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11 December 2010 @ 09:39 am
Julian Assange is actually charged with actual rape  
It's not some bizarre Swedish law against "sex by surprise" or "sex without a condom", and the women accusing him did not say the sex was consensual.

Quoting from a piece by Jessica Valenti, AOL News at the center of “sex by surprise” lie in Assange’s rape case:
The allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are pretty straightforward in terms of Swedish law: he’s been accused of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. The charges allege that Assange held one woman down using his body weight to sexually assault her and that he raped another woman while she was sleeping.

Yet the media – everyone from Naomi Wolf and Glenn Beck to bloggers across the internet – is reporting that Assange is being charged with "sex by surprise," or some bizarre Swedish law having to do with a condom breaking, not rape. Multiple reports also characterize the sex as consensual.

The truth? There’s nothing in Swedish law about “sex by surprise” or broken condoms. (Here’s the penal code, see for yourself.) And despite reports to the contrary, Assange’s accusers have always said that this was not consensual sex.
Read the whole thing. It's short, but very informative about how the media has perpetuated falsehoods and victim-blaming in this case.

For the record: Just because you think Julian Assange/Wikileaks is doing good work releasing government information the public needs to know, doesn't also mean you have to victim-blame and woman-bash about the rape charges. He can be a legitimately-accused rapist and still be doing good work in another area. That good work doesn't absolve him of all other bad deeds. Are the charges/timing of the charges politically motivated? Maybe. But that doesn't in itself make them untrue.

In conclusion: Rape apologists need to STFU. NOW.

ETA: Another excellent piece by Jessica Valenti, What the Assange case reveals about rape in America. This one is specifically interesting for its discussion of the United States' regressive rape laws compared to Sweden:
The allegations against Assange are rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. He's accused of pinning one woman's arms and using his body weight to hold her down during one alleged assault, and of raping a woman while she was sleeping. In both cases, according to the allegations, Assange did not use a condom. But the controversy seems to center on the fact that both encounters started off consensually. One of his accusers was quoted by the Guardian newspaper in August as saying, "What started out as voluntary sex subsequently developed into an assault." Whether consent was withdrawn because of the lack of a condom is unclear, but also beside the point. In Sweden, it's a crime to continue to have sex after your partner withdraws consent.

In the United States, withdrawing consent is not so clear-cut. [...]

[...]

"The United States has relatively regressive rape laws; in most states, there's a requirement of force in order to prove rape, rather than just demonstrating lack of consent," feminist lawyer Jill Filipovic wrote last week. "We're deeply wedded to the notion of rape as forcible . . . a consent-based framework for evaluating sexual assault is not yet widely accepted."
This really resonates with me. Rape does not have to be forcible. Our model for sexual consent should not be, "she never actually said no", but "she enthusiastically said yes".
 
 
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(Deleted comment)
laynie: Feminazilayniek on December 13th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
That's a good piece too. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the bit about "the announcement of their favorite spontaneous holiday: Rape Apology Day".

I need to read Yes Means Yes. I really don't understand what's so complicated about consent. I have this post by Portly Dyke from ages ago bookmarked because it seems to share my opinion (and is also hilarious): A Modest Proposal: The Thorny Issue of Sexual Consent
There's been a lot of discussion about what constitutes "consent" in terms of sexual encounters. Personally, I'm a strong proponent of just asking my sexual partner (even after we've been together for years) the simple question: "Do you want to have sex with me?"

Figuring out what to do after asking this question is a very easy If/Then statement:

IF Answer = "Yes", THEN *sex ensues*, ELSE *sex does not ensue*.

Now, when I've proposed this solution to rape-apologists some people, they have challenged my programming sequence with a very thorny "ElseIF" equation: "But what if she changes her mind in the middle of it and then accuses me of rape?" -- because according to these rape apologists people, this apparently happens all the time -- just every time you turn around, I guess (on some planet).

These rape apologists individuals also say that getting clear consent before gettin'-it-on is a "mood-killer", and one of them stated "unless a woman is chanting "Yes' over and over for hours without interruption . . . . any woman can then claim withdrawal of consent."

And that's when it hit me -- my fool-proof solution to the thorny issue of "consent":

1) Get a clear "yes" from your partner before engaging in sex AND 2) BECOME A BETTER LOVER

See, I've never really thought of it as a problem if my lover was chanting (or screaming) YES! YES! YES! "over and over for hours without interruption" during sex. ("Don't Stop!" and "Keep doing whatever it is you're doing!" also do not disturb me in the slightest.)

In fact, this situation has been so common for me that I had simply assumed that it was par for the course.
I also have The opposite of rape is not consent; the opposite of rape is enthusiasm: a revised and expanded post by Hugo Schwyzer bookmarked. It's a really good description of a workshop he put together about consent that uses a traffic light analogy--red means "stop", not "wait around/try to convince or coerce until you get to green".
(Anonymous) on June 17th, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
Julian Assange has never been charged with anything.
laynie: Feminazilayniek on June 19th, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC)
Yet.

I apologise for my imprecision in the use of the word "charged". Substitute "accused" and the rest of the post stands.