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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Anna Ardin & Sofia Wilén


For those of you who haven't been following the news lately, [the two ladies named above] are the accusers of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who allege that he raped them.

Simply by revealing to you the names and pictures of these women does something that no major media outlet in the entire world has done, and what no group or organization or influential person outside of scattered special-interests in the blogosphere have attempted.

It removes the double-standard surrounding the reporting of this case.

It removes the layer of inherent guilt on Julian Assange while simultaneously removing the layer of inherent victimization on Ms. Ardin and Ms. Wilén.

Because no matter what happened or happens, it is time we treat all parties involved in cases of rape the same! Full anonymity, or full disclosure -- but no more double-standards!


Until convicted, the accused is innocent till proven guilty (according to American law) and the burden of proof rests solely with the accusers (again, according to American law). However, reading through the media coverage of this case, you'd think Assange was guilty, while Ardin and Wilén were poor victims of a sexual predator hiding behind his power and infamy.

The double-standard of reporting on rape in the western world -- particularly the United States -- has always focused on protecting the accuser and leaving the accused defenseless.

That is, before a trial has even taken place, before evidence has been presented, or a case made, or a jury's decision reached, the kangaroo court of public opinion -- fueled in large part by corporate media focused on sensationalistic journalism -- bears its own verdict of GUILTY, reflecting the cultural misandry that has been created by radical Feminists and instilled into the zeitgeist of Americana where females are always victims, males are always predators, and god forbid we ever talk about it.

So when a rape charge is voiced, who is immediately jailed and held in suspicion? Who is subjected to slander, libel, irrepairable damage to their reputation, physical violence, and sometimes even to the same crime they're accused of?

I'll give ya two guesses.


This charade of objective journalism and the supposed presumption of innocence has been making the rounds throughout the blogosphere, but particularly throughout the mainstream media regarding Julian Assange.

Places like [CBS], [MSNBC], and Feminist venues such as [Feministing] are among the primary participants in this farce of justice which mocks the struggles of real rape victims, and especially the struggles of false rape victims.

In the Congo, women were being tortured and raped -- even killed en masse -- while Anna Ardin made [posts on a now-deleted Wordpress blog about revenge]. While teenage girls were being molested in Richmond, California, the world focused on Julian Assange as the charges against him were reinstated due to the accidental breaking... of a condom!

That Women of Color are being  brutally raped everyday while two radical Feminist White women instigate a witch-hunt against Assange -- [that at least one of them later regretted] -- which is then picked-up and forced down the legal throats of England and Sweden by Western governments who fear Assange's use of WikiLeaks to continue exposing their own corruption and crimes, is a telling story of racism, misandry, political corruption, and social injustice.


Here are the "facts" as we know them.

Assange was originally charged with rape, which was then dismissed for lack of evidence. However, a Swedish prosecutor, after reviewing the charges, invoked an old and antiquated "surprise sex" law in Sweden to reinstate the charges against him.

This "surprise sex" law basically classifies any sex without a condom -- even consensual sex without a condom -- as rape. Crazy, huh? Even crazier is that this random statute was used as the initial pretext for detaining Assange.

However, since he was already in England, more evidence/tougher charges would be needed to detain and extradite him.

These trumped-up charges are (as Jessica Valenti likes to describe them): "that Assange held one woman down using his body weight to sexually assault her and that he raped another woman while she was sleeping". (This bare-boned explanation is about as intellectually dishonest as it is morally repugnant.)


However, the Guardian, which has been at the forefront of this case reports that Assange's accusers, provides [a more complete picture of the full charges against him].


The "facts" are that nobody knows whether Assange raped these women, or whether they conspired together in order to get revenge. The "facts" are that nobody will ever know -- even after all is said and done by judge & jury -- what actually happened.

But we can infer, from the evidence provided that what the accusers said and did prior to their allegations of rape is damning.

Both reported they received no physical injury. Both did not file charges until meeting each other. Both then stated later in the investigation that they filed charges only to get him to take an STD test. Both were concerned with getting money by going to the tabloids. Both were interested in matters of revenge.

