Archive | Sep, 2012

What is rape: Assange and Galloway Affair

12 Sep

For several months now, we have had a tirade of public and media speculation and opinion regarding claims of rape made against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. Most recently, the Respect MP, for Bradford West, George Galloway has waded in, making remarks that Salma Yacoob, the Party Leader, found “deeply disappointing and wrong”. Briefly putting aside claims of rape or sexual assault against Assange, Galloway’s remarks were, precisely, that consent was not always required. You might think this, as many have, quite an outrageous statement to make; but the fact is, it is true.

In many sexual encounters and relationships, acquaintances and partners participate in a sexual act and do not always ask; they simply initiate the act, and the other obliges or refuses. Once the threshold has been crossed in “refusing” consent, then we can talk about rape and/ or sexual assault. The fact is, in returning to the claims against Assange, consent was not refused by either of the women, so there is no case for either rape or sexual assault. Therefore, the only claim against Assange is in regard to the failure to use a condom and initiating a sexual act whilst the other was asleep. In regard to the former, this author’s understanding is that the use of a condom was discussed between Assange and the woman with whom he was in bed, and that Assange gave assurances it would be safe.

Indeed, if Assange knew his STD/ HIV status to be negative to give such assurances, it would, in my view, throw out of the bed, completely, any possible claims or entitlement for prosecution based on having unprotected sex. You may argue there is a case for coercion; but this is not a sexual assault, and certainly not rape. Further, if not convinced of his status, the women in question could have chosen to refuse her consent. In regards to the claims of sex whilst the woman was asleep, surely the women would have awoken upon being penetrated. Again, at this point, the women could have also refused; but court records and the transcripts of the Swedish police show that she did not refuse. Therefore, the can be no claim in this regard either.

If you have been with your partner for a number of years, there will have been numerous occasions when you have both had sex several times throughout the day or night. Neither of you will have always sought the others permission to do so. Even in a one-off sexual encounter of meeting someone the night before, you may have sex that evening and then again in the morning. In this instance, one of you may well have been asleep and the other will most certainly have initiated a sexual act that wakes you, unless you are in state of drug or alcohol-induced coma. As such, the fact is, that unless you refuse consent, there is no case to answer, for either rape or sexual assault.

In conclusion, George Galloway’s remarks and comments are/ were entirely valid, and you should neither be offended nor outraged. If you are, then you clearly do not understand the definitions of rape or sexual assault, and you are clearly too overly sensitive to comments made by a public figure with whom you do not necessarily have any favour or liking. This is the “deeply disappointing and wrong” point of view such people hold, as well as your/ their failure to understand the nature of sexual encounters and relationships.

Author: Jason Schumann

Tags: Cultural Analysis, Debating Culture,Julian Assange, Freedom of Expression, George Galloway, Rape, What is rape, Twitter, Consenting sex, Politics, WikiLeaks, Sweden,Respect Party,Salma Yaqoob, bad sexual etiquette, Swedish Police

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