Warning: this post contains references to sexual violence.
Today the High Court has rejected Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden to face charges of rape and other sexual violence. The full reasoning in the case can be found here and a summary of some of the grounds here.
Assange’s guilt or innocence on these allegations is a matter for the investigatory and judicial processes in Sweden to address – hence the extradition request in the first place. However, even if he is wholly innocent of the charges, in the course of these proceedings, Assange has shown a reprehensible willingness to promote numerous specious forms of rape apologism in a bid to get himself off the hook. His lawyers have argued, variously, that it isn’t rape to penetrate a sleeping woman, and that there are no charges to answer if a man pins down a struggling woman and tries to penetrate her without a condom, despite her objections to this.
“It is quite clear that the gravamen of the offence described is that Mr Assange had sexual intercourse with her without a condom and that she had only been prepared to consent to sexual intercourse with a condom. The description of the conduct makes clear that he consummated sexual intercourse when she was asleep and that she had insisted upon him wearing a condom. …… it is difficult to see how a person could reasonably have believed in consent if the complaint alleges a state of sleep or half sleep, and secondly it avers that consent would not have been given without a condom. There is nothing in the statement from which it could be inferred that he reasonably expected that she would have consented to sex without a condom.” (para 124)
Or, to use the more concise words provided by the Student Activism tumblr:
British court in Assange ruling: No means no. Not without a condom means not without a condom. And no, you can’t just screw her in her sleep.