Sense of entitlement

This post has trigger warnings.

It’s mostly about rape.

I’ve never been raped. Like most women who haven’t been raped, I do have a bunch of near-miss stories, starting from when I was six or seven and declined to go for a walk with a nice man who was hanging out at a lefty peacenik vegetarian cafe. My parents were there, volunteering, and I knew they knew most of the adults there, so I assumed (child me) he wasn’t a stranger whom I had to be wary of: I just didn’t feel like going for a walk with him. Shortly after I had persistently said “No” to him, and gone over to stand near someone I did know because his persistence made me feel uncomfortable, he left: I never (to my knowledge) saw him again. It was only much later that I wondered: what would have happened if I’d gone for a walk with him?

Of course I still don’t know. But I’m happy I don’t. I’m glad that my parents taught me it was okay to be a stubborn little girl who didn’t have to do what she was told. I told this story once to a woman with two daughters, and she went ashen and told me after a while that both her daughters had been sexually abused. It made her feel terrible to hear me say that – made her feel that she should have taught her daughters to be stubborn and disobedient – even though at the same time she knew, it wasn’t her fault or her daughters’ fault any more than it would have been my fault if I had decided I wanted to go for a walk and it had turned out that man was exactly what cynical-adult-me says he probably was.

I know a lot of rape stories. Mostly they’re not about violence, not about stranger-danger. Mostly, the rapist is never reported to the police. Although most of the rape stories I know are told by women, none of them are really about women.

All of the rape stories I know are about men with a massive sense of entitlement. That’s always what comes across most in rape stories, after the pain and devastation: that a man had an unstoppable sense that he was entitled to take what he wanted from a girl or a woman, and it didn’t matter in the least what she wanted. Many men don’t notice their sense of entitlement is massive: they’re too used to getting what they want from women.

Even Laurie Penny carefully does not identify the man who raped her, though she has said on Twitter that he has to her knowledge done the same thing to other woman. If she did, because the man hasn’t been charged, still less convicted of rape, he could probably, successfully, sue her for libel for speaking about the truth of her experience.

We say, “He’s innocent until proven guilty” as if we were talking about real innocence and real guilt instead of legal concepts meant to establish burden of proof; as if a truly guilty man was innocent before proven guilty, or is made innocent because they can’t prove him guilty. We act as if the man has every right to assert his innocence but the woman does not have the right to assert her own rape, especially if it might damage his career or community standing (never mind how she’s been damaged).

Say a man’s a rapist before he’s been convicted, and you could end up being sued, even if you are one of the women whom he raped. Because of this, news stories about rape tend to describe rape in passive-voice sentences, as if rape “just happened”, as if it’s some kind of unfortunate disaster like skidding on black ice or tripping over a step.

Most of the lists of “how to avoid rape” tips are more of the same: the presumption that a woman can save herself from unfortunately getting raped by staying sober, dressing soberly, not walking home alone at night, not getting into a lift alone with a stranger.

Thing is, none of that actually works. A woman isn’t raped because of anything she did or said or wore: she’s raped because a rapist got rapey.

The thing is, you don’t have to hold a knife to someone’s throat or beat anyone to be a rapist. You don’t need to leave visible bruises to permanently damage someone. All that you need to do is to refuse to hear what they say, you render them invisible and take away their free will.

A woman can only avoid being raped by never being within arm’s reach of a rapist: never marrying a rapist, never going out with a rapist, never being at a disco or a pub or a party with a rapist, never trusting a rapist. And this is tricky, because while only one in twenty men are rapists, they look, act, and speak no differently from many of the other 95%.

What Facebook and others who defend this pernicious hate speech don’t seem to get is that rapists don’t rape because they’re somehow evil or perverted or in any way particularly different from the average man in the street: rapists rape because they can. Rapists rape because they know the odds are stacked in their favour, because they know the chances are they’ll get away with it.

These are some of the stories I know about rape. They’re only a small fraction of the stories you could read or listen to if you wanted to hear the other side of the story, not George Galloway‘s or John Pilger‘s or Glenn Greenwald‘s or any of the other nice liberal men who pop up to defend innocent until proven guilty or free speech or what you will. They’re not stories that any of the women who’ve shared rape stories need to read.

So if you’d rather not, do the otter thing.