Even more damning is that both of these women initiated consensual sexual relations with Assange.

So is Assange a douchebag you wouldn't want to date? Probably. Are these charges evidence of how rape is a complicated issue? Definitely. But if you believe that he raped these women, then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell ya...


Nonetheless, what is important to remember in this case is that we must always regard allegations of rape with the strictest professionalism, ensuring people feel safe coming forward, and that both accuser and accused are protected from potential backlash.

We must never engage in victim-blaming, or forget the presumption of innocence. We must never say all women are liars or all men are rapists. We must never let ourselves be duped by racism, sexism, classism, or any other form of prejudice and ingnorance.

We must take cases like these seriously. The victims of rapists and false rape accusers deserve no less than that.



Cheers


P.S. For more information on False Rape, please visit [The False Rape Society]

16 footnotes:

Mira said...

Hmmmmm.... For some reason, I thought the girls were helping him. I mean, if he's convicted in Sweden, he wouldn't have to leave the country, and he would be safe. ... Right?

Ok, maybe the reason is wrong, but I assumed it was all planned.

And I didn't get the bridge analogy... (Sorry, I am slow tonight, it's almost 3 AM).

Zek J Evets said...

@mira:

I've heard conspiracy theories linking Ardin to a CIA-backed anti-Castro group, but the connection is pretty effing thin, so I've discounted it from my speculations. Honestly though, I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be true -- must mean I'm watching too many crime dramas on Netflix.

However, if Assange is extradited to Sweden for trial, it is possible he could then be sent to the US for trial over his cable-leaks. I know the Pentagon and the State department have their jaws drooling in anticipation. Particularly the Republicans want to crucify him and, if possible, try him as a terrorist or traitor! (Forget that Assange is an AUSTRALIAN citizen.)

The bridge thing is an old American joke. Some con-artists immigrant used to steal money from tourists by taking them to recently constructed sights in New York and concocting this incredible story of how they're for sale, blah blah blah. It actually worked pretty well till he was arrested. The Brooklyn bridge was one such example.

Natasha W said...

"Nonetheless, what is important to remember in this case is that we must always regard allegations of rape with the strictest professionalism, ensuring people feel safe coming forward, and that both accuser and accused are protected from potential backlash."

Well posting their photos sort of throws that out the window, huh?

Zek J Evets said...

@natasha: haha, i guess i should've clarified that little contradiction then.

i posted their names and photos because in rape cases it's always the accused who is publicly shamed, exposed, slandered, etc while the accusers are granted full protection, even when the evidence or circumstances are suspect. i'm thinking particularly of the hofstra rape case.

posting their photos is my personal attempt at leveling the playing field between how assange has been dragged through the mud, yet his accusers have been protected as if the case has already been decided. in less public cases of rape the disparity is often far greater -- especially if the accused is a man of color.

so when i say that rape cases must be regarded professionally, and make people feel safe -- i should probably have added that, "we should treat every case of rape with equal protection under the law, and without harmful double standards."

Natasha W said...

Zek,

"i posted their names and photos because in rape cases it's always the accused who is publicly shamed, exposed, slandered, etc while the accusers are granted full protection"

Well, two wrongs don't make a right?

Putting pictures of a rape victim out there is cruel. It's just traumatizing them all over again.

Also, as far as the second picture goes: a 40 year old woman is much less likely to have the strength and will to harm a 17 year old boy. If you could be a woman for a week or even a day and see how you're looked at as a piece of meat and know that if a guy were to choose to harm you, you'd be basically defenseless, you'd understand. The world is not coddling women, social norms and laws are in place because women would be in big trouble if they were not there.

And America is not a misandrist country, by far. Certain communities, like most non-white communities, are so clearly patriarchal and pro-male. Feministing and others blogs have their own corner, which is not representative of the country at large. Even most women are not feminist -- trust me on this, I know. You can't conclude America is misandrist by a couple of vocal factions. That's like perusing anti-racist blogs and concluding America is anti-racist. When it comes to feminism and anti-racism, America is very similar: it's no longer fashionable to be a racist or misogynist, but that doesn't stop people from being either or both when they think they won't face social consequences for it.

