Monday, December 06, 2010

"Sex by Surprise"

A friend of mine posted this news article from AOL News on Facebook. It tells that Julian Assange's UK based lawyer called what Assange was charged for "sex by surprise" and it is insinuated that this is a Swedish crime.

First of all, let me put this straight: there is no such crime as "sex by surprise" in Sweden. Assange is charged for rape, sexual harassment and duress, and this is, what is called in Swedish legal terms, on "sannolika skäl;" a classification that means that the prosecutor has enough evidence to make her believe it is likely the verdict will be in her favour. There is fairly strong evidence, then, it is not charge pulled out of thin air. "Sex by surprise" or överraskningssex as it would be translated in Swedish is slang for rape. It is a term that is used when speaking about rape, but jokingly, or keeping it light, a word that brings with it positive connotations, which makes the word inappropriate in itself, but it is nevertheless synonymous with rape.

What allegedly happened, AOL News reports, was
The woman and Assange also reportedly had sex. According to the Daily Mail account, Assange did not use a condom at least one time during their sexual activity. The New York Times today quoted accounts given by the women to police and friends as saying Assange "did not comply with her appeals to stop when (the condom) was no longer in use."
Take a close look at the section I put in italics there. Assange did not comply with the woman's appeals to stop. It does not matter when these appeals were voiced, it matters that they were. By continuing having sex with the woman when she had voiced her wishes not to have sex with him, he had sex with her without her consent: rape by definition.
Note, that it isn't, as is also said in the news article, "Sweden's unusual rape laws, which are considered pro-feminist because of the consideration given issues of consent when it comes to sexual activity -- including even the issue of whether a condom was used." - it has to do with consent, and in this case, it was allegedly lacking, which is what the charges are based on. And no, it does not matter that they were having sex while she changed her mind, a person is allowed to stop a sexual act at any point (have a look at the rape myths below - "Myth: Once a man gets sexually aroused, he can't just stop - Fact: Men do not physically need to have sex after becoming sexually excited. Moreover, they are still able to control themselves after becoming aroused").

What really worries me with this whole circus is that it is panning out to be a popularity contest, as with so many other rape cases. There is the much-loved, at least by people not involved in the state, liberator of information against the allegedly rabid Swedish feminist. The article says about one of Assange's accusers:
She's a 31-year-old blond academic and member of the Social Democratic Party who's known for her radical feminist views, once wrote a treatise on how to take revenge against men and was once thrown out of Cuba for subversive activities.
This belongs to rape myths 101 - that a woman cannot be raped because she acts in a certain way, dresses in a certain way or said some things at one point or another. Just because this woman is a feminist who is interested in how to take revenge on men does not mean she cannot be raped or sexually assaulted, whichever one of the accusations she is behind. Following the same logic, it would mean that Assange is more than likely to be a rapist because he has been described as a chauvinist by Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Icelandic MP. Neither of these facts tell anything about whether or not Julian Assange has raped and/or sexually assaulted the women.

This is a matter for the courts. They have the evidence, they will reach a verdict. Do not make this a public trial. Read this instead (from the Roger Williams University webpage):
Myth: Rape is caused by lust or uncontrollable sexual urges and the need for sexual gratification.

Fact: Rape is an act of physical violence and domination that is not motivated by sexual gratification.

Myth: Once a man gets sexually aroused, he can't just stop.

Fact: Men do not physically need to have sex after becoming sexually excited. Moreover, they are still able to control themselves after becoming aroused.

Myth: Women often lie about rape or falsely accuse someone of rape.

Fact: Statistical studies indicate false reports make up 2% or less of the reported cases of sexual assault. This figure is approximately the same for other types of crimes. Only 1 out of 10 rapes are actually reported. Rapes by someone the victim knows are the least likely to be reported.

Myth: Women provoke sexual assault by their appearance. Sexual attractiveness is a primary reason why a rapist selects a victim.

Fact: Rapists do not select their victims by their appearance. They select victims who are vulnerable and accessible. Victims of sexual assault range in age groups from infants to the elderly. Sexual attractiveness is not an issue.

Myth: Sexual assault is a topic that only concerns women, and men do not have to be concerned about sexual assault.

Fact: According to recent rape crisis center statistics, men, both straight and gay, suffered 10% of the sexual assaults reported in the US last year. (Almost all were raped by other men.) In addition, men have wives, friends, sisters, mothers, and daughters who may someday need assistance in coping with sexual assault. Rape is a concern for everyone.

Myth: If a woman really did not want to be raped, she could fight off her attacker.

Fact: Even if the rapist is not carrying a weapon, the element of surprise, shock, and fear, or the threat of harm can overpower a survivor.


Update:
Here's a link to more information of what, exactly, it is Assange is being charged for. According to this article, it seems the condom incident is the molestation charge, the rape is based on the allegation that "Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner." Keep in mind, though, that with so many different versions of everything circulating the web, it is now more important than ever to not listen to rumours.


119 comments:

  1. as a feminist activist myself i cant stop but wonder what made rape victim no 1 so happy about the nonconsensual intercourse she had, that she had to tweet abt it... apparently the next day she wrote that she is in a relationship with assange and asked "how cool is that?" in fact she decides she was raped after she learned that assange had slept with another woman, rape victim no 2, who was apparently kind enough to buy breakfast to her attacker after the rape...
    the thing is no man likes condoms and they do try to persuade their partners otherwise. some women strictly say no and some give in. giving in and changing your mind 2 days later doesnt cout for "rape" in the dictionary. i suggest "stupidity"... i dont think assange used violence to force these women to have sex w/o condoms he was just manipulative enough to persuade them.

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  2. The problem, especially with a case like this, is that it's word against word. In a "normal" rape-case you would have physical evidence (can we show that they had sex, is there evidence of the defendant forcing the accuser, etc). But here we already know that they had consent sex, but word stands against word when it comes to if the sex turned non consent after a while, and that's all there is to go on.
    When word stands against word, you have to look at who's more trustworthy. And in this case, her previous actions works against her.
    Is it fair? No. Is it right? Well, yes. There's no other way one can judge on a case like this without looking at the trustworthiness of the accuser and defendant.

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  3. Thank you for your comments!

    anonymous
    I know there are contradictory evidence in this case as well, and I am sure that that will all be brought to light by Assange's defense attorneys. It is not for us to bring him or these women to a public trial. We do not have all the evidence of either side, and we never will. All we can go by is rumours and very biased comments from either the prosecutor or the defense attorneys.

    The problem I want to put forward here is that it is highly problematic to assume that a woman has not been raped because what she might have previously said, done or how she has acted. Also, if you had a look at the rape myths, only 2% of rape accusations are actually false. It is not common to falsely accuse someone of rape.

    Also, the alleged accusations is not one of 'changing your mind', it is about whether or not he kept having sex with her when she asked him to stop. The most common reaction to rape, even for the more obvious cases of rape attack survivors, is not to run to the police and cry "rape!", so when lines are a bit fuzzy, it might even take longer to even realise that why you feel so uncomfortable and violated is, in fact, because you were raped.
    For fuzzy lines, just take the fact that a newish survey in the UK discovered that around 50% of young males in Britain do not know that it is rape when having sex with a woman who is too drunk to know what is going on. If the men do not know it, there is a large possibility that the women do not know either that it is rape, but that doesn't mean they do not know they have been/feel violated somehow.

    Henrik
    Do you mean that the woman's credibility is decreased because she is a feminist? Or is this the one that allegedly has ties to the CIA? Because the first one does not make a difference as for her credibility whatsoever, the second one gives the case a (more than) possibility of bias. Painting someone out to have certain opinions does not make them less credible, and that is what this particular piece was trying to do.

    In either case, it is not up for us to decide, because we do not have access to evidence and such things.

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  4. Well, yes and no. Her treatise on how to avenge men will have an impact on her trustworthiness. How much, I don't know since I haven't read it. But if it mentions avenging by alleging rape, it will have a huge impact. And the less nasty the avenging is, the less impact it will have.
    Her radical feminism could also have an impact, depending on how radical it actually is. It's easy to be labeled a "radical feminist" these days, without actually being radical :) If her views are mostly gender equality, it shouldn't have an impact. If her views are that men are the scum of the earth, it could have an impact.

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  5. I will agree with you on that one, but my reluctance to actually say anything on the matter has to do with the fact that I haven't read this treatise at all. I also do not know what form the "avenging" is in. For all I know it could be a forceful (albeit perhaps clumsy) way of describing a way to reach equality.
    And yes, I get labelled as "radical" all the time and it really annoys me. I identify as a liberal feminist, and a lot of my standpoints, even outlooks, are vastly different from radical feminism. Unfortunately, people, including journalists, do not know this difference. That is why I am even more reluctant to judge this woman on that basis.

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  6. I guess this clarifies things. Don't trust foreigners to report such issues accurately. If she said 'no' during intercourse, Assange is guilty.

    More onto the later parts. The myths:

    "Myth: Rape is caused by lust or uncontrollable sexual urges and the need for sexual gratification.

    Fact: Rape is an act of physical violence and domination that is not motivated by sexual gratification."

    The dominant paradigm is exactly this: Rape is an act of physical violence and domination that is not motivated by sexual gratification.

    However how can you rape someone without be sexually aroused? I'm not saying dominating doesn't play a part, but how can a man be able to rape if he does not have an erection ?

    I guess a more interesting question would be is how do you get an erection without being sexually aroused ? (Apart from morning wood)

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  7. Yeah, if it happened, which is, I suppose, what is going to be determined in court.

    Rape is not motivated by sexual gratification, that does not mean that one cannot become sexually aroused. Consensual sexual acts can be motivated by feelings of love, that does not mean that you cannot become aroused. In both cases, there are feelings enabling the sexual arousal; love and anger.
    The motivation is violence, anger, domination and the sexual gratification and arousal is a consequence of it, but not the motivator itself.
    Actually, a part of resistance by many women who are systematically raped is to stop struggling during the sexual act, because the motivator behind the sexual arousal is then diminished, perhaps not cut off completely, but for a rapist sex often isn't as fun if it seems to be fully consensual. Liz Kelly writes about it in her book 'Surviving Sexual Violence', a very interesting book, imo.

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  8. I still don't get it ;) Ok, in a loving consensual relationship I guess a woman is capable of having sex without sexual arousal, but intercourse on behalf of the man would be impossible if he would not be sexually aroused. Hence intercourse is impossible without sexual arousal, but is possible without love.

    I guess it starts becoming a chicken-and-an-egg thing. If rape is only possible (though,I hear some women do it) with an erect penis which means sexual arousal has to happen. So dominating is intimately linked to sexual arousal which then means the man is possible of raping. So is it possible for a man (and how often does it happen) to rape someone without sexual arousal; with a flaccid penis ?

    If this isn't the case, then it becomes a case of sexual arousal which is linked to a fetish of complete domination.

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  9. KJ, read the comment again. Sexual gratification does not need to be a motivator for sexual arousal to happen. It needs to be a factor. Sexual gratification and sexual arousal are not synonymous.
    Sexual gratification means orgasm, sexual arousal means erect penis. It is possible to have an erect penis without having an orgasm.

    Basically, what is being said is that the goal of reaching an orgasm is not the motivation for rapists; violence, anger and domination are motivators. Orgasms may happen during a rape, but that is not the point (motivation) of the rape. A person does not rape to achieve an orgasm, they rape because it gives them a feeling of being in control, of being dominant.

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  10. Linnea - I rather doubt that sex is never the motivation for rape.

    If that were the case then no man has ever raped a woman simply because he really wanted to have sex with her and she said no. That seems unlikely on the most epic scale.

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  11. Of course, I was speaking in general terms which is why I never said never, as I suspect the rape myths are as well. Research shows that in the majority (all? it is not clarified) of rape cases sexual gratification is not the motivator.
    Of course, it should be noted that this is a US university and rape in the US often has to include some kind of force; consent is not necessarily considered on its own.

    Here are the sources for the rape myths, as published on the webpage I took them from. If you want to know exactly how many percent are motivated by sexual gratification, have a look through:

    * Koss, M.P. (1988). Hidden Rape: Incidence, Prevalence and descriptive Characteristics of Sexual Aggression and Victimization in a National Sample of College Students. In Burgers, A.W. (ed.) Sexual Assault. Vol II. New York: Garland Publishing Co.

    ** Malamuth, N.M. (1986). Predictors of Natural Sexual Aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 953-962.

    *** Muehlenhard, C.L., Friedman, D.E. & Thomas, C.M. (1985). Is Date Rape Justifiable? Psychology of Women Quarterly, 9, 297-310

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  12. Linnea,

    I find your comments very, very problematic. Lets first start by saying, that rape is a very serious crime indeed, punishable by very serious punishments. Thats why we shouldnt mix this crime with just some kind of unpleasant behaviour.

    "it might even take longer to even realise that why you feel so uncomfortable and violated is, in fact, because you were raped" if it takes the "victim" several days to decide whether she feels raped or not, how can you assume that the "perpetrator" knows that she feels raped, i.e. did not consent.

    its clear that for a crime to have happened, the victim has to state cleary that she does not consent, not decide 3 days later, that with hindsight she would have liked to stop it.

    the most importnat point for me is, that there seems to be absolutely zero evidence of rape and that all the circumstances seem to indicate, that this is not a case of rape but a case of revenge.

    while i agree that neither you nor i can know for sure that it was not rape, i know for sure that no persons should be arrested when there is zero evidence for a crime to have happened. it seems that in sweden, for a rape allegation you dont need evidence, just an accusation.

    there are good reasons, why in a state of law, the burden of proff lies with the prosecutor, not vice versa.

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  13. Thank you for your comment Anonymous,

    It is quite common that a survivor of rape feels shame and self-doubt after such a crime has been committed. Why couldn't I have prevented that? Perhaps I did deserve it? And other such nasty questions. Sometimes when the definition of rape is not as clear cut as in assault rape cases, it might be hard for a woman to actually know that she has, indeed, a legal case for rape. Especially, as if in this case, she consented to sex at first and the allegedly revoked it. She might not have known that this was legally defined as rape, she might just have known she felt violated. To have to sit through interrogations and such things when you think it unlikely they will take you seriously is not fun, and it might deter the survivor from filing charges. There is a vast number of rape cases that never get reported for different reasons, these reasons among them. It is not a case of "changing your mind" 3 days later, it is about not feeling safe and perhaps not having the confidence to turn to the authorities.

