Women Against Rape Seem To Have Forgotten We Are Supposed To Be Fighting The Patriarchy

August 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm (Feminism, Free Speech, Galloway, Guardian, Human rights, imperialism, Jackie Mcdonough, misogyny, reblogged, women)

Twitter Feminists are doing a very good job of dismantling the anti-woman rhetoric written by Women Against Rape in the Guardian today. The article is a pile of victim-blaming, rape excusing twaddle from two women who should know better: Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff. Any woman who writes this is victim-blaming:

“It seems even clearer now, that the allegations against him are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction.”

They are calling the two women liars. It doesn’t matter how much want to pretend they aren’t, suggesting the charges are a “smokescreen” is calling to victims of sexualised violence liars. That is the territory of MRAs and their handmaidens. Not Feminists. Yeah, they try to minimise the impact by saying this without a trace of irony:

“… the names of the women have been circulated on the internet; they have been trashed, accused of setting a “honey trap”, and seen their allegations dismissed as “not real rape”.”

WAR are also calling the two women liars. They are suggesting it wasn’t real rape. By buying into Assange’s paranoid fantasies, they have effectively silenced two rape victims and trashed the reputation of their organisation. They are arguing precisely the same thing as MRAs. All for what, to line up to defend a whiny little tosser because they think he’s The Second Coming? Well, he isn’t. I know her and she’d kick the shit out of Assange.

Yeah, it might be true that Assange is being pursued with more vigour than most rapists are in the UK or in Sweden, but that’s hardly an excuse to dump the procedure against Assange. All rapists should be pursued this aggressively. Then, rape victims might actually get some justice. Instead, WAR have just made it a whole lot harder for women to get support. They have made it harder for other women to get convictions for rape.
The whole article is a pile of paranoia and misinformation. WAR have just ensured that I won’t ever use them for support or refer friends to them. Anyone who writes that Wikileaks is more important than the bodily integrity of two women is no feminist. Wikileaks is more than one man and, frankly, it’s not like Assange’s reputation in Wikileaks is all that brilliant what with the whole dumping an Iranian leak into the shit without a backward glance.
Freedom of speech is meaningless if it only applies to rich white men’s rights to criticise governments. Supporting Assange at the expense of rape victims removes women’s right to bodily integrity. It removes our right to free speech. If that isn’t hypocrisy, then I don’t know what is.

Posted by at 17:21

16 Comments

  1. Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

    Surprise surprise. More in-fighting amongst the left. The right wing must be having a field day.

  2. paul fauvet said,

    In-fighting among the left? The people who have rushed to support Assange are by and large the same people who support the Assad regime in Syria (on the grounds that it is somehow “anti-imperialist”), who lined up with Gaddaffi against the Libyan revolution, and who, in the 1990s, gave their tacit support to Slobodan Milosevic. That is not the left I feel part of.

  3. pinkagendist said,

    Presumption of innocence? No?
    Impartiality means we don’t attack either side. We consider both positions. We don’t jump to conclusions.
    Speculation either way is irresponsible.

  4. Jim Denham said,

    “But what about the left who were deafeningly quiet about the fact that their own Government has been at the very least partly responsible for the deaths of up to 1,500,000 million Iraqis and not a single prosecution brought forth against those responsible”…

    Babz: it *is* possible to be part of the left that denounced the Iraq war *and* say that Assange should be brought to trial, in Sweden, on the charges he faces.

    • Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

      Jim

      I know. My issue is many on the ‘left’ fall into two camps. The George Galloway tyrant arse kisser anti imperialist/conspriacy theorist and the Nick Cohen ‘let’s look at the crimes of others and ignore our own/ we don’t commit crimes just mistakes’ type. Rarely do I come across someone who is consistent with their beliefs across the board.

  5. Jim Denham said,

    Babz: in fairness to Nick Cohen (who I have in the past criticised on various issues), I’d say he’s pretty consistent and even-handed in his world-view,

  6. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    ‘Wikileaks is more important than the bodily integrity of two women’ does raise the depressing question of how many revolutionary organisations have in fact made precisely that utilitarian judgement?

    The WRP and Gerry Healey of course spring first to mind but I doubt there is any armed revolutionary movement of any size in history whose members have not committed rape and been sometimes allowed to get away with it for the good of the cause.

    Going back to the French Revolution rape was a commonplace occurrence in the wake of the Republican and Napoleonic armies (much more so than amongst the regular armies of reaction who were for the most part still kept in line by savagely enforced discipline) and seems to have been on occasion adopted as a systematic weapon of terror in the suppression of risings in the Vendee and in Spain.

    (see http://newcastle-au.academia.edu/PhilipDwyer/Papers/161328/_It_Still_Makes_me_Shudder_Memories_of_Massacres_and_Atrocities_during_the_Revolutionary_and_Napoleonic_Wars)

    The very storming of the Winter Palace was accompanied by accusations of the rape of prisoners from Kerensky’s Women’s Battalion which while certainly exaggerated in at least three cases appear to have had some substance.

