Old, white, powerful men know what rape is, much better, it seems, than rape victims. They are lining up to inform us that women – the discussion has centred around women and their lies even though 9 per cent of rape victims are men – do not need “to be asked prior to each insertion”. Thanks for that, George, not that it’s just you.
Not even mentioning the name, you all know who I’m talking about.
But I wanted to repeat a comment I made on The Standard:
My question, weka, is why are otherwise-intelligent people sincerely trying to argue that being charged with rape is Totally The Worst Thing Ever?
We all know that very few rapes get reported, even fewer get prosecuted, an infinitesimal number get convictions, and whenever the accused is a celebrity (reference: any rugby played accused of sexual assault EVER) there is in fact the complete oppositeof a negative societal response. Woman’s Weekly covers are practically guaranteed.
Yet we’re meant to believe that the Globalised US Hegemony can’t come up with better shit than rape accusations? At least in Blake’s 7 they had a sufficient understanding of human culture to make it child molestation.
Further thoughts: it’s like people who whinge about “freedom of speech” when what they mean is “freedom from being told your speech is offensive and wrong”. You sit there thinking, “Hello? The moderators let through multiple, maybe dozens, of your comments before declaring it was off-topic and derailing. If they really wanted an echo chamber they’d probably have cut you off from the word go.”
Similarly, here: the sheer volume of people, including celebrities and mainstream media, who are jumping up to support a person accused of rape … and they don’t see how the widespread support he’s getting is kind of illustrative that rape isn’t the death-knell of celebrity, isn’t a one-way ticket to Gitmo, isn’t actually doing much to harm An Hero’s reputation?
No, clearly it’s the Feminist Hive Mind at work, so powerful we have to, um, keep Rosemary McLeod churning out shitty columns in order to obfuscate our real plans for world domination through rape complaints.
I keep ending up in wonderfully unproductive “debates” about the ongoing Assange case. So I just want to state a few things for the record:
Even if this is all a CIA plot …
Even if the Swedish government, well-known US government lackey that it is, is only pursuing rape allegations made against Julian Assange because they have a cunning plan to extradite him to Guantanamo Bay …
Julian Assange could have prevented this whole thing in one easy step: by not raping anyone.
I don’t really think that’s too much too ask.
But QoT! the rape apologists [when it’s An Hero of theirs] cry. Maybe those evil jezebels sent him Mixed Signals.
Then Julian Assange was perfectly capable of thinking, “Hmm. I’m not getting clear signals here. Maybe I should remove my penis and check that everyone’s on the same page.”
But QoT! This is only being done to detract from Wikileaks’ work!
Number of mentions of Julian Assange on Wikileaks’ About page: none. Not counting the newsfeed sidebars. Seems to me that any self-respecting “not-for-profit media organisation … network of dedicated volunteers around the globe” should be more than capable of getting on with things without one figurehead. I mean, Julian Assange can’t be the only smarmy self-promoting crusader for free information out there. How about getting Kim Dotcom on board?
Silly QoT. Julian is super-important. He’s the glue holding Wikileaks together / the front man / the face of Wikileaks. An attack on him is an attack on the whole endeavour, even when that attack is “being accused of rapey acts which his lawyers agree occurred”.
Sorry, defenders. If I wanted to sign up to an organisation headed by an accountability-free megalomaniac which occasionally manages to accidentally do some good in the world, I’d have stayed Catholic.
But QoT, clearly you just hate Julian Assange because he’s a man. And you just think women can never tell lies. And anyone who dares to level the slightest criticism against Our Holy Leader is a Zionist. And the real problem is that there might be a secret US plot behind all of this, and anyway rape culture is just part of the global hegemony so once we conquer that we promise to stop being rape apologists.*
*Not even making up ANY of those comments.
Special thanks: to the others fighting the good fight whenever this topic comes up, and in the most recent Standard comment threads that means McFlock, Pascal’s Bookie, and rosy, plus everyone who gave support to their comments, and anyone I missed once I had to stop reading the goddamn email notifications.
[TW rape apologism on a baffling scale]
Via LadyNews. I’m … well, a little speechless at this point.