Natasha W said...

That should read "perusing anti-racist blogs and concluding America hates whites".

Zek J Evets said...

@natasha: but the thing is that these women are accusers not victims

however, should a trial prove differently, or some new facts come to light to change my mind, then i will, of course, remove their photos and names.

but the whole point of the beginning to my post is to illustrate that while people are inclined to believe every woman who says she's been raped, it is not part of our (american) justice system to do so, because the presumption of innocence. what i did could be construed as two wrongs, like you said, and i definitely see how it works like that. but for me, personally, i see it as leveling the playing field, as removing a double-standard that obscures the issue of: what happened.

i would say america is a misandrist country in certain instances, just like it is misogynistic or racist in certain/many instances. whether overall you could attach this label as a generalization really depends on your personal experience. for me, i am inclined to do, but that is also my experience -- which means on some level it is both true and not-true.

regarding the second picture. it was mostly to help visualize a double-standard, rather than to actually deconstruct it. (the one in the picture, i mean.)

however, i think you'd be surprised how easily a 40 year-old woman can harm a teenager. i think specifically of some teachers. seriously, isn't it a little condescending to say that woman aren't as capable as men of hurting others?

as for being thought of as a piece of meat, and then realizing you're defenseless, i actually DO know how that feels. but i won't go into details about it.

Natasha W said...

Zek,

"but the thing is that these women are accusers not victims"

Well, you don't know that. None of us knows what happened that night.

"seriously, isn't it a little condescending to say that woman aren't as capable as men of hurting others?"

No. Men are stronger. That's not to say that a woman isn't capable of harming a man, but she is much less likely to. This is not a controversial viewpoint.

"as for being thought of as a piece of meat, and then realizing you're defenseless, i actually DO know how that feels. but i won't go into details about it."

Then I just can't see why you're not being more empathetic to the fact that those two cases are completely different.

Zek J Evets said...

@natasha: you're right; none of us knows what happened. which is why they are not victims (and to be fair, i shall add the caveat) yet. they are accusers, part of the prosecution, etc & so on. however, the slant in the media makes it seem otherwise.

"Men are stronger."

yes and no. men can be stronger, but i'm not sure if men are generally stronger than women. that to me seems a little too misogynistic for me to generalize about. and besides, i'm not sure what kind of stronger we're talking about, but i'm assuming physically? in which case, it varies depending on the strength being measured -- upper-body versus lower-body.

however, saying that a woman is less likely to harm a man (implying that that a man is more likely to harm a man OR a woman than a woman) is kind of... sexist, honestly. especially since there are plenty of instances where women get violent, and it's treated as a joke. (for example, domestic violence perpetrated by females on television.)

but besides our cultural influences, i'd say it's pretty demeaning to say that women -- 40 year-old women in this case-- by and large are less capable of harming a seventeen year-old boy than a forty year-old man to a seventeen year-old girl. both are minor being attacked by adults. both are in positions where they can be exploited. and both are capable of having their status as victims dismissed with no just cause. (for the girl people may say she's a whore/slut shaming. for a guy they may laugh and call him a pussy, which is another form of shaming.)

do you honestly not believe that women are just as capable as men of violent acts? because while you're entitled to your opinion, i'd have to say that'd be a DAAAAAAAMNED controversial thing to say. especially to those who believe in gender equality.

but whatever. different strokes for different folks, and so on.

Natasha W said...

Zek,

"none of us knows what happened. which is why they are not victims (and to be fair, i shall add the caveat) yet."

I was talking generally. Putting up pictures of rape victims simply because their attacker's face is known -- to "even" the score -- is really unnecessary.

Men are generally stronger than women; upper and lower body strength. They are also taller with longer limbs. This is backed up by countless studies. It's not misogynistic to say that. That's like saying stating women don't have a penis is misogynistic. We can all see the obvious.

