I imagine that some of you have been following the media rush on WikiLeaks lately, which has come to a climax with the arrest of WikiLeaks’ creator Julian Assange. Although many would see Assange arrested on charges of terrorism (mainly Sarah Palin), he has been arresting on charges of sex crimes, namely rape and sexual assault.
The full account of the alleged crimes can be read here, but the kind summary would be to say that two separate women have accused Assange of forcing unprotected sex on them, which was described …
… as ‘violent.’ I should also point out that the article I have linked to points out several uncharacteristic behaviours on behalf of the victims; one let Assange stay in her apartment for over a week following the sexual assault, and then threw a party for Assange later that week. The other victim did relate to her friends via text that she did have sex with Assange, but did not relate that she had been forced into the situation.
Many of Assange’s supporters have declared that the allegations by the two women are false, and have been made up as a conspiracy to imprison Assange.
Assange was released last Thursday on bail, which may have partially been put by documentary film maker Michael Moore, as he had offered $200,000 to help free Assange. From eOnline:
“I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.”
“As for the alleged sex crimes committed by Asssange, for which Interpol issued an arrest warrant and UK authorities have taken the unusual step of denying Assange bail, Moore asks that people not “be so naïve about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey” and not to buy the “official story.”
Now, taking into account that WikiLeaks has posed a considerable threat to various governing bodies, I can see how his timely arrest could seem suspicious. And the stories put forth by his victims are not exactly the typical rape allegations; they are much more complicated than the ‘man forces himself on woman, woman goes to police’ story. However, regardless of how you feel about WikiLeaks, I think it is somewhat troublesome that people are willing to ignore these women’s claims in favour of supporting a man who represents something they believe in.
I can’t really claim that these women’s stories are true, but I feel it is unjustified to assume they are false because they are complex. Just because there is cause for conspiracy, doesn’t mean there is one (and if this was a conspiracy, it’s a rather poorly laid out one). I think how horrible it would be to be one of these women, and have your assault fall to the background as people cheer on support for your attacker (should their accusations be true). The man could have discovered the cure to cancer, but if he is guilty of these crimes, he deserves to be punished for them, regardless of his other efforts. I have already heard many people comment on how these women’s stories don’t seem ‘good enough,’ and that is extremely troublesome to me. I certainly hope should I ever find myself a victim of sexual assault, the proceeding events end up falling into a story arch which is ‘good enough’ for others, and my attacker isn’t a man revered as a rebel leader by so many.
I hope that when these charges go to trial, the process is as clear and just as possible. Taking into account the accusations already made by the defence, I don’t think it will be possible for these assaults to be tried independently of Assange’s involvement in WikiLeaks, and I think that is quite the shame.