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How Must She Behave to Have Been Raped?

I don’t know whether the rape charges against Julian Assange are valid. I do know, however, that they are rape charges. It doesn’t matter whether a woman consented to have sex with you. If she tells you to stop, and you don’t stop, that is still sexual assault. I don’t care how frustrating it is or whether you hate her for the rest of your life for it. Sex you have with someone without their permission is rape.

Let’s say that again: Sex you have with someone without their permission is rape.

One more time just for clarity: Sex you have with someone without their permission is rape.

Does that tell me whether Assange did what he’s accused of doing? Nope. I just don’t know. And neither do you.

There is one more thing I do know, though. This guy shouldn’t be allowed near a single traumatized rape victim, much less in a professional capacity, if he believes that the alleged victim’s behavior tells us she wasn’t raped. Here’s his evidence:

I’ve spent much of my professional life as a psychiatrist helping women (and men) who are survivors of sexual violence. Rape is a hideous crime. Yet in Assange’s case his alleged victim – the gender equity officer at Uppsula University – chose to throw a party for her alleged assailant – after they’d had the sex that even Swedish prosecutors concede was consensual.

Even ignoring the fact that the way to characterize the sex as consensual is to claim that consent, once given, cannot be revoked for any reason (which I think we’ve dealt with above; let me know if I need to repeat myself again), this is bullshit and he should know it’s bullshit. There isn’t one damned thing that all rape victims do or don’t do in common. They don’t all get scared. They don’t all get angry. They don’t even all show that they’re upset.

What did I do when I was sexually assaulted? I went on with my plans for the evening, which were to lose my virginity. Yep, that’s right. Within hours of being sexually assaulted, I had consensual sex.

Why? Hell if I know that either. I do know it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s because I wasn’t rational. I’ll remind you that I’d just been assaulted (and suffered another type of betrayal right alongside it). I had no idea what to do. I did the easiest thing, which was to go along as though it hadn’t happened. Pretending didn’t make it go away, but it was so much simpler than figuring out how to behave in a changed world.

If Assange did rape the alleged victim, why did she behave as she did? Maybe she was in denial. Maybe she wanted to show herself she could be that strong. Maybe she was reasserting her claim to the world they both shared. Maybe she was even pissed that Assange took control from her but not particularly traumatized. I don’t know and neither do you.

Neither does Kirk James Murphy, M.D., but that didn’t stop him from weighing in on the matter in a professional capacity (something he really ought to stop to give some serious thought). It didn’t stop him from perpetuating rape myths. Hell, it didn’t even stop him from writing a post that is one long exercise in “bad girls can’t be raped.”

Who is Julian Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden? She’s a gender equity officer at Uppsula University – who chose to associate with a US funded group openly supported by a convicted terrorist and mass murderer. She just happens to have her work published by a very well funded group connected with Union Liberal Cubana – whose leader, Carlos Alberto Montaner, in turn just happened to pop up on right wing Colombian TV a few hours after the right-wing coup in Honduras. Where he joined the leader of the failed coup in Ecuador to savage Correa, the target of the coup. Montnaner also just happened to vociferously support the violent coup in Honduras, and chose to show up to sing the praises of the Honduran junta.

Well, after all that, I guess the matter’s closed. Except I still have one little question. What the fuck has that got to do with anything? Oh, wait. He explains.

Small world, isn’t it? Julian Assange is the human face of Wikileaks – the organization that’s enabled whistle-blowers to reveal hideous war crimes and expose much of America’s foreign policy to the world.

He just happens to meet a Swedish woman who just happens to have been publishing her work in a well-funded anti-Castro group that just happens to have links with a group led by a man at least one journalist describes as an agent of the CIA: the violent secret arm of America’s foreign policy.

And she just happens to have been expelled from Cuba, which just happens to be the global symbol of successful defiance of American foreign policy.

And – despite her work in Sweden upholding the human right of gender equity – in Cuba she just happens to end up associating with a group openly supported by an admitted CIA agent who himself committed mass murder when he actively participated in the terrorist bombing of a jetliner carrying a Cuban sports team…an act that was of a piece with America’s secret foreign policy of violent attacks against Cuban state interests.