"saying that a woman is less likely to harm a man (implying that that a man is more likely to harm a man OR a woman than a woman) is kind of... sexist, honestly."

Sexist? Or the truth? I'm not really into political correctness, unless it's actually correct.

Of course, every man is not dangerous. Of course, many women are also dangerous. But more times than not, the assailant in a violent crime is a man. Please, continue to act like you don't know this.

As for the rest, I guess we'll just not agree on this. You seem to be wrapped up in thinking men and women are equal on everything (yet oddly opposed to feminism), when they are just not and never have been. There are many things that could be made more equal, but at the moment, men still have the advantage on numerous counts.

Witchsistah said...

i'd say it's pretty demeaning to say that women -- 40 year-old women in this case-- by and large are less capable of harming a seventeen year-old boy than a forty year-old man to a seventeen year-old girl.

You can think it's pretty demeaning if you want, but it's also generally true. Women TEND to be smaller than men (and no, this doesn't mean each and every woman on the planet is a diminuitive flower and every man a giant, muscle-bound behemoth) and weaker regarding muscle strength. And women don't have more lower body strength than men. They have more lower body strength than upper body strength. That's why so many self-defense gurus recommend women do more kicking than punching because we'll have a better chance at injuring/distracting a male attacker and gaining a chance to escape.

Men ARE physically stronger than women and it doesn't take much effort for a man to subdue a woman. You mentioned domestic violence cases where women were the abusers. Abuse is wrong no matter WHO is perpetrating it. Outside of self-defense, you have no right to put your hands on another person. However, I bet most of those men did not fight back or only tried to defend themselves/keep her off of them. If they decided to fight back, the woman would have gotten the bad end of it. The hurt that she THOUGHT she was putting on the guy would have paled in comparison.

I'm with Natasha. You have no idea what it's like being a woman and realizing that if a guy really wanted to attack you, there's pretty much nothing you can do about it outside of shooting him. And I'm sorry, I feel we sure err on the side of caution when it comes to rape because of HOW rape victims are treated. For all the claims you make that the country is misandrist due to a few feminist websites, I'd say it's still more misogynistic. People, male and female, still believe that most women lie about rape. People want all the gory details about the circumstances surrounding the attack so they can find a reason to blame the victim.

Rape is the only crime where the scrutiny on the victim is so intense. If you were stinking drunk, walking down a dark alley with a wad of 100s in your hand and some guy robbed you of your money, there would be no speculation as to whether a crime had been committed and if you were "really" a victim. The cops wouldn't ask you if you had given the guy your money as a gift or if you offered him the money earlier. They wouldn't wonder if you were SURE you'd been robbed because, well, you WERE drunk. You wouldn't be asked if you were in the habit of getting lit and stumbling obscure thoroughfares with wads of cash in your grasp. Now the cops may think you were a bit stupid to take the risks you did, but the question of "Was a real crime committed here?" would not be asked.


I just do not agree with your stance or arguments about this.

Zek J Evets said...

@witchsistah: that's okay -- i don't really expect agreement, or even understanding. however, i do find everyone's comments very interesting. lots of good points.

in your example, i found it interesting that you DID mention that a guy who was robbed while drunk would be victim-blamed. (a la, the cops thinking "you" were stupid -- which is much the same as when people blame women who are raped for dressing a certain way/dancing/whatever behavior -- basically assuming that women should modify their behavior to avoid getting raped, or else they're "asking for it".)

see, when we do stupid stuff, the victim is ALWAYS blamed in some regard because even when it's obvious a crime happened, people still look for reasons behind the crime... which tend to reflect poorly on the victim all too often.

however, you're right that i have no idea what it's like being a woman. and i probably never will. i'm okay with this fact, because i can still sympathize, still try to understand, still try to be compassionate. though i probably fail as much as i succeed.

but going back to the picture referencing double-standards. i don't think abuse requires only a physical element. sure, there are far more men who are physically stronger than women -- even with an age-difference -- than there are women who are stronger than men. but does that mean that women can't abuse underage boys? even 17 year-old ones? i don't think so.

