This week in London, an attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been making the case against extradition for his client to Sweden to face potential charges of rape and molestation. Here is how Assange’s own lawyer summarized one of the incidents in court: “They fell asleep and she woke up by his penetrating her. She immediately asked if he was wearing anything. He answered: ‘You.’ She said: ‘You better not have HIV.’ He said: ‘Of course not.’ ”
Keep that description in mind as you watch this video, which has been put out to raise money for, among other things, Assange’s legal defense:
According to the Swedish prosecutor, sexually penetrating an unconscious person without consent amounts to a crime, which incidentally is what I remember learning during a rape education seminar when I was a college freshman. The prosecutor has accused Assange of wanting to wind “the law on consent back to the 19th century,” adding, “at best, the words ‘I let him’ amount to submission, not free consent.”
I am no expert in British or Swedish law, and it remains to be seen whether Assange will later challenge any of the facts of the case, as presented by the women. So far, his attorney said in court that he will not challenge the fact that the women “found Mr Assange’s sexual behaviour in these encounters disreputable, discourteous, disturbing or even pushing towards the boundaries of what they were comfortable with.”
That alone should be enough to make clear that Assange’s problems in Sweden have absolutely nothing to do with his political activities, a claim that Assange’s supporters continue to make in videos like the one above. Penetrating a sleeping woman he had only recently met, if true, is not a political act, despite the efforts of his supporters to cast the resulting high cost of his house arrest as some sort of effort to stop the Arab Spring. It is the behavior of a brute, at best, and a criminal, at worst.
Of course, the sleeping incident is not the only one under investigation. Here is Assange’s own lawyer summarizing the events related to another charge facing his client, involving another woman.
The appellant [Assange]’s physical advances were initially welcomed but then it felt awkward since he was “rough and impatient” … They lay down in bed. AA was lying on her back and Assange was on top of her … AA felt that Assange wanted to insert his penis into her vagina directly, which she did not want since he was not wearing a condom … She did not articulate this. Instead she therefore tried to turn her hips and squeeze her legs together in order to avoid a penetration … AA tried several times to reach for a condom, which Assange had stopped her from doing by holding her arms and bending her legs open and trying to penetrate her with his penis without using a condom. AA says that she felt about to cry since she was held down and could not reach a condom and felt this could end badly.