    As for the evidence bit, if you read my blog post again, you will see that the classification for the charges are stronger than the first level charges; there is therefore an expectation on the prosecutor's behalf that she will win this case. There is enough evidence for her to feel that way.

    There are also good reasons why some people want the burden of proof to lie with the perpetrator in cases of sexual violence, violence of other sorts and rape. Years of experience and statistics have shown that it is very difficult to prove rape, because it is a case of word against word, and because of this, many perpetrators go free and can continue abusing undisturbed and many survivors do not see retribution.

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  14. It seems Anonymous chose to delete his/her comment while I was typing up an answer.
    I will allow this person to take back his/her words as (s)he had not seen the reply yet and seem to just have had a last minute change of mind shortly after pressing the submit button.

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  15. "There are also good reasons why some people want the burden of proof to lie with the perpetrator in cases of sexual violence, violence of other sorts and rape"


    thats the all important sentence. it might be difficult to prove rape, but it is impossible to prove that rape has not happened. which is exactly the reason why the burden of proof always lays with the prosecution. otherwise we would not be living in a state of law.

    but if you want to change it, lets makes some other changes too. how about my suggestion: whenever a baby dies in the care of her mother, let's assume it was murder until the mother proofs otherwise...

    do you think that is fair or in accordance with a fair trial?

    nick

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  16. Sorry, didnt want to take back anything...seems i am just a bit to stupid to understand the posting system and deleted it unintentionally ;-)

    nick

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  17. Linnéa,

    I also have a problem with your arguments.

    Historically, rapists have been found guilty of rape after using an object instead of their own body; three battery flashlights, etc.

    In point of fact, there have been cases where rapists have been impotent and therefore the act has been totally based on domination and psychological satisfaction rather than sexual/physical satisfaction.

    The motivations differ greatly dependant on the situation surrounding the rape. For example, a simple (and I use that word not in a dismissive way) case of being mid coitus and the girl finding out that the guy isn't wearing a condom and saying no is vastly different than walking down a dark street and being forced into a carpark and being violently and brutally raped. Neither should be permissible by society standards but both cases are looked at differently by society.

    The first case is least likely reported because the person is known to the victim and more than likely in a relationship. The fact that she said no means that this is rape but in a lot of cases it isn't treated as rape by either party. No violence occurred and the situation is within a normal person's ability to deal with.

    The second case is volitile. Victim blaming is common: she shouldn't have been walking down that street alone, she shouldn't have been wearing the clothes that she was wearing. It's much more likely to be called rape and it's more likely to be reported but at the same time, it's a more personal attack. The victim offered no consent and there was no prior intimacy but still the perpetrator took something from her that is considered very personal. And that's before you consider the mental trauma associated with the act.

    But I'm getting off the point and letting my opinions run away with me.

    Motivation, in general, is not something that can be blanket assigned. It can fall into many categories. But to say that domination = sexual stimulation/arousal so therefore there is always sexual arousal in a rape is wrong. Maybe, maybe, psychological arousal might be closer but I still do not believe that applies to a majority of cases.

    Motivation in this case, or lack thereof, will be argued by people with access to the evidence. If she is doing this for revenge then we must trust the legal system to show this.

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  18. Just a quick further to my comment. KJ should be included in that as well.

    Apologies.

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  19. Anonymous nick,

    That's okay. If you want me to I can post it again, I have the text.
    I'm not entirely sure where you want to be getting with the burden of proof point? As far as I know, the burden of proof in Sweden lies with the prosecutor, even in this case. I admit, I might be wrong, and I wouldn't mind a legally trained Swedish person to clarify this, but from what I know, the reversal of the burden of proof for rape never got beyond discussion stages in Sweden.
    I also never said I want to change it. I said there are good arguments for it. That doesn't mean there are not good arguments against it. It is a suggestion that definitely deserves a thorough discussion, if not only because it might lead to some better protection for the victims, even if in a different way. There is no denial that as it stands in most countries, it is very difficult to get a verdict on rape cases even if they did happen. In Sweden this figure is just over 10% reaching a verdict, so the odds are for Assange not being sentenced regardless of whether he is guilty or not.

    Rebekah,

    That's a good point. Thank you. I suppose it is possible to get an erection without actually feeling sexual desire as such, with the psychological factors determining motivation. I'm not a student of psychology myself so I appreciate you pointing out the differences to us.
    As for the generalisations, they are based on psychological research, as well as surveys it seems.

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  20. I agree with you Rebekah. It seems it depends what type of incident has happened, say violent assault by an impotent has to to do with psychological gratification of domination, but other cases like having sex with a passed out person (not moving) has little to do with domination.

    So, you're right that rape does not have to have sexual arousal as motivation, similarly in some cases domination is not the motivator.

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  21. Linnea,

    my point is the following: from all the public information, there seems to be zero evidence for rape and even the circumstances speak against the women (i.e. the bragging about their relationship and so on).

    So either the prosecutor has evidence that is not available to us, or in Sweden there seems to be a mood that an accusation alone is enough to justify an arrest.

    In many countries in Europe there seems to be an attitude, that it is the accused who has to prove his innocence in such cases. there were some famous cases in my native Germany (e.g. Kachelmann) that point in the same direction. And this would be very wrong indeed.

    Neither you nor I know what has happened and if at any time one of the women said clearly "no" and he continued, then I hope he gets convicted.

    But if the evidence is as it is published, i.e. zero, than he just not be arrested or prosecuted. and if the claims of the women were wrong, than they should be punished. in my view, the sentences for wrongly accusing someone of a crime should be the same as for the underlying crime. wrongly accusing a man of rape destroys his life (most people will always think there "must have been something") and by the way, also makes it much more difficult for real victims to be taken seriously.
    nick

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  22. Anonymous nick,

    I don't have the evidence, neither do I want to judge upon rumours in cases like these. As I said in the post, this is a case for the Swedish court and I encourage everyone to let it stay that way.

    I also agree that it is wrong to falsely accuse someone for rape for some unrelated revenge. However, every statistical source I have found suggest that these numbers are, in fact, very small. In the US, FBI estimate the total number to be around 2%, so while this case might be one of those, it is also possibly not. I couldn't find any statistics on this in Sweden. I know I have seen them somewhere among all the publications Brottsförebyggande Rådet (BRÅ - crimeprevention council) have, and the number was very small there as well.

    Point being - we know nothing about it, and using media rumours as evidence to either side is silly. The prosecutor has the evidence, the defense attorneys have the defense; they will present it in court. The court will then make a decision based on the evidence and the defense presented.

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  23. Blogger ate my comment and I'm too tired and too ill to try and write everything again.

    Summarising it:
    1. I'm a Swedish law student.

    2. The prosection has to prove stuff to get a guilty verdict.

    3. Rape laws in Sweden are not consent-based. Then there was a lengthy explanation on the rape laws in Sweden and what not.

    4. Anyone interested in discussing rape laws and other legal matters in Sweden could feel free to contact me.

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  24. Mortality,

    Thank you for your comment! If I say anything that is awfully wrong, or even just slightly, feel free to correct me!

    Everybody else,
    you heard the person! Go on ahead and ask questions if you fancy!

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  25. The 2 women A and B:
    A) seems to ,according to rumours, have not complained or thought about the sex episode until after a phone call from B.
    B) what was her intent?
    she dressed in her best pink sweater,got herself a front row seat and later lingered. She must have been hoping to win C's (Assange's) attention,and seems she did.
    C) did he carry condoms with him and A and B, did they have handy their favourite brand of condoms?
    I consider myself a feminist and I too can get feisty about male domination.
    But,let's be aware of the games we play.
    Sounds to me like the 3 of them are equally guilty.

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  26. Still not interested in rumours.

    And how does 1) a pink sweater 2) the front row seat or 3) lingering play into this? It is still fully possible that she has been raped. Showing an interest in someone does not mean their bodies are up for grabs.

    Equally guilty? I'm not making any speculations here, but rape is rape. Molesting is molesting and duress is duress. If he is proven to have done any of these, he is guilty regardless of whether or not the women had their favourite brand of condoms handy. And FYI, I carry around condoms, any responsible person should. It's not about planning sex as much as being prepared.

    Whether he is guilty or not is still up to the courts to decide, not us to speculate around and hold a public trial.

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  27. I don't know how the courts will be able to make a decision since it seems that it will all be based on he said she said stuff.
    Certainly has me rethinking about the topic of rape and consensual sex.

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  28. Yes, it does seem hard, but they have evidence that we don't, and counter-evidence that we don't. Also, they are trained in legal matters and have hopefully dealt with these types of cases before. That is why we need to put our faith in them. They know the ins and outs of these types of cases.

    Good! Then I suppose this entire circus has served something good. It seems all over internet people are discussing consent and what is/isn't rape. If more discussions like that were held, perhaps we could avoid situations as described in these accusations in the future.

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  29. Thank you for providing such a detailed, rational discussion of what's rapidly becoming a morass of rumour, conspiracy theory and paranoia.

    The charges go much further than the question of condoms. Assange is also charged with holding one woman down and forcing her legs apart in order to have sex with her, and with taking advantage of another's sleeping state to initiate sexual activity. This is eclipsed, though, by the ridicule being levelled at the 'condom' charges.

    I find that horrifying. Even were there no other charges, the idea that someone might force a partner to have unprotected sex, given what we know about sexually transmitted infections, shows to me at least a callous disregard for that person's life and wellbeing.

    Whether Assange committed these acts is for a court to decide. But trivialising them does a disservice to all rape victims, past, present and future.

    On the question of sexual arousal in an act of violence, there are studies (which I can hunt up if need be) showing that the aggressive and sexual instincts are strongly linked in most men. This is not to say that all men are potential rapists, just that there is often an element of sexual arousal that accompanies an aggressive act - as has been shown in domestic violence situations where the victim is equally likely to be raped as bashed.

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  30. Thanks for your nice words!

    Yes, I saw later that there was also allegedly an element of force involved, but the article I linked to in the update doesn't seem to have quite as detailed information as what you have. I hope that exactly what he is accused for will come out in detail soon.

    Focusing on the condom issue was indeed ridiculous. Interestingly, it is illegal in Sweden to knowingly have sex with someone when you have an STD. I know this is so for HIV and other 'serious' STDs, but I think it also might be with other 'lesser' (for the lack of a better word) STDs. I think you put your finger on it when you used the word 'force', because no matter what forms the condom was/wasn't used, that is what matters.

    I agree, waving them off as something less important because this and that happen or did not happen is not helping anyone. The accusations need to be dealt with, in a proper manner, by a court who knows these types of things. Also, I think the discussion around it should be conducted with the appropriate respect and consideration to both parts, and I feel that this has been lacking in the debate in general.

    That is also interesting to know about male's aggression and sexual instincts. I think I shall have to read more about these motivations of rape and sexual/psychological arousal. It sounds like a topic that would be interesting to know more about. Horrible, probably, but interesting.

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  31. I really wish that people would do more research before making original posts. The info is already out there.( e.g. Assange discovered the condom had broken after sex) This case already has many inconsistencies in evidence and in process.

    Are people really so busy discussing the intricacies of feminism and rape that they cant see that they are acting as part of the smearing process in precisely the way the authorities wanted?

    Assange was denied bail today even though he is an internationally recognised figure and a number of people of good standing were willing to post bail for him.
    How much clearer does it have to be that we will not see due process?

    Sharpen up citizens, you are acting just like Stalin's useful idiots!

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  32. That was uncalled for. There are rumours circulating of there not being a condom at all, that the condom broke, that he slipped it off halfway through and it is simply impossible to know which one is true, if any of them are at all!

    No one here is saying Assange is guilty. People are pointing out the problems with assuming one way or another based on his personality, which is what you seem to have done.

    If you want to continue being rude and dismiss arguments without even having a look at them, I suggest you go somewhere else. I will not tolerate it.

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  33. @Anonymous

    Asssange was denied bail because he refused to provide a valid address. When he was first asked for one, he said, 'Why do you want it?' and gave a post office box number. Told it needed to be a residential address, he responded with an address in Melbourne, Australia - an address connected to Melbourne University.

    Under those circumstances, it was perfectly reasonable of a magistrate to deny bail. A person without a fixed address is considered a flight risk in most courts.

    I do not take rumour as fact. The 'condom' charges as stand relate to unprotected sex and sex that became nonconsensual after a condom broke and the partner withdrew her consent. The other charges refer to physical coercion and deception. Neither you nor I know the truth of these matters, so for you to resort to inflammatory name-calling serves no good purpose here.

    At this moment in time, the charges stand waiting to be proved. That is up to the courts.

    It is also perfectly reasonable to discuss the implications of consent and coercion in similar situations - hardly a 'smear'.

    Assange has the best possible legal representation - a noted human rights lawyer with considerable experience in both extradition and Swedish law. I defy anyone to argue coherently that Geoffrey Robertson, QC, would roll over and allow a miscarriage of justice to occur - quite the reverse.

    ReplyDelete
  34. This article by NY Magazine actually seems to have the facts checked, based on Swedish official legal and media sources. I recommend it!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I have a few points about your original post. I'll stick to the facts as we know them.

    First, this confusion over the charges (e.g. "sex by surprise") is a consequence of the fact that it was only yesterday the Swedes let Assange know directly and *in English* what the charges were. You can't blame his English lawyers for relying on a translation of the charges from media sources if the prosecutors refused to tell them what was going on.

    Second, this goes to the whole issue of due process. You don't mention in your account that (a) the Swedes initially leaked the rape allegations to the media, (b) a prosecutor then decided not to investigate the rape charge because of insufficient evidence, (c) a Social Democratic politician then became involved as representative of the women making the accusations, (d) the investigation was reopened, after Assange was allowed to leave the country the prosecutors issued an arrest warrant without seeking to interview Assange first (despite his offers to cooperate).

    Now it was after the *initial* leaking of the allegations to the press (i.e. before any investigation) that Assange's name become inextricably linked in the media coverage with the allegation of rape. Is this fair? Is it fair that the prosecutors refused to explain to Assange in a language he understood what the charges were so that he could assist in their inquiries?