[Update, 26th August - I'm putting part of a question and a Boggle cartoon first... hope this helps]

An anonymous 17-year-old asked Boggle:

“Ten years later, I’m still trying to resolve whether I can really call that rape, and whether I should hold myself partially responsible for never doing anything….”

Boggle is worried about you! Boggle is also an owl.

“Enis”:

A month ago, we were making love. I was restrained to the bed; we did this all the time. The next thing I knew, he’s fingering my anus. I told him to stop, but he wouldn’t. He took his time, stretching and lubing. I was screaming and crying for him to stop the whole time. I won’t get into how much it hurt, but suffice it to say, I nearly passed out from blood loss as a result of his tearing open old scars. He freaked out when he saw the amount of blood on the bed and called 911. (This was after he’d had an orgasm). I spent a week in the hospital and ended up with 30 stitches to rerepair the damage. I’m still in a lot of pain.

I refused to see him while I was in the hospital. I didn’t take his calls. I gave the flowers he sent to other patients. He utterly and completely betrayed my trust. I trusted him with my safety when I let him restrain me, and he took advantage and hurt me. I want nothing to do with him ever again. I’ve been told he’s been on suicide watch at the local hospital several times since the incident. His friends and family tell me he’s sorry, that he didn’t mean to hurt me, and that I should forgive him. I realize that he may have not intended to hurt me; he did use lubrication, and attempted to open me up a bit first. If he had meant to hurt me then he would have just shoved his way in. But the fact is, I said no.

Date Rape Engenders Awful Depression:

Two nights ago, I went to a party. My ex-boyfriend was present, but my current boyfriend was not. I had several beers, and while I wasn’t drunk, I was tipsy. I had to go to my car to get my cell phone, and my ex offered to accompany me. When we got to the car, he pushed me against the car and started making out with me. I tried to push him away and said, “No, I can’t” several times. He kept trying to pull my pants down, and every time he did, I pulled them back up. He took his dick out and tried again to pull down my pants. I know it sounds stupid, but all I could get out were meek “nos” and “I can’ts.” I was afraid of a confrontation because he and I have been friendly since we broke up. I eventually discontinued my attempts to pull my pants back up because I figured the easiest way to get out of this situation was to let him finish. He had sex with me. I wanted to cry the whole time, but as much as I wanted to scream, “Stop! Get the fuck off of me!” I couldn’t get the words out.

Ex-husband of Fugitivus:

I had just told my ex-husband I wanted a divorce. I also told him we could have sex that night, because I assumed if I didn’t let him, he would rape me. He kept pushing for anal sex, which I unequivocally said I would not have. We argued back and forth, and I kept saying no. He finally backed down, we started to have “consensual” sex, and he switched over to anal. I didn’t fight him off, or continue saying no. I figured I’d just let him get it over with.

There was no question in my mind that what had happened was rape. There was plenty of hopeful doubt, pretend denial, but never a question. I knew. I wished it wasn’t so, but I knew exactly what it was. I knew because I had said no, out loud, several times, and when somebody has sex with you after you have said no, that’s the definition of rape. But I also knew because of how I felt about it. Because it was so different from other sex. Because I spent my time imagining I was a tree outside, and telling myself, “He’ll be done eventually and then this will be in the past,” and afterwards, telling myself, “I’ll admit what happened once I live in a place he does not have a key to.”

Ched Evans:

[Clayton McDonald] took her back to the hotel where they had sex and were joined by Evans, who also had intercourse with the woman.

The jury was told that as the incident took place, Jack Higgins, an “associate” of the footballers, and Ryan Roberts, Evans’s brother, watched through a window.

Video recordings found on Mr Higgins’s phone showed he had been filming or trying to film the incident, the court heard.

Mr McDonald claimed that Evans asked if he could get involved, while Evans said it was Mr McDonald who asked him if he wanted to have sex with the woman.

The judge: “CCTV footage shows, in my view, the extent of her intoxication when she stumbled into your friend.

“As the jury have found, she was in no condition to have sexual intercourse.

“When you arrived at the hotel, you must have realised that.”

Gibson Lusigi:

“You came across these two women and were friendly towards them in a genuine fashion. You then invited them back to your student accommodation with the best of intentions.”

The court heard Lusigi, who was a mature student at the time of the attack in February, had massaged the women when they got back to his flat, but the victim had made it clear she did not want sex. Both women then ended up in Lusigi’s bed, where, while the victim was either drunk or asleep, he raped her.