Yeah…nope. Not even an accusation that a CIA agent put her up to anything–or that they ever met. Or maybe it was supposed to be the terrorists who wanted Assange arrested. Keeping state secrets hidden is right up their alley, right? Or was it supposed to be the feminists? I can’t figure out why else her job merits multiple mentions in a smear piece, and that’s all this amounts to.

Call me back when you’ve got something other than your dislike of this woman’s politics or her party planning. In the meantime, I’ll be figuring out whether this particular post reaches the level of unprofessionalism that merits lodging complaints with the appropriate oversight board.

Comments

  1. says

    Wow John, if this blog post was defending Assange you might have a point, but it isn't defending him at all. It just isn't crucifying him, or his accuser either.

  2. says

    daedalus2u, I think you missed the colon. John was talking about the blog post at the URL he provided. John, that people are repeating what Assange's lawyer (hint to others: not an unbiased party) is saying about the situation as though it were divinely inspired and infallible is already ridiculous. That they're repeating and elaborating on his character assassination of the alleged victims, as though it had anything to do with whether they withdrew their consent to sex, is appalling.

  3. says

    Stephanie: I absolutely agree with that it's appalling, and I think it goes without saying. Maybe that's the wrong attitude for me to take though; maybe I should be saying it, and louder.daedalus2u: Perhaps my comment wasn't explicit enough, sorry about that. I wasn't attacking Stephanie's post at all. That link I added was due to someone that I otherwise respected, but someone that seems to have been caught up in this fervor of conspiracy.

  4. says

    Irene, the only source I've found for the "just sex without a condom" story has been Assange's attorney. The Examiner article doesn't say where it's getting its information, but it uses the same description as Assange's attorney. In fact, it's pretty directly not citing any official information, just telling us "the story has changed." I've watched the story change, and every time someone has cited a source, it's come back to Assange's attorney. Let me know if you see something from a source less invested in changing the narrative. I'll update the post.

  5. says

    Sorry, that's going to be misleading. The NY Times article also mentions the lack of a condom. However, it says that the sex became nonconsensual at that point. Now, the Times article could be wrong, but if I have to choose between that and a source that's invested in the outcome of the charges, I'm going to go with the Times until I can get a better source.

  6. says

    @ Stephanie: Wired also posted a piece about the Interpol warrant, and quoted Swedish sources (sadly without precision):http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/assange-interpol/"According to local news reports, the women told investigators the sexual encounters began as consensual, but turned non-consensual. One woman said Assange ignored her appeals to stop when the condom broke."Which would be consistent with Assange's lawyer's story.And then, there's this post on the blog Progressive Alaska:http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2010/08/strangest-blog-thread-yet-on-swedish.htmlIt links to a discussion (in English and Swedish), by Swedish bloggers, of what Anna Ardin said, to whom and when exactly. It's long, but interesting.

  7. says

    Irene, Assange's attorney is saying that Assange is charged with having consensual sex without a condom. That is not what you just described. According to your own information, the allegations are that the women said to stop but Assange did not. That is not consensual sex.One more time: Sex you have with someone without their permission is rape.

  8. John McKay says

    This woman just happens to be the subject of a blog post that just happens to have been read by someone who just happens to a regular viewer of "The Closer," a show starring Kyra Sedgwick who just happens to be married to Kevin Bacon! What more proof do you need?Just for the record, I don't know enough about Julian Assange's sex life to have an intelligent opinion on this, which, in itself, is suspicious.

  9. says

    Oh, sorry I didn't read it carefully enough. I came here from Greg's blog and he seemed so breathless about it that I wondered what all the hype was about. ;) Never mind.

  10. says

    Just to be clear. Julian Assange has not been charged with rape. He has not been charged with anything. The arrest warrant is because he is wanted for questioning. There are no rape charges.

  11. says

    John McKay won the thread with paragraph one, then forfeited that win with the last clause of paragraph two. Shame. :)Owheelj: absolutely true, but sounds a bit defensive. Assange appears to be acting as though the rape charges are part and parcel with the government being after him — he's stated that he'll release the encryption key for the full leak file which has been torrented by tens of thousands of people, should he either be arrested for the rape allegations, or by any of the governments in question (seeing as how the international warrant has made it to the UK).There may be something to the allegation that this is trumped up, in that being arrested in Sweden would likely pin him down long enough to hurt his long-time survival chances / chances of retaining his freedom with regard to the leak. However, we have *absolutely no evidence of such*. We need to treat the rape allegation as we would with any other person, regardless of their celebrity status — as important, worth investigating, and worth punishing if it turns out to be true.

