I’m perplexed by Julian Assange and Wikileaks. I haven’t fully formed my opinion on Wikileaks yet, but I will say the following about the accusations being leveled at Assange.
Is the timing curious? Yes. Is the motivation political? Probably. Mostly because the security of women’s bodies, lives and sexuality is primarily of very little concern to those in power, wherever they may dwell in the world.
And as Laura Flanders recently pointed out, “It seems we always care about women’s bodies when there’s a politcal point to be proved, but not at other times.”
Tonight Rachel Maddow very poignantly asked, “Even if you are suspicious about the timing, there are 2 women who went to the police with what are essentially date rape charges against this guy… Can your suspicion about the forces arrayed against Julian Assange and Wikileaks, your suspicion about the timing and the pursuit of these charges, coexist with respect for the women making these accusations against him, and with a committment to take rape allegations seriously?”
I’m inclined to say yes. Yes, my suspicion about the timing of the accusations can coexist, and should coexist with respect for these women, and with respect for all women who have been raped and ultimately denied justice.
Ninety-four percent of men who rape never spend a day in jail. Women’s bodies remain vulnerable to rape worldwide. Haiti currently lies in the midst of a rape epidemic following its devastating earthquake earlier this year. Rape has long been used as a tool to control, dominate and oppress women, particularly in times of war. It’s a brutal, ugly, devastating and humiliating crime. It screams to be taken seriously.
Whether or not Assange is guilty of the crimes he is being accused of remains to be seen. Consent is tricky business. Perhaps men sometimes feel entitled to take sex, and women obliged to acquiesce. Does this translate into consent? Now is the perfect time for dialogue on this very serious issue.