A fun-loving, left-leaning chap who was friends with a number of strong, feminist women:

One night, a group of my friends held a big party in a hotel. Afterwards, a few of the older guests, including this man, invited me up to the room they had rented. I knew that some drinking and kissing and groping might happen. I started to feel ill, and asked if It would be alright if I went to sleep in the room – and I felt safe, because other people were still there. I wasn’t planning to have sex with this man or with anyone else that night, but if I had been, that wouldn’t have made it okay for him to push his penis inside me without a condom or my consent.

The next thing I remember is waking up to find myself being penetrated, and realising that my body wasn’t doing what I told it to. Either I was being held down or – more likely – I was too sick to move. I’ve never been great at drinking, which is why I don’t really do it any more, but this feeling was more profound, and to this day I don’t know if somebody put something in my drink that night. I was horrified at the way his face looked, fucking me, contorted and sweating. My head span. I couldn’t move. I was frightened, but he was already inside me, and I decided it was simplest to turn my face away and let him finish. When he did, I crawled to the corner of the enormous bed and lay there until the sun came up.

In the morning I got up, feeling sick and hurting inside, and took a long, long shower in the hotel’s fancy bathroom. The man who had fucked me without my consent was awake when I came out. He tried to push me down on the bed for oral, but I stood up quickly and put on my dress and shoes. I asked him if he had used a condom. He told me that he ‘wasn’t into latex’, and asked if I was on the pill. I don’t remember thinking ‘I have just been raped’. After all, this guy wasn’t behaving in the manner I had learned to associate with rapists. Rapists are evil people. They’re not nice blokes who everybody respects who simply happen to think it’s ok to stick your dick in a teenager who’s sleeping in the same bed as you, without a condom. This guy seemed, if anything, confused as to why I was scrabbling for my things and bolting out the door. He even sent me an email a few days later, chiding me for being rude.

Some men have a massive sense of entitlement but don’t commit rape. Having a massive sense of entitlement is a necessary precursor to rape, but it doesn’t by itself make a man a rapist.

But all rapists have this massive sense of entitlement.

Fröken A and Fröken W are both clear: They consented to sex with Julian Assange only if he used a condom, and Assange didn’t want to use a condom. For quite a while there was a massive Internet meme going on that Assange was being charged because unprotected sex is illegal in Sweden.

“Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism,” he said. “I fell into a hornets’ nest of revolutionary feminism.”

It would surprise many safe-sex campaigners I know that to insist on a condom when having sex with a new partner is “revolutionary feminism”. They would say, and emphatically, that it’s just common sense: if you’re having penetrative sex and you’re not absolutely confident of your partner’s STD status, use a condom. No man should find that condition surprising, nor – if he has any concern for his sexual partners at all – unwelcome. (Assange claims to find it “baffling“.)

But repeatedly, even though not using a condom makes it easier to prove that non-consensual sexual intercourse took place, many rapists are found not to have used a condom. They want unprotected sex – “not into latex” as Laurie Penny’s rapist put it charmingly, and they don’t care what the woman wants.

Julian Assange has a massive sense of entitlement.

I’m just saying.

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15 Comments

Filed under Human Rights, Women

15 responses to “Sense of entitlement

  1. Very interesting, thank you for bringing it to my attention. I know you were “disturbed” by my musings on the subject (I am but a poor man), but I was writing in the context of one particular incident and the meaning of a particular word. I do not disagree with anything you have written here. Not using a condom when expressly asked to do so is a bad thing to do, and if Assange did this then of course he should be held to account. The particular incident though, is that rape, or a lesser sexual molestation offence? That was what I was driving at. Possibly I should have worded it better. Feedback from yourself and some of my female friends has indicated that to me. I’ll put ma thinking cap back on.

    • The particular incident though, is that rape, or a lesser sexual molestation offence?

      The charge sheet for Julian Assange in Sweden includes one count of rape, which would be rape according to UK law, too: when (according to Fröken W, and we have seen no reason to assume she is not telling the truth) Fröken W was asleep, and Assange – ignoring the previous evening’s discussion during which she repeatedly made clear she only consented to sex if he used a condom – decided to have intercourse with her without a condom, inserting his penis while she was still asleep. He knew she did not consent to this, he went ahead and did it anyway: that’s rape, in the UK and in Sweden.

