19 December 2010

So There's This Kerfluffle? In the Internets? Maybe You've Heard About It.

I don't want to talk about the mess surrounding Julian Assange and the rape charges against him. I never met the man. I never read Wikileaks. I have no idea, really, what kind of person he is or what he does in his spare time, though I've heard enough to where if I ever met him I would make sure not to be alone with him.

I'm still examining my own beliefs about who has the "right" to do what -- though obviously, obviously everyone has the human right to not be raped --, and what I think about his alleged actions, and his accusers' alleged actions, and his defenders' alleged actions. I don't actually have the information I need to begin to understand what "really" happened. (I don't know of a place I could really get this information, either; everyone seems to be calling everyone else a liar.) I know that even being as neutral as I am -- I don't think true neutrality is possible -- is a choice, and that a lot of people on both sides see this choice of neutrality as a betrayal. I think my line wouldn't please anyone; my line doesn't please me and it will probably move. It is a betrayal, maybe; civil rights and human rights shouldn't be negotiated and compromised and there isn't a lot of space for neutrality on them. 

I'm not going to rattle on and make my very confused feelings about this into a whole post. I think that would be a betrayal. This isn't about me. But I'm also not ignoring it.

There seem to be so many reasons why this case is a Bad Example, and we should be fighting over a Good Example, if we want to fight rape culture. (In a lot of ways, the Roman Polanski case was a Good Example; it certainly seems far less ambiguous.) Maybe, though, a bad example is the best kind of example. I know it's pointed out a lot of my own prejudices to me.

I do want to point you somewhere, to people with more bravery and more conviction than I have right now. Some very, very, brave women are taking a stand on Twitter, and making this case an example, and using its publicity to fight rape culture. You should read about what they're doing here, but please, count this as a trigger warning. The link goes to the first blog post explaining the protest; a lot has happened since then that you can read about on the same blog. The protest has been going on for four days now. The latest posts and updates are especially powerful, and therefore get an especially strong trigger warning.

There are a bunch of ways to get involved in that protest, whether you're on Twitter or not; some of them -- and some supporting arguments for the protest -- are here, and there's a trigger warning on that too.

I don't know what Assange did or did not do. I can't imagine anyone accusing him for fun. I know that rape culture is more pervasive than I can describe, and that any ideas I have about Assange will be colored by it. I'm trying to figure out what that coloring is doing to me.

What's it doing to you?


  1. It's making me livid, to be quite honest. What I have learned from Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann is that when it comes to political agendas, women need to be silent and forget that pesky right to their own bodies.

    The link you posted says it much better than I ever, ever can, but the disappointment, rage and hurt I am feeling just makes it hard to type coherently at the moment. It's not about me, of course, but as women, these silencing and questioning attitudes are what we have to deal with all the damn time. To hear these men authorise and encourage such shitty attitudes is hurtful. And wrong.

    As Harriet says, wikileaks and JA are not the same. One may continue without the other; I just find it telling that when it comes to the issue of the female voice, doing a very difficult thing in actually pursuing her attacker, people are telling her to pipe down. Allies are also derailing these conversations by turning back to the 'larger' issue at hand (thanks for demeaning this one, by the way. Won't these pesky feminists learn anything about their bodies being public property?)

    It's just so damn frustrating hearing men say that 'women have it easy', 'of course you are equal', when shit like this comes up again and again and again.
    Hollywood disappointed me with Polanski (bye any respect I had for you, Johnny Depp.) I don't know why I expected any different from this case.

    And also? Where in all hell do these people think they have the right to smear these women? Brandishing their identity on the internet, encouraging harrassment and hateful behaviour? Yeah, you never had my support, but this guarantees you'll never have it ever.

    I said it on my LJ, but I'll say it here too. ALL OF THIS is just reminding me of where we, as women, actually stand in society.

  2. That's the thing.

    There are some opinions and acts that change, given the context of whether JA did or did not rape anyone. I'm unclear about a lot of those, because I don't know what he did and didn't do. (Which is this whole other thing, because I wonder if I should believe or doubt his accusers, and I don't have the info, but many -- not all -- of the people who are doubting them are behaving like douchebags, so...)

    There are other things that DON'T change whether or not you believe his accusers. And removing the privacy of these accusers such that they get death threats is emphatically in this second column.

  3. I have received most of my info from ontd_political, but here's a link to an article that I've read that details the accusations.

    Yes, this is the thing. Even if he did turn out to be innocent, I will be no less angry because his supporters are being completely disgusting about it. I've not felt this rageful in a long time.