All Apologies

Written By: - Date published: 12:49 pm, March 17th, 2015 - 332 comments
Categories: crime, Ethics, patriarchy, sexism - Tags: , , ,

In the recent post about Julian Assange’s continuing attempt to avoid Swedish law, the phrase “rape apologist” was used many times. Oddly, it was primarily used by those defending Assange in reference to themselves, usually as an accusation in the style of ‘are you calling me a rape apologist?’.

For the most part, commenters did not actually deny rape per se. Rape denialism is a perverse and conservative concept that, effectively, there is no such thing as rape, except in very narrowly defined circumstances.

The principle argument put forward is that Assange should not face prosecution in Sweden because the potential consequences outweigh the gravity of the alleged crime. Despite the lack of evidence to back the belief, it’s held that Sweden will immediately despatch the Wikileaks founder to the USA where he will be sentenced to life in prison or execution for crimes for which he is not currently charged.

This is despite Sweden’s reputation as a liberal haven for anti-authoritarian figures such as Assange and the oppressed and stateless generally. And ignoring Sweden’s law that no person can be extradited to a country where they may be subject to the death penalty.

But are some of the defenders of Assange really rape apologists? Having trawled through the comments, the answer is probably yes. The very insistence that the consequences of going to Sweden even for the investigation part of the judicial process outweighs the gravity of his alleged offending is a type of rape apology.

Rape apologism takes many forms, but some of the most regular tropes are these:

No force was used.

The rapist must use violence if it is really rape. Despite a minimum of rapes being committed by strangers there are people who consider that it can only be rape if it happens in an alley behind a pub or a public park.

I didn’t want to wake her:

This should probably be known as the Galloway defence after UK ‘Respect’ (sic) party MP George Galloway tried to excuse what he understood Assange had done by saying:

“This is something which can happen, you know. I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.”

She asked for it:

This is where the victim puts herself in danger by, say, wearing clothes, going outside/staying indoors or having a meal with someone or inviting someone home or sharing a bed with someone.

No means Yes:

The secret rape fantasy that all women share. If a guy is just persistent enough, eventually they’ll come around to liking it.

She didn’t fight back:

If she didn’t want it she would have done something. Which ignores actual physical ability, feelings of shame or powerlessness or even the possibility that the victim was not actually awake.

We’ve done it once, so …

Earlier consent does not actually equate to ongoing consent. But see the Galloway defence if you must clutch at straws.

Pedantic penetration:

The use of euphemisms to minimise the seriousness of rape. Surprise sex, unwanted sex, and accidental sex. Non consensual sex, a bad hook up. All use language to diminish the crime.

It was a false claim:

Rape culture suggests that incidents of false or politically motivated rape accusations are regular occurrences. This conveniently stifles rape victims who don’t want to be accused of lying or be battered by media and social media abuse.

Shall we play a game? Here are some quotes from comments on the recent post. Can you link the comment to the correct rape apology meme?

“honey traps?…and I dont think they laid charges…investigation setup to harrass?…”

“… at least she could have given him a karate chop or a kick in the goolies…he isnt very big”

“Whether or not he has committed sexual abuse, exposing him to torture and the death penalty for alerting the world to the corruption of the US government is not an appropriate sentence.”

“… if he’s unwilling to risk permanent incarceration for what would ordinarily be considered a pretty low level of offending,”

“… there are allegations of rape which have all the hallmarks of being specious.”

“… it smacks of a setup imo….especially as one of the women was a CIA agent”

“… given all the circumstantial evidence both leaked and put up deliberately by the accusers”

“thus far it looks more like a leaky condom and a setup … ironically with a CIA agent who boasted of her exploits”

“so a woman agrees to have sex with you … just as you are about to climax … she says get off ..now..whats that?”

I’m not looking for a conversation about whether or not Assange is guilty, but, rather, a discussion about the way his defenders are echoing really damaging ideas about sexual violence which hurts rape survivors. Is there a wider lesson to be learned here? I certainly hope so.

332 comments on “All Apologies”

  1. Thanks for this post, TRP. I avoided the previous thread because I knew that exactly these kinds of arguments would arise, and it’s very stressful.