Peeps, if your partner’s definition of “let’s do it in the missionary position” involves the criteria
- while you’re unconscious, and
- after you’ve said “no” already
Then I can only advise not continuing to sleep with scary rapists.
A side thought: I wonder if Julian Assange will see the irony for Geoffrey Robertson QC when someone tries to discredit his future clients by saying “Well look, I mean, he did defend Julian Assange by claiming nonconsensual lack of condom forced sex was just “the missionary position”.”
After explaining that his “comments policy” boils down to “I don’t have to engage with my audience, now I’ve made my declarations from on high you are permitted to talk amongst yourselves”, Campbell has a go at me. Without being so open as to just name names, then people might actually look me up and see both sides of the story, which I understand is the most important thing in the world to him under other circumstances.
But since there’s still some apparent confusion, let me explain why Gordon Campbell is, indeed, a rape apologist.
From the most recent post:
I do not, and have not, absolved or condemned Assange’s personal conduct.
Gordon, you’re a rape apologist because you equate “accurately stating what the charges against Assange are” with “believing the charges against Assange”. You’re a rape apologist because you are contributing to the narrative that says people who say they want Assange held to account in a court of law must actually be “assuming” he’s guilty – and therefore, obviously, are not worth listening to.
You’re also a rape apologist because you refuse to address the fact that his personal conduct involves not simply denying the charges and waiting for trial, but employing lawyers who have outright lied about the charges and allegations and continually fed into rape culture with their statements about the accusers.
In the second Wikileaks article, I repeated the gist of the accusations against Assange, and put them alongside the gist of his initial response in court to them. It was an attempt at balance, not to absolve the left’s golden boy of the hour.
You’re a rape apologist because you continue to pretend that the answer to “you have printed misinformation about the case” is “okay that bit was maybe kinda wrong but here’s their side of the story!”
You’re a rape apologist because you’re acting like accurate reporting of the accusers’ statements – not agreeing, not supporting, just stating what they have said and what the charges are – needs to be “balanced” by Assange’s [lying] lawyers’ statement.
Guess what, Gordon. If the Herald prints that Remmers McFlorist won the Ellerslie Flower Show, and someone points out that actually, Flowers McArrangement won the Ellerslie Flower Show, it would be a bit fucking douchey if the Herald then printed, “Okay, okay, so we printed the wrong name, but here’s 500 words from Remmers McFlorist on why she SHOULD have won!”
That’s not balance, Gordon. And Assange’s rebuttal is not actually relevant to you correcting and apologising for your misinformation – misinformation which was weeks out of date. You’re a rape apologist because you have taken the lies of a “golden boy’s” lawyers at absolute face value over the statements of women. You’re a rape apologist because you instantly believed that unprotected sex is a crime in Sweden (those silly liberals, eh?) and thus the charges must just be nothing that Real Countries would prosecute.*
From the second post:
It is widely known that the complainants first approached the police because they wanted assistance in securing an STD test. Initially, there was no mention of pressing charges of rape, coercion or molestation. How did this escalate from a request for a test to an investigation of a criminal nature? Who made this decision? After considering the evidence, Eva Finne, a female Chief Prosecutor chose to dismiss the charges. The case was then taken up by a politician who was facing re-election and whose motive may be questionable. The matter was taken to a prosecutor in a different city where none of the events had taken place. Why was this done? Was any pressure brought to bear? These are the questions a truly committed investigative journalist should be asking.
Gordon, you’re a rape apologist because you uncritically post comments which criticise rape victims for not behaving the way they “should”. You’re a rape apologist for posting comments which imply that the cases must be silly if a women lawyer dropped the charges initially.
Below that, you’re a rape apologist for posting the “gist” of the charges against Assange … a “gist” which just happens to omit that whole “tearing off somebody’s clothes”, “holding somebody down” aspect. Funny how the charges, which you misreported, get given the “gist” treatment while the lying lawyers’ statement bullet points get the full “can I hold your coat while you take the stage, sir” rub-down.
Back to the latest post.
What I’ve said all along is that Assange’s personal conduct shouldn’t determine, one way or the other, how the revelations by Wikileaks are judged.
