by Furry Girl
The first person who ever made me fear for my life was an avowed pacifist. He was my boyfriend, and he lost his temper, threw me to ground, pinned me down, and head-slammed me until several of his guy friends dragged him off me. This was at the same time that he became obsessed with Gandhi and decided that protesting was unethical because it had the potential to make someone uncomfortable, which was, according to him, a form of unacceptable psychological violence in which activists must no longer engage. I later had my head smashed into the edge of a tiled kitchen countertop by an environmentalist boyfriend, too. I've twice experienced a panic at the hands of a "do-gooder" that my skull was going to be cracked open. You don't need to convince me that abuse exists in even the most purportedly enlightened circles.
I have also witnessed a number of instances of people in activist and political social scenes who have use calculated accusations of rape, abuse, and assault out of spite, broken-heartedness, desire for attention, and to deflect from their own behaviors. Why does this happen? On the left side of the political spectrum, people are awarded unflinching acceptance of all claims of sexual misconduct. This harm lasts forever, even if later proved false or rescinded by the accuser once they've stopped being mad at their ex. I have friends who have been slandered by former lovers, and I've seen how the stigma scars their lives. I've seen this happen in different countries, in different social causes/subgroups, among people with different class backgrounds, different orientations and genders, and different ages. It's not been just a one-off thing that could be chalked up to a small and localized problem, like, "Gay animal rights people in Tuscon under 25 tend to do this."
I have no idea if WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange might have had sex with two of his fans without using a condom every time, or whether a condom broke. I don't know whether, if true, it was coerced unprotected sex, or consented to in the moment and later regretted. (You don't know the answers to these questions, either.) I spent several hours reading articles from both pro-and anti-Assange camps, and the more I read, the more the stories and circumstances of his accusers sounded fishy, and the more hysterical his detractors got with cherry-picking information, flat-out lying, and using over-the-top emotionally-manipulative language.
Here's the story from what I can tell: "victim one" bragged about having trophy-fucked Assange, threw a party for him the day after he "raped" her, and only decided she'd been "raped" after finding out she wasn't his only lover. Earlier this year, her blog promoted exacting malicious revenge on men who are unfaithful. (This series of events apparently could sound suspect only to a "rape-apologist"?) Once two jilted Assange groupies discovered each other, the women who'd previously stayed friendly with Assange even after their "assaults" (while thinking they were his only girl) got upset and decided to go to the police. And, even then, they didn't go to press rape charges at first, they went to see if they could force Assange to undergo STI testing. After there wasn't any evidence to charge him with anything, one woman changed her story to claim that, yes, actually, she did recall that he held her down with his body weight when they had sex, and so she was a rape victim. (The feminist hysterics have been holding up that part as their key lynchpin in their witch hunt. Because obviously, only a rapist would be on top of a woman during sex!)
So, are Assange's accusers victims of a powerful and horny political celebrity, or are they pissed off jealous fangirls who assumed Assange would reciprocate their adoration if they pursued and seduced him? It's a fair question to ask about motivations and truthfulness here, but anyone who's been asking gets shouted down with screams of "YOU SUPPORT RAPE!" It's a very offensive logical fallacy: question whether Assange is actually a rapist, and it means you must think rape is awesome.
Our post-feminist western culture celebrates women doing pointlessly spiteful things to men. This is the "triumph" of decades of fighting real sexism: narratives where women blow up an unattractive suitor's truck (Thelma & Louise), or burn all their husband's possessions when he wants a divorce (Waiting to Exhale) are chick flick classics. Women are generally given free passes to control, abuse, and seek vengeance that they would never be allowed if they were men. The solution to gender-based injustice is never to just reverse which gender the injustice gets brought against.
When lefties fanatically spearhead every rape/abuse allegation leveled by anyone, they are creating an environment that enables and even encourages false accusations from angry parties. While it's a travesty that police and courts have historically not often believed the claims of people who have been sexually assaulted, the solution is not to unquestioningly champion and celebrate anyone who says they are a victim. Never believing and always believing allegations are both wrong. Rape and assault are awful, fucked up things, but that doesn't mean accusations shouldn't be subjected to any degree of fact-checking or skepticism. Murder is awful, too, and even with badly flawed judicial systems, we still generally try and sort out the facts and give the accused their day in court and a chance to defend themselves.
