Posted on | December 6, 2010 | 135 Comments
There’s a lot going around in bloglandia and on the interwebs about WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange’s sexual assault charge in Sweden; commentators are saying that Assange didn’t really rape anyone, and these are trumped-up charges of “sex by surprise,” which basically means that Assange didn’t wear a condom and so days later the women he slept with are claiming rape. . . .
It also sounds like in one case, condom use was negotiated for and Assange agreed to wear a condom but didn’t, and the woman didn’t realize it until after they had sex; in the second case, it sounds like the condom broke and the woman told Assange to stop, which he did not. . . .
Yadda, yadda, now the unadulterated nonsense:
It’s an obvious enough concept for feminist thinkers who have spent more than 10 minutes considering the realities of sex and sexual assault: If you consent to sex but then at some point during sex withdraw that consent by telling your partner to stop, your partner should stop, and if your partner doesn’t stop then that’s assault. . . .
Whether withdrawal of consent is what actually happened here is impossible to tell, so I’m not suggesting that Assange is a rapist or that these charges are 100% definitely on-point; I have no idea. But neither do the commentators who are saying that Assange did nothing more than have sex without a condom. And it’s important to counter the “haha sex by surprise those crazy Swedes” media narrative with the fact that actually, non-consensual sex is assault and should be recognized as such by law. Consenting to one kind of sexual act doesn’t mean that you consent to anything else your partner wants to do; if it’s agreed that the only kind of sex we’re having is with a condom, then it does remove an element of consent to have sex without a condom with only one partner’s knowledge. To use another example, if you and your partner agree that you can penetrate her, it doesn’t necessarily follow that she has the green light to penetrate you whenever and however. . . .
Go read the whole silly thing, but I warn you: That’s three minutes of your life you’ll never get back.
Having already said that the proper response to Julian Assange can be summarized in four words — Predator drone. Hellfire missile. — I certainly have no interest in defending that disgusting scumbag. But I think many people who look at life from a practical, common-sense perspective will react to Jill’s fine scruples about the process of ensuring mutual consent much like I did: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
Is this what all that ’60s “sexual liberation” rhetoric has wrought?
In an era when some 40% of U.S. births are to unmarried women, in a culture where “Girls Gone Wild” and “hook-ups” are normative, where threesomes, bisexual experimentation and amateur video-porn orgies have become a virtual rite of passage for many young Americans, where chlamydia and herpes are pandemic — in this era of rampant sexual decadence, I say, does Jill Filipovic (J.D., NYU) seriously expect horny strangers to negotiate consent calmly on an act-by-act basis while they’re knocking boots, making the beast with two backs, in flagrante delicto?
Listen up, sweetheart: You buy the ticket, you take the ride.
You made your choice when you picked the guy, who is going to run his standard modus operandi on you, just like he ran it on the last three-dozen hoes he played.
If you tumble into a random hook-up with no prior knowledge of the guy’s reputation and he turns out to be a selfish brute whose standard modus operandi is repulsive, dangerous or painful, in what sense are you a victim of anything except your own stupidity?
Not to get too far into the details of the “Assange Gone Wild” tale, but a brief summary is helpful to understanding the factual context for Filipovic’s theorizing about the proper feminist-approved protocols of sexual consent:
Assange, a 39-year-old bachelor, flies into Stockholm to lecture at a seminar organized by a bunch of leftists. An attractive “fun-loving” 20-something woman employed by the leftist party sponsoring the seminar “offered to let [Assange] stay in her one-bedroom flat” that night.
He shoots, he scores.
Next day, at the seminar, Assange is basically stalked by a groupie, also 20-something but younger than the first woman. The groupie chick has seen Assange on TV and is clearly eager to get some of his world-famous manmeat inside her moist and willing self.
He shoots, he scores.
Assange moves on, presumably to other conquests. Meanwhile, the two women talk and realize that Assange did them both, within the span of three or four days. They go to the cops.
Get the picture here? Both of these leftist chicks were only too happy to give up the nookie for Julian Assange, International Hero of World Peace. It wasn’t like he was stalking them in the hallways, or dosing their drinks with ruhypnol then inviting his frat brothers to help themselves to sloppy seconds after the women passed out.
No. Rather the case seems to be that Julian Assange, International Hero of World Peace, doesn’t like to wear a raincoat in the shower. He’s a habitual hetero barebacker and, if women try to talk him into using a condom, he’ll play the old “oops, the condom broke” trick and keep on strokin’.
As the denizens of Roissy might say, Assange has got game.
Or rather, he had game until his game became the subject of headlines around the world.
Jill Filipovic imagines a fine-tuned legalistic framework of consent, wherein women who are stupid enough to be shamelessly played by the player can then summon the police powers of the state to remedy their morning-after buyer’s remorse and avenge their exploited nookie.
Neither of these women, it is worth noting, thought of filing charges against Julian Assange, International Hero of World Peace, until they realized they’d been played.
The problem here is not some theoretical abstraction about the nature of consent. No, the much larger problem apparent in this situation is that Swedish leftist women are atrocious sluts.
As for Julian Assange: Predator drone. Hellfire missile.
Because I’m a feminist, too.
ADDENDUM: I forgot to explain the headline, for readers who may not keep track of Whoopi Goldberg’s routine idiocies. On ‘The View,’ Whoopi was discussing the case against Roman Polanski, who plied a 13-year-old girl with wine and quaaludes before having anal intercourse with her. Whoopi infamously proclaimed, “I know it wasn’t rape rape.”
ADDENDUM II: Just so you know where Jill Filipovic is coming from, she was one of several contributors to a feminist essay collection entitled Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. From that book:
“While right-wing groups certainly don’t come out in support of rape, they do promote an extremist ideology that enables rape and promotes a culture where sexual assault is tacitly accepted. The supposedly ‘pro-family’ marital structure, in which sex is exchanged for support and the woman’s identity is absorbed into her husband’s, reinforces the idea of women as property and as simple accoutrements to a man’s more fully realized existence.”
Got that? Marriage is part of an “extremist ideology that enables rape.” Here we have Swedish socialist women being used and discarded by Julian Assange, International Hero of World Peace, and yet Filipovic and her feminist sisters insist that the real problem is those scary right-wingers, whom they accuse of promoting “a culture where sexual assault is tacitly accepted.”
Project much, Jill?
UPDATE: A couple of commenters have raised objections, to which I have responded below, the key points of my responses being:
What Jill Filipovic is trying to do is to Make the World Safe for Promiscuity, to absolve one class of willful participants in fornication — the women — of any responsibility for the consequences of their choices, so that when the other class of participants — the men — act as it might easily be predicted many of them will act under such circumstances, the police powers of the state are invoked: Surprise! You’re a criminal! . . .
The International Society for Running Around With Sharp Sticks cannot also command respect as the International Society for Eye Safety. And the so-called “pro-sex feminists” cannot command respect as advocates for women’s best interests.
I am not endorsing, advocating or defending Julian Assange’s behavior. He is a bad person, what he did was clearly wrong, and whatever harm befalls him, he most certainly deserves. But Assange’s wrongs were perpetrated in an environment of casual promiscuity. It is in just such an environment that lowlifes like Assange thrive and flourish, and if we refuse to criticize promiscuity — if we never point out to women that, in sleeping around, they are playing a game in which they are vulnerable to exploitation — then we are not-so-innocent bystanders.