      Whether Assange can be convicted of rape / sexual assault in court, assuming he ever gets there, is another matter. He’s entitled, in a court of law, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and Ian Smart wrote an excellent blogpost from the perspective of a lawyer on the crime Assange is alleged to have committed and Assange’s chances of getting off (so to speak) with a good defence.

      That was what I was driving at. Possibly I should have worded it better. Feedback from yourself and some of my female friends has indicated that to me. I’ll put ma thinking cap back on.

      Fair response, and I can’t imagine Todd Akin reacting like that.

  2. I am not going to defend Assange’s actions, and I hope my own blog post did not come across as a blanket defence of him. (I will be updating/editing it over next day or three, to address concerns yourself and others have put to me) There are many claims that the lady in question was not “asleep”, but more half-asleep. Apparently she deleted tweets or text messages to that effect. However, I don’t know the truth of the matter. As I said, a court case is the only way of finding out.

    Could I ask what you base the confident assertion that Assange has a “massive sense of entitlement” on?

    • Could I ask what you base the confident assertion that Assange has a “massive sense of entitlement” on?

      Er… every story I ever read about him, just about since ever?

      He comes across – he always has – as a thoroughly arrogant man.

      But, in the nearly-two-years since he ought to have returned to Sweden to be questioned by the police, charged if that’s where it goes, and stand trial if that’s what due process requires, we’ve been seeing example after example of a truly out-of-control sense of entitlement: his repetitive and mendacious claims that he’d be at risk of extradition by the US if he went to Sweden; his use of Wikileaks, which used to be a valuable instrument for exposing the hypocrisy of governments, as a means of defending himself personally: his decision to move into the Ecuador embassy and claim asylum, after two years of the extradition process working its way through the courts. All so that he doesn’t have to go back to Sweden and face justice for what he did. It’s so hugely arrogant, so egotistic, so no-one-else-in-the-world-matters-but-wonderful-ME.

      Ironically, had he gone back to Sweden when summoned in October 2010, even if he had been found guilty, he might well be out of jail by now.

      There are many claims that the lady in question was not “asleep”, but more half-asleep

      Not ethically relevant. Assange knew W’s consent to sexual intercourse with him was conditional on his using a condom. For him to ignore that condition and go ahead and screw her anyway was rape.

      • ” his repetitive and mendacious claims that he’d be at risk of extradition by the US if he went to Sweden..”

        I do not think that is mendacious at all. There is copious evidence, for those who care to see, of the US government’s desire to get their mitts on him. The treatment of Bradley Manning does not inspire confidence. I assume you haven’t seen this – http://www.smh.com.au/national/us-intends-to-chase-assange-cables-show-20120817-24e1l.html#ixzz23ta226A6
        It is most certainly not a mendacious claim to make.

        I do agree tho, that until his name is cleared it may be wise to disassociate from WikiLeaks to protect it’s good name.

        The move to the Ecuador Embassy is perfectly legitimate when one accepts the claims of fear of US forward extradition are far from fantastical or mendacious. Let us remind ourselves why – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/21/why-us-is-out-to-get-assange

        Assange has repeatedly made himself available for questioning. One must wonder why interview by Skype, or Swedish interogators travelling to the UK is impossible. After all, they have apparently travelled to Serbia to interview a murder suspect. Why not Assange?
        Assange has repeatedly stated he would travel to Sweden today if he could be assured of no forward extradition for political activities with WikiLeaks. That, to me, and many others, is hardly asking the impossible. I wouldnt let myself be carted easily off to an American gulag, would you?

        • I do not think that is mendacious at all. There is copious evidence, for those who care to see, of the US government’s desire to get their mitts on him.

          Yes, and then there’s copious evidence, for those that do the research (as I’m sure Assange did – I would in his place) that the US have no legal means whatsover of getting their mitts on him, unless he’s fool enough to go to the US for a holiday.

          . The treatment of Bradley Manning does not inspire confidence.

          Goodness, not just Bradley Manning. Their treatment of Moazzam Begg, Shaker Aamer, Ruhal Ahmed, Asif Iqbal, Shafiq Rasul – perhaps worst of all if you’re resident in the UK and the US want to get hold of you, Jamil El Banna and.Bisher Al Rawi – all of them British citizens or legal British residents who suffered extrajudicial rendition by the US, and who were abandoned to the US’s tender mercies by the UK government for years.

