George Galloway is the latest in a shameful line up of those willing to promote rape myths while defending Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
I promised that I would not waste any time, brain cells or blog space on Assange, but after reading SGM’s excellent post this morning, I was considering it.
Then I read the Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri has stated his understanding (from doctors) was that pregnancy from rape is very rare,
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,”
Which is astounding from so many angles. It is quite an indictment of the Sexual Health Education in the US if a man can get to the age of 65 and have fathered six children without knowing that sex, whether consensual or not, can lead to pregnancy.
Banning abortion, or even the morning after pill, to women who have been raped is misogyny pure and simple. Forcing a woman to bear and bring up a child that is a result of rape is barbaric. What consequences does this have for the woman and for the child. How difficult it must be to separate the child from the act of its conception, and to love the child regardless
Even the fact that Tod Akins separates rape into categories of ‘legitimate’ and .. what? imagined rape? not really rape? got a bit carried away rape?…
Rape is rape, whether a stranger in a dark alley or a previously trusted friend or partner. There are no degrees of rape, it is a binary situation. A person cannot be sort of raped.
Still reeling from this, I then read this amazing act of idiocy from someone no stranger to the art.
‘Assange is only accused of bad sex etiquette’
I am not going to embed the video of George Galloway cause I don’t want him on my blog, but you can see it, and read the transcript on the New Statesman website.
Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100 per cent true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape. At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it. And somebody has to say this.
Let’s take woman A. Woman A met Julian Assange, invited him back to her flat, gave him dinner, went to bed with him, had consensual sex with him. Claims that she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen, you know.
This is something that can happen? No, George. This is rape. The woman was asleep and can therefore not have consented to sex. Without consent, the word is rape.
I mean not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion. Some people believe that when you go to bed with somebody, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you’re already in the sex game with them.
The use of the word ‘insertion’ minimises what happened to the woman. She awoke to find Assange raping her. He has admitted to this. He sees no problem with this, and we have heard it further minimised as ‘surprise sex’.
When a woman or a man does not give, or at any time withdraws consent to sexual intercourse, then to continue is to rape that person.
It is rape even if she does not struggle. Even if she does not shout.
It might be really bad manners not to have tapped her on the shoulder and said, “do you mind if I do it again?”. It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning. . .
I don’t believe either of those women, I don’t believe either of these stories.
Bad manners would be sneaking out in the middle of the night. Bad sexual etiquette – I hardly like to speculate.
For sex to be seen as consensual, both participants must consent. It seems like explaining that the sky is blue, or the grass is green. So obvious as to be rude to point it out. How can a woman consent when she is asleep?
Women do not exist in a state of constant sexual consent, once they have agreed to have sex with a partner. Each and every time a man wishes to have sex with a woman, he must ensure that consent is given freely. I have talked about enthusiastic consent in the past – that men should be aware of the reactions of the woman they are with. If she is too quiet, or still, if she is hesitant or not joining in – then they must ensure that she really is happy to proceed.
I have blogged about the necessity of teaching our sons this lesson, but it seems that our politicians should be sent back to the Sex Ed classroom too.
It is frightening how many intelligent adults minimise rape and believe in rape myths. Even those who I have previously admired, such as Whoopi Goldberg. Who can forgive her for the ‘rape-rape’ comments?
We must challenge rape myths and rape apologists every single time. We must stand up with the women allegedly raped by Assange and demand that he faces justice.
We must not allow Assange to make this about ‘free speech’ because it is nothing to do with Wikileaks.
When Assange stepped out onto that balcony to give his little speech, he showed once again that it is all about Julian. His posturing and arrogance is sickening.
The argument against returning to Sweden is that he is in danger of extradited to US, where he is at risk of the death penalty. Many bloggers and journalists have written about this – David Allen Green has demystified some of the legal myths surrounding Assange’s case, as has Peter whose blog refutes the common misconceptions surrounding the rape accusations.
As Assange pulls his little Evita-like stunt, two women sit in Sweden and listen to Galloway say that he does not believe them.
And as they listen, so too do millions of bystanders and observers.
Millions of men and women who are being told that ‘surprise sex’ is not rape.
That once a woman has consented to sex, she cannot withdraw that consent.
That having given consent, she must allow her partner to carry on whenever he gets the urge.
That women lie about rape and we should not believe them.
That rape in marriage and long term relationships does not exist.
Does this all sound familiar? They are all rape myths from the WeBelieveYou Campaign.
George Galloway should be ashamed of himself for perpetrating them.
To the women Assange is accused of raping – I believe you.
To anyone, male or female, who has been raped – I believe you.