23 August 2012 by

Julian Assange Has Been Accused Of Rape: So Why Are M.I.A., George Galloway And Ben Goldsmith supporting him?

As you’re probably aware, rape is dominating the news right now. Political activist Julian Assange is currently fighting extradition to Sweden on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. But, asks writer and feminist campaigner Julie Bindel, who are the people supporting Julian Assange and what does it mean for victims of rape?

Assange - editor/founder of WikiLeaks, a media website which has published information from whistleblowers about, for example, the Iraq war – remains ‘a guest’ in the Ecuadorian Embassy at cost to the British taxpayer despite the allegations.

This would have been a relatively straightforward issue were Assange not wanted for questioning by Swedish police. The allegations come from two separate complainants, with the second complaininat's experience described in court (according to The Independnt) as follows: 'As he tried to penetrate her without a condom, she alleges, she repeatedly attempted to avoid penetration: her claim is that she tried "several times to reach for a condom which Assange had stopped her from doing by holding her arms and bending her legs open and try to penetrate her with his penis without using a condom." Whilst the truth of the allegations has yet to be tried, should they be found to be genuine if that doesn't describe rape, then what does?

And yet because the US government is opposed to state secrets being made public, and has already imprisoned one of the whistleblowers accused of supplying information to the site, many left-wing folk are flocking to protect Assange from extradition, among them a slew of big names, utterly eclipsing the real issue here.

It started with George Galloway Respect MP for Bradford, who attacked the attempts to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden, arguing that "even if the allegations made by these two women were 100 per cent true. . . they don't constitute rape." Then came Jemima Khan’s brother the financier Ben Goldsmith, who tweeted, ‘I’m with @georgegalloway on Assange. Trumped up Swedish “rape” charges are a ruse to get him to an American jail. Scary stuff.’ Meanwhile rapper M.I.A, who stole into the embassy herself at Assange’s request prior to his speech, has said: “I don’t really believe the rape charges.” And finally, former MP and champion of the oppressed, Tony Benn , who said in a speech to the Stop the War Coalition, that although the sex Assange had with the two complainants may well have been non-consensual, it does not constitute rape. Shocking? Yes. Surprising? No.

Rape deniers are usually men (and women) from the conservative lobby, many of whom believe that women have a responsibility to keep ourselves safe by not drinking excess alcohol or wearing short skirts.  Assange’s supporters are mainly left-wing human rights advocates. But what about women’s human rights?

 In law an unconscious person cannot give consent. But women all over the world who know fine well what it is like to be raped and disbelieved will be appalled at this gang of so-called freedom of speech advocates painting Assange’s accusers as either lying opportunists or dupes of the Americans.  Less than 6% of reported rapes end in a conviction in Britain. The rubbish spouted by Assange’s supporters will only further perpetuate the dangerous myths about sex crimes that result in most men being allowed to rape with impunity.

@bindelj

 

 


