So what does a rapist look like? Thats the question for this essay to discuss.
I’ve been following the Assange and Wikileaks cases very carefully. The superb Feminist columnist Laurie Penny wrote a blog poston Julian Assange’s Rape case. I think there are two disturbing factors in the ‘Julian Assange is a good man and good people don’t rape Narrative’. Firstly we assume that implicitly all those that do good acts (assuming that wikileaks and freedom of information is a good thing) are ‘good’ people. I severely doubt everyone behaves in a morally upstanding way all of the time.
The other related factor is that instantly when one assumes that, we are led to believe that women cry rape all the time. Unfortunately some women do lie about such things, and that sort of experience really changes how we statistically think about these issues.
The specifics of this case are involving a ‘condom malfunction’ and it should be noted that Julian Assange is accused of the lowest form of rape allegations – and some of this case does relate to the ‘dirty tricks’ by a certain imperial power.
The second key assumption is that ‘good guys don’t rape’. But there is as Pennie observes ‘a rape culture’, and most rape (sex without consent) is perpetuated by men who are Doctors, Lawyers, Academics, Teachers and otherwise seen as excellent upstanding members of society. These things are not ‘bad bedroom etiquette’ this is a real crime that affects thousands of women every day. It may be the most under reported crime – not to mention male rape victims who face a host of societal stigmas. Please remember that women are not a priori the holders of moral authority on any matters.
In Summary what is perhaps the most disturbing thing is as Johann Hari observed ‘Its scary how many people won’t accept that a women is raped, unless she is taken away kicking and screaming’. No is a word that doesn’t mean consent, and we should all remember that Rape is a very common and ultimately banal crime.