    • Pasupial 1.1

      Stephanie Rodgers

      You did not; “[avoid] the previous thread”, as your comment was the very first one on that thread:

      Finally!

      In the tailend of this snarky comment you stated: “…I am well aware this comment will result in an avalanche of anti-feminist, victim-blaming, rape-culture-enabling, defending-Assange-at-all-costs crap. So I will not engage further in this thread…”. Given this starting point, it hardly seems strange that commenters would defensively use phrases such as that which TRP characterises as; “are you calling me a rape apologist?”

      But high marks for derailing that comment thread if that was your intention. It certainly made it very difficult for people to have a reasonable debate about the issues of; legal corruption, extradition, and rendition.

      • I reject the idea that I derailed the thread. Accurately predicting that the exact same thing would happen as has happened every single time the accusations against Julian Assange are raised is not derailing.

        But it’s interesting you think that all the commenters who made the abhorrent statements TRP quotes were simply unable to help themselves. That’s another common rape myth: that women have to cover themselves up and behave “modestly” or men just won’t be able to stop themselves from committing rape.

        • KJT 1.1.1.1

          Stephanie.

          When I was 19 a young women, totally drunk and totally naked, staggered into my room.
          Contrary to what you may think, I did what most young men my age would have done, pushed her into the shower, threw her some clothes and then when she had sobered up, put her in a taxi home.

          I was shocked later to find that she was calling the company I worked for, to find me, as she wanted to find the father of her child.

          Even way back then, I considered that she was raped by the bloke in the next room. She was both underage and drunk. I was not very happy to think that some-one thought that I could do that, to anyone.

          Of course she only remembered me, not him.

          I think the bloke in the next room should have been charged.
          We did make it impossible for him to continue working in New Zealand.

          That is why we have a justice system, imperfect as it may be. To try and be fair and impartial to all parties.

        • Pasupial 1.1.1.2

          Stephanie Rodgers

          But you do admit that you did make the first comment on that thread? And that this flatly contradicts your statement that; “I avoided the previous thread”?

          There were certainly some questionable remarks in the comments to Bill’s post. I tended to scroll past those that didn’t have any quotes or links to add to the discussion. No where did I state that; “[I] think that all the commenters who made the abhorrent statements TRP quotes were simply unable to help themselves”.

          It’s more that if you storm into a room shouting; “don’t no one look at me funny!!”, you can’t claim that it proves your point if people then start looking at you quizzically.

          • Fran 1.1.1.2.1

            + 100

          • Stephanie Rodgers 1.1.1.2.2

            The fact that my comment was the first one on the thread was a coincidence of timing.

            And the fact that you said “Given this starting point, it hardly seems strange that commenters would defensively use phrases” – i.e. blaming me for the actions of other commenters – is right there for everyone to see.

            • Pasupial 1.1.1.2.2.1

              Stephanie Rodgers

              So it was your comment and not someone else using your pseudonym (say; if you’d left your name logged-in and your partner had decided to use that to make a comment with). Thus the statement; “I avoided the previous thread”, is in error – I fail to see how this could be ascribed to a coincidence of timing.

              It has been my experience that the first comment(s) of a thread often shape the following discourse. I must assume that this phenomenon is completely new to you. Obviously; those who make a comment are responsible for the content of that comment, but comments are made within a context.

              An example: Let’s say that someone says to another; “you are disingenuous and manipulative”. To which that other replies; “no I’m not – you are disingenuous and manipulative”. It would indeed be disingenuous and manipulative for the first person to then claim that the second would have made their denial anyway, even if the first person had not spoken.

            • the pigman 1.1.1.2.2.2

              “The fact that my comment was the first one on the thread was a coincidence of timing.

              Sigh, just like it’s a coincidence of timing that yours was the first post here today? Or maybe, as an author, you saw Bill’s/TRP’s posts waiting for approval/publishing, and decided to get in early and set the agenda?

              Ohhhh there I go being a raving left wing conspiracy theorist again…

              If you find this debate “stressful”, you might avoid treating TS readers with such patronising abhorrence. Then they will have no reason to call bullshit.

        • Ad 1.1.1.3

          I thought your comment on the previous posting showed that it causes massive anxiety for women to be able to debate rape in a public place. Your comment made me think: “Even here?”

