Excuse the provocative title, but has anyone noticed the amount of news stories doing the rounds over the last few months that have featured the subject of rape?
Hadley Freeman summarised them all rather nicely, but I’ll give it a going-over too.
To follow my extradition/asylum piece of last week, I have to insist that supporting Julian Assange does not automatically engage the idea that somehow I’m overlooking the plight of the women at the centre of the Swedish investigation, or women who allege rape in general.
There is no pussyfooting around the issue: as Barack Obama said yesterday “rape is rape”, and as Ms Freeman writes, “rape is rape is rape.”
So we’ve got that sorted.
Now to address the buffoonish and demagogic George Galloway who ought to check facts before opening his gob.
"Some people believe that when you go to bed with somebody, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you're already in the sex game with them. It might be really bad manners not to have tapped her on the shoulder and said: 'Do you mind if I do it again?.' It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape…”
He’s obviously wrong, both legally and morally, as so very many people have pointed out. It’s also the only allegation in the Assange case that has a leg to stand on.
So, Galloway uttered two untruths within the same sentence. This should come as no surprise from the man who turned to Saddam Hussein and said “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, and your indefatigability.”
Columnist Julie Bindel did her best grumpy face and forgot temporarily that feminists once vied for equality, not just the vilification of men.
“Most rape falls into the category that Galloway has decided is simply "bad sexual etiquette", ergo most women are lying, and most men are the victims of spurious accusations from women who should read up on rape legislation,” she says.
As a blanket statement, she’s absolutely right. But consider the factual elements: that neither complainants in the Assange case have reviewed or signed their statements, and never approached the Swedish police to lay sexual assault or rape complaints in the first instance.
Further, consider the possibility of homosexual rape, and Blindel’s allegory appears just that little bit less forward thinking.
Also failing to check facts before lying through his ignorant teeth was Congressman Todd Akin who said this during a TV interview:
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down, but let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment. But the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Akin clearly has a whole host of imaginary doctors at his disposal, and while they could have been curing cancer, or eradicating HIV/AIDS, or helping advocate the right to legal suicide, they spewed up this turgid rubbish instead.
There seems to be a cloudy haze of confusion surrounding rape in the public sphere, so hopefully these debacles would do well to educate the public, and I’ll drop my two cents here.
If a person (male or female) does not consent to sexual engagement: it is rape.Simple as that.
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