Naomi Wolf and Jaclyn Friedman Debate Julian Assange's Rape Charges
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If you read these allegations, he took off Miss A’s clothes too quickly for her comfort. She tried to tell him to slow down, but then, quote, "she allowed him to undress her." This is what the report says. The second woman says she woke to find him having sex with her. When she asked whether he was wearing a condom, he said no. Quote, "According to her statement, she said: 'You better not have HIV.'" He answered, "Of course not." Quote, "She couldn’t be bothered to tell him one more time because she had been going on about the condom all night. She had never had unprotected sex before."
So, if you’re going to treat women as moral adults and if you’re going to take the issue of rape seriously, the person who’s engaging in what he thinks is consensual sex has to be told, "I don’t want this." And again and again and again, these women did not say, "This is not consensual." Assange was shocked when these were brought up as complaints, because he had no idea that this was not a consensual situation. Miss A kept Assange in her home for the next four days and threw a party for him.
So, because I take rape seriously, because I’m aware that in 23 years, you know, in Sweden, which has been criticized by Amnesty International for disregarding rape, for letting rapists go free, because you have a better chance in Sweden, if you’re a rape victim, of, you know, dying in an accident or getting breast cancer than having a serious rape allegation prosecuted or getting any kind of legal hearing, according to Amnesty International’s report "Case Closed"—it’s because of that that I know that these charges are utterly, utterly atypically handled. In 23 years, I’ve never seen any man in any situation this ambiguous, involving this much consent, have any kind of legal process whatsoever. And all over the world, women who have been gang-raped, brutally raped, raped in alleyways, pimped, prostituted, trafficked, you know, their rapists go free.
So, yes, this stinks to me. And yes, it’s about politics, and it’s about the same kind of politics that dragged you, when you were trying to cover a march, you know, violently into legal jeopardy, because really this is about a journalist who has angered the most powerful and increasingly brutal nation on earth, and it’s about all of us who are journalists being dragged into a dangerous situation because of criticism of the government.
AMY GOODMAN: Jaclyn Friedman, your response?
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: Wow. First of all, I’ve also been working with rape survivors for 20 years, and I am one myself. And I can assure you that you do not speak for me or many of us. I, too, have been speaking with rape survivors around the world since this case broke, who have been so hurt and disappointed that someone like you, who understands about the danger of perpetuating myths in the media, would be perpetuating rape myths that hurt all of us. There are so many rape survivors that are up in arms about the way this case has been discussed and the way these women have been disregarded.
NAOMI WOLF: But Jaclyn, Jaclyn, with all due respect—
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: I fully agree—no, no.
NAOMI WOLF:—where did they say no?
JACLYN FRIEDMAN: I did not interrupt you when you were speaking, and I would appreciate—
NAOMI WOLF: I beg your pardon.
JACLYN FRIEDMAN:—if you don’t—I’m going get to that.