I think Julian Assange is a rapist. I still like Wikileaks.

Trigger warning for rape

If what his own defence lawyers say is true, Julian Assange is a rapist.

He described Assange as penetrating one woman while she slept without a condom, in defiance of her previously expressed wishes, before arguing that because she subsequently “consented to … continuation” of the act of intercourse, the incident as a whole must be taken as consensual.

In the other incident, in which Assange is alleged to have held a woman down against her will during a sexual encounter, Emmerson offered this summary: “[The complainant] was lying on her back and Assange was on top of her … [she] felt that Assange wanted to insert his penis into her vagina directly, which she did not want since he was not wearing a condom … she therefore tried to turn her hips and squeeze her legs together in order to avoid a penetration … [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 trying to penetrate her with his penis without using a condom. [She] says that she felt about to cry since she was held down and could not reach a condom and felt this could end badly.”

In the first instance, he penetrated a woman without her consent. The penetration was not consensual. This is rape. Legally and morally.

In the second instance, he held down a woman and attempted to penetrate her while she was distressed and fighting him off. If penetration occurred, this is rape. If penetration did not occur, it is attempted rape and rather serious sexual assault. Legally and morally.

Even his own defence is saying that Julian Assange is a rapist.

Despite this, there are still those who leap to Assange’s defence. A top tweet referred to what Assange did as “being a bad lover“, and many others similar in tone buzzed around hashtags pertaining to Assange’s extradition hearing. Some of these voices even come from the left.

It is a far cry from the outrage surrounding Ken Clarke’s distinction between “serious rape” and “date rape”. Suddenly, the very same people who objected to a Tory engaging in rape apologism are doing the very same thing themselves: springing to the defence of a rapist, declaring there must have been some sort of misunderstanding, or perhaps the women are lying, or perhaps holding a woman down and forcibly attempting penetration isn’t anything like rape, or squirming around, groping for legal loopholes.

What Assange did was wrong. Thoroughly wrong. I had hoped we had reached a stage where penetrating a woman who is unable to consent or using force to penetrate a woman is known by all to be something that is thoroughly reprehensible and worthy of punishment. I am disappointed and furious that this is not the case.

It is perfectly possible to decry Assange while supporting Wikileaks. As a project, I think Wikileaks is a good thing. Some information needs to be made available in the public domain, and Wikileaks is brilliant for facilitating this. I also believe in free speech, something championed by Wikileaks. Free speech allows me to express my opinion that Julian Assange is a rapist.

Assange is not Wikileaks. For starters, Wikileaks is a large project which is staffed by many people other than Assange. Another difference is that Julian Assange is most likely a rapist, and Wikileaks is not. It is therefore perfectly simple to support Wikileaks while acknowledging what Assange did is completely and utterly wrong.

It is rather like Rebekah Brooks and the News of the World. Rebekah Brooks should have resigned or been sacked, setting up a distance between Brooks and the newspaper. Instead, Brooks was kept, while the newspaper was taken down.

There should be a distance between Assange and Wikileaks. Wikileaks is not Assange. Assange is not Wikileaks. It needs to be clearer: given that Assange is probably a rapist, he is poison to the project. There is a line of reasoning which suggests that the case against Assange was pursued to destroy Wikileaks. I believe that this notion has some traction, and it makes me sad that this case was only brought forward to further the interests of those Wikileaks damaged.

To dissociate Assange from Wikileaks is the solution to the problem. He is hardly essential; there are many competent people who could head up the project. The new head of Wikileaks would not be a rapist and therefore would not be toxic.

Yet many of the same people who called for Brooks to go are defending Assange with rape apologism, instead of divorcing him from the project.

This is unnecessary. We should be focusing on what is right and what is wrong.

Rape is always wrong.

Update: It is entirely possible the defence is referring to if Assange did it, rather than an admission that he had. This does not mean there are not charges to answer. There are. This does not mean he is innocent, nor does it mean the survivors are liars. The allegations must be taken very seriously indeed and not dismissed or brushed away from the discussion.

Update 2: Just want to point out that I am retracting my “still liking Wikileaks” assertion. While I support the notion of a service like Wikileaks which would allow people to anonymously leak information, which would hold the powerful to account, Wikileaks isn’t it. It’s become Assange’s personal propaganda machine, not leaking anything of value and merely waffling on about their leader. It’s beyond help, which is a huge shame as we really need something that would serve the function Wikileaks once did.

51 thoughts on “I think Julian Assange is a rapist. I still like Wikileaks.”

  1. Personally, I take no view on his character or actions, that’s a matter for the courts. What concerns me is that this entire process stinks to high heaven, particularly given the situation of Bradley Manning.

  2. Very good post. Agree that yet again some left elements seem to have placed Assange on a pedestal beyond criticism. Also like the comparison between Assange/Wikileaks and Brooks/NotW. I’m sure Wikileaks will continue to expose secretive governments once Assange has been convicted, and I’m sure the average journo at NotW wouldn’t have broken the law unless they felt pressured to do so.

  3. Well said. It’s infuriating that many people are incapable of making a distinction between a good cause or idea, and the people who further it.