Hysterics will no doubt claim that I'm defending rape or don't take it seriously. On the contrary: I consider rape and sexual assault accusations to be so serious that they deserve extra consideration and yes, even questioning when it's warranted. I think we're obligated to turn a critical eye on potentially fraudulent allegations. As someone who recently sung the praises of vigilante justice, I'm all in favor of exacting harsh revenge upon rapists, predators, and abusers - but if you're going to do that to someone, you had better be sure.
What is the workable alternative to having some degree of caution about rape accusations? What solution do the feminists propose? Is their argument that rape is so terrible that it's morally justifiable to mindlessly destroy innocent lives in the pursuit of ferreting out any potential rapists? (The term for that is collateral damage, and it's generally used to gloss over and negate civilian casualties in warfare.)
Julian Assange deserves a right to defend himself, have legal representation, question the lack of evidence of wrongdoing, and address lies being spread in the mainstream and liberal press. (Example: he didn't "flee Sweden to avoid prosecution" as the feminists are claiming - he stuck around some 40 days after the accusations surfaced, trying to see if police wanted to take a statement from him. Assange also willingly turned himself in - hardly the hallmark of a "flight risk trying to avoid going to court".) I don't know what transpired between himself and his "victims", but I do know that thus far, I'm not convinced he did anything more discourteous than failing to make clear to his Swedish ladyfriends he wasn't looking to settle down and marry them. Maybe my guess will be proved wrong. I'll keep an open mind, and I challenge others to do the same, especially when it comes to such incendiary topics. Google the matter for yourself, pick an array of articles to read (start with this post, perhaps), and form your own opinion based on a metric other than "anyone accused of rape is guilty, because rape is wrong."
Being around activist types for over a decade - and witnessing the fallout of how some of them go nuclear on their former lovers - I've been taught to be very suspicious of accusations of sexual impropriety when they involve "politically-minded," lefty, and feminist people. Don't blame me for requesting fairness to all parties - vilify the scoundrels who cry wolf just to get back at an ex, mocking real survivors and make it harder for them to be believed. Just as much as rapists and abusers, fakers are the true villains of this topic.
Furry Girl: legs now closed for business.
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New to my blog? Some favorite posts
- "You have no right to dislike feminism after all it's done for you!"
- "You misrepresent true feminism by focusing on the bad feminists. They're not real feminists anyway!"
- An argument for more sex workers to be out?
- Degrading, violent desires
- Do you have what it takes to be an empowered sex worker?
- Feminism is the shitty relationship you had in your early 20s
- Feminist porn isn't a branch of sex workers' rights, it's an obstacle
- How are we branding sex workers rights in the US? (Let's focus more on *worker*, less on *sex*!)
- How to do your homework on trafficking, "rescue", and the affected communities
- Let's stop pretending that "objectification" is a thing that exists
- Musings on ethical porn and the red herrings of "feminist porn" and "violent porn"
- My call for a "working" class uprising against inaccessible discourse and the over-representation of dabblers
- Sex trafficking is the new crack: manufactured "epidemics" as political tools
- The common logical fallacies deployed by anti-sex worker activists
- Things I've gained from being a sex worker: an anti-paternalistic perspective
- Vigilantism and 'crushing bastards': in praise of anger, hatred, and taking joy in the smiting of one's enemies
- Want to play BINGO with the antis?
- Watch out for psuedoscience: my long-time nemeses of concern trolling and "teaching the controversy"
- What do I mean when I say "sex worker"? Why I'm against an overly-broad definition
- Why I call them "anti-sex worker" rather than "anti-porn" or "anti-prostitution," and why you should too
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- Amanda Brooks
- Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers
- Belle de Jour
- Born Whore
- Bound, Not Gagged
- Dan Savage on SLOG
- Danny Wylde
- Jiz Lee
- Laura Agustín
- Lux Nightmare [2006-2007]
- Maggie McNeill
- Our Porn, Ourselves
- Sequoia Redd
- Serpent Libertine
- Sexonomics by Brooke Magnanti
- Shit They Say to Sex Workers
- Stuff Sex Workers Eat
- Women Against Feminism