personally, i believe a forty year-old women is just as capable of abusing an underage boy because adults in general are in positions of power, authority, and trust that minors are not. also, take note that a boy can be -- and is -- victim-blamed just like girls are. so while i don't see your point that the picture isn't revealing a double-standard, i hope you can acknowledge these problems.

hopefully further discussion will be as helpful as this one has been.

part 1 said...

so many of your statements are so misogynistic/rape-sympathetic or rape-apologetic that it's making my head spin.

i know you try to be diplomatic and reasonable and have what you imagine as very fair and thoughtful and legitimate viewpoints, but they are expressed in such a way that they are wrong. i'm not trying to attack you or create a big fuss or dialogue, and i probably won't be back to check for your response. i already know what it will be: "yeah, i see your point, but i've experienced stuff too which may or may not be relevant and may or may not help me be more empathetic to the experiences of pople unlike me, but my straight, white, male perspective that i have crafted is still right." i know you try to avoid, and feel that you do avoid, the straight, white, male perspective, but as someone who is not you and does not have that exact perspective, your posts are obviously nothing but (though more thought out than a typical "straightwhitemale).

firstly: leveling the playing field.
this made me sick. since when is either party in a rape scenario on the same level? one party was WRONG and AT FAULT and took power that was not theirs and abused it by violating another party and therefore the former party holds all the responsibility. that is not level. there is no field. there is no game. there is a victim that has had everything taken from them who deserves all the protection they can get. by "leveling the playing field" you are making yourself a rape-apologist/rape-sympathizer and pro-rape, as in this second example:

they are not victims, they are accusers
this is even more wretched and i am shocked that you could even form this statement. say i was raped last night at a party, told a close friend, family member, or law enforcement/similar authority what happened but did not fully disclose what happened due to many reasons (shock, fear, depression, anger, emotional trauma, physical trauma, mental trauma, etc). am i not a victim? i'm just some manipulative/conniving minx who is obviously up to something or trying to destroy a good man's reputation? i know that you do not believe this to be the case in all instances, but in the case you're making here, that is exactly what you are saying. you are displaying a sickening degree to victim blame, whether you intended to or not. a victim is not a "non-victim" until proven "victim."

you know what it's like to be a piece of meat
i'm sure you've felt something to this extent, and i know you are trying to be sympathetic/empathetic, but you do not know. you are a cisgendered, heterosexual, able-bodied, white (even if you disagree, that is how you are perceived), male and you are as the top of the social[-sexual] food chain, whether you decide to accept your privilege or not. i am sorry you were objectified, but you do NOT know what it is like.

they had sexual relations or whatever they used to/would have slept with him
rape exists within marriage. rape exists within loving relationships. rape exists between family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, etc. rape happens when one party initiates and executes sexual acts, violent or not, on another party without the latter party's consent. consent is positive/affirmative and clear; not received out of fear, intimidation, guilt, shame, intoxication, etc. consent to a sexual act is not a one time, valid any-time, anywhere, non-expiring, transferrable agreement. it is a clear, "yes" at the time and place it was issued, for that moment. it can be retracted, it can be negated. if there is no current "yes," despite the fact that there was one or would probably be one, it. is. rape.

part 2 said...

i understand you are trying to make things equal, but equality does not arise from continued marginalization of minority groups (women, people of non-white/european descent, the disabled, the LGBTQQI community, the poor, the un/under educated, victims of crime,...). saying, "well, the white male has to go through all this tough shit so it's only fair that all these Others have to go through just as much." well, we do, they do. all the time even. everyday. that's life as the minority, or as a member of a non-dominant culture.

while the media likes to makes everything a big deal and a huge circus, that doesn't mean that rape shouldn't be brushed off. it is a serious crime that does not get handled with the same somber/sober/respectful dignity/tact/compassion/sympathy/empathy that it should. there are many things wrong with the culture around rape and sexual/gender relations, too many. rape should not have been blown up into a fantastical witch hunt, but it shouldn't have any part in victim blaming either. i know in the netherlands, they protect a suspect's, even a guilty one's, identity by only using the first name and last initial. i'm pretty sure it's law. that way the family is protected, along with the individual, and i can agree with that.