          Sweden, by contrast, knuckled under to the US just once, 11 years ago, when it sent two Egyptians who were legal Swedish residents back to Egypt at the request of the US. There was a huge outcry, the Swedish ambassador visited them, and even by Wikileaks testimony, Sweden hasn’t been cooperative with US rendition ever since.

          Assange wanted to live in Sweden in August 2010. It’s only since he was wanted there for rape/sexual assault that he’s suddenly got all mendacious about how they’re a US ally and they’d hand him over to the US.

          It is most certainly not a mendacious claim to make.

          Certainly for people who are just reading what Wikileaks tells them (and by Wikileaks, read Assange) and believing it, it’s not mendacious for them to repeat the claims.

          But Julian Assange himself undoubtedly knows he would be far safer from the US, if they attempted to extradite him, while he was in Sweden than he would be in the UK. Since the US is unlikely to attempt to extradite him from anywhere, this is a moot point for him.

          Assange has repeatedly made himself available for questioning. One must wonder why interview by Skype, or Swedish interogators travelling to the UK is impossible.

          Why should a rape suspect who is perfectly able to travel to Sweden at no risk to himself, get to dictate to the Swedish police where they will interview him?

          In any case, he is likely to be charged by the police with some or all of the various crimes on the rap sheet, during the interview process. (He hasn’t been charged yet, because Swedish due process requires that the police question him before they charge him. Another bit of Assange mendaciousness: he has spent two years avoiding being charged, while claiming “never been charged” as if that were evidence of innocence.)

          Assange has repeatedly stated he would travel to Sweden today if he could be assured of no forward extradition for political activities with WikiLeaks.

          Yes. And as he knows perfectly well that Swedish extradition law does not permit extradition for political crimes (indeed, he will have known since January 2011 that the US knows it has no extradition treaty with any country that allows extradition for political crimes) this is yet another example of Assange lying. Just, plain, outright lying.

          • “that the US have no legal means..”

            And the US *always” sticks to legal means. I tentatively suggest this is a little naive. Do you think the Grand Jury is a myth then? You think the cables from the Australians have no merit whatsoever?

            The argument over why Sweden may be easier for the US to get Assange than the UK is not purely about extradition law, though it is reported that Sweden has a fast track process with the US. In the UK it can drag on for years, despite the special relationship with the US, as the McKinnon extradition showed (over 6 years), and the refusal just this year of the UK to extradite a man accused of raping kids ffs in the USA.

            Other considerations are that Assange would not be at liberty in Sweden, due to their system of pre-trial detention, so would be unable to, say, seek asylum if the US started extradition proceedings for his political activities.

            “Sweden, by contrast, knuckled under to the US just once,”

            There was an outcry, as you say, but things change. A new government, with ties to US neo-conservatives, and a suspect largely found guilty by the press, and most commentators. One could be forgiven for gleaning that from your last comment, if you will forgive me. Assange is, apparently, even more vilified in the Swedish press. There would be, arguably, less of an outcry in Sweden than the UK.

            “Certainly for people who are just reading what Wikileaks tells them..”

            As opposed to what apologists for Iraq like David Aaronovitch and umpteen others say? I rarely visit the WikiLeaks page. So I have little or no idea what they are saying. I think Glenn Greenwald and Seamus Milne have been instructive. Similarly Naomi Wolf. Hardly WikiLeaks propagandists.

            “Since the US is unlikely to attempt to extradite him from anywhere”

            I like a gamble, but I wouldn’t bet a single penny on that assertion, let alone stake my life or livelihood on it, as those like your good self want Assange to do. There is no denying the US desire to shut up Assange and WikiLeaks. Again, I ask is there no validity in the Grand Jury reports and the Australian cables?

            ” this is yet another example of Assange lying. Just, plain, outright lying.”

            You really don’t like the guy, do you? Per chance it is clouding your judgement?

          • And the US *always” sticks to legal means.

            Not at all. But I put to you, if the US intends to get hold of Assange not-legally, it does not matter greatly where he is (though a Swedish jail cell would be one of the safer places on the planet, and Quito one of the less-safe places).


            Do you think the Grand Jury is a myth then?

            Not at all. Let me explain to you how this works. The US legal system means in order to punish people who are guilty of publishing the Wikileaks cables, they need to show an instance of Wikileaks publication causing actual harm to US national defence. That’s what the Grand Jury is for.