    As the prominent human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said:

    "Mr Assange has been the victim of utterly incompetent prosecutors who have severely damaged his rights - the rights that every person in Europe has granted to them under the European convention."

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/09/14/we-should-stand-up-for-assange-geoffrey-robertson/

    If you want to defend the seriousness of the charge of rape then you'll get no argument from me. But let me suggest that's not what this issue is about. There are serious questions here about the way this has been handled by the Swedish prosecutors, whether Assange is being denied his rights, and whether he can get a fair trail - not merely, as you write:

    "This is a matter for the courts. They have the evidence, they will reach a verdict."

    One has to take into account the political context of this prosecution, not because it excuses the crime of rape, but because it undermines the fairness of the legal proceedings against Assange.

    ReplyDelete
  36. First of all, Assange also has a Swedish based native Swedish defense attorney who is in continual contact with his London based one, so that his London based attorney would not know what the charges were is quite unbelievable and points more to the fact that he wasn't doing his job.

    Also, that there was a refusal to explain to Assange what the allegations were - he had a Swedish based lawyer whose first language is Swedish and who also speaks English. Interpreters are also available to any person who doesn't speak Swedish and get caught up in the Swedish bureaucracy. Secondly, Assange refused to return to Sweden to be questioned; he agreed to be questioned, he just would not have it done in Sweden. They did seek to interview him, but he did not co operate in the wished way and it was legally impossible, the prosecutor said, for her to travel to London to question him.
    All Swedish sources, I'm afraid, but you're welcome to have a Swede verify the info.

    I think every rape charge should be taken seriously. I also think that every rape charge should be prosecuted properly without a bias either way. You are allowed to disagree with this.

    I don't really see how it is a problem a Social Democrat is involved with the defense. It's unfortunate that the allegations were leaked, but news of such an epic scale do not stay a secret for very long in any country, unfortunately. As for the initial muddle; the official explanation was that the person who originally handled the case was inexperienced. Whether or not this is true, I know nothing of. I suspect the original motivations for dropping/picking up will remain hidden, unless they are the ones that have already been offered.

    I would not say that Assange has been inextricably linked with his rape accusations. I think it has been rather quiet on that front until it picked up last week when it was clear that the warrant would finally (without any typos or such things) be handed to the British. Even a week ago, it was more Assange as synonymous with Wikileaks and Cablegate. The reporting on rape has picked up the last few days and has now become noticeable to people who do not follow the entire Wikileaks thing.

    Yes, the political context should be taken into consideration, but it should not be accepted as truth, which is what seems to have been done in a lot of cases. Neither side's story should be accepted as truth before any verdict. One is allowed to have conspiracy theories, but I would be very hesitant of putting them down as truth.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Linnéa,

    Thanks for your reply - but my original post has disappeared. Should I repost it?

    ReplyDelete
  38. It has indeed! How strange. I have a copy of it, here it is:

    Danton has left a new comment on your post ""Sex by Surprise"":

    I have a few points about your original post. I'll stick to the facts as we know them.

    First, this confusion over the charges (e.g. "sex by surprise") is a consequence of the fact that it was only yesterday the Swedes let Assange know directly and *in English* what the charges were. You can't blame his English lawyers for relying on a translation of the charges from media sources if the prosecutors refused to tell them what was going on.

    Second, this goes to the whole issue of due process. You don't mention in your account that (a) the Swedes initially leaked the rape allegations to the media, (b) a prosecutor then decided not to investigate the rape charge because of insufficient evidence, (c) a Social Democratic politician then became involved as representative of the women making the accusations, (d) the investigation was reopened, after Assange was allowed to leave the country the prosecutors issued an arrest warrant without seeking to interview Assange first (despite his offers to cooperate).

    Now it was after the *initial* leaking of the allegations to the press (i.e. before any investigation) that Assange's name become inextricably linked in the media coverage with the allegation of rape. Is this fair? Is it fair that the prosecutors refused to explain to Assange in a language he understood what the charges were so that he could assist in their inquiries?

    As the prominent human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said:

    "Mr Assange has been the victim of utterly incompetent prosecutors who have severely damaged his rights - the rights that every person in Europe has granted to them under the European convention."

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/09/14/we-should-stand-up-for-assange-geoffrey-robertson/

    If you want to defend the seriousness of the charge of rape then you'll get no argument from me. But let me suggest that's not what this issue is about. There are serious questions here about the way this has been handled by the Swedish prosecutors, whether Assange is being denied his rights, and whether he can get a fair trail - not merely, as you write:

    "This is a matter for the courts. They have the evidence, they will reach a verdict."

    One has to take into account the political context of this prosecution, not because it excuses the crime of rape, but because it undermines the fairness of the legal proceedings against Assange.

    ReplyDelete
  39. The male sexual functioning thing definitely needs to be explored.
    During war,rape often occurs.
    Books have been written about this and why this happens.
    For decades, it seems that women have been accused of leading on a man.
    And getting what she deserved.
    Women referred to as sluts.
    Rape at home, ie. in a marriage was lawful or not considered rape.
    In many cultures men were and still are expected to beat their wives.
    In the Assange case,we were not getting much about details other than reports about condom failure or sex without a condom.
    So yes, we need to get some science on our sexual behaviour.
    I am also interested in what women do or don't do.
    Within the last year,I found myself feeling very attracted to Assange, and my gawd,I'm a senior!With grey hair, wrinkles and sagging skin.
    So what's that about?
    Alpha male stuff?
    I have appreciated this post by Linnea because it has made me more reflective ,especially on my recent reactions .
    When the initial news came out about Assange and rape charges, my esteem for him dropped. Then the charges were withdrawn.So back to support for Julian.
    And a bit of hero worship.
    He is the front for Wikileaks and it will carry on.
    I would expect him to have had the intelligence to use a condom,but I expect that of women these days too.
    As to his aggressiveness, violence
    and molestation, I would find that shocking and worthy of prosecution.
    I would call the police immediately if a man was aggressive, but probably wouldn't have in my younger years.
    Only those 3 people know what happened.
    Let's hope they get clear about it and lessons learned.
    Should be an interesting court case.

    ReplyDelete
  40. My final comment here:

    I feel saddened by the whole thing.
    It reminds me how human beings seem to have difficulties and confusions about sex.
    I wish
    it was
    a simple act of making love.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Sleeping with someone when you know you have an STD and not telling your partner about it is classified as assault or attempted assault depending on if you infect them or not. This includes "minor" ones like chlamydia.

    Also, in Sweden we don't have the same system as in other countries with bail and so on. In Sweden you are either free pending trial or not. There is no "if you come up with this money we'll let you go". If you meet the requirements to be locked up, you will be. There are a number of requirements to be met though, and if anyone cares I can explain. I just has the exam on those things a week and a half ago.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Oemissions, yes it is sad. Sex is and probably always will be complicated. It is good, though, that discussions like these can make us more informed about boundaries and such things; that will make it less complicated for at least some people in the future.

    Again, thank you Mortality for clearing up the STD law. Also, thank you for explaining about the bail. That is interesting, and I didn't know it. Seems like I, too, have watched too many American law TV shows!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Linnéa,

    Thanks for reposting my comment. Briefly, this is where we disagree on the facts:

    (1) From Assange's lawyer, on Nov 18 (i.e. not just a week ago):

    "As a result of these false allegations and bizarre legal interpretations our client now has his name and reputation besmirched. Thousands of news articles and 3.6million web pages now contain his name and the word “rape”. Indeed, three out of four webpages that mention Mr. Assange’s name also now mention the word “rape”—a direct result of incompetent and malicious behavior by Swedish government prosecutors."

    http://www.wlcentral.org/node/222

    (2) At the time of his arrest, Assange still had not been made aware of the full details of the allegations made against him. According to what one of his lawyers said on the day of his arrest: "We have not the arrest warrant, we have not the evidence, we have not an allegation in English.

    http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2010/s3086480.htm

    (3) On the origins of the "sex by surprise" allegation:

    "In an e-mail... Stephens [Assange's lwayer] said he got the “sex by surprise” language from his Swedish co-counsel, who told him that an appeals court had changed the “rape” language in the detention order to the lesser offense. He said that the defense team has been trying without success to get the details...."

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/12/assange-police/

    (4) You know Swedish politics better than I, so correct me if I'm wrong in thinking that to have a well-known feminist politician from the Social Democrats intervene in a case like this is as much a political act as anything else. (I mention "feminist" because in Sweden, unlike many other countries, feminism as an ideology has had a prominent and complex history in mainstream democratic politics.) In my view, political pressure was clearly brought to bear to have the investigation reopened.

    You've mentioned the word "conspiracy" a number of times. I believe there are good reasons to think a conspiracy is involved. Not a "feminist conspiracy," whatever that might mean - but a conspiracy to have Assange arrested and eventually extradited to the U.S. The irregular nature of the prosecution against Assange, the defamation of his character by the authorities, the freezing of his bank accounts, the extradition treaty between Sweden and the U.S., the determination of the U.S. attorney general to prosecute Assange even though he has broken no laws there - these are all features of the context in which Assange faces prosecution in Sweden. They are not irrelevant to the fairness of these proceedings, even if you think the timing of these charges is just a coincidence.

    Having said all of that, I can see that your main focus is on the criticisms of the Swedish rape laws themselves. About that I have nothing sensible to add. But I'm reading your commentary on the subject with interest.

    ReplyDelete
  44. 1) I'm sure your statistics are correct. I just have not noticed Assange and rape in as many contexts as Assange and Wikileaks/Cablegate/Treason (which is ridiculous, I know)/other things unrelated to rape, but related to Wikileaks. Perhaps it is just me?
    To be fair, I also think that Assange's supporters have hyped up this whole rape case quite a lot by writing everywhere how outrageous it is, so the fault lies not only with those who believe that he is guilty. As for if it should be this hyped up - no. That is the entire point of my blog post.

    2) This is where Swedish and international media obviously have slightly different stories. Mind you, many international reports are simplifications or mistranslations of the Swedish news, and the international media seems to have been fond of using our tabloids as their primary source. I suppose this is one of those cases where there simply is no telling what is correct and what is not. The prosecutor can't lie to media, and Assange's lawyers would be wise not to.

    3) In that case, the fault lies with his Swedish lawyer, because as I wrote there is no such crime by Swedish law as 'Sex by Surprise'. I suppose he was referring to the allegations that Assange had sex with one of the women while she was asleep, but the Swedish lawyer could have put it in those terms instead. If it was a misunderstanding and because of a faulty explanation, or lack of one, it is the Swedish lawyer's fault, but mind you, they work as a team so they should have better communications channels.

    4) No, I don't think it is a problem what his political leanings are. He is a trained legal mind with a lot of experience in sexual assault and human rights. That he is feminist does not render him incapable of giving advice. He is there in the role of legal adviser, not politician and that makes all of the difference.

    5) I will be the first to admit that Assange has not been treated well with regards to Wikileaks by the international community, and I have done so here. I view these matters as separate until (if) it becomes apparent that the Swedish prosecutor/women only wanted him in order to extradite him to the US or charge him with completely unrelated crimes. In my view charging Assange for sexual crimes that there is allegedly evidence of him doing is justified; charging him for leaking information is not.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Describing you as Stalin's useful idiots is not being rude, it is a plea to ask you to step back from your narrow focus and look at the bigger picture.

    You are happy to discuss this issue as though the case is occurring in a vacuum, and naively offer your support to a case that is problematic as well as being clearly political and then happily throw your hands in the air and say that the awkward bits are up to the courts to sort out (and having great counsel doesn't necessarily prevent miscarriages of justice that can take years to sort out )

    Unfortunately the case isn't occurring in a vacuum and in the meantime two things are happening.

    The case is diverting positive public support, energy and attention from Wikileaks at a time when it should be gaining momentum and is coming under numerous types of attack (yesterday paypal, visa and mastercard froze WikiLeaks funds, previously Amazon stopped acting as it's server, the Swiss government froze Assange's personal bank account, he was imprisoned without internet access and the Wikileaks site is coming under daily cyber attack.

    The case is compromising Assanges ability to focus on WikiLeaks and ensure that this small organisation can respond effectively during these challenging times.

    You are part of that process.

    Sharpen up citizen!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Why do my comments keep disappearing??? Not that I'm implying a conspiracy...

    Anyway, thanks for your response. From what you've written, we are in agreement on this issue more often than not.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I promise you that I have nothing to do with it. Unless my fingers have their own lives when I look away ;)
    But then again, it'd be quite counterproductive for keeping up an argument if I kept deleting the posts I replied to. I think other people had the same problem, whether it was from accidentally deleting their own comments or Blogger just eating them, I do not know.
    Here is the comment again, in full:

    Danton has left a new comment on your post ""Sex by Surprise"":

    Linnéa,

    Thanks for reposting my comment. Briefly, this is where we disagree on the facts:

    (1) From Assange's lawyer, on Nov 18 (i.e. not just a week ago):

    "As a result of these false allegations and bizarre legal interpretations our client now has his name and reputation besmirched. Thousands of news articles and 3.6million web pages now contain his name and the word “rape”. Indeed, three out of four webpages that mention Mr. Assange’s name also now mention the word “rape”—a direct result of incompetent and malicious behavior by Swedish government prosecutors."

    http://www.wlcentral.org/node/222

    (2) At the time of his arrest, Assange still had not been made aware of the full details of the allegations made against him. According to what one of his lawyers said on the day of his arrest: "We have not the arrest warrant, we have not the evidence, we have not an allegation in English.

    http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2010/s3086480.htm

    (3) On the origins of the "sex by surprise" allegation:

    "In an e-mail... Stephens [Assange's lwayer] said he got the “sex by surprise” language from his Swedish co-counsel, who told him that an appeals court had changed the “rape” language in the detention order to the lesser offense. He said that the defense team has been trying without success to get the details...."

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/12/assange-police/

    (4) You know Swedish politics better than I, so correct me if I'm wrong in thinking that to have a well-known feminist politician from the Social Democrats intervene in a case like this is as much a political act as anything else. (I mention "feminist" because in Sweden, unlike many other countries, feminism as an ideology has had a prominent and complex history in mainstream democratic politics.) In my view, political pressure was clearly brought to bear to have the investigation reopened.

