[Content note for discussion of rape culture]
I am disgusted at the smug douchebags who are commenting on this issue. In Sweden, as with many other jurisdictions there are clear legislative guidelines as to what does and does not constitute consent to a sex act. Often these laws are improperly enforced or difficult to prove, that does not change a simple fact. In no western legal jurisdiction that I am aware of can a woman consent to sex while she is unconscious. There is no such thing as implied consent, and yes there should be consent to every sex act.
Reading this today made me feel ill. Disgust at Assange backer’s ‘sex game’ comments – World – NZ Herald News. I am saddened that a member of parliament, would be so callous about an issue that affects women on a daily basis. If the allegations of the two women are in fact 100% true, they do actually constitute rape in legal terms. While it may serve Assange’s interests to redefine consent, it certainly does not serve the interests of women.
If these consent laws did not exist where would it end? In the past married women were seen to be unable to be raped by their spouses because of this very thinking. By marrying their husbands they implicitly consented to sex whenever he wanted it. Speaking about rape in these terms sends a strong message, that women can be blamed for their own rape because of their actions prior to the rape taking place. This is not a message that a member of parliament, or anyone should feel comfortable sending.
The vast majority of rapes against women (not all rapes are committed against women) are not strangers jumping out of the bushes and beating women senseless. They are violations of consent committed, by friends, neighbors, boyfriends, husbands, and yes one night stands. This does not make them any less awful the people involved. Rape is a violation and a betrayal of trust. The more we minimise these types of rapes the more we tacitly approve of them occurring within our society.
Julian Assange should stand trial for rape, because that is what he is accused of. Whether the woman involved consented to earlier sex acts with him is irrelevant because they say they did not consent to this one. She says that he forced himself on them while she was asleep and unable to consent and raped her without wearing a condom. Any way you slice it that is criminal rape. If he believes that he is innocent then he should stand trial in order to clear his name, not hide in an embassy like a coward.
Human beings are complicated and you can do bad things while also doing good things. I don’t believe that people who defend Assange’s actions in relation to Wikileaks should defend him against all crimes he is accused of. His accuser deserves her day in court.