That’s because it fucking is. In the most egregious case of “we’re doing it for the wimminz!” since the invasion of Afghanistan, the USA is seeking to eliminate political enemies by hijacking a feminist issue, thus actually doing great damage to it. Already the misogynist left is all over the women, claiming that they’re CIA spies who “tricked” Assange and that the accusations are therefore false.
Because women do that, and these particular ones were “radical feminists”, and wrote about how to get back at ex-boyfriends, and all sorts of things that somehow make it completely impossible that a risk-addict and someone who defies people and breaks social rules pretty much for a living could possibly actually have committed what he’s accused of.
Because of all the likely ways a CIA operative could have “trapped” a target, an accusation that under other circumstances wouldn’t have gotten him to trial in an American court, or even arrested (and in many other countries, as well) was, like, the best they could do? Polanski didn’t get arrested in forever for what was undeniably and invariably a rape, of multiple kinds (i.e. both a statutory rape for the age of his victim, and “rape-rape” for the fact that she said “no” and he ignored it), so the CIA decided to go with an even less likely charge, i.e. that of refusing to stop after the woman changed her mind?
In most cases, that wouldn’t even have been considered rape by anybody. In fact, I’m mildly curious about how the Right will react to this, since acknowledging that what Assange was accused of would, on the one hand, fit into the “Assange is evil” narrative; on the other, it would require admitting that “sluts” can be raped, too, and that consent to sex can be withdrawn at any time (instead of just being buyer’s remorse).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not precluding that Assange is guilty; but I don’t find it impossible that he could be guilty, especially since none of the reasons why he supposedly isn’t are anything other than the standard slut-shaming themes. I’m also more than a little pissed off that a feminist cause (getting the world to take rape seriously, even when perpetrated by famous people doing important things) is being so cynically abused for political reasons. Because let’s face it. He didn’t get arrested for sexual assault; interpol didn’t look for him for sexual assault. We feminists WISH the world would take the violation of women this seriously.
And just like with the “we’re liberating Afghanistan’s women!!” narrative, it will become impossible to disentangle the two, thus making anyone who is against the political imprisonment of Assange into a “rape-defender”, shutting down any reasonable discussion on the point.
The whole thing just fucking stinks.
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UPDATE: I just noticed Amy Goodman had an excellent interview with Glenn Greenwald on this issue, so I’m linking to it for clarification purposes