Gordon, you’re a rape apologist because you’re the one who keeps bringing up Wikileaks. You’re the one who keeps waving the Wikileaks flag and you’re certainly fucking smart enough to know that waving that flag just keeps everyone conscious of the fact that Julian Assange is linked to Wikileaks, and Wikileaks is awesome, and the Powers That Be hate Wikileaks, and so we have to take accusations of rape with a grain of progressive dudebro-brand salt because HEY, WIKILEAKS! DID I MENTION WIKILEAKS YET?
If you want the charges against Assange and the work of Wikileaks to be treated separately, maybe you could stop fucking playing the Wikileaks Is Important card every fucking time you are asked to report ethically on the charges against Assange.
You know what would be awesome and bold and courageous, Gordon? If you had stood by your premise from the start:
Assange’s alleged sexual misconduct has managed to divert some media attention away from the content of the cables. The two things are – or should be – unconnected.
Who keeps connecting them, Gordon? I’ll give you a clue: it’s not the feminists who want rape charges treated seriously. It could, you know, be Assange himself who wants to constantly remind us (when not playing the I Can’t Help It If I’m A Rocking Stud line) that there are powerful forces against him and that “CIA honeypot” is a real conspiracy-theory-tickler of a line.
But don’t think he’s done, people.
Yet at this point, Assange has to be presumed innocent until proven guilty of the charges against him.
Gordon, you’re a rape apologist because you have just busted out Rape Apologism Maxim the First. Guess fucking what? That’s a principle applicable to justice systems. Is my blog a justice system? Is media reporting a subset of the justice system? And hang on, at what fucking point is accurate reporting of the nature of the charges tantamount to assuming guilt? At what fucking point have I said “you have to assume he’s guilty”? OH THAT’S RIGHT, NEVER.
We claim to want the same thing here, Gordon. We claim to want to see these charges answered in court. But because you’re a fucking rape apologist you aren’t waiting until the charges are answered in court, you are making statements right now that the charges are silly, the women didn’t act the way they should have, HAVE I MENTIONED WIKILEAKS IS IMPORTANT AND IMPLIED THAT THIS IS A CIA HONEYTRAP YET???
The Guardian’s actions in releasing part of the Swedish prosecutor’s file against him was – I thought – an injustice.
You’re a rape apologist, Gordon, because you think an “injustice” is having the facts of the case published AFTER Assange’s lawyers have lied about them, AFTER Assange’s lawyers have lied about the entire Swedish legal system, AFTER the accusers have been not only named but had their photos and addresses publicised and been FORCED INTO HIDING.
But sure, what the Guardian did was the “injustice” here (now you’ve gotten around to reading it).
I found it interesting that one commenter portrayed me as part of a gendered tendency to minimize women’s experience and testimony in sexual complaints, while also denigrating me for linking to Bianca Jagger
Don’t worry, Gordon, this one isn’t about you being a rape apologist. This is about how you’re a misogynist douchebag for acting like quoting Bianca Jagger magically absolves you of your significant contributions to rape apologism. You’re a misogynist douchebag for going on to say naming the accusers mustn’t be that bad because hey, these Famous Feminists totally did it – failing to mention that one had retracted those names until after the quote, which was even better for your argument what with it boiling down to “everyone else did it so I did it too”. But as a bonus, you and Bianca Jagger are both rape apologists for pretending that criminal cases can never be re-opened unless Dark Forces Are At Work.
Then it’s a fine finish with a lather/rinse/repeat of “we can’t assume his guilt” [CITATION NEEDED] and a wonderfully oblivious expression of male privilege:
Personally, I do find it depressing that so much energy has been spent on Assange’s actions in bed and so relatively little on the morality exposed in the Wikileaks cable
WHY AREN’T THE WIMMINZ INTERESTED IN REEEEEEEAL ISSUES?? Oh, and Gordon? You’re a rape apologist for spending so much time pretending to care, so much time claiming it was about balance and fairness and did you mention Wikileaks … and then you fucking write off rape allegations as “Assange’s actions in bed”.