    You've mentioned the word "conspiracy" a number of times. I believe there are good reasons to think a conspiracy is involved. Not a "feminist conspiracy," whatever that might mean - but a conspiracy to have Assange arrested and eventually extradited to the U.S. The irregular nature of the prosecution against Assange, the defamation of his character by the authorities, the freezing of his bank accounts, the extradition treaty between Sweden and the U.S., the determination of the U.S. attorney general to prosecute Assange even though he has broken no laws there - these are all features of the context in which Assange faces prosecution in Sweden. They are not irrelevant to the fairness of these proceedings, even if you think the timing of these charges is just a coincidence.

    Having said all of that, I can see that your main focus is on the criticisms of the Swedish rape laws themselves. About that I have nothing sensible to add. But I'm reading your commentary on the subject with interest.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Another huge difference between the Swedish system and TV-shows are that we don't have a jury. Also, there is no such thing as "inadmissible evidence".

    ReplyDelete
  49. Mortality's comment from 12:29 is at best slanted and misleading. As an attorney-at-law, I shiver to think what it would be called at worst.

    Ulf Lundqvist's doctoral dissertation at Uppsala (Bevisförbud: En undersökning av möjligheterna att avvisa oegentligt åtkommen bevisning i brottmålsrättegång) stems already from 1998, and since then, Swedish legal scholarship and European human rights development have not exactly slept :-). Of course there is evidence that will not be admitted in court(s); what the Swedish Judicial Procedure Code lacks, is a formal explicit codification of these cases.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Thank you, Alexa, for the clarification! :)

    ReplyDelete
  51. I haven't read all the comments, so I'm sorry if I am repeating something that has already been said.
    I agree with Linnéa in general and I find the most important point to be about who can be raped. That a being a feminist, somebody who has written something perhaps less than clever on a blog, wore a pink sweater etc. cannot be raped.
    The interesting thing is that this seems to go both ways. I am amazed, and frightened by the well-known people, who say that they don't know Julian but have offered to pay his bail. They have said that they are willing to do so in order to defend the right to free speech. I don't have a particular opinion on Wikileaks, but these people seem to support that they and Julian are doing. This is where it gets interesting, some women can't be raped because of their political views, perhaps the sexual history etc. and by the same token, some men can't be rapists because they are clever, doing something good etc.
    I can't see why it seems like an impossible scenario that Julian could be both a clever and "good" man at the same time as a rapist. In the same way that the woman could be a feminist, wear pink and be the victim of rape. However, it does seem like an impossible scenario when people are talking about these accusations being false because the one accused is a very hot potato at the moment.
    These kinds of myths about both the rapist and the victim are getting in the way of us understanding rape in a wider context and is really damaging for all parties.
    Not all rape victims are the same and not all rapists are the same. All rape victims are not sluts who had it coming to them and not all rapists are mad monsters.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I haven't read all the comments, so I'm sorry if I am repeating something that has already been said.
    I agree with Linnéa in general and I find the most important point to be about who can be raped. That a being a feminist, somebody who has written something perhaps less than clever on a blog, wore a pink sweater etc. cannot be raped.
    The interesting thing is that this seems to go both ways. I am amazed, and frightened by the well-known people, who say that they don't know Julian but have offered to pay his bail. They have said that they are willing to do so in order to defend the right to free speech. I don't have a particular opinion on Wikileaks, but these people seem to support that they and Julian are doing. This is where it gets interesting, some women can't be raped because of their political views, perhaps the sexual history etc. and by the same token, some men can't be rapists because they are clever, doing something good etc.
    I can't see why it seems like an impossible scenario that Julian could be both a clever and "good" man at the same time as a rapist. In the same way that the woman could be a feminist, wear pink and be the victim of rape. However, it does seem like an impossible scenario when people are talking about these accusations being false because the one accused is a very hot potato at the moment.
    These kinds of myths about both the rapist and the victim are getting in the way of us understanding rape in a wider context and is really damaging for all parties.
    Not all rape victims are the same and not all rapists are the same. All rape victims are not sluts who had it coming to them and not all rapists are mad monsters.

    ReplyDelete
  53. LM,
    I see you are trying to post, and I do not know why it's not showing. I will try to repost the comment below:


    LM has left a new comment on your post ""Sex by Surprise"":

    I haven't read all the comments, so I'm sorry if I am repeating something that has already been said.
    I agree with Linnéa in general and I find the most important point to be about who can be raped. That a being a feminist, somebody who has written something perhaps less than clever on a blog, wore a pink sweater etc. cannot be raped.
    The interesting thing is that this seems to go both ways. I am amazed, and frightened by the well-known people, who say that they don't know Julian but have offered to pay his bail. They have said that they are willing to do so in order to defend the right to free speech. I don't have a particular opinion on Wikileaks, but these people seem to support that they and Julian are doing. This is where it gets interesting, some women can't be raped because of their political views, perhaps the sexual history etc. and by the same token, some men can't be rapists because they are clever, doing something good etc.
    I can't see why it seems like an impossible scenario that Julian could be both a clever and "good" man at the same time as a rapist. In the same way that the woman could be a feminist, wear pink and be the victim of rape. However, it does seem like an impossible scenario when people are talking about these accusations being false because the one accused is a very hot potato at the moment.
    These kinds of myths about both the rapist and the victim are getting in the way of us understanding rape in a wider context and is really damaging for all parties.
    Not all rape victims are the same and not all rapists are the same. All rape victims are not sluts who had it coming to them and not all rapists are mad monsters.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Actually, I'm going to censor myself on that one and say that (alleged) political belongings are irrelevant with regards to whether one can be sexually violated or not. I will reiterate this:

    Anyone who tries to make rape apologies and starts trolling in this way will not be tolerated. If you want to comment, at least get your facts straight. If you do not, I will not allow you to post. It is as simple as that.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Oemissions,

    Feeling attracted to Assange seems to be a natural tendency. I would not rate him as being exceptionally good looking, but as evolutionary psychology predicts women tend to go for high status males: Assange is clearly a celebrity who defies the interests of the world's greatest superpower. I mean he wouldn't be in this mess in the first place if women wouldn't have actively seeked him out.

    Though sometimes female preferences perplexes me as Josef Fritzl receives hundreds of love letters:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1024092/Cellar-monster-Josef-Fritzl-receives-hundreds-love-letters.html

    ReplyDelete
  56. You might not know that Swedish law defines rape differently than British law:

    "Den som genom misshandel eller annars med våld eller genom hot om brottslig gärning tvingar en person till samlag eller till att företa eller tåla en annan sexuell handling som med hänsyn till kränkningens art och omständigheterna i övrigt är jämförlig med samlag, döms för våldtäkt till fängelse i lägst två och högst sex år."

    Either violence or threatening with a criminal action are required. None of that was (originally) claimed to have happened. On the contrary, the first woman, in an interview with the daily Aftonbladet the day after she had filed the complaint, expressly admitted she had never felt threatened by Assange in any way.

    She changed her story later, apparently on the insistence of her lawyer: Now she claims to have been "held down" at some point during the intercourse, which, I remind you, nobody disputes was entirely consensual.

    The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, is coincidentally a very vocal advocate of changing the law from evidence-based to consent-based. No doubt it would make her job easier: Swedish courts, unlike British, may use anything as evidence - for instance, a person's appearance in court. If you're able to cry convincingly, you stand a much better chance of winning a word-against-word case, as was proven over and over in rape trials until the Supreme Court finally had to intervene and stress the fact that nobody - yet - should be thrown in jail on somebody's word only.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I'm going to quote myself from an above reply because this is just as relevant here:
    "It is quite common that a survivor of rape feels shame and self-doubt after such a crime has been committed. Why couldn't I have prevented that? Perhaps I did deserve it? And other such nasty questions. Sometimes when the definition of rape is not as clear cut as in assault rape cases, it might be hard for a woman to actually know that she has, indeed, a legal case for rape. Especially, as if in this case, she consented to sex at first and the allegedly revoked it. She might not have known that this was legally defined as rape, she might just have known she felt violated. To have to sit through interrogations and such things when you think it unlikely they will take you seriously is not fun, and it might deter the survivor from filing charges."

    As for feeling threatened, I think it is clear in the more recent explanations that they have said they did. It might have to do with similar technicalities as before as most people link threat with physical threat such as fear of being hit, or fear of being stabbed by a knife. Being held down can be threatening too, but perhaps it doesn't feel as justified. As for whether they did feel threatened or not, I don't know, you don't know, Aftonbladet doesn't know. That is why this belongs in a court, not here. For all we know, this could be a new elaborate Joaquin Phoenix underground style documentary. Point being, sex crimes are serious crimes, and any such accusations should therefore be taken seriously.

    As for being held down and consent: it is fully possible to agree to a sex act and later say stop upon which it is fully possible to be held down by force and raped. I'm not saying this happened, I'm saying that the consent in the first place is irrelevant as it can be withdrawn and if one party then continues having sex with the the person who withdrew the consent, it is rape. It is a clear no, boundaries must be respected.
    If you don't buy that explanation, there are rumours that the rape charge is based on that Assange allegedly had sex with her while she was asleep. When asleep, you can't give consent, so it is rape.

    I suppose, then, the Supreme Court has sorted that bit out already.

    ReplyDelete
  58. What I'm saying is that ignoring a "no", even if it did happen that way, is not labelled as rape under Swedish law, a conclusion the chief prosecutor also reached without much deliberation. You may think it should be otherwise based on your emotions, and people with a vested interest may (and do) try to bend the law to suit their agenda, thereby creating a useful precedent, but the fact remains, they have no case because no criminal act has been committed. It is not illegal to continue a mutually consensual intercourse, regardless of what the other person says. The only way it could be construed as illegal is by claiming violence or threats were used, which is clearly not the case.

    The other legal condition for the rape label to apply, the plaintiff being asleep/intoxicated/unconscious, is what the actual rape charge is based on. What remains to be proven is the degree of unconsciousness, Assange's intent, and that the intercourse was indeed against the woman's wishes. The circumstances and the evidence expressly contradict her later claim that it wasn't consensual - if she even does claim that, and isn't merely relying on a myopic literal reinterpretation of the word "asleep" in the law text.

    The case is thinner and more likely to fail than any of the condoms involved.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Konstantin,
    the prosecutor currently prosecuting the case thinks there is enough evidence. That is a good enough reason for us to leave the process be until it reaches the court.

    As for threat being needed for a criminal act to have been committed, one of the accusers clearly thought that there was threat involved even if she didn't say that until later. Again, if there was or wasn't - it is up to the court to decide.

    The circumstances regarding the sleep case - it is up to the court to decide. The allegations are that it was rape. Whether it was or not, let the court decide.

    Also, if you are so certain, what is the point to argue?
    I'm just saying, we're not a public tribunal, we do not get to decide what the circumstances were/weren't. Also, no one's argued against you that it might be possible that the case will not hold in court. All we have said is, please, be considerate. Unfortunately there is not a lot of that around.

    To all readers,
    Also, please keep this discussion going with original arguments. We all know that some of you think it impossible that this crime could have been committed. You are entitled to your opinions, but this is not a forum for clearing Assange's name, it is a post highlighting the problems with making assumptions about either party based on media rumours. If you want to continue making assumptions without even applying any of the arguments above to your assumptions, please take it somewhere else. There are plenty of places where you can discuss conspiracy theories.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Linnea: I'm not arguing anything else than that the case is extremely thin and that your understanding of Swedish rape law was incomplete when you stated that merely a spoken "no" is sufficient. I hope that was remedied by the information I gave you.

    In your last post, one error (our faulty assumption if you will) needs to be pointed out: You claim that "one of the accusers clearly thought that there was a threat involved", a claim that certainly has never been made by any of the plaintiffs or even their lawyer - at least not publicly (you may have access to secret information).

    ReplyDelete
  61. Ha-ha, CIA as "conspiracy theories". More like practice, but I get it. After I proved that A IS a right-winger, you has to stop arguing and start banning :)

    Good luck with your sort of feminism - CIA-supported, that is. Not unlike feminism that justifies bombing Afghanistan and Iran.

    But the sham of this "rape" case is going to be unmasked and it could make more real rape cases look less real to a lot of people. What CIA's A is doing is an abuse of anti-rape law, and it will do no good to anti-rape case as a whole.

    Lidia

    ReplyDelete
  62. Linnea,

    uncalled-for censoring of posts will not win your cause any friends.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Konstantin,
    I have not censored any posts apart from people who make excuses for rape, which I will not accept. There is only ONE person who has done that, I have not censored anyone else nor will I, unless they start apologising for rape. I don't mean people simply defending Assange, because he has not been sentenced to rape, so as far as we know he could be innocent, I mean people actually justifying rape in some cases.

    As for the above message, if that is what you mean, I will not censor you as long as you don't apologise for rape. If our argument starts going round in circles, however, I will stop answering at one point or another, because the topic has already been discussed and the discussion is not moving forward and it would be a matter of "see the above post." Unfortunately, there have been quite a few people saying "it's dodgy, it's a conspiracy" and I have reiterated to them - "Let the court deal with it, we are not a public tribunal, we do not have all the evidence" but still they keep coming with arguments. It becomes unproductive.
    You are welcome to post your opinions, but I also reserve the right to stop answering when I start feeling like all I do is repeat things that are already said above.

    Thanks for your comments, Konstantin!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Linnea, you may decide to stop answering at any point and that's perfectly OK. However, the impression your leave on your readers when you remove other peoples' comments stating that you only censor posts that make excuses for rape is that we are some sort of rape apologists, and as you probably understand, I'm not particularly happy with having that label imposed on me.

    I assume you made an honest mistake when you decided to remove my post 09/12/2010 03:29 (quite understandable since you must have been awake all night). Here's the comment again so it can be reposted:

    "I'm not arguing anything else than that the case is extremely thin and that your understanding of Swedish rape law was incomplete when you stated that merely a spoken "no" is sufficient. I hope that was remedied by the information I gave you.

    In your last post, one error (our faulty assumption if you will) needs to be pointed out: You claim that "one of the accusers clearly thought that there was a threat involved", a claim that certainly has never been made by any of the plaintiffs or even their lawyer - at least not publicly (you may have access to secret information)."