            The US government would like to get hold of Assange by fair means or foul. But to be honest, the longer Assange makes a fool of himself dodging the Swedish justice system, and setting Wikileaks to defend himself rather than expose governments (and he could keep hiding in the Ecuador embassy for years) the less reason the US government has to actively bother breaking the law to get hold of him. Which appears to be acceptable to Assange supporters, but it entirely unacceptable for those of us who (a) Think rape is bad (b) Care about what Wikileaks used to do.

            But the problem with extracting Assange from some other country is that so long as he’s in a country’s legal system or he’s in a country that is a US ally but not part of NATO, with solid freedom of information laws written into its Constitution, the US is unlikely to be able to get hold of him. That would be why Assange picked Sweden to live in August 2010.

            You think the cables from the Australians have no merit whatsoever?

            Missing the point kind of. If Assange is held by the Swedish legal system, whether awaiting trial, in jail, or what, the US will have to get hold of Assange by convincing the Swedish and the UK extradition courts that he’s wanted for a specific non-political crime, that would be a crime in Sweden too, for which he will not receive unlawful treatment. If Assange is in the UK, the US only has to convince the UK to hand him over, and the UK has a much worse history of compliance to US directives than Sweden does.

            The argument over why Sweden may be easier for the US to get Assange than the UK is not purely about extradition law, though it is reported that Sweden has a fast track process with the US. In the UK it can drag on for years, despite the special relationship with the US, as the McKinnon extradition showed (over 6 years), and the refusal just this year of the UK to extradite a man accused of raping kids ffs in the USA.

            The UK passed special legislation in 2003, ratified by the US Senate in 2006, to make it easier for the US to extradite people it wants from the UK. And the legislation has been used. The argument about it being easier for the US if Assange goes to Sweden is false, and I’m quite sure Assange knows it. So you have to ask yourself, why isn’t he going there?

            As opposed to what apologists for Iraq like David Aaronovitch and umpteen others say?

            I’m no apologist for Iraq, and I’ve no idea what David Aaronvitch is saying. If you bother to read my blogpost and check the links, you’ll see where I did my research. Do me the respect of doing that before you claim I’m getting this information from “Iraq apologists”.

            I rarely visit the WikiLeaks page. So I have little or no idea what they are saying.

            But you are parrotting the Wikileaks line. Without much thought or checking for yourself what the actual facts are. Interesting, isn’t it? How a disinformation campaign can just work on people who don’t actually check the sources.

            I think Glenn Greenwald and Seamus Milne have been instructive. Similarly Naomi Wolf. Hardly WikiLeaks propagandists.

            Yeah, I fact-checked what they were saying, and found they really didn’t know what they were talking about! Glenn Greenwald was a real disappointment to me on that – he was a total hero of mine, and I’m thoroughly disappointed at his behaviour over Assange. He just hasn’t checked his background sources. At all.

            I like a gamble, but I wouldn’t bet a single penny on that assertion, let alone stake my life or livelihood on it, as those like your good self want Assange to do.

            Actually, Assange was eager, in August 2010, to apply to live in Sweden. He moved Wikileaks base there – it’s servers are in Stockholm. Your good self should perhaps ask; if everything Assange is now saying about Sweden applied in August 2010, why wasn’t he wanting to live in the UK then? THe change between now and then is only that in Sweden he’s now wanted for rape and sexual assault. Which he brought entirely on himself. Nobody made him decide “oh well, these women want me to use a condom, but I’m Julian Assange, I shouldn’t have to if I don’t want to!”

            There is no denying the US desire to shut up Assange and WikiLeaks. Again, I ask is there no validity in the Grand Jury reports and the Australian cables?

            Go read my blog post. Check the links. There is no denying the US desire to shut up Assange, but he’s doing a pretty good job of it on his own, and their best extra-legal means of getting hold of him would be if he went to Ecuador and they hired his kidnapping.

            You really don’t like the guy, do you? Per chance it is clouding your judgement?

            Wow, that’s patronising. You just can’t bring yourself to believe that a mere woman could have studied the facts and come to the rational conclusion that Julian Assange is shown to be lying and, if either woman is telling the truth (and we have no reason to suppose they’re not) Assange raped one woman, sexually assaulted the other, and is now arrogantly trying to dodge justice. You like him for that? Why?