Gordon, you’re a rape apologist because you continue to make excuses for the fact that you spread misinformation. You’re a rape apologist because you pretend that factual reporting of charges requires a critique-free rebuttal. You’re a rape apologist because you have continued to downplay the charges and continued to privilege Assange’s side of the story. You’re a rape apologist because you have on multiple occasions, contributed to a culture which denigrates rape victims and treats rape as far less serious than other crimes.
You’re a rape apologist because every single thing you have said over three columns is straight out of the rape apologism playbook.
I can’t think why Polanski-defenders came to mind in light of all that.
*Protip, Gordon: most countries are pretty shit at even prosecuting “real” rape cases.
Many links sourced from megpie’s excellent round-up.
On 6 January Gordon Campbell posted an article to Scoop entitled Gordon Campbell Reviews the General Response to Wikileaks.
In the other incident, consent is reportedly not the issue – it is whether the act involved unprotected sex, which is a (minor) offence under Swedish law.
FUCKING GOOGLE, GORDON, HOW DOES IT WORK?
Detracting comments were made. Detracting comments were mysteriously not published. Ms Enid Tak-Entity commented on Maia’s post on the issue:
I wrote to Gordon providing the same information and he replied saying that he would be addressing this issue (though I’m not sure in what fashion).
Well, now we know. Campbell has a new post up today which … well … I guess it clears things up, at least.
Many thanks to Tze Ming Mok for correcting my original précis … I’ve held off replying to Tze Ming until seeing the gist of Assange’s defence.
“Thanks everyone, I published outdated debunked information which feeds into a narrative of women as lying liars who lie and are also sluts, and that was bad, mmkay, but I just, like, wanted to tell both sides of the story.” Which would be a noble journalistic gesture if the story weren’t Gordon Campbell published fucking lies. Which is only relevant to Assange’s defence in that they’re the ones who started those lies off in the first place.
Then he quotes Bianca Jagger, noted Swedish law expert or something, whose comment boils down to “these women are lying liars and I know because they didn’t act the way I think rape victims are obliged to act” which is of course not in any way Rape Culture 101. It can’t be rape, she wasn’t screaming and crying. It can’t be rape, she’s screaming and crying too much to know what she’s saying. It can’t be rape, she didn’t leave him. It can’t be rape, she’d had sex with him before. It can’t be rape, because rape culture insists that rape does not actually ever happen.
Bianca Jagger was also one of the people who tweeted about the accusers’ “CIA ties”, which definitely establishes her as a source of good, balanced information on this case, if your definition of “balanced” includes using phrases like “honeypot trap”.
Then there’s a nice big chunk of Assange’s lawyers’ statement, all reproduced without comment (because obviously there’s no journalistic imperative to question such fine upstanding people with no evident vested interest in spinning this case in any particular direction) and then … boom, suddenly we’re into “Wikileaks is awesome and I love Wikileaks and they are, like, so totes important!”
And apparently, again, Campbell doesn’t seem to have the first fucking clue that maybe juxtaposing “Assange’s lawyers say these charges are totes wrong” with “Wikileaks is important and vital and awesome” might have some pretty fucking clear implications about Assange being key to Wikileaks’ work, Wikileak’s work being so important and Assange thus being so important that we need to focus on the real story, and of course the “these charges are only getting laid now because of Wikileaks”.
And you know, that last one I might have some sympathy with, if I’d seen anyone manage to bring it up without simultaneously saying “anyway the women were CIA honeytraps and didn’t act the right way and Assange couldn’t rape anyone he’s so hot right now”, or seen anyone bring it up without implying that we should just ignore the charges because a political motivation must mean they’re false, no further investigation required.
Yes, it is possible these charges are politically motivated. It’s also possible that Assange is a fucking rapist. It’s also certain that he’s got lawyers who have outright lied about the case, about the accusers, and about Swedish law (I guess I should be thankful Campbell hasn’t repeated the old “sex-by-surprise” “$715 fine” bullshit).
So maybe a credible NZ journalist could do us all the fucking favour of not just spreading their side of the story without comment.
Here’s the comment I’ve made in response at Scoop, which stunningly seemed to get published straight away:**
I am baffled by this, Gordon. In the first place, when you have been responsible for publishing false information about the charges against Assange, it is really, really interesting that you decided to not correct that false information “until you saw the gist of Assange’s defence”. Why? What does Assange’s defence actually have to do with you as a journalist correcting misinformation?