  12. says

    Sorry, I'm not defending Assange. I'm not saying he's guilty either. I'm just trying to clarify the facts of the case – which are that he's wanted for questioning in relation to accusations of sexual molestation.The opening lines of this blog post are;"I don't know whether the rape charges against Julian Assange are valid. I do know, however, that they are rape charges. "This is false in a legal sense.

  13. says

    Not sure why men get to chime in on a topic that all of them cause, however, sex without a condom is pretty F-ing gross. ASSange will get away with whatever he has done because all the other males involved will let that happen. Good for you for posting your rape/consensual sex story.It is your vagina and you can do whatever you like with it as long as it's your decision!

  14. says

    You post brings clarity to a situation muddled by both politics and culture.I think sometimes people don't realize how ingrained certain cultural attitudes (such as popular opinions in defining sexual assault and rape in the US) are within them before they find themselves thinking it, or speaking it.This situation is somewhat unique because there's very much a cult of personality around Assange that bleeds over into WikiLeaks (Something I believe he was trying to avoid in the first place in assuming the role of spokesperson), which adds a lot of elements to this case, and some politic. Sort of a "missing white woman syndrome", except involving a celebrity. I could only hope for a day when a criminal investigation passes the bureaucratic red tape with such speed with an unknown person involved. So you have people who believe in WikiLeaks, progressives with typically more egalitarian values, who in a culture of hero worship as we live in today, see Assange as representative of WikiLeaks, and any assault on him as an assault on the latter. Whether or not the accusation is valid is buried under so many knee-jerk political reactions, followed by equally shallow rationalizations."It can't be true; the charge is trumped up, she's a government plant."It becomes difficult to separate the fact that 1. Assange and WikiLeaks are different entities; 2. The crime (Or lack thereof) is separate from its investigation, which is obviously politically fueled (Seriously, where do you see that sort of turnaround time on stuff?); and 3. That American culture is so far removed from other cultures that we might as well be reading gibberish when reading the charges brought up against him from Sweden. What they would define as rape or assault is likely wildly different than what we would, as Americans.So, yeah. It's a tough nut to crack, and in our world of ADHD news, very few people are going to make the effort. Thanks for your post though, it was illuminating without being hugely hostile, like this one: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/blog/sandracuffe/5363

  15. says

    You post brings clarity to a situation muddled by both politics and culture.I think sometimes people don't realize how ingrained certain cultural attitudes (such as popular opinions in defining sexual assault and rape in the US) are within them before they find themselves thinking it, or speaking it.This situation is somewhat unique because there's very much a cult of personality around Assange that bleeds over into WikiLeaks (Something I believe he was trying to avoid in the first place in assuming the role of spokesperson), which adds a lot of elements to this case, and some politic. Sort of a "missing white woman syndrome", except involving a celebrity. I could only hope for a day when a criminal investigation passes the bureaucratic red tape with such speed with an unknown person involved. So you have people who believe in WikiLeaks, progressives with typically more egalitarian values, who in a culture of hero worship as we live in today, see Assange as representative of WikiLeaks, and any assault on him as an assault on the latter. Whether or not the accusation is valid is buried under so many knee-jerk political reactions, followed by equally shallow rationalizations."It can't be true; the charge is trumped up, she's a government plant."It becomes difficult to separate the fact that 1. Assange and WikiLeaks are different entities; 2. The crime (Or lack thereof) is separate from its investigation, which is obviously politically fueled (Seriously, where do you see that sort of turnaround time on stuff?); and 3. That American culture is so far removed from other cultures that we might as well be reading gibberish when reading the charges brought up against him from Sweden. What they would define as rape or assault is likely wildly different than what we would, as Americans.So, yeah. It's a tough nut to crack, and in our world of ADHD news, very few people are going to make the effort. Thanks for your post though, it was illuminating without being hugely hostile, like this one: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/blog/sandracuffe/5363