    The Soviet liberation not just of Germany but most of Eastern Europe was also accompanied by millions of rapes many ending in murder – all of which were stoutly denied for decades by the Soviet authorities and their admirers in the West,

    And how many anti-imperialist apologists did the Serbs who for nearly a decade used mass rape as a systematic political weapon have?

    Assange is a ridiculous figure but his defenders are hardly breaking new ground here – there have always been some people on the left willing to deny and excuse rape and worse when prosecuting its perpetrators is perceived as damaging to the movement.

  7. Dave said,

    Babz Badasbab Rahman:
    The part of the left Mr Fauvet is talking about (I think there have always been two halves, almost–in fact, probaly two quite different political philosophies, even if they both call themselves Marxism) was more or less actively supporting the forces causing most of the casualities in Iraq–at the very least, doing significant PR work and narrative construction for them. So perhaps it would be best if they brought themselves to justice first, before moving on to others.

  8. Jim Denham said,

    From Saliwho:
    Rape Apologists and Galloway Apologists
    by saliwho

    http://saliwho.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/george-galloway-rape-apologist/

    On Monday, Respect MP George Galloway disheartened anti-rape organisations, fellow MPs and the leader of his own party by claiming that the sexual assault accusations levelled at Julian Assange amounted to “bad sexual etiquette” rather than rape. In his video podcast, Galloway asserted that even if the accusations made by two women in Sweden were “100 per cent true”, they did not amount to rape; “At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it.”

    He went on to say: “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. I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.” Last night on Twitter I spoke to the man who produced this much-discussed podcast, and I was not surprised to discover that he has an equally dismissive, distasteful attitude towards women.

    I was aware that two English courts had rejected the line of argument covered in the podcast, but I was intrigued to know exactly what Assange stands accused of. On the Another Angry Woman blog, I found details of the allegations made by the two women, along with a link to the source. These allegations clearly depict rape. One woman alleges that she was pinned down and forced into sexual activity; another woman says Assange began having sex with her when she was asleep, therefore unable to consent; and both women claim they were tricked into further sexual acts to which they had not consented. It was decided in a magistrates’ court and the High Court that these accusations describe rape, however Galloway said: “…even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape.”

    Galloway has used his Twitter account to further state his case, asking why, after the alleged rape, one woman continued to “date” Assange. Rape apologists are often under the misapprehension that if a person has consented to sex once, that counts as indefinite permission; that victims of abuse immediately cease all contact with their abusers; and that “legitimate rape” takes place only in dark alleys with strangers brandishing flick knives.

    On Thursday night, a video with the title ‘Rape victim defends George Galloway’, originally tweeted by someone using the pseudonym ‘Clarence Beeks‘, was re-posted from Galloway’s Twitter account. The video showed a still image of Galloway along with the audio of a rape victim speaking on a BBC radio phone-in show. The caller said that the situation he had heard Galloway describing was not rape, but that he had not heard any of the allegations specific to the Assange case. Soon afterwards, a video with the title ‘Doctor defends George Galloway on rape’ was tweeted from both Galloway’s account and ‘Clarence Beeks” account. This video also shows an image of Galloway along with the audio from a BBC phone-in. The second caller was Sean Gabb, director of free market and civil liberties think-tank the Libertarian Alliance. He stated that: “Julian Assange is accused of what no reasonable person would regard as rape.”

    During a short exchange with ‘Clarence Beeks’, he informed me that he was the producer of George Galloway’s controversial podcast. When I drew attention to this and the misogynist abuse he had directed at a woman who had linked to an article critical of Galloway, I was blocked by both Galloway’s account and his producer’s. It became apparent that his producer was running both accounts and tweeting on Galloway’s behalf, presumably with his prior, therefore eternal consent.

    George Galloway is not known for running a slick social media operation, but this time he can’t claim his account was hacked. He can’t distance himself by saying that he does not hold the same misogynist views as his producer / social media manager. This blog is about perceptions of rape, not Wikileaks, but I feel I must add that freedom of speech and women’s rights are not mutually exclusive concepts. Galloway and his apologists should not attempt to defend one by trampling on another.

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    Published: August 24, 2012
    Filed Under: Feminism, Politics, Twitter
    Tags: feminism : george galloway : rape : social media : twitter : wikileaks

  9. Rosie said,

    The piece is worth looking at for the very good filleting of John Pilger’s typical piece of fact free hysteria in the New Statesman.

  10. Rosie said,

    I meant a long comment underneath.

  11. Not that Babs said,

    Considering that Assange has his on Show on Russia Today (for which alleged toughnut rapper MIA does the soundtrack for), and he is always willing to be quoted in the ‘anti-US Imperialist’ media in Russia (see also Max Keiser) how come Assange didn’t just flee to the Russian embassy?

    I mean, the great alleged anti-Imperialist leader isn’t afraid WikiLeaks might print some unfortunate stuff about Chechnya is he?

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