Comments

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Vin Kebblewhite (Thu Aug 23 13:55:57 BST 2012): Yes, Assange is wanted for questioning over "rape" allegations (according to Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny) but it's not only supporters/friends of Assange who prefer NOT to use the word "rape" when mentioning the allegations - one of Stockholm's Chief Prosecutors, Eva Finne, who originally threw the case out and cancelled the arrest warrant chose not to refer to the allegations as "rape" based on the evidence given, a myriad of lawyers who have studied the allegations (yes, many of them are female - so don't play the misogynist card - and their political alignment and support for Wikileaks differs greatly) choose not to use the term "rape"... MOST OF ALL the alleged "VICTIMS" have not said they were "RAPED". As a journalist you seem to have forgotten a few facts about the allegations against Assange: - - The arrest warrant was canceled on 21 August 2010 by one of Stockholm's Chief Prosecutors, Eva Finne, and the investigation was downgraded to only cover one of the lesser allegations. Finne said in a statement to the press: "I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape." (Later re-opened by Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny who prefers the allegation of "rape" and re-issued the arrest warrant). - - The fact that the sex was consensual in all of the events is not disputed. One of the complainants, AA (Expressen, 21 August 2011), stated that both she and SW had consensual sex with Assange. - - Complainant AA’s statements to the tabloid Aftonbladet (21 August 2010) also DENY criminal intent on Assange’s side or threat/use of force. According to complainant AA. - - "It is completely false that we are afraid of Assange and therefore didn’t want to file a complaint. He is not violent and I do not feel threatened by him." - Complainant AA. - - In a 2008 report, Amnesty International condemned Sweden’s non-transparency in investigating and prosecuting reported ’rape’ cases, identified flaws in the investigation and subjectivity in the decision of whether the case should proceed or not. Amnesty said, "the evaluation and analysis of rape cases is largely dependent on the motivation, knowledge and attitude of the investigators" and also said "the assessment of the credibility of the victim and the accused, and the reasons for deciding whether to close the case or to proceed, are largely non-transparent... Informal discussions concerning the credibility of the victim and the alleged perpetrator and whether the case will hold up in court or should be closed do not maintain the principle of due process of law [emphasis added]." You have no right to question why M.I.A., George Galloway and Ben Goldsmith are supporting Assange. We supposedly live in a land that shouts "innocent until proven guilty!" yet not only is Assange already branded a rapist by articles like yours, but anyone who supports him are deemed supporters of rape. He is wanted for questioning only - no charges have been made against him. Are you saying that if a friend of yours were ever "accused" of committing a sexual offense, making them an "alleged" criminal, they won't be getting a visit from you until a court decides if they're innocent or not? Rubbish. Shame on you and your rubbish journalism.
Vin Kebblewhite (Thu Aug 23 14:30:46 BST 2012): "We are Women Against Rape but we do not want Julian Assange extradited" - The Guardian UK. For decades we have campaigned to get rapists caught, charged and convicted. But the pursuit of Assange is political... Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/women-against-rape-julian-assange?cat=commentisfree&type=article.
William Montibello (Thu Aug 23 14:37:50 BST 2012): Julian Assange was wanted by too many countries, yet was too influential to be locked away for life or put to execution. Understanding this, a move was made that was both calculated and intelligent. A charge was levelled against him, one that was bad enough to damage his credibility and image, and then he was transferred onto embassy grounds, where he has amnesty. The idea being until he agrees to change his mind about how he operates, or dies of old age, he can stay there. Meanwhile, his organization is illegally blockaded from all sources of funds, and his primary executor illegally jailed for well over two years now. People are too narrow minded. Left wing? Right wing? I can seek claimance to neither, but I'm not stupid enough to think a government can't hire two prostitutes to levvy charges against someone.
Tessa Ruby D Hainey (Fri Aug 24 00:18:51 BST 2012): These woman are prostitutes now? Are there no depths to which conspiracy theorists will not stoop? Have a word with yourself, man!
Vilnis Krumins (Fri Aug 24 06:44:23 BST 2012): The two women at the center of the allegations were friends. One has (I think) refused to sign a complaint. The other continued to sleep with Assange after the alleged rape occurred; she organized a party for him, attended a conference with him and there is evidence (not disputed) that she told friends that she was "thrilled" to be in his company (i.e., after the alleged rape) while he was staying at her apartment. I'm not saying that there is no possibility that the victim wasn't in some sort of denial over the rape but it seems these are atypical circumstances.
William Montibello (Fri Aug 24 14:59:49 BST 2012): I didnt' say that they were prostitutes, nor did i come up with any "theories". i hypothesized that it's possible a goverment can pay, and has paid for in the past, witnesses to cover it's ass. You assume the governments in question are your own? Have you seen the widespread disillusionment spread by dictators all over the world? People in parts of germany are taught by their governing bodies that the holocaust never happened. Don't be a fool, and don't attack me over your own suppositions.
William Montibello (Fri Aug 24 15:00:14 BST 2012): Go learn the world, Ruby Dazzler.
Tessa Ruby D Hainey (Fri Aug 24 18:48:32 BST 2012): You can't read and understand your own post? Although, is 'claimance' actually even a real word? No wonder. In the crazy world of Willam Montebello, not only are the Sweden Government hiring prostitutes in an attempt to smear your darling Assange, they're dictators too?
William Montibello (Mon Aug 27 19:48:49 BST 2012): You are clearly incapable of a rational argument. I have better things to do than waste my time arguing with online extremists. Have a nice life.
William Montibello (Mon Aug 27 19:50:03 BST 2012): Also, enjoy the last word you will undoubtedly attempt to secure in your own misguided attempt at appeasing your pride.
Naia Matenda (Sun Oct 07 14:54:02 BST 2012): Bad reporting... too much left out if your going to report present both sides at least but this is why I don't buy trash mags... waste of time.
Giuliana Morello (Sat Dec 01 17:00:27 GMT 2012): Thank God for the two prostitutes in UK who succesfully got a guy sentenced for rape.
Giuliana Morello (Sat Dec 01 17:02:08 GMT 2012): I am not saying that they were or weren't raped but rapists, opposed to myth, are usually friends or friends of friends