  16. says

    owheelj, I'm not so sure it is false in a legal sense. It may be inexact, but that's likely to be difficulties of translation between the Swedish legal system and the U.S. legal system. Or possibly translation of the British legal system to ours, since the statements by the Metropolitan Police are leading to this quote: The spokesman said that Assange voluntarily came to the London police station, where he was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant from Swedish authorities for "one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010." Those are specific charges. How the timing of filing them works in Sweden, I don't know. (via http://www.csmonitor.com/World/terrorism-security/2010/1207/WikiLeaks-Julian-Assange-arrested-in-London-on-rape-charges)

  17. Gadfly says

    First, Swedish law is kind of being translated through the UK right now. Assange is charged with something sexual, though apparently not indicted.Second, while in no way saying that rape is not rape, this is a he said-she said, the "sex by surprise" if you will, in a way that other types of sexual assault, when any injury is involved, leave physical evidence.That said, contra any "cult of the United States government" (vs. the "cult of WikiLeaks" comments here) it would be relatively easy to file a false charge in such a situation. Note, I said relatively easy; I didn't say easy.And, that said, that part is true if this were Jan Citizen/Jan Doe, not Julian Assange. While the Swedish law seems enlightened, on the one hand, like claims in divorce court, it seems relatively open to manipulation, on the other hand.

  18. Gadfly says

    There's also the fact that Stephanie didn't quote all the material from the FDL article after talking about Ardin throwing the party.That she has published on the internet a guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends ever graver.Beyond that, there's the old saying here in America that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

  19. says

    Actually, Gadfly, what you're saying (whatever you may mean) is that something exists that is validly called "sex by surprise" rather than what it is: rape. You're also perpetuating the idea that the norm of rape involves injury, as well as the idea that if a woman isn't injured or for some reason doesn't present herself to authorities while physical evidence is fresh, it's reasonable to start from the assumption that she wasn't raped. Would you care to tell the world what the rest of your requirements for valid claims of rape are, so victims can know when they're doing it right?On top of that, you're babbling as though false reports of rape aren't very rare, as though many women would voluntarily put herself through the kind of character assassination you're indulging in right now. I mean, I can see how if you're attached to the idea of "sex by surprise," you'd have a vested interest in passing on these rape myths, but if you're going to do it, get the fuck out of my comments section.As for the "revenge" allegation, you do understand that if it contained one word about falsly accusing someone of rape or any kind of crime, that news would be everywhere right now. That's just one more non-starter of a smear–which you repeated as though it proved something. Proud of yourself?

  20. Gadfly says

    Finally, in for a penny, in for a pound — governments have motives. All the time. As NASA did with its fluffery of its fake exobiology story. And, at least in that case, Stephanie either refuses to get, or can't get, the idea that NASA could well have ulterior motives.

  21. Gadfly says

    No, now I'm in for pound. John, "those" stories omit the fact that she allegedly told him to stop.

  22. Gadfly says

    Oh, gee, I got a lecture already.Stephanie, I don't know how rare, or non-rare, false rape accusations are. Do you? Stats, one way or the other? Second, as for character assassination, I think Assange's is being assassinated more in the MSM than is Ardin's.Beyond that, it's NOT a "smear."And, you're hugely credulous about a mainsteam media that, in the U.S., largely spread without investigation Bush's lies about Iraq, Obama's further lies about the War on Terror, and now, claims that WikiLeaks is a terrorist group. Yep, that MSM would be sure to spread a "smear" which might well not be a smear, unless it, like you, decides in advance it's a smear.Third, I don't know enough about Swedish law to know if the "sex by surprise" crime fits under what would be considered "rape" in the legal sense in Sweden or not. Do you? That's why I made the comment that Swedish law is being translated through a British lens into the United States.Bottom line: Stephanie, while rape is a serious issue …At the same time, by your response (which doesn't surprise me, given what I mentioned about you and NASA), you've shown a pretty high gullibility level.

  23. Gadfly says

    Finally… again … as for motive, Stephanie … you've not responded to the fact that Ardin reportedly did publish a "boyfriend revenge" book. Unfortunately, FDL's post doesn't excerpt the book, but, yes, even a false rape charge could be a tool for revenge.