  4. Where does it say that this is actually what happened? The defense lawyer is laying out what the allegations are that are being made against Assange. Nothing more.

  5. I agree with Craig. We have less access to information than the jury will have should this case go to court. And they are not allowed to go round saying ‘I think Assange is a rapist’ till they have heard the evidence.

  6. I doubt our governments attempting to force Assange’s extradition have any concern for justice or the rights of the alleged victims involved. I’m sure they wouldn’t for the thousands of women raped in Iraq and Afghanistan under complicity of American and British military commanders, either. Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the U.S. government’s Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War, was smeared with allegations such as these without any evidence or due course of legal rights at all; but there is of course an individual distinction in Assange’s. If he is convicted as a rapist in a court of law, then my respect for him will of course diminish immensely. But the inter-relatedness of his case and Wikileaks advocacy as a political dissident is surely just as despicable as the implicated crimes.

    1. And without undermining the seriousness of rape, only thinking someone is a rapist according to allegations without the full range of evidence and defense against them doesn’t mean they are one. They must be proven based upon this, and in Assange’s context I would view them with appalling shame.

  7. EDITOR’S NOTE: I approved this comment as it is nigh-on textbook rape apologism. The only thing missing is explicit use of the phrase “she was asking for it”. I think it bears reading as it is so frustratingly miserable that people still think this way.

    I think Assanges likes agressive sex. He held down a woman (32) and attempted to penetrate her while she was distressed and fighting him off. It is a attempted to rape and rather serious sexual assault. It is not moral that she after the sexual assualt keep him in her bed and in her house and later she change her mind and told the police about the accident. I read her 7 steps of revenge and I think she is a little bit mad.

    The second woman (26) takes a for her unknown man to her home (paid it’s trip) and had several times sex with him. Her behavior makes her also responsible (the sexual state of the brains is different van the normal state) for what has been happen as mini-rape. A short date is a risky affair. Therefore in the second case the Swedish state must not punished Assange to much, because she is also respossible for what has been happen. Normally the man takes the steps in sex forwards and that is in Sweden a problem.

    You say there should be a distance between Assange and Wikileaks. Wikileaks is not Assange. There is a line of reasoning which suggests that the case against Assange was pursued to destroy Wikileaks. Yes it distroys Wikileaks because Assange is aggressive and a little bit crazy man. He is fighting against criminal states. No body like that kind of work.

    So I am also angry. One mad woman and a stupid woman and too strong Swedish laws destroy the little bit of hope for good work for a better world with Wikileaks.

    Assange is not an ideal persons (may be a mini rapist). A lot of men are mini rapists and a lot of women are also not nice and you cannot believe it but lot of women love an imperfect man.

    In the case of Assange there is a difference between his sexual live and it’s political live.

  8. Funny your comment on my wrong word mini rapist. I mean the Swedish definition of rape in the lowest degree and which is not a crime in other countries. It is a serious matter. Why is Assange not directly going to Sweden? I read for background formation “Pseudo-Science in Swedish Rape Trials”. Ref: http://ferrada-noli.blogspot.com/ and now I understand it a little bit. Sweden today is not a wonderful country to live. The state feminists, expressing the hysterica of their anti-Assange hate crusade in their articles and reports published or aired by their state-owner or their corporated stream media. The Swedish polcitician are corrupt and have strong connections with the USA. Criteria for judgement: The absence of forensic/technical evidence is no ploblem for conviction.

  9. EDITOR’S NOTE: I approved this comment as it is nigh-on textbook rape apologism. The only thing missing is explicit use of the phrase “she was asking for it”. I think it bears reading as it is so frustratingly miserable that people still think this way.

    You play false. You can remove my command

    1. No, please don’t. I find it instructive to know that Jansen thinks this way. If he didn’t want the world to know he’s an as***le he shouldn’t have publicly stated his (in my opinion) vile beliefs.

  10. It is irrelevant whether or not he is a rapist at this stage, at least in the context of Wikileaks. Wikileaks is not Assange and Assange is not Wikileaks. Also as much as you all wish it to be, it is not rape under English law.
    I also find it quite amusing that most people find it prudent to focus on his sexual exhibits rather than the importance of Wikileaks and Julian as a well spoken albeit disturbed spokesmen for the most important media outlet of the last 18 months.

    1. Penetrating a person while they sleep is rape. Holding someone down and penetrating them against their will is rape.

    2. As a Detective I can assure you that what has been described in the article (if it is accurate) constitutes rape in England and Wales. Section 1 Sexual Offences Act.

  11. “Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is no longer suspected of rape. Therefore he does not have to submit himself to the police. .. I do not think there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape.” – chief prosecutor Eva Finné in a statement to the press, Aug 2010.

    1. Ooh, are we playing the random quotes without context game? My turn!

      “I’m Jake the Peg, with an extra leg” -Rolf Harris, 1965

  12. [Poor humunculus flannel didn’t read the comments policy and engaged in rape apologism. Poor humunculus flannel can’t even spell “homunculus”]

  13. “Free speech allows me to express my opinion that Julian Assange is a rapist.” – Likewise free speech allows me express my opinion that Julian Assange *may* not be a rapist. Whats your problem with that?