    ReplyDelete
  65. Konstantin,
    I can see you are trying to post and that the posts are not "sticking," the same that happened to LM above. I see now what you mean with uncalled-for censoring. I haven't deleted any comments, though. This fault is with blogger and I apologise that they are having issues with it, I have no idea why it is like that. The reason I didn't know what you were talking about was because I hadn't been checking my email at that point. The only person whose posts I've deleted because they were excusing rape was "Anonymous/Lidia." I'll post both your comments below:

    This one came during the night and I haven't seen it until now because I was sleeping when it was posted.
    Konstantin has left a new comment on your post ""Sex by Surprise"":

    Linnea: I'm not arguing anything else than that the case is extremely thin and that your understanding of Swedish rape law was incomplete when you stated that merely a spoken "no" is sufficient. I hope that was remedied by the information I gave you.

    In your last post, one error (our faulty assumption if you will) needs to be pointed out: You claim that "one of the accusers clearly thought that there was a threat involved", a claim that certainly has never been made by any of the plaintiffs or even their lawyer - at least not publicly (you may have access to secret information).


    Received at 11.56 GMT +1
    Konstantin has left a new comment on your post ""Sex by Surprise"":

    Linnea, you may decide to stop answering at any point and that's perfectly OK. However, the impression your leave on your readers when you remove other peoples' comments stating that you only censor posts that make excuses for rape is that we are some sort of rape apologists, and as you probably understand, I'm not particularly happy with having that label imposed on me.

    I assume you made an honest mistake when you decided to remove my post 09/12/2010 03:29 (quite understandable since you must have been awake all night). Here's the comment again so it can be reposted:

    "I'm not arguing anything else than that the case is extremely thin and that your understanding of Swedish rape law was incomplete when you stated that merely a spoken "no" is sufficient. I hope that was remedied by the information I gave you.

    In your last post, one error (our faulty assumption if you will) needs to be pointed out: You claim that "one of the accusers clearly thought that there was a threat involved", a claim that certainly has never been made by any of the plaintiffs or even their lawyer - at least not publicly (you may have access to secret information)."

    ReplyDelete
  66. Anonymous/Lidia,
    A is not a right-winger. Being anti-Cuban doesn't automatically qualify you as a right-winger. She is a Social Democrat which is left by ANY criteria you would have on a political chart.

    And you are making out that because I deleted your posts, I am now too CIA-sponsored?

    Konstantin,
    That fault was an assumption on my part, my apologies. As for whether it is like that or not, none of us know, only the women do.

    Again, I apologise for your posts not being posted, but they never were in the first place. Other people are having problems with this too. I'm going to have to check my email more often it seems. So anyone who is having problems with posting, please be patient and don't assume that I have censored them. I will post them as soon as possible, and if not, I'll let you know.
    I really do apologise for you taking me to mean that I was pointing you out as a rape-apologist. I know it is a horrible category to be put in and simply having doubts about the case does not qualify you for that category. I never saw you as a rape-apologist.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Linnéa, please!
    You do not have to agree simply because a jurist waves around her or his legal credentials, as Mortality, I and Konstantin have done. But for goddess' sake, at least try to have the decency to argue on their level, and to care and respect some BASIC legal and conceptual distinctions that exist, okay? Instead of keeping eyes wide shut.

    What Konstantin has explained - you only refused to listen - is that the continuation of a sexual act after the retraction of initial consent, is not only morally illicit, but that it may even well be a crime under the Criminal Code of Sweden. Just that this crime (which, if it has taken place, would be considered a sexual crime no doubt) is not called "rape". Understood? Once again for you: it *is* not RAPE !
    I do not care how you _want_ to call it (linguistic humpty-dumptyism), it simply IS not "rape". Period. Just as the thing that you are sitting on while typing on the keyboard, is not a "stove", and the thing upon which you sleep at night, is not a "cupboard". Good grief!

    Alexa

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  68. Linnéa: Apology accepted, and naturally I apologize for my accusation of censorship on your part too. I feel relieved that the lost post was due to a technical glitch. If only all misunderstandings were that easily solved... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  69. Thanks for clarifying that further, Alexa. I'm sorry I frustrated you.
    But if you're taking my last comment to be a complete rejection of his explanation of Swedish rape law, it's not. It was a reply to what he was saying about me falsely assuming that the women had said they where threatened. I accept the explanation of rape, but I suppose I am to blame for not pointing that out clearly.

    Konstantin, thank you for your clarification too.

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  70. Konstantin, I don't blame you. I would have assumed the same thing if it happened to me. Unfortunately, there are all too many people out there who censor comments simply because the commenting people disagree with their viewpoint. Imo, any such behaviour is unacceptable because it simply doesn't contribute anything to the discussion.

    Also, I want to apologise for waving you off as someone who only wanted to discuss conspiracy theories. I read through the comments again and saw that you were quite clear in what you were saying, I was just too tired and frustrated to pick it up. Thanks for taking the time to trying to properly explain it to me. I have learned the lesson of not replying to comments when I'm too tired to separate one argument from another ;)
    Better postponed and sane comments than quick and confused ones, eh?

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  71. I could as well (should I? no cat would ever do, so why I? ;-) ) apologize on my part. I was - and I sounded - a bit flustered. Ruffled feathers. Ahem.

    What is essential in this instance as in many other cases, is a distinction:

    @ It is your and your decision alone, how you experience an act. If it feels as sexual transgression, sexual coercion, sexual violence to you, then this is your valid feeling. And nobody has the right to talk you out of it, to belittle you, to denigrate your suffering and to blame you (leaving aside the obfuscating problem of "false memory syndrome", which exists but in practice is very rare; even rarer than false accusations).

    @ What you did before or who you are, does not exonerate, or excuse, or even justify an aggressor. A sex worker can be raped as badly as a nun or a director of public prosecution, and indeed sex workers *are* much more at risk and are more often victimized. Police know that, by the way.

    @ A feminist is not more and not less credible per se than any self-declared *slut* (empowerment term since Pat Califia's beautiful book "Macho Sluts"). Even a Marianne Ny could be raped, and if it happened, she must not be suspected of having it all made up because of ideology...
    As to the alleged past blog post of one of the two women on the topic "7 ways how to take revenge" - puuh-leaaaze! Give me a break, all you male dolts. Which women has NOT, honestly, shared this thought at times? Which woman has not fantasized about how to make "him" (or, more rarely: her) pay back?
    And as to groupie or celebrity fucker - a reproach that now has been constantly insinuated in rather disingenuous and backhanded ways, but never quite honestly been spoken out, so I will now word it - so what?! It would be their right, and if they chose to hit on Assange and to try to get him laid, that would still not excuse any misbehaviour, transgression, or crime on his part!

    @ Not every misbehaviour, not every shitty behaviour or callousness constitutes a crime under criminal law. Criminal law by its very nature - the Swedish system acknowledges this as do almost all others -, by its very nature is incomplete, fragmentary, riddled with holes.
    Not every misdeed that "deserves punishment" is a crime under the secular legal order. So, the hypothetical saying that Assange did not commit any "crime" specifically, does still not make right what he maybe did. (And by the way, I feel that there is at least a "reasonable suspicion" that he did commit one, in one way or that other, and that this suspicion ought to be investigated and cleared, no matter whether he is the Wikileaks hero, or his Majesty the King [ahem!], or a jobless drug pusher and petty thief.)

    @ The Swedish criminal code - in this respect the provision of its Chapter 6 were strongly patterned after the German laws, and are also in parallel to many European legal systems - distinguishes various instances of sexual crimes. Only one, rather strictly and narrowly defined, with only some blurring at the "threat" definition borders, only one of those definitions is "Rape". There are many potential happenings of sexual violence or sexual coercion or sexual non-consent, that are morally and often also legally wrong, and which may be punishable under the criminal code. But they are NOT "rape". Not in English and not, respectively, in Swedish. Neither in those other European languages that I have more or less knowledge of. That IS so, and this taxonomy is not a suject to dispute.

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  72. Ok, so being a SD close to CIA's terrorist means being leftist? Now I get it, finally.

    And not, I do not think you work to CIA - but a lot of calling for bombing Iran to free Iranian women and gays are not working for CIA either.

    Now, if to you A being a CIA-linked does not raise fishy alert, I wish you the best.

    Now I am providing link to people who could be interested in such activities by A - I suppose you are not going to wipe it as you have done in the first place

    Here it is http://my.firedoglake.com/kirkmurphy/2010/12/04/assanges-chief-accuser-has-her-own-history-with-us-funded-anti-castro-groups-one-of-which-has-cia-ties/

    Lidia

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  73. "and that this suspicion ought to be investigated and cleared, no matter whether he is the Wikileaks hero"

    Now, he is NOT only a hero, he also is a person who receives daily death threats from a very powerful persons. NOT to pay attention to it means to be willingly blind.

    Angela Davis was charged as a criminal, while it was clear for all not willingly blind that the real reason was her being a Communist. Mumia Abu-Jamal is on death row for murder, not because of him being a foe of USA political system, year, he just killed a cop - nothing to do with him being a radical Black activist.

    Do somebody here ever heard about framing up of people who had a powerful enemies?

    Lidia

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  74. Anonymous/Lidia,

    Being anti-Castro or anti-Cuban does not automatically make you a CIA crony. Neither does having ties with groups who are supported by them. I'm not saying that it's impossible, it is very possible, but it is not a given.

    Also, this is a classic case of media covering/bias. If you look at it from Salon, who has given it the opposite point of view, they argue that her CIA ties are very loose. They also point out that the only source which has made these allegations is the counterpunch article the article you pasted is based on. So, there is allegedly only one source found to date (you're welcome to give me more which are based on other sources than the counterpunch one) of these CIA ties. I'm not saying either is correct, I'm only pointing out that there are two opinions and options here.
    Here's the Salon article. It's an interesting read, I recommend it. That article also points to facts about sexual assault that speak completely contrary to the ones given by the author of the counterpunch piece.

    There is no denial that Assange is being treated badly by the international community for the Wikileaks leaks, and I have said so before and will keep on saying it. There is, however, no proof that what Wikileaks has done is connected with what Assange allegedly did to these women. He might be framed, he might not, but these are serious accusations and he should face them.

    Besides, did you read that it will very hard for Sweden to extradite Assange to the US? In this article it says: "Espionage is seen as a political crime, and political offences are not subject to extradition under the US-UK, US-Sweden and UK-Sweden treaties, Mr Semmelman said.". What is more is that if Assange is extradited to Sweden by the UK, it will have to be a three partite extradition, meaning that the UK will have to agree on Assange being extradited to the US as well. It seems unlikely, therefore, that these women have accused Assange of sex crimes for the sole purpose of handing him over to the US.

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  75. Have you read articles you refer to regarding the myths about rape, etc. It is not clear which references that are referenced in every myth. On the RWU page it's not stated who wrote the text.What is the reputation of RWU? Articles are quite old. There are a lot of other articles that contradict your statements. Why don't you reference those and argue why you believe the view of your references are the correct ones?

    ReplyDelete
  76. Yes, I have. The second one (in the comment above) offers in text references. Typing "rape myths" into Google scholar will quickly show you that it is an established concept and has plenty of peer reviewed material on the topic. There is research from all over the spectrum, including psychology. If you will not accept RWU, then perhaps you will accept those. Here are a few selections, but unfortunately you will need to have access to a higher education institute to view them, or buy them:

    Here's an analysis of the scholarly material on rape myths - published 2010
    Here's one discussing feminist theories on rape and sexual aggression and rape myths, co-authored by men and women, so no gender bias - published 2009
    Here's one looking at rape myths and sex buyers - also published 2009

    They do exist, and there's plenty of literature out there. It's not even hard to access. You just have to look for it.

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  77. "There is no denial that Assange is being treated badly by the international community for the Wikileaks leaks, and I have said so before and will keep on saying it. There is, however, no proof that what Wikileaks has done is connected with what Assange allegedly did to these women. He might be framed, he might not, but these are serious accusations and he should face them."

    Now, some people cry foul if somebody does not call rape a rape. But to call what is done to Assange "treated badly by the international community" beats me. He is HUNTED by NOT any "international community", but by the rulers of the most powerful and lest scrupulous states, which are waging colonial wars and are kidnapping, torturing and murdering without trial - and Sweden is a part of those crimes!

    And, sure, to have been a part of CIA-linked group that are buddies with notorious mass-murder is NOTHING to write home. A is a buddy of Posada? No sweat. I am sure he is a great feminist, too.

    In short, for somebody who is enraged by downplaying serious matters like rape, Linnea is strangely prone to downplay VERY serious matters - matters of death, to be precise. But, of course, such matters do not help her point about Assange possibly being a rapist without ANY link to his other occupation, or Sweden-CIA
    plot against him being a crazy conspiracy theory.

    Lidia

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  78. Lidia,

    I'm not entirely sure what you base Sweden being part of 'kidnapping, torturing and murdering without trial'? Sweden is a neutral, peacekeeping and in those peacekeeping missions do not engage in violence apart from self-defence. Sweden is not waging a war anywhere, nor is it a part of NATO.

    Look, for all I know all you are saying is true. I've never said it's not possible. What I'm saying is that it is wrong to assume that because Assange and Wikileaks are wanted for other things, he cannot be guilty of the crimes he has been accused of committing. Do I believe there were political pressure in arresting him on international soil? Oh yes, I don't doubt it for a second. Sex crimes are rarely taken this seriously when it comes to an international extradition, and the fact that they are now is disturbing. But, it might also be that the Swedish warrant played the USA into their hands without being connected or a planned co operation.

    Also, I read a blog about the rape accusations and the alleged Swedish/CIA/feminist plot to bring Wikileaks down, and I have to say I agree with the author. Assuming something like that is a tremendous ignorance of Swedish politics. It is not impossible, but reaching that conclusion without first doubting it is just a huge misconception of Swedish politics.

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  79. @Linnea

    My original article along the same lines as yours was published today on a news site. Frankly, I was appalled by the comments it attracted.

    Like you, I tried to argue that we should not automatically assume guilt or innocence on these charges based on Assange's work with Wikileaks, or any perceived 'plot'. It seems people either cannot, or do not want to grant that possibility.

    It's very disheartening, especially when they dismiss the case based on some claimed knowledge of 'Swedish law'. I've directed people to your blog and some of the informed commenters here to give them a better understanding.

    Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Another comment that didn't "stick" for some reason:

    crazyjane13 has left a new comment on your post ""Sex by Surprise"":

    @Linnea

    My original article along the same lines as yours was published today on a news site. Frankly, I was appalled by the comments it attracted.

    Like you, I tried to argue that we should not automatically assume guilt or innocence on these charges based on Assange's work with Wikileaks, or any perceived 'plot'. It seems people either cannot, or do not want to grant that possibility.

    It's very disheartening, especially when they dismiss the case based on some claimed knowledge of 'Swedish law'. I've directed people to your blog and some of the informed commenters here to give them a better understanding.

    Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  81. crazyjane13,

    Yes, it is very disheartening, I agree. It's a shame that people can't separate one thing from the other.

    Thank you! And you, too. Trivialising rape and feeding rape myths is just so damaging to all, and it needs to keep on being pointed out.

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  82. Also a belated, but very heartfelt thank you to Alexa who keeps coming in here to check legal facts and also bothered to write that long comment above about rape and other sex crimes in Swedish legislation.

    ReplyDelete
  83. "I think every rape charge should be taken seriously. I also think that every rape charge should be prosecuted properly without a bias either way."

    I agree Linnea, but by the same token, believe, because of the nature of the crime of rape, just as it is deemed necessary to keep the identities of the victims secret (I believe this is the case in most instances), the same should be extended to the ones accused.

    In this particular case, judgment should be reserved on both the accusers and the accused until the case has seen the light of day. Which is why I find it puzzling the whole world knew about the charges in August. Also I am puzzled why one of the accusers chose to give an interview to a tabloid, thereby jeopardizing her case, and exposing herself to public scrutiny. Just as one could say that the accused are being subjected to a witch-hunt on the cybersphere, the same could hold true for Assange (seriously, how many Interpol red warrants are there for rapists and would Sweden have gone after if Assange were a regular Joe?). I don't know if this makes sense, but one has to consider the context and timing of it all.

    I for one would like to see this case tried asap (if Assange is found guilty, then he should serve his sentence; it is possible to be both a sinner and a saint), so that the attention can then turn back to Wikileaks. Because (and I will get flak for this), the importance of Wikileaks, the released and soon-to-be released information and what it tells us about the world we live in is much more important than what happened to these two women. As callous as it sounds, in the greater scheme of things, that's how it goes.

    ReplyDelete
  84. What I meant to say, in my second paragraph above, was:

    I agree Linnea, but by the same token, believe, because of the nature of the crime of rape, just as it is deemed necessary to keep the identities of the victims secret (I believe this is the case in most instances), the same should be extended to the ones accused, until a conviction is secured. Society has the right to know who the rapist is just as society has to protect the ones wrongly accused (even though the later only constitutes 2% of all rape cases).

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  85. Cherie,
    Thanks for your comment!
    I agree, it's a very fair point and it's a shame that this whole case has been made into such a circus. If Assange is falsely accused it must be absolutely horrible for him that it is such a public trial. I suppose even if he is rightly accused it must be awful.

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  86. "If Assange is falsely accused it must be absolutely horrible for him that it is such a public trial.'

    Do you know that when he was first accused somebody leaked to media his name - even though it is against the law? WHO did it? Could it be done by the same forces which is going to give Assange to USA - to be put in god only knows what torture prison or simple to be murdered.

    But I would not call it in itself absolutely horrible, him being hunted down by the most powerful rulers in the world -from USA to his native Australia - this is MUCH more horrible, esp. because it is done not by some "international community" - which is meaningless words, but by imperialist powers, including Sweden.

    And I guess that being close to CIA's mass murderer is not a problem to some leftists - but not to me. CIA's crimes against humanity are too well known. By the way, if to be anti-Castro is OK to you, what about being pro-Posada, who murdered a lot of people, some of them Cuban teens.

    Lidia

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  87. Yes, it is very possible that it was people who wanted Wikileaks and Assange dragged through the mud leaked this case to the media. That doesn't mean, however, that it was the women who did it. Whoever did, there's no excuse. This shouldn't be dealt with publicly.

    Still not sure how you're connecting Sweden with imperialist powers. The only countries we've annexed were our neighbour countries waaaaaay back in the day. That there is a formal co operation in certain areas does not mean that the Swedish government and the Swedish people condone torture. In fact, Sweden is pretty anti-torture.

    That there is one person who allegedly has ties to CIA and Posada (which are, as said before, a bit unclear and only based on one source) does not mean the entire Swedish government and legal apparatuses are. Surely you do not think that this woman/these women are representatives of the entire Swedish population or even indicators of what Swedish people are like? I mean, that would be like equating Sarah Palin with all Americans, or perhaps Newt Gingrich because Palin was at least popularly elected at one point. Citizens of a nation are not all homogenous, regardless of what certain political ideologies might think.
    Any kind of alleged alliances or political ideologies on the part of one woman does not mean that the entire Swedish population hold the same opinions. A lot of people in Sweden certainly disagree with me. It's a democracy and it contains as many opinions as there are people.
    As for if it can be condoned - you have your theories and I have none. I have no clue of this woman's allegiances or motives or anything such like. Hopefully everything will be clear once this entire circus has played out, until then I will refrain from making assumptions either way.

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  88. @Lidia

    Why was his name leaked? I can think of one reason off the top of my head that has nothing to do with conspiracy - PUBLICITY.

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  89. there are many things that could have happened between the sheets, so to speak. How will we find out who is telling the truth? And both could be telling the truth to us, but may have lied to themselves about what the other may have meant - wont this make things very complicated? Seems like all 3 enjoyed the acts while it was happening. Perhaps it is best to think of it this way and close the case.

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  90. "Interestingly, it is illegal in Sweden to knowingly have sex with someone when you have an STD. I know this is so for HIV and other 'serious' STDs, but I think it also might be with other 'lesser' (for the lack of a better word) STDs."

    There are STD's that go under "smittskyddslagen http://www.notisum.se/rnp/sls/lag/20040168.htm" like HIV and Klamydia. If one is a carrier of one of these diseases and aware of it, it's illegal to have sex with someone without their consent as the potential damage is considered severe.

    Being a carrier of a more common STD like herpes and HPV, knowing about it and having sex with others isn't in itself a crime, unless it's causing someone psychological damage (which is subjective, some don't care about getting a cold, others fear it to death)

    If we oversee the fact that intercourse is a highly intimate activity for the most of us (and thus diseases related to it is highly taboo), giving someone genital HPV is as much of a crime as walking around in your gym locker-room without shoes when you have foot-warts or shaking hands with someone, alt kissing someone if you carry oral herpes.

    They are medically just as severe, but people seem to be less distressed about a cold-sore than they are about genital blistering.

    In any case, spreading STD's is a shitty thing to do, we should all take responsibility and be honest. But what's most important is to be aware, then make a decision about your social life.

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  91. I agree. I think there is a widespread irresponsibility, or perhaps nonchalance, when it comes to STDs. Whether it's conscious or just because people don't know enough, I don't know.
    I actually didn't know that HPV and herpes were treated differently in smittskyddslagen than are the other STDs. It seems a bit strange to me especially as they have found a link between HPV and cancer and that herpes is blisters and must hurt like crazy. Thanks for letting us know!

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  92. Well, the thing is, they are so immensly common.

    Yes, genital-HPV is known to cause, in some cases (predominatly for women. There is a vaccine now though, but because most people who are sexually active has it {but very often isn't aware} it's mainly given to women who haven't had their sexual debut. ). The nice thing about it is that the body, mostly seems to get rid of it after a couple of years.

    It's also considered the most common STD in Sweden.

    Herpes is a bit different. It's something you (and i use that term loosely because it's so nice and compact way of getting the reader involved) probably have aswell, even if you aren't sexually active.

    I say that because there are two different kind of herpes. "Oral", known as HSV-1 Where about 70-80% of swedes are thought to be carriers. and "Genital" HSV-2, with a prelevence of 30-40%.

    source: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herpes_simplex

    I quote the word genital and oral because they are interchangeable, you can get either in either area, all that's required is direct contact.

    Oral herpes is something most seem to get during childhood. Usually from a relative kissing you or from school whilst sharing a bewerage or possibly, kissing someone else.

    It then stays, forever, active or not, you're always a potential source if anyone close gets it.

    The "nice" things about herpes are that.

    1. It often doesn't give any symptoms at all, is just lies dormant, shedding now and then.

    2. A condom cannot insure protection.

    Herpes usually doesn't cause anything serious, but it can. It has been linked to a number of serious illnesses.

    "I actually didn't know that HPV and herpes were treated differently in smittskyddslagen than are the other STDs. It seems a bit strange to me especially as they have found a link between HPV and cancer and that herpes is blisters and must hurt like crazy"

    The law is intended to protect people from high-risk diseases, mostly those that are a bit more rare and has a rather high chance of screwing someone over.

    If we were to simply add Herpes and HPV to that list, we would be limiting a large amount of people for a relatively small gain.

    It makes sense to have Klamydia on there, because that could make someone sterile and is usually easily treated with penicillin.

    HPV and Herpes cannot be cured, symptoms can only be relieved. And give a small few number cancer (400 women in sweden per year)
    plus som other complications in a wide range from discomfort to death, death being _really_ rare.

    It's all about pro's and con's.

    What is needed is a working vaccine (we have one for HPV, Herpes might be coming, but funding seems to be sketchy).

    And also, if we were to just add genital herpes on the list, how is a person with oral herpes to act as it's a potential case of herpes in a genital area?

    Are we to differenciate them at all as the complications both can be serious?

    Maybe spreading oral herpes should be considered as serious? Are we to force people to share the fact that they have herpes before they can share the same glass or kissing?

    Should we extend it to the form of HPV that occur on hands and feet? (everybody loves wearing latex gloves, right?)

    I don't think that would be for the best. Maybe it would. But it could also fuck people up, forcing them to focus on something bad about themselves without a good reason, potentially making people depressed.

    I'm sorry if i seem bitter, i'm aware that what i'm saying is somewhat off-topic. But i'm getting rather pissed at the amount of igorance floating around among people.

    I like this blog, even though i don't always agree about some reasoning, it making me think, something i enjoy from time to time.

    I currently sit with the feeling that maybe i shouldn't post this. But, i did spend time writing it, so why not?

    Maybe causing debate isn't as bad as my middle school teachers made me believe.

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  93. Yes, there's is a link between HPV and cancer, and there are about 400 cases of this kind of cancer each year (In Sweden, and if you're talking about that sexist kind of cancer that only affects women).

    Herpes is discomfortable, but seldomly more than a nuicance, can be though, can actually kill you. But you're probably more likely to die from a car accident. Still, it shouldn't be taken too lightly.

    Adding these under "smittskyddslagen" might not, however, be a good idea.

    They're not really considered serious enough so that you have to force people in for treatment (Klamydia, for example, has one. Herpes and HPV cannot be cured yet) or detaining/quarantine those who refuse to take the necessary precautious to prevent anyone else from getting sick. (Such is the case for HIV patients)

    Are we also to tell our children to wear rubber gloves so they won't spread warts? (HPV)

    Are people to advoid using the same drinking glass, unless they have previously shared their known medical history with the other person so they know they are around someone who occasionally -- or once in their childhood -- had cold-sores? (HSV-1)

    I know that genital forms of Herpes and HPV can be more psychologically damaging than the oral occurances of herpes and the occasional wart on ones hand or foot.

    But just because they are STD's doesn't make them _that_ much more serious from a pure medical standpoint.

    And yes, they cause havoc, but chances are low for something serious to happen.

    I'm not saying that it's ok to run around and sleep with people, lying about ones medical situation to others, risking them harm.

    It's really about a phsycological question about how much worse we percieve an STD than "normal-day" diseases that are all around us.

    (Something we might be able to link to the HIV scares during the 80's and the rampant increase of STD's during the sexually liberated 60's.)

    I'm merely debating the notion that they should noted under a law/clause intended to protect a countries citizens from far more serious diseases. (It doesn't only cover STD's).

    In general, there's a strong stigmatization around disease, and sick people, more than often, have to not only live with the prospect of an earlier death, or a physical health that will be hell. But also with several social stigmas where they are left outside society and live a phsycologically tortured life.

    I can't think of anything worse than being pushed outside social groups, left alone, with the innate feeling that no other person likes who you are, for what you suffer.

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  94. The Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet started the issue abut "sex by surprise" and condoms. Assange had signed a deal with Aftonbladet to do a regular column for them:
    http://blogg.aftonbladet.se/janhelin/2010/08/darfor-blir-julian-assange-kolumnist-i-aftonbladet

    Aftonbladet was the first to raise the issue of condom usage:
    http://aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article7712747.ab

    But look what they have to say later:
    http://www.aftonbladet.se/debatt/kronikorer/lisamagnusson/article8252921.ab

    "Jag vet inte hur många gånger jag har hört att talespersonen för Wikileaks, Julian Assange, häktats för sexuella övergrepp på grund av en kommunistfeministisk CIA-konspiration och på grund av att svensk lag stipulerar att ”sex by surprise” (överraskningssex), vilket inkluderar sex utan kondom, är olagligt. Det är bortom debil grabbighet, det är direkt kvinnofientligt.

    Jag har försökt påpeka att vi som inte var med borde ge fan i att spekulera loss, och jag har försökt påpeka att en sprucken kondom inte är synonym med våldtäkt i svensk lag, att sex by surprise härstammar från en gammal ordvits om våldtäkt. Men det hjälper inte. Julian Assanges fanclub blir väldigt sur om man ber den granska källor och tänka själv och säga något annat än BÄÄÄÄ."

    I make this as:

    "I don't know how many times I have heard that the spokesperson for Wikileaks, Julian Assange, was arrested for sexual assault because of a communist feminist CIA conspiracy and because the Swedish law stipulates that "sex by surprise" (överraskningssex), which includes sex without a condom, is illegal. It's beyond juvenile idiocy: it is directly hostile to women.

