Dear Women, I’m Sorry.

(Note: this post is inspired by this article from LezGetReal)

I try to be the sort of person in life who apologizes for being wrong. I know too many people who, in some part of their life, get quoted as saying “the sky is purple” and then just say “well I never said that, of course it’s blue!” They just never take ownership for their mistakes, they never learn, and we all suffer from it as they repeat those mistakes.

So I’m sorry.

See, when Julian Assange was first accused of rape, I thought, “what the fuck. Rape cases never get pursued, the women are always called whores who wanted it, but we take it seriously when it’s a man who could be a threat to political secrets?” Then, as more details came clear, like how the two accusers came together, or how broad Sweden’s rape laws are, etc, it became clear to me that he didn’t really rape them.

And this was a debate that totally split up feminist communities for a minute. I remember seeing two women debating on an NPR show and they were just going for each other’s throats! I mean, at the root core that they couldn’t see, they were for the exact same thing: women not getting raped. But the woman who thought he did rape them was accusing the other woman of not truly understanding rape victims, while meanwhile the woman who thought it didn’t happen had spent her whole life working with victims, and it just got very nasty very quickly as they went off the subject and into personal digs.

So I held on to this belief for pretty much this whole time: Assange is not a rapist, people just want to bring him down.

Then I read the article I linked at the top. Basically, not only has he not complied with the investigation against him, but his defense has been “yeah, those things happened, they are not lies; but they are not crimes, and they are not rape.”

Actually, Julian; yes, in Sweden, they are crimes; and yes, everywhere, they are rape.

Some people tier sexual assaults. There’s rape, and then there’s sexual coercion. And, while it may make communicating specifics easier, they’re still on a level the same thing: somebody thinking they’re too good to listen to you say no. Whether the rapist gets their way through violence, verbal insistence, or simply waiting for their victim to be unable to verbalize or act on no, it’s a rape.

Also, there’s never a point where you say yes and lose the right to say no. Consenting to sex Tuesday doesn’t mean you’ve consented Wednesday; consenting to sex doesn’t mean consenting to a specific sex act; and consenting to sex doesn’t mean consenting to a lack of condom.

So, I have to apologize. I was absolutely wrong. I assumed, for some ignorant reason, that powerful liberal men would never rape. I should have known it wasn’t true, I shouldn’t have been so against those women. I’m sorry.

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~ by Stefani Vonne on 07/13/2011.

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