An awkward position to adopt

Sometimes an organization doesn’t speak for its members when it speaks. Sometimes an organization (or someone at the top of it) says something that’s abhorrent to many or most or almost all of its members. That can happen.

There’s SlutWalk London for instance. Sarah Ditum asks what it’s doing lining up behind Julian Assange.

Oh dear, SlutWalk London. On Saturday you’re marshalling crowds of women in fishnets and bras to chant “my dress is not a yes” and promoting petitions insisting that the Home Office should prosecute rapists. Come Tuesday, you’re taking to Twitter to issue statements objecting to the extradition of Julian Assange to face rape charges in Sweden. Rapists should be prosecuted, but according to SlutWalk London, the fact that many who are accused of rape ultimately aren’t convicted means that this particular accused rapist shouldn’t be subject to due process. It’s an awkward position to adopt, and the most awkward thing of all is the way it conscripts those who joined the march to a cause that was never part of the prospectus.

SlutWalk London has inadvertently lined itself (and its unwitting supporters) up with an unappealing gaggle of rape apologists and victim blamers. It’s all very well for the statement to stress “We are not saying the women lied or that they should not get justice,” but lots of people who support Assange have said that women lie. If an anti-rape campaign must intervene on this case at all, surely it should be addressing those grotesque statements, not condoning the position of those who made them.

Sarah asked SlutWalk London to comment, but they

made it very clear that they didn’t want to comment, or discuss the issues here is any way.

It’s odd. We’re used to seeing organizations pitch women overboard the instant they think some other issue or cause or problem is more important, but it’s surprising to see a women’s organization doing that.



  1. johnthedrunkard says

    Standard political labeling leads to this kind of craziness all the time. Thus we have ‘progressives’ supporting Hamas, Right-Wing Xians encouraging the Israeli wing-nut faction etc.

    Anyone concerned with Islamism is going to find themselves standing next to nuts like Spencer and Gellar.

    This isn’t a new phenomena, nor only a leftish one. In Carlson’s classic book ‘Under Cover’ he describes German American Bund events where Ku Klux Klansmen shared the platform with Catholic priests representing Father Coughlin.

    How to take position on anything without being assumed to accept a lot of unrelated bollocks?

  2. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Rapists should be prosecuted, but according to SlutWalk London, the fact that many who are accused of rape ultimately aren’t convicted means that this particular accused rapist shouldn’t be subject to due process.

    Claiming that they said he shouldn’t be subject to due process kind of elides the fact that they called for him to be tried in England, IMO.

  3. Rodney Nelson says

    I liked this comment on Ditum’s article:

    Speaking for nobody but myself, all I want is for Assange to face due process.

    If it transpires that he did nothing wrong and the whole thing is a conspiracy cooked up by the CIA, the Bilderbergers and the Illuminati, I’ll be delighted for him, for WikiLeaks and for justice.

    But I’m not going to exonerate someone from rape and sexual assault charges just because the Americans don’t like him.

    My suspicion, and it’s purely my opinion, is “the Swedes will extradite Assange to the US to be thrown in a military prison and waterboarded every day” is a smokescreen. Assange isn’t worried about a US prison, he’s worried about a Swedish prison. If he came to the US there’s a good chance he’d beat any charges, he’s a foreign national who didn’t do anything on American soil and has not waged war against the US. However there’s a strong possibility that he’d be found guilty of rape in Sweden.

  4. says

    Being part of the behind the scenes on this . . . virtually all Slutwalk planners are appalled. It is one of the features of being a grass roots organization = no other Slutwalk has control over another.

  5. joshbunting says

    I wonder what excuses the conspiracy theorists will make up once he ends up not being sent to the US.

  6. says

    If he came to the US there’s a good chance he’d beat any charges, he’s a foreign national who didn’t do anything on American soil and has not waged war against the US.

    On the other hand, according to there’s this:

    THE US military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States – the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency.

    Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with “communicating with the enemy”, a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death.

  7. trucreep says

    It was my understanding that he hadn’t been charged with anything, he was just wanted for questioning.

  8. Smokey Dusty says

    @ Josh L. Read the article. A member of the US military was investigated for an alleged breach called: passing information to the enemy (I’m paraphrasing). No charges ensued and the matter was dropped.

    The sensationalist headline isn’t backed up by the mundane reality. The ‘US’ didn’t designate Assange an enemy. One prosecutor investigated a potential breach that had the word ‘enemy’ in it.

    But that’s the MSM for you. Sensationalist, deceptive, propaganda. Until it says something one agrees with.

  9. sawells says

    For pity’s sake, if the US actually wanted to get Assange as badly as Assange wants us to believe, they would have set fire to the damn embassy by now . You get people arguing as if the US is panting to do every illegal thing under the sun to get dear old Julian, but somehow the Ecuadorean embassy is actually made of adamantium with Star Trek shields on top, and so long as he stays there they cannot possibly get to him.

    It’s magical thinking, and it’s based on a total disconnect from reality – where he has a case to answer in Sweden for allegedly raping two women, and he’s so desperate not to answer it that you kind of end up thinking that just maybe he’s as guilty as sin and he knows it.

  10. xmaseveeve says

    Due process involves him going to Sweden, as any other rape suspect would do. Alleged criminals do not dictate the workings of the law.

  11. STH says

    The arguments made in his defense just don’t make any sense. We could get him in Sweden, but we couldn’t get him in the UK, our closest ally? I guarantee you the U.S. government knew exactly where he was in the UK and chose not to go after him. I suspect what they’re hoping for is that he’ll be convicted in Sweden, be locked up, and therefore not cause any more trouble for awhile. Bringing him to the U.S. would be messy, complicated, and expensive, and make him look like more of a martyr.

    And there are all these people claiming that he offered to do this or do that and Sweden wouldn’t take him up on it. As xmaseveeve rightly says, when you’re accused of a crime, you don’t get to dictate the terms of your arrest. Nobody gets to do that and Assange doesn’t get to, either.

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