I’m not a supporter of Slutwalk in general as I have already outlined here. I don’t think its possible to reclaim a word that the Patriarchy uses to oppress us. Despite my reservations, I am, however, supportive of the number of women who have stood up to be counted in the War on Women. I hope to see these women at Reclaim the Night and Million Women Rise. We can destroy the Patriarchy from within fighting simultaneously on various fronts but we can’t win the war when the very women supposedly standing up to defend women are supporting the silencing of rape victims who had the misfortune to be raped by left-wing men.
I was disappointed to read of @SlutwalkLondon’s tweet from yesterday via Stavvers. Their statement of support for Women Against Rape’s perplexing stand on the Assange rape case is full of fallacious statements, complete misunderstandings of the Swedish justice system and some seriously problematic rape myths:
We support Women Against Rape. We think Assange should be prosecuted, just that he should not be extradited to Sweden because it is likely he will then be extradited to the US and treated the same as Bradley Manning. We are not saying the women lied or that they should not get justice. But we think he should stand trial here. It is pretty clear the authorities are not pursuing Assange because of the rape allegations. Look at how the authorities treat rape victims – they don’t give a damn. 93 out of every 100 reported rapists go free. Also, look at how the UK acted when Spain requested that Pinochet be extradited. Pinochet (a Chilean dictator) was responsible for the death, rape and torture of thousands of people, crimes far greater than Assange’s. But the UK government denied Spain’s extradition request and let Pinochet go free – because they didn’t care about the people who died because of Pinochet just as they do not care about these women. The pursuit of Assange is not about protecting rape victims or anyone else. They want him to be extradited to the US to face trial and be imprisoned there so he can’t expose what the US government does anymore. We can’t let this happen because the things Wikileaks exposed will help stop wars and the rape and murder they bring happen in future. Let him stand trial here.
I can’t even begin to comprehend how they think Assange could be tried in Britain for a crime committed in Sweden or the naivety that Wikileaks has in anyway helped stopped wars. Assange himself has been fairly instrumental in outing sources who’ve then disappeared so how he gets to be the Defender of Democracy boggles my mind. Yes, the authorities don’t seem to give a shit about rape and the British government’s refusal to extradite Pinochet was wrong [I don’t care how ill he was. He should have stood trial and then we could discuss sentencing for elderly, ill men. But, not before they get convicted for their crimes.] The whole Bradley Manning bit is utter bollocks. Manning was a serving member of the military when arrested. He has been charged under military law; not criminal law. The treatment Manning is receiving is despicable and I think its fairly note-worthy that the same Dudes running about supporting Pussy Riot’s free speech haven’t been half as vocal on the issue of Manning. Even if Sweden deported Assange, he would be tried under civilian criminal law and, really, the chances of Sweden deporting Assange are so much less likely than the UK who have form for deporting British citizens to the US.
How the fuck whoever tweeted this garbage thinks the two women will get justice whilst supposed feminists are running about claiming Assange is too important to go stand trial for rape is beyond me. The umbrella organisation Slutwalk Britain have already denounced this tweet but the damage has already been done. Rich, white guy can’t possibly be a rapist because he’s anti-government. This is precisely the language that the Occupy movement used when excusing the rapists preying on women in their camps across the world.
UPDATE: Anastasia Richardson has apologised for the statements she made using the official Slutwalk London Twitter account:
The recent views expressed regarding the extradition of Julian Assange were my own rather than those of SlutWalk London. I apologise for using this platform to express these views and hope they do not deter from the purpose of SlutWalk, which is to send the message that there is never any excuse for rape and to demand protection and justice for all rape survivors.