  24. Gadfly says

    Finally, finally … speaking of the MSM and its collusion with the U.S. government — UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter was smeared with even worse sexual charges, all unfounded, all reported by the MSM like stenographers, Stephanie.Get a clue.

  25. says

    Well, you clearly need a lecture. (1) I am not relying merely on the U.S. mainstream media. If you could read a comment thread, you'd know that. (2) It's a bit rich to call me gullible when your information on what the charges are and aren't relies on Assange's attorney's statements and (3) I've said repeatedly, in this post that you apparently are also incapable of reading, that I don't know what happened. You don't even know what I'm saying here. (4) Whether or not Assange has powerful enemies has no bearing on whether a rape happened. Or are you trying to say that men with powerful enemies are incapable of committing rape? Because that's the most ridiculous nonsequitur I've come across in this matter, and there have been quite a few. (5) If you want any credibility on a subject like rape, you might want to refrain from referring to my "delicate sensibilities" as you did elsewhere. Frankly, you're the one with your panties in such a bunch that you're accusing people who disagree with you of having nefarious purposes (or is that only for the guys; the gals are just gullible?). (6) Make a plausible, specific connection between the revenge book and I'll consider it. As I said, the book doesn't contain anything about false charges. If it did, someone would be shouting it from the rooftops.Now get your sorry, obsessive ass out of here until you've got something more to say than, "People don't like him so he must be innocent." That's just embarrassingly dumb.

  26. says

    Gadfly, nothing you've said serves as any sort of admissible evidence as to the truth or falsity of the rape allegations. It serves only to muddy the waters and assassinate the accusers' characters. And yeah, you're obviously harboring a grudge over the fact that Stephanie roundly rebuked you on the NASA conspiracy nonsense you tout.Big into conspiracies, aren't you? Next you'll be saying Steph and I collude on these comments in an effort to systematically discredit you. Really, that's all your own judo, friend. We aren't even sticking a foot out, you're faceplanting all of your own accord.

  27. Gadfly says

    Yes, I "need a lecture." From "Schoolmarm Stephanie."First, I have no problem admitting that "sex by surprise" doesn't exist in Swedish criminal law.BUT … false accusations of rape? Happens a fair amount, Stephanie.Duke lacrosse team, anybody?In general, while exact percentages are hard to determine, false rape accusations happen well more often than once in a blue moon:http://www.billoblog.com/?p=134Third, Sweden has plenty of motive to "roll over" for the U.S., mainly due to its role in the CIA's extraordinary rendition program:http://www.billoblog.com/?p=134And, due to its being part of the coalition in Afghanistan, which was targeted by a previous Wikileaks dump, as the original Counterpunch story on Assange and Ardin pointed out:http://www.counterpunch.org/shamir09142010.htmlA matter that affected recent Swedish elections:http://www.thelocal.se/29944/20101101/Once again, you're naive, credulous or something if you don't want to look at governments and motives. Just as on Greg's blog.(By the way, a good skeptical friend of mine, when I blogged about Greg and his "Gal Friday" attacking me there, immediately asked if it were you. Got a reputation, perhaps?)As for smear … if you want to be legally precise, you should have the word "alleged" in your header. As it reads, you're the one being judgmental. Don't lecture me.

  28. says

    Gadfly, if you don't want me to lecture you, stop posting bullshit on my blog. In this case, you really need a lecture in basic logic.I'll repeat again, since you apparently missed it the first time, that the fact that Assange has powerful enemies does not lead (without a massive leap) to the conclusion that the rape charges against him are false. Charges that I am naive, even if they were true, do not lead to the conclusion that the rape charges are false. In fact, that's a classic example of an ad hominem fallacy, as is noting that I've argued on the internet before. Isolated examples of false rape charges do not lead to the conclusion that false allegations of rape are widespread. Further, the existence of prior false rape charges do not lead to the conclusion that these particular rape charges are false. And finally, for now, "I don't know and neither do you" does not lead to the conclusion that I think Assange is guilty.Now, if you want any of that skeptic cred you're so anxious to claim, go study a little epistemology. You need it desperately.