Further, you’re still downplaying the nature of the charges by using references which put scare quotes around things like “”express wish”” and which do not spell out in full what the allegations are – which directly buys into a narrative about women being fickle, women being demanding, it not being “real” rape if a man just pressures, persists, and ignores a woman’s wishes.
The fact that you spend the bulk of this column on the defence, not the charges, and that you’re quoting Bianca Jagger, who happily publicised the names of the accusers, and that you continue to link this to the work of Wikileaks after arguing in your first column that the charges against Assange should not reflect on Wikileaks, all makes it fairly clear where your priorities are: defending everyone’s favourite progressive hero of the hour because his work is so much more important than silly women’s desire to have their wishes and consent taken seriously.
Why not just go sign a Roman Polanski petition while you’re at it?
Gordon Campbell, I am disappoint.
Bonus demerit points: publishing the detracting comments on the first post after making your new “see see I’m a good journo but here’s his defence in glorious Technicolor!” post? How courageous.
Related reading: Maia’s post at The Hand Mirror
*Thanks to Maia and Tze Ming Mok for links in the comments of Campbell’s first post.
**I assume their filter auto-mods anything with links, which is of course wonderfully convenient when people are trying to provide evidence of your misinformation, and totally doesn’t in any way open up detractors to accusations of just being hysterical feeeeeemales with no proof threatening another Great White Male.
Michael Moore apparently acquitted himself well on Rachel Maddow’s show, without anyone actually mentioning that whole Twitter “frenzy” thing which stopped his rape-apologism bullshit from vanishing into the murky depths of Too Much Patriarchal Fuckwittery.
But as Sady Doyle has kept saying, this isn’t just about Michael Moore repenting, or Keith Olbermann growing up and collecting his toys from the floor around his cot (don’t hold your breath, anyone) or even really about the specific details around the accusations against Julian Assange.
This is about rape culture.
And one media figure managing to finally get it right one time is not anywhere near the end of the story.
Harriet has an amazing Open Letter to Second and Third-Wave Feminists With Publicly Recognisable Names:
“No means no” took us a long way. To put it simply, but not inaccurately, it took us from a world where no meant yes. That is an incredible gain. But “no means no” has taken us as far as it can. Namely, it has taken us to “yes means yes.” It has taken us to a place where we can recognize, create theory, create terminology, and openly discuss the idea that sexual violence and sexual abuse can happen without a “no” as well as with one. We believe that requiring a “no” is not good enough, not a high enough standard. We require a “yes.”
Sady Doyle who’s been a fucking trooper on this is continues to be awesome in Keith Olbermann and the Eternal “If”:
But when I told Keith Olbermann I was being attacked, he asked for proof, and I gave it, and I said I had more proof I could give him, and he still refused to acknowledge it, he still talked about “if.”
THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT RAPE CULTURE CONSISTS OF. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE PROTESTING. … I proved the attack, and he said the attack would be bad “if.” “If” it was real. “If” I weren’t just being hysterical and making it up. WHEN KEITH OLBERMANN KNEW IT WAS REAL, Keith Olbermann said “if.”
Rape culture is a gigantic insidious fucking Shoggoth that threatens all women and even men. It’s about discrediting, blaming and automatically disbelieving victims and privileging and excusings attackers and constantly moving the goalposts and always pretending that of course we take rape seriously but this time it obviously isn’t real rape-rape.
This is not over just because Michael Moore has managed to be a decent human being one time. This is not over until we end rape culture.
[TW for victim blaming and invasion of privacy]
Via Fundy Post, the names and contact addresses of the women accusing Julian “Messiah of The People” Assange have been leaked.
if you lie about being raped, this is what will happen to you. Your anonymity will be compromised, your life will be laid bare for all to see, and your name will be destroyed. No rape shield law or journalistic ethic can protect you.
This is, of course, somehow completely different to what happens to … every other rape victim on the planet.
Gee, I wonder why so many rape victims take so long to report their rapes …