Warning! I am angry! The below is ranty. Also probably triggering for some people. Read at your own risk. Don’t comment if you just want to tell me I’m overreacting or whatever. Go back to your own blog and write there.
Okay? Okay. Onward.
So. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been accused of rape. There’s talk of extradition from where he is now (the UK) to the country where he’s been accused (Sweden). Nobody thinks this is a coincidence — lots of governments are pissed at him, and it’s pretty obvious that were this anybody else, nothing would be done.
Because it’s a rape case. About 6% of all rapes ever wind up with the rapist going to jail. Any Joe Schmoe who raped two women in Sweden and then went to the UK would not be extradited.
Frankly, I think the hoopla might be a good thing. If Assange actually did commit rape, he should serve time. I don’t care how noble Wikileaks is (that’s a whole other kettle of fish I’m not interested in). Of course, I still think Roman Polanski should have served time, so what do I know?
What has me extra pissed off is how many of the various progressive/left supporters of Wikileaks are coming up to say, essentially, it wasn’t rape cos the women didn’t indicate their lack of consent vocally enough. No means no, and that means you have to say no, or it’s not rape. Even though he held one woman down so she’d have sex with him. Even though he started having sex with the other while she was asleep, and unable to consent. Even though in both cases he refused to use a condom, in spite of both women having made it clear all along that condoms were necessary if sex was going to happen.
What the fuck.
Setting aside the arm-holding and the sleep-raping, consensual sex and non-consensual sex look very different, regardless of whether the words “no,” “stop,” or whatever get said. Of course Assange says it was consensual. If it was, then he’s right. If it wasn’t, he’s a rapist with a very different idea of what “consensual” means than the average not-rapist sort of person. From the link above:
To a rapist, sex that is a mistake is a girl who was flirting with you and doesn’t scream and run and hit you when you rape her — obviously she wanted and deserved it because she was flirting, and that’s what he’ll say to make bystanders call her a liar. Bystanders will believe this, because they’re imagining what they think “mistake” means instead of realizing what definition the rapist is using. To a rapist, drunken sex is spiking a drink or finding a girl who is voluntarily so drunk that she’s blacking out or passed out and raping her while she’s unconscious or unable to move. She’ll call it rape, he’ll say “she was drunk!” and bystanders will think about the times they’ve had drunken sex with a consensual partner, and how HORRIBLE it would be if they were accused of rape later, so obviously THIS couldn’t be rape, never realizing that the rapist has a very different definition of “drunken sex” than they do.
A rapist who dismisses all other ways a victim has of saying no to sex indicates that the only way out is a physical fight. Nothing else will work. And he has placed his victim at a physical disadvantage — isolated, possibly undressed, possibly lying down, possibly drugged — in order to lessen the chance of a physical fight, and the chance of her winning. And as soon as it becomes clear to her that nothing less than a physical fight will stop sex, she knows what a disadvantage she is in. A rape victim who sees all her options outside of a physical fight ignored knows that to get away, she will have to risk being injured. And she may not get away, and be forced to have sex while injured, or (I don’t know if men can really understand or imagine the horror of this one) be forced to have sex that by itself causes physical injury. So suddenly this thing that seemed so important — the right to your own body — gets cast aside. You decide it isn’t worth it. You quietly agree to whatever they say.
This case is only making it more clear how back-assward the American take on rape is. For example: here in the US, it isn’t always illegal to continue having sex with someone who withdraws consent. As long as things started off consensually, one partner can do whatever they want to the other, even if the victim starts saying no, begs them to stop, whatever. Courts have ruled that this is the case. WTF.
Mostly, at this point, I wish every person who is mouthing off about how wrong it is to even consider extraditing Assange would read this — I know it’s just addressed to second and third wave feminists, but most of the content applies to the others — and then either nut up and say clearly they think it’s not rape if you don’t say no repeatedly while the assault is happening, or shut the fuck up.