    I've tried to point out that we who weren't there shouldn't speculate, and I've tried to point out that a broken condom is not synonymous with rape in Swedish law, överraskningssex comes from an old pun about rape. But it does not help. Julian Assange's fanclub gets very pissy if you ask it to examine the sources and think for yourself and say something other than "baaaaaa" (like a sheep"). "

    The European Arrest Warrant issued against Assange by the Swedish Prosecutor’s office has not been posted online. The Swedish Wire itemized the charges (http://www.swedishwire.com/politics/7570-the-charges-against-julian-assange):

    Barrister Gemma Lindfield, for the Swedish authoritie­s, told the court Assange was wanted in connection with four allegation­s:

    She said the first complainan­t, Miss A, said she was victim of "unlawful coercion" on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.

    The second charge alleged Assange "sexually molested" Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her "express wish" one should be used.

    The third charge claimed Assange "deliberat­ely molested" Miss A on 18 August "in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity"­.

    The fourth charge accused Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on 17 August without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.”

    Criminal Code of the Kingdom of Sweden
    http://www.legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes

    For example, in Sweden, a person who has sex with an unconscious, drunk or sleeping person can be convicted of rape and sentenced to up to six years in prison. Chapter 6 deals with crimes of a sexual nature.

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  95. Christie Ward24/12/2010, 14:51

    The Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet started the issue abut "sex by surprise" and condoms. Assange had signed a deal with Aftonbladet to do a regular column for them:
    http://blogg.aftonbladet.se/janhelin/2010/08/darfor-blir-julian-assange-kolumnist-i-aftonbladet

    Aftonbladet was the first to raise the issue of condom usage:
    http://aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article7712747.ab

    But look what they have to say later:
    http://www.aftonbladet.se/debatt/kronikorer/lisamagnusson/article8252921.ab

    "Jag vet inte hur många gånger jag har hört att talespersonen för Wikileaks, Julian Assange, häktats för sexuella övergrepp på grund av en kommunistfeministisk CIA-konspiration och på grund av att svensk lag stipulerar att ”sex by surprise” (överraskningssex), vilket inkluderar sex utan kondom, är olagligt. Det är bortom debil grabbighet, det är direkt kvinnofientligt.

    Jag har försökt påpeka att vi som inte var med borde ge fan i att spekulera loss, och jag har försökt påpeka att en sprucken kondom inte är synonym med våldtäkt i svensk lag, att sex by surprise härstammar från en gammal ordvits om våldtäkt. Men det hjälper inte. Julian Assanges fanclub blir väldigt sur om man ber den granska källor och tänka själv och säga något annat än BÄÄÄÄ."

    I make this as:

    "I don't know how many times I have heard that the spokesperson for Wikileaks, Julian Assange, was arrested for sexual assault because of a communist feminist CIA conspiracy and because the Swedish law stipulates that "sex by surprise" (överraskningssex), which includes sex without a condom, is illegal. It's beyond juvenile idiocy: it is directly hostile to women.

    I've tried to point out that we who weren't there shouldn't speculate, and I've tried to point out that a broken condom is not synonymous with rape in Swedish law, överraskningssex comes from an old pun about rape. But it does not help. Julian Assange's fanclub gets very pissy if you ask it to examine the sources and think for yourself and say something other than "baaaaaa" (like a sheep"). "

    ReplyDelete
  96. Thank you, Christie, for your comment.

    I think Aftonbladet has acted questionable in this case, but it is a tabloid so I'm not sure what more to expect. However, Lisa Magnusson is a columnist at Aftonbladet, so her columns do not necessarily reflect Aftonbladet's views on the matter, but I'm glad AB let her post that anyway.

    I hope this whole matter will all be over and done with soon. The way rape myths are being reproduced and rape survivors all over are being blamed for offences made against them is just appalling.

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  97. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  98. Politically correct feminists claim false rape accusations are rare and account for only 2 percent of all reports. Men's rights sites point to research that places the rate as high as 41 percent. These are wildly disparate figures that cannot be reconciled.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,194032,00.html#ixzz1CzoKHpWd

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  99. Carlos Karim06/02/2011, 00:49

    Thank you for sharing your ideas, I found your clarification on överraskningssex translation very helpful to understand what the media is saying these days.

    I do believe that every alleged victim has a right to be treated as a victim (respect, medical, legal and psychological assistance and so on). On the other hand, every alleged rapist has a right to be treated as innocent until otherwise proved. So yes, I agree this is for the tribunals.

    Since I do not know anything about Swedish criminal law or UK extradition law, I can only try to understand the process without judging the involved individuals.

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  100. A reminder to everyone: If you in any way engage in rape apologia (meaning the justification of rape), however "mild" you may think it is, your comment will be deleted because it is not tolerated.

    Examples include victim blaming, still actually using "sex by surprise" or trivialising sexual assault in any kind of way. Just don't bother commenting, because I will delete your comments. You are free to disagree with me or any person on the comments thread, or in the media, or anywhere in the world, but if you want to justify or trivialise rape, do not do it here. I would suggest you do not do it at all, anywhere at any time, because it is despicable behaviour that has the potential to hurt and offend a lot of people, but I do not control the freedom of thought and/or speech, and neither do I have an interest of doing so. On my private blog, on the other hand, I will not allow these types of comments.

    In other words, please think of what you are saying/implicating before posting a comment or you might find that it has been deleted.

    ReplyDelete
  101. i guess you were refering to my comment, since you deleted it

    i'd just like to point out that:
    -it is not justifying rape or trivialising rape, when you say that the kind of baviour that assange is accused does not constitute rape. actually the opposite is true: one woman is saying that she wanted to use a condom but got tired of arguing with assange. if you consider that rape, i think YOU are trivialising rape and pretty much insulting any victim of rape. rape is a horrible crime. arguing and convincing someone to do something he/she didnt want at the beginning is something completely different. when you call the two things by the same name, you are really making rape look like something trivial. its a huge disservice to any rape-victim.

    and about victim blaming: to blame a victim, first there needs to be a victim. at this moment, we do not know who the victim is and we might never do. but most of the circumstantial evidence suggests that assange is the victim of wrong accusations. and if that is true, the two women are not victims but perpetrators. so if it is morally ok to critizes assange, it is as least as moral to critizes the very doubtful behaviour of the two involved women.

    now, this is your blog and you are free to delete anything you want. but i'd thing the whole point of a discussion is to learn about the perspective of someone else. but by insisting that the women are victims (which neither you nor i can be sure of) and therefore can not be blamed, you are already concluding that your perspective is the correct one. which makes any discussion pretty much obsolete.

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  102. Anonymous,

    See, now when you explain in detail what it is you take issue with i becomes clear that you are confused as to what Assange is really accused of, and what you describe is not rape, you are right, but a shitty thing to do to your sex partner.

    Assange is not accused of "making one of the woman giving in through nagging" though. He is accused of:

    1) Having sex with one of the women while she was asleep, which, depending on the degree of the consciousness of the person asleep, constitutes rape in Swedish as well as British law.
    2) Pinning the other woman down when she was trying to reach for a condom and after she had clearly stated she wanted to have sex only with a condom, he allegedly "did something to it," making it break. This accusation which doesn't go under rape crimes, but it does constitute sexual assault (I think what is used in English is sexual molestation).

    I repeat: Assange is not wanted for coercing women to have sex with him without a condom. He is wanted for crimes where he unilaterally has been taking decisions about what he is allowed to do with their bodies.

    I apologise if you thought I accused you of victim blaming. I didn't see that in your post. What I did accuse you of was trivialising rape, but that was when I worked on the assumption of you knowing what Assange is really accused of, since it's been updated on the web for about two months now.

    Here's a Guardian article about the allegations. If you doubt what they are saying, just google the leaked documents or look at BBC or something; they all say the same, and have been for two months now.

    I apologise if you concluded that I am saying that the women are victims. As I said, I never accused you of victim blaming; that post was for people in general, so that they might know what is and isn't accepted. It is up to the court to decide for the public if these women are victims or not. This is something I have consistently pointed out. I am not interested in making Assange a villain or a saint. He is a human being and right now he has accusations of sex crimes against him which should be taken seriously. Nevertheless, he deserves a free and fair trial and also not to be judged in the eyes of society before the verdict is out.

    An example of victim blaming that has come up in this case is "Well, what did she expect? She got into the same bed as him, of course he will penetrate her while she is asleep." This is victim blaming and it is wrong. She should be able to sleep wherever she pleases with whomever she pleases without that sleeping partner seeing her presence as his (her) innate right to penetrate or otherwise sexually assault her.

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  103. thanks linnea for helping me out of my confusion ;-) i have read first an article in the Austrian newspaper "Der Standard", where they describe the same issues as in the Guardian article but additionally mention that out of the whole story police have constructed three offense, for which they investigate:

    http://derstandard.at/1296696571767/Hintergrund-Ein-minder-schwerer-Fall

    - one is for destroying the condom without her knowledge
    - two is for "nagging" her into not using a condom
    - three is for having sex with her while she was sleeping

    i was referring to the second point, which doesnt seem to be a crime at all to me.

    the first point seems like a very nasty thing to, but its not rape. actually, usually it is men who are at the receiving end of such practices (when a woman claims to take the pill but doesnt). its nasty, it should probably be punishable, it isnt usually punished (at least when men are the victims), but it certainly is not rape.

    additionally: i have heard of men who want to have sex without condom (must be stupid men, but nobody has said there are no stupid men..) but i have never heard of a man who wants to have sex with a broken condom on his penis...sounds a very far strech to me...

    now the third one could be rape if she was really unconscious, especially if he had druged her. but that has not been claimed by any one. from the guardian article it just sounds like he had started sex while she was still half asleep. something that happens in millions of beds every morning and is certainly not rape, but usually a very pleasant surprise. in the guardian article it also sounds that she had no problem with it, apart from the fact that he was not wearing a condom. but she did not say "stop", she didnt push him away, he didnt use force. for me: no rape.

    there is one passage in the guardian article that sounds like rape to me:

    "She told police that she had tried a number of times to reach for a condom but Assange had stopped her by holding her arms and pinning her legs"

    but then it goes on:

    "The statement records Miss A describing how Assange then released her arms and agreed to use a condom"

    so it seems he didnt penetrate her while using force and he didnt force her to have sex without a condom. maybe one could say that for some seconds he tried to rape her. but thats a far strech and remember, thats only if her testimony is 100% correct.

    so, according to his testimony, there were no problems at all. circumstances seem to bolster his view, i.e. the bragging of the woman about their relationsship, the fact they only went to police when they found out he had been "unfaithfull" to them and so. but who knows..


    according to the women their was some nasty behaviour, but at no moment did they say "stop, at no moment did they push him away, at no moment did they try to run away, at no moment did he use force to have sex with them. so i still think that calling any of this "rape" is an insult to all victims of real rape.

    now, should the kind of bahviour desribed by the women be punished by law under some differnt name? i dont think so. many strange things happen in bedrooms, but i think the government should not meddle in it as long as the two persons are consenting. and it seems they were.

    one thing is rape. its a horrible crime and should be punished by many years in prison. another things is nasty, inmature or unfriendly behaviour. i would "punish" that by not ever again sleeping with the guy and probably not talking to him. certainly not throwing a party for him. and thats it.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Right, well, that article is wrong, because there is no such crime in Sweden that states that consensual sex without a condom is a crime. Sex without a condom when a condom has explicitly been asked to be used is a crime, but it is not rape.

    What you think and do not think is rape is irrelevant in this case, as it is with my opinions on rape (which are that anything that does not go within a negotiated framework of consent with all parties involved is rape, or at the very least sexual assault). According to Swedish, and other countries' legislation, having sex with someone who is asleep is a crime. Depending on the degree of the consciousness of the person, it is either sexual assault or rape, but the main point is that a person who is asleep cannot consent, and under no circumstances can any man or woman assume consent on behalf of another person. Consent is not something you negotiate or decide for another person. Every individual has autonomy to the degree that they can and should decide what they consent to. That piece of legislation that deems it rape when someone is at a certain degree of unconsciousness is based on that reasoning. You cannot consent when you are asleep, and it doesn't matter if you consented to a sex act two hours previously when you were awake, that consent is not indefinite and stretches over time and space.

    On a similar note, I think you should be very careful with assuming that starting to have sex with someone who's asleep is "pleasant." This is not always the case, and in either case, it is sexual assault, because you have not asked for consent. It doesn't matter if you're in a relationship or not, consent has to be given before every sexual act. You do not ever, under no circumstances, own the right to decide when and where someone else should or wants to have sex. You do not have that mandate nor should you assume that power.

    Miss A is not accusing Assange for rape, she is accusing him for sexual molestation and sexual assault, so please stop analysing that case as something that is relevant to definitions of rape - it is not.

    The women's actions before or after Assange allegedly sexually assaulted them is in no way relevant. Read the rape myths posted in this post. A survivor of sexual assault does not have to act in any kind of specific way, nor do they. Some survivors even try to pretend nothing has happened and act just the way that they did before it took place. Just because someone acts in a certain way does not mean they cannot be sexually assaulted and/or raped. This is very closely linked to victim blaming, so once again, be careful.

    Also, please stop assuming things about the women's behaviour. You weren't there, neither was I. Secondly, you do not have to say to someone to stop or push someone away for it to constitute as sexual assault. If the consent is not there, it is some form of sexual assault, what degree of it varies from country to country. There are no first, second, or third degrees of rape or sexual assault. Unwanted sexual contact is sexual assault, period. Most countries' laws reflect this, although the big question is usually what constitutes rape, not that unwanted sexual contact is unlawful. It varies from sexual harassment, to sexual molestation to sexual coercion to rape.

    (continued)

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  105. "many strange things happen in bedrooms, but i think the government should not meddle in it as long as the two persons are consenting. and it seems they were."
    Please, try to understand, again that the entire case against Assange is based on that the women did not consent. Anything else is a ridiculous assumption and would mean that consensual sex is punishable by law in Sweden, which it is not. I repeat: consensual sex between adults is not punishable by law in Sweden.. Again - consensual sex is NOT punishable by law in Sweden. That means that you cannot bring a case against someone if the sex was consensual. If the sex was consensual, there would be no case. Obviously these women think it was not consensual, and therefore went to the police. That's what the entire case is built upon.
    Obviously there is a discrepancy between the accounts of these two women and that of Assange, who claims that it was consensual. Whether it was or not is not for us to decide, but for the courts. But please stop assuming that these women have brought allegations against Assange because of consensual sex, they did not.