          • I don’t like Assange for sexually assaulting women, or because he, as you claim, is “dodging justice”. I admire his work through WikiLeaks. Nothing more, nothing less. I have never met the man, so refrain from making judgements about his character, He may be guilty of sexual assault and rape, he may not be. You appear to have found him guilty. Certainly there is no doubt from your words that he is a liar, a cad, and a man with a massive sense of entitlement. This may or may not be true, but I don’t share your absolute confidence in the matter.

            I think it unfair to insinuate, state boldly even, that those of us who do not share your firm (and unproven) views of the matter either do not think rape is bad, or we dont care about the good WikiLeaks does. It does no one any good to impune the motives of those we disagree with. Particualrly when it appears we would likely agree on a great deal else. As it currentle stands we have differing perspectives. It happens sometimes, honest differences of opinion without any kind of mendacity.

            Another source of information and perspective I have is from the ladies from Women Against Rape. I trust at least they accept rape is a bad thing. I have also picked up much from a Swedish speaker through the Media Lens message board. A poster called “its1789″ if you are interested. From his/her perspective, the Swedish judicial system is not all the happy clappy heaven on earth thing that many of us might have thought. http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/search

            “the UK has a much worse history of compliance to US directives than Sweden does.”

            I agree. It most certainly has. As Seamus Milne and Craig Murray have pointed out, the UK would not have threatened to storm an enbassy for any other person accused of sex offences. Things like this indicate I think, to a fair minded person, that there is far more to the pursuit of Julian Assange than justice for the two women in Sweden. But the point is, the extradition process to the US from the UK can drag on for years and years and years. Sweden, apparently, has a fast track process. I havent even touched upon the process of issuing a European Arrest Warrant for Assange. Red lined to a level of urgency that is more often reserved for genocidal tyrants and mass murderers. To my mind, the whole thing stinks to high heaven.

            If I was determined to get justice for the two women, and, as you say, if Assange could end up holed in the Ecuador Embassy for years, surely the Swedes and the UK should call Assange’s bluff then? Assure him of no extradition to the US for political ‘crimes’, and see if he offers himself up to the Swdish authorities. If he did not, I would then happily move closer to your view of the matter.

            Thanks again for indulging me. I do appreciate it.

          • The point about the Extradition Act 2003 was intended to make it easier – given how easy it is to travel between EU states – for one EU country to extradite from another EU country.

            Similiar laws were passed in the UK, back when law-and-order was a parish or a county responsibility, to allow arrests to be made where someone had committed a crime and then fled across a parish or county boundary.

            I agree with the majority opinion: if it is standard in Sweden for the state prosecutor to sign an extradition request, then clearly the state prosecutor is acting as one of the judiciary, and it would be wrong / against the principles by which that legislation was written to demand that Swedish judiciary conform to English expectations before the UK will honour a Swedish extradition request.

            Indeed, it shows the flimsiness of Assange’s appeal and the mendacity of his claims that he’s been denied due process, when the full appeal was held on the basis that it could be argued that in England a prosecutor doesn’t count as a judge and so the extradition warrant wasn’t valid (yah boo sucks to the EU, one can practically hear UKIP types saying).

  3. Pingback: It’s Rape, Jim…. A Clarification. « Black Sheep Diary

  4. I don’t like Assange for sexually assaulting women, or because he, as you claim, is “dodging justice”. I admire his work through WikiLeaks. Nothing more, nothing less. I have never met the man, so refrain from making judgements about his character.

    Well, I’ve never met you. But I’m making jiudgements about your character. You’ve never met me, but I’m sure you are too.

    With any celebrity, it’s fair to keep a reasonably open mind based on reportage, because reportage distorts. But, you can make judgements about someone based on their actions either directly observed or according to multiple sources and according to what they say about themselves.

    He may be guilty of sexual assault and rape, he may not be. You appear to have found him guilty.

    I acknowledge the possibility – I think it unlikely, since Assange himself does not dispute that non-consensual sex occurred – that the whole thing is some complicated scheme. But I don’t actually believe in schemes this complicated as a realistic possibility. It’s like supposing that Karl Rove is at this moment in time more concerned with getting Julian Assange into Guantanamo Bay than he is at getting the Republicans into power in November. The two women told a realistic and credible account to the police: Julian Assange doesn’t deny the facts of their encounter: I am confident enough of Assange’s guilt that I would recuse myself from the jury if I were a Swedish citizen and selected for the trial.

