I have a feeling a lot of people won’t like this, but I hope it opens up dialogue.
Rape denial is common in a rape culture. Perpetrators are often aided by silence or denial. The victim is kept in hir place by siding with the perpetrator. We side with the perpetrator directly or indirectly. Silence is easy because we do not address the difficult situation of rape. It is a way to side with the perpetrator. Nothing benefits the perpetrator more than silence. Silence is empowering for the perpetrator. It allows the perpetrator to victimize while society responds as if it is not happening.
In the case of Junian Assange I have found that I want this man to be the hero. I am excited when I see what he does and I have chosen to remain silent and not to address the issue of rape that is being brought up. I have chosen the easy path that empowers the rapist. I find that I quickly dismiss any accusations pointing to the state as a villain. I find that I am quick to dismiss the charge of rape. I realize that if this were a senator or a president I would be the first to crucify them and jump on with attacking them and siding with the victim, but when it is someone I respect I have turned a blind eye.
Silence is only one way we empower the perpetrator. The other is outright defending the actions of the perpetrator or denying the claims of rape which is defense. I am quick to side with short denials and have not chosen to further challenge them. I now see that my choice is problematic. We are quick to throw out the claims completely. I see that I am also still being hesitant to claim Assange is a rapist because my resistance is strong in this. All of this is problematic. It all reflects the reality of how we empower rapists and support a rape culture.
Many of us anarchists, socialists, libertarians and radical politicos seem to be responding in a text book manner to rape in this case. We seem to not want to hold someone accountable and we seem to be quick to deny any wrong doing. We are taking the easy way out and avoiding the difficult path that we need to be walking. This needs to be challenged and we need to really look at this much more seriously than we have.
It was easier for us all to say that he’s being persecuted by the state. In the long run we have chosen to not go down the path of looking at sexual assault. I think it’s time we re-examined how we are responding to this situation.