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  106. Yours is an academic definition of what constituts consent and in my view it would be a terrible world to live in, if your definition was applied.

    for example:

    when i come home at night from work and i kiss my 10-year girlfriend welcome - thats assault by your definition of consent, cause i didnt ask for permission.

    life doesnt work like this. we all make assumptions about other peoples consent based on their prior behaviour and our own experiences. we dont ask people whether they agree on their hands to be shaken, their cheeks to be kissed every time we meet them. we assume, that if they liked it in the past than it is still ok for them until they tell us otherwise. life would be impossible w/o these assumptions.

    at some moments in my life i had the privilege to wake to oral sex being performed on me by the woman who had slept beside me...do you really, honestly think i would have been entitled to suing the woman for rape? i really find it difficult to believe that...it must be a very twisted, troublesome world that you live in, if you want to outlaw this kind of behaviour between adults...

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  107. a few more words on the consent in this case:

    according to the guardian article the women seem to claim the following:

    they consented to the sex, but did not consent to the non-use of a condom. in my view, when you are offered two things as a package, one you like, one you dont, you have to make a decision which is more important. in other words, if you allow the sex to continue and dont tell him to stop, then you consent to sex w/o a condom.

    it's not that difficult: they should have simply said: "please stop, i dont want this!" then he would have stopped or..we would be talking about rape. is it really asked to much from a woman to say "No! Stop!"?

    Assuming that women are not able to say clearly and loudly "Stop" or "No", but also have to be protected when they allowed the sex to continue really assumes that women are somehow stupid and/or weak. that seems an insult to women and i'm happy that there are also women who seem to agree with me. i liked this article

    http://www.redroom.com/blog/sunny-singh/do-swedens-rape-laws-infantilise-women-regardless-julian-assange

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  108. If you have been with your girlfriend for 10 years, I would hope that you and her have discussed consent and what is constituted as acceptable and not acceptable in your relationship. If your girlfriend has stated that she likes being kissed on the cheek, I see no problem with that, neither do I see a problem with you stating to your girlfriend that you would enjoy being woken up by her performing oral sex on you. The point here is that you and her have discussed consent and what it is okay for you to do and not do within the boundaries of your relationships. I am sure there are people who enjoy being woken up by sex by some people, but I am also sure that all people do not enjoy being woken up by sex by all people. That is a helluva difference, and as I have said - consent needs to be negotiated within every specific context, yours being your relationship. It would be wrong of your girlfriend to just assume that you would enjoy being woken up by oral sex just as it is wrong for her to assume that you would like to be woken up by anal sex. If you have stated your consent to either of those acts, however, that is a totally different matter, because then you have consent.

    Also, assuming that someone is fine with you kissing them on their cheeks as a friendly gesture because they have consented to it before is widely different matter than assuming that someone that you have had sex with at some point will always be ready to have sex with you when you choose to. Even in a relationship most people do not just throw their partner down on the floor/bed/kitchen table and have sex with them whenever one of the parties want.

    Again, stop assuming things. I don't want to outlaw oral sex or anal sex or vaginal sex or food sex or any kind of sex between adults as long as there is consent involved. I want to outlaw sexual acts that have not been consented to. That is a huge difference and an important one. Perhaps it is a dark, twisted world, but you live in it too. This whole debate around consent and the constant crossing of (especially women's) boundaries after these allegations were made against Assange prove it. Consent is still fuzzy and boundaries have been crossed over and over again because we are too lazy or too afraid to kill the romance to discuss consent.

    On the rape charges, the rape occurred when he penetrated her while she was asleep and he knew he didn't have her consent to do so without wearing a condom or while she was asleep. Consent has to be given before the sexual act begins. As many articles, psychologists and survivors of rape have consistently pointed out, one does not know how to act in such a situation when the sexual assault has already begun before one becomes aware of it, hence the lack of response. It is not so much a matter of "letting someone continue" as one of shock.

    According to other leaks about the case, Miss A allegedly also asked him to stop when she discovered the condom was broken but Assange would not.

    "it's not that difficult: they should have simply said: "please stop, i dont want this!" then he would have stopped or..we would be talking about rape. is it really asked to much from a woman to say "No! Stop!"?"
    When you say this, you are essentially saying that it is acceptable for men to start having sex with a woman without first getting their consent. You are saying that men have the right to a woman's body without her agreeing to it, because you are saying that consent is not needed as long as the woman does not shout or try to push you away. This is a very misogynist view of women and their sexuality, a view that does not involve the women at all, only the men. These views are very much part of the problem of the culture around rape and sexual assault against women.
    As a question back to that question I would like to ask you, is it really asking too much of men to ensure that their sexual partners have given their consent before having sex with them?

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  109. and one more comment (i really should go back to work ;-)

    the bahaviour of the women IS relevant. they are accusing someone of a serious crime, without evidence. it's a she says/he says situation. nobody should be convicted of a crime based solely on one persons testimony. so it is THE PROSECUTION who needs some circumstantial evidence.

    for example, if assange had a track-rercord of raping or violent behaviour...if he had told a friend, that he had raped them.... if he had written a twitter message, that rape is basically an ok thing to do....none of that would prove that rape has happened, but it would certainly make the accusations more credible and might help to convict him even without hard evidence.

    on the other side, when a woman brags about having sex with her alleged rapist, when she shows affection for him, hosts a party for him, has consenting sex with him after the alleged rape, blackmails him for money, goes to the police only after she has been hurt by the revelation that he has been unfaithfull....of course, none of this proofs that rape did not occur. but it certainly makes an accusation of rape less credible.

    and since the burden of proof lies with the prosecution, and "in dubio pro reo" is still a cornerstone of any civilzed nation, i think that it is morally wrong of the swedish and britsh authorities to put a man under house arrest, when the there is no hard evidence and circumstancial evidence contradicts the accusers so clearly.

    it wouldnt happend with any other crime, it wouldnt happen to a woman...it shouldnt happen in this case either.

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  110. Linnea,

    I am not saying that a man has a right to a womans body without consent. not at all.

    I am saying that in the real world we rarely explicitly ask for consent. I have never asked my girlfriend whether i could kiss her when i come home. i have come to the conclusion by observing her reactions to it. neither has she asked me, whether its ok to suprise me with a bj in the morning (of course, it wouldnt be a suprise if she asks me to...you are aware, that "your world" is one w/o suprises?)

    What people usually do is start an action and assume that the other person is consenting if they react positively. and its not only men who do that, but women as well. Its very much a stereotype to assume that sex is always initiated by men. so i think this is not a gender-question at all. its a question whether we want to solve everything in the courts or we can do that ourselves:

    again, in the real world at some moment one partner has to initiate a "first kiss", often its the man but often also the woman. and - thank god - usually people dont ask whether they are allowed to. nothing would be more unromantic.

    of course, that leaves open the possibility of misunderstandings, but reasonable people sort that out by themselves. id much rather get kissed "without consent" once (and it has happened to me, it takes about half a second until the other one notices) than always have someone ask me "may i kiss you" before they actuall do.

    i think this is an academic question anyway. a phantom problem. nobody applies your definition of explicit consent in any other realm of life. of course, sometimes mistakes are made when assuming other peoples consent, but there are very effective social tools to deal with it. for example, a man who assumes female approval for a kiss where there is none, will be horribly humilitated and will quickly learn to sharpen his interpretations.

    and for those who dont feel humiliated and continue even when they are told not to...those are the real assaulters and rapists. thats were the police is called for.

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  111. When you are saying that it is fine to start sexual acts without consent, you are. And yes, men should be included in this as well, I have had males telling me that they have woken up from a woman riding them. That is not fine either. You were, however, the one asking if it's too much to ask women, and women are in the majority of survivors of sexual assault.

    No, my world is not a world without surprises. It is, however, a world where consent needs to be given. If you say to your partner "I like being woken up by blow jobs, as a surprise and it would be fine if you did this to me," you have given your consent and indicated that this is something that you want in the future. That is a completely different matter than arbitrarily deciding that this might be something that someone wants.

    Usually with first kisses, one moves in slowly to ensure that the person on the receiving end knows what is about to happen and to see if that person consents to it. This is done out of respect to the other person and to not scare them when you just slobber one on there. Contrary to you, though, I would take it as a sign of respect if someone asked me if they could kiss me instead of assuming that I would want to be kissed by them. I don't find it unromantic in any kind of way as I see showing someone's person respect as something very romantic. I would feel very uncomfortable if someone just started sucking my face and I would think that would be completely disrespectful. Obviously, if you move in slow, as is usually done, you have time to see how the other person reacts to it.

    So it is humiliating for the male/the initiator, but it has no consequences whatsoever on the female/the receiver if the male/initiator is turned down? I would think the female/receiver would feel very uncomfortable too, in the way that she (he) has been swapping saliva with someone she (he) didn't want that close in any kind of way. Also, if it is humiliating, make sure of the signs before, not after.

    Your logic here has another flaw. "and for those who dont feel humiliated and continue even when they are told not to..." This still assumes that it is fine for someone to start sexual relations with someone before their explicit consent. It is like saying "Oh, I've never had a woman say no before, this was just a trial rape, next time it will be real rape!" You are essentially saying that a person cannot rape the first time around, it is not until the second time they have sexual relations with someone without their consent, it is "real" rape.
    Sex should not be started without someone's consent. If you do not have consent, you do not start until you have it. That's how you avoid sexually assaulting someone.

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  112. so linnea, your definition of suprise is that first you tell the other person that you want to be suprised and then they suprise you? you are sure thats still within the limitations of the term "suprise" ;-)

    again, i am not saying that it is fine to start sexual actions w/o consent. please accept that!

    what i am saying is that in real live, we rarely explicitly ask for consent, we assume consent based on the context, our relationship-history, our past experiences.

    for example, even you have granted that i can reasonably assume that my girlfriend likes to be kissed when i come home, based on the history of her liking it for the last ten years. i dont have to ask every night.

    on the other side, i can not walk into a room and start sexual actions with a woman i have never met before. i can do that with my girlfriend, because after 10 years i know what she likes and doesnt. after a one-night-stand (as in the assange case) its somewhere in the middle and a trickier question of judgment. but apparently he got it right, otherwise she would have told him to stop after completely waking up.

    anyway, i think you are blowing the problem out of proportion. a turned down "first kiss" doesnt involve much slobber or saliva, it last parts of a second. probably it stops before touching lipps. similiarly, nobody wakes up to full-blown, porn-star like sex. but you wake up when somebody slowly caresses you...and then you either send positie or negative signals.


    honestly, i find your reasoning difficult to understand. either it was rape or not. while proving rape is difficult, defining it should be easy. if a woman says no, its rape. if she doesnt say no, its not rape. for two grown-ups, that should be a reasonable definition.

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  113. "I have had males telling me that they have woken up from a woman riding them. That is not fine either."

    i'm really, really interested in the following:

    assuming that the two people had consenting sex before falling asleep and assuming that the woman imediately stops when the man wakes up and tells her to stop...

    now, if you were the judge...would you convict her of rape and send her to jail for up 10 years?

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  114. Why do you assume that it is different because it is a woman? Out of some solidarity thing? If a woman mounts a man while he is asleep and starts having sex with him while he is asleep, then yes, I think she should go through the same judicial process as a man. The same thing with a woman on woman rape or a man on man rape. Those hypothetical people should not have penetrated or otherwise sexually touched those other people without their consent. It is really as simple as that. If you're not sure you have consent, then don't do anything. That's how you make sure you don't sexually assault someone.
    Why would it be any different for women? As for how long anyone who is sentenced to rape should be punished, that is up for the judiciary to decide. I am not a judge and you are not the one in this specific case (if that is your line of work, I do not know), that's the entire point of this conversation. You and I do not get to decide.
    But, yes, women should be punished in the same way as men. It would be a discriminatory judicial system that did otherwise (an arguably it is).

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  115. So ok, if you really think the woman in that example should be sentenced for rape, than at least you are consistent.

    Of course i dont agrre. The very idea of treating that as rape seems completely absurd to me. i really wouldnt want to live in a place where constitutes a crime.

    our discussion just shows how different tastes are. what is acceptable behaviour varies over time and geography. i guess most people in spain, italy or france would agree with me that the discussed incident is not rape, maybe most people in scandinavia would agree with you. the best way to live with these differences in judgment, is to keep some distance to people with so strongly different views. you and i, we would not make a good cupple, that much is for sure. i would think you are boring and bureacratic, you would think that im horrible rude and disrespectful.

    but there was always one definition, that constitutes the boundary between rape and just some kind of unwanted behaviour. and it has been pushed by feminists for decades: "No means No" sounded to me as easy to understand, fair and acceptable to every decent human being.

    i am suprised that now people like you think that that isnt good enough any more. now, it seems, feminsists in sweden want to jail a man for many years when the woman didnt even bother to tell him: no, please stop.

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  116. Look, all I am going to say, or rather clarify before I go back to my essay which is due on Monday is that the point here is that sometimes people don't have the time to say no before the assault begins. When you are asleep, drugged, out of your mind drunk or in any other way have impaired consciousness, you don't always have time to say no before the assault begins. That you don't have time to say no, or that you were in too much shock to say no once you came to consciousness, or that you are in too much shock to realise it is an assault (because it is) before the assaulter stops, does not make the assault undone. The assault has happened, and it is in every person's right to choose to take it to the police later on.

    As for our discussion, it is clear that we disagree, but I hope that at least it has opened up for you to discuss consent and similar matters with your partner and others. It is important to keep the discussion alive, because when we do, it is less likely that we will misunderstand each other.

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  117. Well, Linnea, good luck with your essay. Your english is way better than mine, so im sure you ll do fine.

    Our discussion didnt make me discuss consent with my partner (that would be a bit lat after 10 years), but it was useful. i learnt something new.

    i honestly believed that no reasonable person would consider the story about the woman riding her partner as rape. but you seem to be reasonable and you do consider it rape - so here's something new i learnt. just makes one notice how big the differences in moral values between fundamentally decent people can be. i hope it did the same for you. there are many people, including many, many women out there, who would agree with me. and its not because they are reactionary, chauvinist, not informed enough about feminist ideology, or didnt read your rape myths...but beacause they have a very differnt set of values in life.


    so here's a lesson in diversity and tolerance for both of us.

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