    Certainly there is no doubt from your words that he is a liar, a cad, and a man with a massive sense of entitlement. This may or may not be true, but I don’t share your absolute confidence in the matter.

    Let’s hope there are enough Swedish citizens like you that Assange can have a fair trial!

    I think it unfair to insinuate, state boldly even, that those of us who do not share your firm (and unproven) views of the matter either do not think rape is bad, or we dont care about the good WikiLeaks does.

    Mmm. Well, I think people who defend Assange’s actions with regard to those two women as described by them and confirmed by Assange, are defending rape/sexual assault. People who think that these criminal actions are unimportant compared to Assange’s work for Wikileaks are rape apologists.

    And people who think that Wikileaks really should focus on defending Assange from sexual assault/rape charges because Assange is far more important than Wikileaks, have not really got why Wikileaks was important. Since this group includes – demonstrably – Assange himself, I think Julian Assange never understood properly that Wikileaks mattered because we should know the truth of government decisons, not because it made Assange feel important.

    It does no one any good to impune the motives of those we disagree with. Particualrly when it appears we would likely agree on a great deal else. As it currentle stands we have differing perspectives. It happens sometimes, honest differences of opinion without any kind of mendacity.

    Agreed. But then perhaps you shouldn’t have suggested my dislike for Assange had clouded my judgement? I was an admirer of Wikileaks: I didn’t give Assange a thought until two years ago. At that point I had an absolutely open mind. But the more I found out about the situation, the less I liked the look of what Assange was doing and saying.

    Another source of information and perspective I have is from the ladies from Women Against Rape. I trust at least they accept rape is a bad thing.

    Yes, but they seem to think it doesn’t matter as much as indulging Assange. It’s the Great Man theory of rape.

    A poster called “its1789″ if you are interested. From his/her perspective, the Swedish judicial system is not all the happy clappy heaven on earth thing that many of us might have thought.

    Neither is the UK system. But there is so much stuff out there than I’m trying to go with sources only from named authorities or direct from the legislation or actual reported events (such as the many instances where the UK has given in to the US, as opposed to Sweden).

    I agree. It most certainly has. As Seamus Milne and Craig Murray have pointed out, the UK would not have threatened to storm an enbassy for any other person accused of sex offences.

    Well, they didn’t actually say they’d storm the embassy. They did a bit of thoroughly despicable (and stupid) saber-ratttling. I don’t defend that and I’m glad the UK have backed off on that at least (I hope they have). I had far rather Assange remained in the Ecuadorean embassy for years and years, depriving the two women in Sweden of due process, than that the UK disrupted the diplomatic principle of embassy territory as sacrosanct. I don’t defend it, but I think the current prats-in-charge of the Foreign Office felt humiliated by Ecuador’s defiance of UK. An imperial affliction.

    Things like this indicate I think, to a fair minded person, that there is far more to the pursuit of Julian Assange than justice for the two women in Sweden. But the point is, the extradition process to the US from the UK can drag on for years and years and years. Sweden, apparently, has a fast track process.

    Very fast. The extradition courts are empowered to refuse any request for extradition for a political crime immediately. And have.

    I havent even touched upon the process of issuing a European Arrest Warrant for Assange. Red lined to a level of urgency that is more often reserved for genocidal tyrants and mass murderers. To my mind, the whole thing stinks to high heaven.

    Yes, well. I think the world would be a better place if all rape suspects got treated like Assange. The issue of a warrant for a man suspected of five crimes of violence isn’t something that should “stink to high heaven”. That you get cross over it suggests you don’t think sexual assault/rape merit being taken seriously with international arrest warrants. Why not?

    If I was determined to get justice for the two women, and, as you say, if Assange could end up holed in the Ecuador Embassy for years, surely the Swedes and the UK should call Assange’s bluff then? Assure him of no extradition to the US for political ‘crimes’, and see if he offers himself up to the Swdish authorities. If he did not, I would then happily move closer to your view of the matter.

    They already have, in 1992, in 2006. Sweden will not extradite to the US for political crimes and will not allow rendition flights on Swedish territory. But Assange won’t go to Sweden, because he doesn’t want to face justice for what he did to two women.

    Thanks again for indulging me. I do appreciate it.

    I welcome polite disagreement!

  5. Reblogged this on If you tolerate this then your daughters will be next and commented:
    This is brilliant, and yet horrendous to read

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