  29. says

    I offer these theories as evidence I could write a good movie. They in no way reflect any knowledge of the situation at hand whatsoever.Tinfoil hat theory #1: the rape charges involve no motivation to prosecute a rape OR to lock up Assange, but they are trumped up… by Assange himself! He asked the girls to help him so he could use it to appear persecuted so that he can release the encryption key.Tinfoil hat theory #2: the girl who is getting her name in the papers is a plant, and found out after trying to dig up political dirt on Assange that he was completely innocent. In the process, however, she found out Assange was a creepy rapist who has viciously attacked dozens of women who have not come forward (or tried to come forward and were ignored) specifically because he has this 'cult of personality' about him. The plant helped convince one other girl to come forward. Then, the US government stepped in and threw the girl under the bus. THEY posted a fake blog post (NB: It's not a book) by her about revenge on your ex boyfriend to undermine her credibility, because they want to get Assange for the wikileaks stuff so they can set up the legal precedent (if he doesn't do it, someone else will). They wanted to get him into custody so he can't run, or goad him into releasing the encryption key (see above), but they *don't* want to get him prosecuted for rape. @Gadfly- your approach to this argument (i.e. attacking credibility for things *entirely unrelated* to the matter at hand e.g. your 'girl friday' remark) makes you seem even LESS reliable in this matter than Asange and his lawyers.

  30. says

    Ooh, Becca, those are lovely. I have to say I've been wondering why the two women meeting before deciding to go to the police should raise flags. One of the things I regret now about being sexually assaulted is not reporting it. It would have been a hell I was entirely unprepared for, but not doing it almost certainly means that the same thing happened to someone else. If I'd been faced with that at the time, yeah, I'd have been much more likely to go to the authorities.

  31. says

    Tinfoil hat theory #3: Julian Assange is an alien Reptoid hellbent on destroying the US government, stalwart defenders of humanity engaged in a secret war with the Reptoid race. The women's rape accusations are the product of Assange's race's penis having hallucinogenic properties.

  32. says

    Tinfoil hat theory #4: the girl is a lizard alien double-agent. The US government *thinks* she works for them, but really, she's trying to get the information (which includes the US government reports about her race) released, and the rape charges were a mechanism to make Assange feel persecuted enough he would release the encryption. The US government doesn't want us to know about the lizardfolk, because they have godlike miracle powers (including walking on water, regeneration, and parthenogenesis- did I mention the entire race of lizard aliens are women?), and make better apple Pie than your mom. Knowledge of these lizardwoman would undermine the kyrarichy, and the US government's tenuous grasp on power. The Lizard woman's vagina has hallucinogenic properties, making Assange act in a way he never would have otherwise and go on a rape rampage. They consider it a point of high irony that it is the very kirarchy (in the form of rape apologists) that will be its own undoing. I, for one, welcome our new lizard alien woman overlords.

  33. says

    all is fair in love and war, and don't humans love a warif we truly understood the evolutionary development of our genitals and their associated chemistry and function we might view things a little differentlylet's face it, fucking is about procreation, and in our not so distant past procreation was an activity attended by competition and violence. we can see that in the male glans, it is the only bulbous one amongst the primates, and selected for because those with it were able to wipe out the seminal deposits of the previous suitor/s resulting in more successful mating events; it's the backstroke that hits the spot. one can imagine a breeding frenzy over a fertile and in season female, replete with the argy-bargy and punch ups not uncommon in backstreet barswhen we play fucking for pleasure we invite our evolutionary past into the party, and in the old days there were no rulestoday we have rules, and for good reason. rules are the measure of a society, and, ironically, the penis. assange may have made a big cock up (pardon the pun) by not following the rules of the nation in which he was fucking; to the (french:-) letter. if you do not follow the rules you cannot challenge the rules, or the rulers a little advice: when one plays fucking for pleasure, or ego, video everything, all parties take a copy, just in case, and you'll always end up with a case closedoh, and b.t.w., remember that genital herpes is not very successfully protected against by condoms, and condoms do have around a 17% failure rate in the first year of use, and they can have miropores from the production process big enough for the hiv virus to pass through, and if one does not lubricate both the inside and outside they can become breached by abrasions too small to see with the naked eyehappy fucking:-)