there are many fundamental things that need to be changed within the two realms of media and rape/crime that you begin to tough upon, but i think they way you went about it was cruelly male-minded/rape-sympathetic/rape-apologetic and that is unacceptable.

for your consideration:
http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2010/10/people-you-meet-when-you-write-about.html
the comments are where the real fire happens. i'm afraid that the commenter "orphan" will resonate with you the most, and if he does then that is your tragedy; two men who so vehemently defend their case that they lose sight of the issues and values at hand to prevent being wrong. you can be above that.

Zek J Evets said...

@anonymous commenter:

first of all, i actually don't think you have a point. frankly, i'm offended you make drive-by comments to soothe your own ideology while simultaneously denying my own experiences as "not the same".

i mean, if i were a rape-victim would you say that? do i need to be fucked in the ass by some crazy dude before my victimization counts? you are obviously much more indoctrinated than me. (and i thought i was pretty indoctrinated.)

1. in legal cases, a level playing field is part of what makes a democratic judicial system. the very foundation of our entire legal system rests on a fair trial, but how can a person get a fair trial if they're being unfairly slandered by the media? how can their be a fair trial if the court of public opinion has already made its judgment? i want to level the playing field because i believe, wholeheartedly that the bias in our reporting of rape-cases reflects a bias in our culture -- and more importantly in our court-rooms, as the records of convictions and sentencing shows -- that only in cases of male/rapist and female/rape-victim is the bias i'm talking about evident to such a degree.

2. yes they ARE victims. and this is key here: calling someone a victim in a court of law before the case has even been tried is a gross violation of the presumption of innocence before guilt. if you do not accept this premise of our judicial system, that's fine, but then you should probably take that up with america -- and not blame me for supporting it.

3. i think it's funny how in the 2nd part you accuse me of victim-blaming, and then you go about doing the same thing to me, and denying the reality of my own victimization/objectification! i mean, do you even read the stuff you write in the comments before posting?

4. your definition of consent is little flawed -- but i don't blame you for it since the definition of consent is horrible constructed throughout our country. a yes is a yes, and a no is a no. if they said yes, then legally they are bound by that consent. and since there was no evidence of intimidation or violence, or threat of violence, then point of fact: they. were. not. raped. (indeed, the accusers themselves acted in such a way after-the-fact which undermines their credibility in regards to their accusations. and nobody should give carte blanche acceptance when dealing with crime, since as i said before our country is based on innocent before guilty.

however, should a court of law prove otherwise, i will of course abide by their decision despite my own opinions and take down the photos/names.)

Zek J Evets said...

your continued attempts to pigeonhole me in a straight while male box shows you've obviously never read my blog much, and so have no idea who i am as a person, or what i've written about. which is very telling about you actually. you are obviously not a person who CARES, or has much compassion for those that don't fit your very narrow view of the world.

but unlike you, i'm not going to pretend to be kind, because often "those who cause the greatest pain speak the kindest." (fanny howe.) i'm disgusted by your attempts to minimize and trivialize my own experiences as "not the same" while changing my identity to suit your own purposes.

and calling me a rape-apologist is probably the worst. i actually have a girlfriend, and many women in my family whom i love dearly. if anyone of them were raped, i would react with far more tenacity and righteousness than i've shown here. but at the same time, i also realize that my own feelings are not a justification for violence, or for changing the law, or for slandering people until all the facts are brought to bear. it's a dichotomy to be sure, but one that is worth remembering because it differentiates those who are ruled by emotion, and those who are ruled by reason.

as for me, i support minority groups EVERYDAY -- hell, i am a minority group. jewish, in an interracial relationship, liberal/progressive, you name it. i am no more dominant than anyone else despite how i look. (which is the only evidence of my privilege.)

and for you to judge me based appearance is very sad.

next time you comment, please remember that. (and also pick a name. anonymous commenting is cowardly.)