    1. Then go and set up a blog and write it. Freedom of speech is also freedom for me not to let you fart out rape apologism in a safe space for survivors.

      1. I accept your point re freedom of speech. You do have the right to not publish my comments.

  14. I realize that you will not publish this, but at least I have some expectation of you reading it: My contention is that the comments taken from Assange’s lawyers in that hearing were not an admission of guilt. They were trying to establish that the *accusations* would not be considered rape by UK legal standards and therefore he should not be extradited. Your blog piece is premised on it being a cast iron confession, which is wrong.

    Its very easy to throw about accusations of “Rapist” and “Rape apologist.”

    1. Being extradited to Sweden under the current charges would make it more difficult for him to then be extradited to America, as under the European arrest/extradition rules, both Sweden and UK would have to agree to such.

  15. I have no idea if Assange is guilty of rape. If he is, then he should be punished according to the law. However, it seems very convenient for the US government that this rape charge has arrived at precisely the right momen to ensure that he can be extradited to the US.

    Leaving that aside, it is a principle observed by most civilised countries that an embassy is inviolable. That the British government is choosing to threaten this principle and invade an embassy with force is an indication of how far democracy and freedom has been compromised in the UK.

    And yes, I know it is legal. but I seem to remember the law in question was introduced after the death of PC Yvonne Fletcher and was intended to enable the arrest of terrorists, not the persecution of a man whose chief ‘crime’ seems to have been blowing the whistle on American and British duplicity.

    It will be a sad day for freedom of speech if Assange is taken forcibly from the Ecuadorian embassy. It could all be so easily be avoided if the US government would guarantee not to extradite from Sweden, where he could be tried on the rape charges.

    Oh look, the moon IS made of green cheese…

      1. Do you feel that by saying rape twice it gives it any more validity?

        You must be very naive if you cannot see the connections here. Was he accused of rape before Wikileaks leaked? No. This accusation appeared after the leak. There are two distinct issues and you are attempting to confale them into one. One.

  16. I went to University with someone in a very similar situation to one of these victims. The guy wasn’t convicted because there wasn’t enough evidence and the girl was under the influence, but the girl ended up becoming depressed, dropping out and going to live with her parents for a year, ending her career dreams and she still has self esteem issues to this day. No-one deserves this. I’m sure a lot of you apologists commenting here would claim it was her fault or whatever, but none of you understand the power of intimidation and control a man can have over a woman in a sexual situation and how negatively it can affect the woman afterwards. Because of this power we men have it is up to us to act as carefully and responsibly as possible. Thank goodness countries like Sweden have such progressive laws to punish people who otherwise might get away with this inhumane, selfish behaviour.

    1. Technically, I’ve been raped, several times. A friend once stuck his finger up my arse despite my protests. He criticised my anal hygiene and it wound me up no end. However, I’d feel like a terrible, terrible person if I exclaimed “Oh me too!” to a friend who just confided in me that they were once violently raped.

      If someone spits at you, that technically counts as assault – and you’re entitled to press charges against that person. But saying “I’ve just been assaulted!” because someone spat at you is a kick in the teeth (forgive the pun) for someone who’s survived a serious violent assault and actually needs a survivor’s support group and counselling.

      Don’t get me wrong, I once thought a guy had taken a condom off during sex and I was PISSED off. If I’d contracted HIV I’d have tried to sue the pants off him. I can certainly empathise with Swedish lady #1. But never would I have called that “rape”. Calling being spat at “assault” and calling taking off a condom “rape” seems like such an abuse of those words as it diminishes the severity of those crimes and undermines the suffering of those who have been traumatised by them.

      Do you really, honestly think that those Swedish ladies – who were current, willing lovers of Assange and were sharing a bed with him, and did not contract any infection from him – were traumatised by his actions? Do you think they needed counselling? They probably needed about as much counselling as I did the times I was technically raped. I’ve been woken up by a surprise blowjob before. I didn’t consent to it beforehand. It annoyed me a bit because I just wanted to sleep. Yet more rape. I’m a victim. Me and the billions of other people who’ve ever been groped by the lovers they’re sharing a bed with who assumed that last night’s consent still applied.

      Even if Assange is charged with this crime, the penalty would be so minor (because it -is- a minor crime he’s being accused of) that it would be like trying to extradite someone for a speeding ticket. Clearly there is US involvement in both the legal proceedings and smear campaign, for incredibly obvious reasons.

      Call me a rape apologist and censor my post if you want. But you must accept that you are discounting the opinion of someone who is – by your (angry woman’s) definition – a serial rape victim.

      1. You don’t call what happened to you rape. A lot of people do. I think what happened to you is rape. Not “technically”. It was rape, it was wrong and if you wanted to get the law involved you should have. If you didn’t, that’s fine too. Respect the choices of others, though.

  17. If only all those rapists who are *not* also involved in politically inconvenient projects were pursued to the same extent as Assange is. The world would be a far happier place for women.

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