Sunday, December 19, 2010


Is This Man a Rapist?

Like anyone with an obsessive interest in politics, I'm intrigued by the Assange case with its accusations of rape and their possible political motivation. In Sweden they discern three levels of rape in terms of the law: severe, normal and minor. Assange faces the third category of charge. According to him the recent Guardian article by Nick Davies is an 'attack' upon him presumably because it publishes a fuller version of the accusations against him to whit that he 'unlawfully coerced' Woman A to have sex without a condom and took advantage of Woman W while she was half asleep and, again, did not use a condom.

That Assange is unusually interested in sex seems not to be in doubt and clearly this provides a weakness to those who would wish to prevent him from doing his online whistle-blowing work. His defence team maintain the following:

"We understand that both complainants admit to having initiated consensual sexual relations with Mr Assange. They do not complain of any physical injury. The first complainant did not make a complaint for six days (in which she hosted the respondent in her flat [actually her bed] and spoke in the warmest terms about him to her friends) until she discovered he had spent the night with the other complainant.

"The second complainant, too, failed to complain for several days until she found out about the first complainant: she claimed that after several acts of consensual sexual intercourse, she fell half asleep and thinks that he ejaculated without using a condom – a possibility about which she says they joked afterwards.

My friend Christine, no mean judge of the female psyche, being one herself, thinks this suggests two 'women scorned' venting their fury on someone who had refused to make their respective relationships exclusive. My Swedish friend, however, suggested to me in a phone conversation, that Swedish law now recognizes the right of a woman to call halt to a sexual act even after it has been initiated, should she wish to. She also suggests the two ladies concerned only went to the police after they had met up and were able to gain strength from each other to take their complaint forward. My guess is as good as yours but these arguments will no doubt be tested in court.

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