On Allies and Accusations of Rape

Update(s) below

This Amanda Marcote post was on pendagon.net. I couldn’t find the original link and found this through a cache that Glenn Greenwald put up, but I thought it was too important (and I think she’s thoroughly right). I’ll get links up and running in a bit.

“C’mon, we can do this acting like grown-ups thing

• Crime

Update: Julian Assange has been arrested.  Again, I must point out that if we treated rape seriously even when the accused aren’t people that are embarrassing the U.S. government, rape would probably be far smaller of a problem.

When I was in junior high school, one of my classmates got pregnant on accident.  The rumor spread quickly… that she was having sex with her boyfriend, the condom broke, she begged him to quit and he wouldn’t.  Even at the tender age of 13 years old, I knew that there was no way on earth that this was morally acceptable, or even close to it, and the proof was in the pregnancy that she (purportedly) begged him not to inflict on her against her will.  Again, this was a rumor…  But what I do know is that my friends and I who were horrified were 100% right.  What is amazing to me is when grown adults can’t wrap their minds around what childish virgins understand, which is that it’s wrong to fuck a woman who has withdrawn her consent, no matter when she does it.  It’s assault.  It’s rape, even if it’s not legally rape.

Interpol is using a rape accusation that resembles this one to put Julian Assange on their most-wanted list.  As Lindsay points out, this is just silly.  Sex crimes are never actually taken this seriously—we feminists wish!—and I’m annoyed to see rape used in this way, considering that rape apologists are already eager to suggest that rape accusations are about some evil bitch with ulterior motives. Indeed, as Lindsay notes, the usual rape apologist tropes are being employed, this time by people who should know better.  Jill has more on why forcibly fucking a woman who has withdrawn her consent because the condom conditions weren’t met is in fact rape, and it should always be legally treated as such.  The key here is “consent”, which was withdrawn.  That means that the woman was non-consenting.  Having sex with a non-consenting person is rape…

I don’t know if Julian Assange is guilty, of course, but I’m deeply disturbed by the people who aren’t content with suggesting that Interpol is politicizing a crime that shouldn’t be politicized, but instead slurring the victims with the usual course of rape apologist tactics, including accusing a victim of the high crime of being a “radical feminist”.  I suppose we should find this evidence against her, instead of evidence that Assange has sex with other people in the community of political radicals to which he belongs. I’m sorry, but why on earth is it so hard to believe that Assange is the kind of guy who power trips on women by promising to use a condom and then slipping it off during sex?  This is one of the most common kinds of sexual assault there is, and a favorite way for guys with power issues to get cheap thrills at the expense of women, who they often feel are contemptible and weak.  Are we to assume that someone who clearly gets a rise out of making the most powerful nation on the planet scramble around in a chickens-with-heads-cut-off manner doesn’t have a tendency to ego trip?  Are we to assume someone who risks life and limb for this isn’t the kind of guy who might get smaller kicks out of smaller, less internationally interesting power trips?…

I’m just annoyed at people’s black-and-white thinking—believing that because they support Assange’s actions in this one case, that means that his motivations must be pure as the driven snow and he must generally be above reproach.  It doesn’t work that way.  If anything, my experience says to me that men on the radical political fringes are quite often big assholes with power issues that they take out on women.  I’ve definitely seen with my own eyes the way that anti-war demonstrators who devote their lives to the cause often have the women in the kitchen making sandwiches while the men sit around on their asses bullshitting. And I’ve heard more than one story about anarchist communes and how the women are, despite all the lip smacking about radical politics, relegated to very unradical gender roles, which are, in turn, justified by some high-falutin’ rhetoric.. [I]t’s completely silly to think that leftists, especially in the fringe, aren’t capable of being massive dicks about women’s right to things such as bodily autonomy.

We can be grown-ups here.  We can entertain the idea that Wikileaks is performing a valuable service while acknowledging the strong possibility that Julian Assange is himself an asshole who treats women like they’re objects he can exert his massive power issues on.  We can criticize Interpol for treating these alleged sex crimes more seriously than they ever treat sex crimes and maintain sympathy for women who reportedly were quite afraid they had been exposed to unintended pregnancy or worse.  Maybe we can even do one better than that, and accept that more than a few men who consider themselves liberals or even leftists—or may even claim to be feminists—still act like women’s concerns should be dismissed and our rights can be transgressed with ease.  I’m not accusing Assange of anything, but I seriously think it’s silly to think the accusations couldn’t be credible.

Bonus:

Of course this whole fiasco is convoluted, filled with explosives and fishies and lurkers all over. I’ve heard all types of false accusations, many of which have been purportedly spread by the mainstream media or been actually spread by the mainstream media. Here’s a few that I’m a bit worried about:

    • The false accusation, often repeated, that Assange was arrested on charges of statutory rape – or sex with minors – is chief among them. No one that I’ve spoken to in this regard can even produce a link to a story that even suggests that. Somehow, people read “rape” and “sex” and add “with minors” in between the lines.

 

 

 

  • That the cables risk hundreds of thousands of lives. (Again, links above)

 

 

  • That Assange, et. al are culpable of treason.

 

 

  • That Assange, et al are terrorists.

 

 

  • That it’s all just pranksterism.

 

 

  • That we haven’t learned anything new from the cables that have been released.

 

 

To this last point, I’ll point out these revelations that Greenwald assembled for us here:

(1) the U.S. military formally adopted a policy of turning a blind eyeto systematic, pervasive torture and other abuses by Iraqi forces;

(2) the State Department threatened Germany not to criminally investigate the CIA’s kidnapping of one of its citizens who turned out to be completely innocent;

(3) the State Department under Bush and Obama applied continuous pressure on the Spanish Government to suppress investigations of the CIA’s torture of its citizens and the 2003 killing of a Spanish photojournalist when the U.S. military fired on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad (see The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Will Bunch today about this: “The day Barack Obama Lied to me“);

(4) the British Government privately promised to shield Bush officials from embarrassment as part of its Iraq War “investigation”;

(5) there were at least 15,000 people killed in Iraq that were previously uncounted;

(6) “American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world” about the Iraq war as it was prosecuted, a conclusion the Post‘s own former Baghdad Bureau Chief wrote was proven by the WikiLeaks documents;

(7) the U.S.’s own Ambassador concluded that the July, 2009 removal of the Honduran President was illegal — a coup — but the State Department did not want to conclude that and thus ignored it until it was too late to matter;

(8) U.S. and British officials colluded to allow the U.S. to keep cluster bombs on British soil even though Britain had signed the treaty banning such weapons, and,

(9) Hillary Clinton’s State Department ordered diplomats to collect passwords, emails, and biometric data on U.N. and other foreign officials, almost certainly in violation of the Vienna Treaty of 1961.

But then there’s other problems. For all the mounting evidence that can be used against the US’s imperialistic acts of aggression (and there are many), WikiLeaks also dumped a whole ‘nother chicken the other day. In revealing crucial sites to US security the other day, they may have left any number of people open for severe attacks. Some of the information, apparently, is already well-known. Some, not so much and could be used to attack the weak – through biological warfare, etc. I have a feeling that there is another story here, but I’m not sure what that may be.

And then there’s the fact that Sweden could very well extradite Assange to the US in the very near future to face criminal charges that could very well end freedom of the press in any regard in the US.

So, that’s what we have. There are no more angels. Everybody is tainted, including the whistle blowers. Live happy 😉

Bonus II:

I finally found the original post for Marcotte’s blog. Not sure what happened to that. Internets sure is acting strange these days. *wink*

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