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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Moore’

There are several words that can be used to describe Julian Assange: hero, terrorist, victim, perpetrator, target, criminal. Depending on how one feels about his role in the WikiLeaks controversy, these words could be used to glorify or demonize him.

By Andreas Gaufer (26c3 Wikileaks) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Julian Assange

Recently, those who see Assange as a hero and a victim have insisted that the charges of sexual assault he is facing in Sweden are another tool being used against him in the WikiLeaks controversy. Currently, Assange faces one charge of rape, two counts of sexual molestation, and one count of coercion and illegal use of force. The charges, originally filled in September, have come to light with Assange’s arrest in the United Kingdom and the Swedish government’s attempt to extradite him. He is currently being held in the United Kingdom.

 

Whether or not Assange is being unfairly prosecuted for the materials WikiLeaks is publishing is not the subject of this article. Rather, I’d like to discuss the idea that an accusation of rape can be used as a political tool by both sides of the WikiLeaks debate may cause more harm than any of the infamous documents.

By David Shankbone (David Shankbone) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (<a href="http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html" class="external free" rel="nofollow">http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html</a>)], via Wikimedia Commons

Naomi Wolf

Rape should not be a political tool. The allegations against Assange are serious, and there is no reason for anyone on either side of the debate to suggest or use these allegations for political gain; that is atrocious. Many of those who believe Assange to be a hero, such as Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann, and Naomi Wolf, have come out in strong opposition to these charges. Olbermann took to Twitter in an attempt to smear Assange’s accusers. Feminist writer Wolf wrote an article titled “Julian Assange Captured by the World’s Dating Police” for the Huffington Post, which downplayed the accusations as nothing more than a bad date. Many online news outlets have dropped their ethics, publishing names and photos of the accusers in an attempt at publically shaming them.

 

The allegations against Assange for sexual assault need to be divorced from the personal opinions surrounding the leaks. The rape charges should stand apart from other charges he may face. This public humiliation is why rape victims are so hesitant to file charges against their attackers. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, most sexual assaults are likely to go unreported.

One thing that has not been considered by anyone taking Assange’s side in the WikiLeaks scandal is that the international authorities may be using the victims as political pawns. Rape cases are difficult to prosecute and many times never see the inside of a court room. If the charges against Assange reveal that he is indeed guilty of sexual assault, then shouldn’t those who are angered by what they assume are false allegations also be angered that charges of sexual assault are not taken as seriously as they should be?

This post was written by Leadership Programs Fellow Donnae Wahl.

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