I’m so fucking sick of it: No really, we get it. I promise. There might be like 3 people on earth who believe the timing of Assange’s arrest was pure coincidence, but I haven’t seen them hanging out in the feminist blogosphere.
The point we’re making is that they didn’t pick him up on unpaid parking tickets here. Two women have accused him of rape. Yes, rape. Rape allegations should be taken seriously.
What “taking the allegations seriously” means:
- Accepting that Assange has been accused of real crimes, even if the authorities would almost certainly not have pursued him under other circumstances.
- If you are a WikiLeaks supporter, understanding that it is possible for the very same man to do things you really approve of AND things you really disapprove of.
- Being skeptical of claims that are used to discredit rape victims every day — e.g., “She wanted it”; “If she didn’t want it, then he didn’t know he didn’t have consent — it was all a big misunderstanding”; “Afterwards, she didn’t behave like I think a victim should”; “She’s just mad and trying to punish him”; “She hesitated to report it/wavered on pressing charges”; “She’s a crazy man-hater.”
- Recognizing that all of the above are, in fact, tactics used to discredit rape victims every day, and not Really Convincing Special Facts About This Particular Case.
- Encouraging a fair trial, if it comes to that, for both the accused and the accusers.
What “taking the allegations seriously” does not mean:
- Presuming that Assange is guilty/Ruling out any possibility that the allegations are false.
- Failing to understand that the pursuit of Assange was wildly out of proportion to the usual treatment of accused rapists.
- Being a sheep with no capacity or desire to think critically about the actions of powerful people who have been embarrassed by WikiLeaks.
Claim: Because nobody cares about prosecuting rape under normal circumstances, it is somehow an insult to rape survivors to prosecute Assange for it now.
Someone really fucking said that? Yeah, Naomi Wolf in the Huffington Post, for instance. Money quote:
Of course ‘No means No’, even after consent has been given, whether you are male or female; and of course condoms should always be used if agreed upon. As my fifteen-year-old would say: Duh.
But for all the tens of thousands of women who have been kidnapped and raped, raped at gunpoint, gang-raped, raped with sharp objects, beaten and raped, raped as children, raped by acquaintances — who are still awaiting the least whisper of justice — the highly unusual reaction of Sweden and Britain to this situation is a slap in the face.
Wait, what? Yeah, she actually seems to be arguing that out of respect for rape survivors who never saw justice, Britain and Sweden should not prosecute an accused rapist. It’s all of them or none of them. Or something.
Doesn’t she have a good point somewhere in there, though? Sure. To wit, “Here is what I mean: men are pretty much never treated the way Assange is being treated in the face of sex crime charges.” Usually, rapists go free.
BUT: That doesn’t mean these charges shouldn’t be taken seriously. See above. And as someone who’s worked extensively with rape survivors, Naomi Wolf should damn well know better than to smear alleged victims long before all the facts are in, perpetuate a flat-out lie about the seriousness of the charges, and generally act like a cheerleader for rape culture, under the guise of someone concerned about “real” victims. Which we all know these women are not, duh, because Assange has already been tried and found not OH WAIT.
Better idea: Decry the routine dismissal of rape allegations and shameful treatment of victims all over the damned world, but maybe skip the part about how prosecuting an accused rapist somehow makes it worse.
Claim: He’s being charged with rape because a condom broke! It’s just because Sweden has this ridiculous “sex by surprise” law!
Why I’m so fucking sick of it, part 1: It’s not true.
Why I’m so fucking sick of it, part 2: Even if it were true, it would still be a big deal. As Jeff Fecke put it on Twitter last night, “Am I missing something? Isn’t ‘sex by surprise’ just a euphemism for rape? Or am I just too hung up on ‘consent?’”
Seriously. If you find yourself surprised to be having sex, it follows that you did not consent! And what’s another name for “non-consensual sex,” kids?
But, but, but… broken condom! This would be a big deal, too, actually! No, not the broken condom itself, but the refusal to stop putting your penis inside someone who’s told you to stop.
Consenting to sex with a condom and consenting to sex without are two entirely different things, as it turns out. A little vocabulary lesson: It’s not rape because you weren’t attracted to the guy or didn’t feel like fucking at all that night or were saving yourself for marriage. It’s rape because at some point, a rapist completely ignored your lack of consent. And yes, it is actually possible to both consent to sex and not consent to sex in the same night, with the same person! For any number of reasons, including that you are willing to have sex with a condom, but not willing to have sex that carries a far greater risk of your becoming pregnant and/or contracting an STI. Oddly enough, those risks can have a serious impact on one’s willingness to fuck! Like, enough to make a hypothetical woman say, “Stop!” when she becomes aware that a condom has broken.
And what do we call “continuing to put your penis inside a woman who’s told you to stop,” boys and girls?
Hint: The answer is not “the best known cure for blue balls.“
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Thursday, 16 December 2010
Some Shit I’m Sick of Hearing Regarding Rape and Assange « Kate Harding