Round 873 of “there’s rape and then there’s just getting a little frisky.”
Yesterday, US Representative Todd Akin reinvented female biology by telling us that we can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape”. But there is a rich history of rape being redefined to suit the occasion; whether it is former Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s concession that victims of “honest rape” can get an abortion or the Roman Polanski rape of a 13 year-old which wasn’t “rape-rape”.
All of these manoeuvres have an ulterior motive – either to outlaw abortion in all circumstances or to exonerate an accused celebrity. What they can all draw on and feed is the belief that there is “bad rape” and “excusable-under-the-circumstances-well-not-really-very-rapey rape”. While we roll our collective eyes on the issue of abortion and say “Well that’s the Christian Right in America for you”, the defence of some Grand Men uses the same intellectual dishonesty.
It is dishonest because it is 50 years since the sexual revolution and yet some still relegate women’s rights at the first sign of trouble.
Don’t they though. That’s where we came in. “Uh oh – you’re saying I can’t ask a woman to hook up whenever I get the opportunity?” Women’s rights relegated! “Uh oh – Richard Dawkins thinks this is a fuss about nothing?” Women’s rights relegated! “Uh oh – women are saying skeptic gatherings can be shitty for women?” Women’s rights relegated! “Uh oh – women are criticizing things DJ Grothe said?” Women’s rights relegated!
We know that myths propagated globally about condoms which in turn contribute to high HIV/AIDs rates. We know that women not being able to insist on condom use leads to higher STI infections and unwanted pregnancies. We know that women and men should be able to insist on when and how they have sex without coercion. And yet when a woman alleges that a request to use a condom was refused in Sweden then, well, it’s not treated as a credible rape allegation.
Assange supporters need to deploy mind-bending feats to dismiss these allegations. They need to forget everything they know about sexual rights, about sexual equality, about due process, about the rule of law and about justice.
And they have to name one of Assange’s accusers on Newsnight, as Craig Murray just did, even though that’s…against the law.