It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man at the helm of arguably the biggest freedom movement of our generation couldn’t possibly have a problem with women.
At least that’s what we’re lead to believe by ABC’s Four Corners last night during their exposé of the sexual assault charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. In reality, the only thing their investigation highlighted was just how pervasive rape myths still are and how the concept of ‘consent’ isn’t as clearly understood as we all hoped. So let’s go through the story and clarify a few things.
Four Corners said:
Assange was staying at Ardin’s flat. They’d slept together the previous night. Later she would tell a friend she had a “wild weekend” with Assange. Sofia Wilen was enthralled by the Assange phenomena - she texted during his talk, “He looked at me!”
Firstly, sexual assault can happen even if two people have had consensual sex before.In fact 70% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone that the victim already knows. Secondly, perpetrators of sexual assault can be perfectly charming and come from all walks of life. Therefore, the fact that the women previously had sex with Julian Assange and were excited to meet him does not mean that their allegations aren’t valid.
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Even Julian Assange’s own legal team were scrambling tonight to get on top of the judgement from the UK Supreme Court to reject his appeal against extradition to Sweden, asking for a two-week stay as it rested on a point of law not raised during the hearings.
So it’s best to leave the legal arguments to the Law Lords.
But there’s a principle at play here that is anathema to our system here at home, like it or not Assange’s home. Secrecy.
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