          TRP’s post today is a sign that the variety and saturation of sexual violence is at one with the daily media and legal degradation of women – the lies are simply everywhere. We should hold the mirror to ourselves before we press send.

          Sometimes it’s not possible to imagine what a life beyond or outside of patriarchy would look like. But it is possible to imagine a life without snide and savage jokes, sad excuses, incredibly low reporting rates, even lower rape prosecutions, and a life where good people are no longer prepared to debate such debased savagery in public because the results are so mean, so predictable, and so hurtful. Even here.

          • weka 1.1.1.3.1

            Kiaora for that Ad.

          • Tracey 1.1.1.3.2

            nicely put

          • lprent 1.1.1.3.3

            That is what I don’t get with this particular case with the pious hand wringing.

            In this particular case, show me where either state or judiciary involved has fallen down on their duty to the women involved?

            About the only places that I can see are with the prosecutor Ny being lackadaisical. She didn’t constrain Assange from leaving Sweden. She hasn’t interviewed him.

            It isn’t hard to point that Assange is bit of an arsehole. Leaving aside his purported behaviour. The deliberate leaking of court documents to the net that were sent to his legal team is probably clear evidence of that. That is the case in my view even if that is his political beliefs, and probably the clear duty of his defence team.

            But on the other hand, in my view and that of many others, he has a clear right to defend himself from attacks from a Swedish prosecutor that show all the reeking signs of being highly political. He also has a right to defend himself legally which he has been exercising, even his fleeing to asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy has a very long and largely honourable tradition behind it.

            Sure there has been a lot of net and press about it. But that was going to happen in this case regardless. That is people expressing opinions within the relative freedom of a modern communications culture. Here we just stomp on the worst of it, but generally let the discussion run. That is why you don’t see anything about the complainants involved. But with a policy of encouraging “robust debate” we aren’t that likely to impose limitations of robust debate.

            As weka has been pointing out somewhat more politely than I would, it doesn’t stop people from expressing some damn fool catechisms like (IMHO) you just did or trenchantly making up general bullshit like:-

            Sometimes it’s not possible to imagine what a life beyond or outside of patriarchy would look like. But it is possible to imagine a life without snide and savage jokes, sad excuses, incredibly low reporting rates, even lower rape prosecutions, and a life where good people are no longer prepared to debate such debased savagery in public because the results are so mean, so predictable, and so hurtful. Even here.

            I think Bill caught it particularly well his comment on the phrase that TRP made accusations of in the post. When he searched for the phrase in the post specified, it appeared to start as stupid joke by CV, and then escalate because people got caught mouthing the phrase rather than using their frigging brains…

            I’d suggest you try the latter rather than falling into the former.

            • weka 1.1.1.3.3.1

              I took Ad’s post to be about conversations about rape/culture, not Assange.

              “That is why you don’t see anything about the complainants involved.”

              There were comments yesterday about the complainants, and there have been comments in the past. Or were you meaning something more specific?

              • Ad

                Correct. I was following the line of TRP’s post, as he requested.

                • lprent

                  So that is why he started with ….

                  In the recent post about Julian Assange’s continuing attempt to avoid Swedish law, the phrase “rape apologist” was used many times. Oddly, it was primarily used by those defending Assange in reference to themselves, usually as an accusation in the style of ‘are you calling me a rape apologist?’.

                  Explicitly saying that it was about Assange and the people “defending” him (which I am not) and carefully implying that to all people with a contrary opinion to his own were cheering an attempt to avoid Swedish law and were ipso facto rape apologists.

                  and ended with

                  I’m not looking for a conversation about whether or not Assange is guilty, but, rather, a discussion about the way his defenders are echoing really damaging ideas about sexual violence which hurts rape survivors. Is there a wider lesson to be learned here? I certainly hope so.

                  with considerable selective interpretation on the way through.

                  Basically TRP can [Deleted. This a post about an aspect of rape culture. TRP] It was a work of art in a very limited colour set. Not that I would do anything except draw attention to the tactics and some alternate explanation to those he provided. Besides which he can do it on his own without my help.

                  That is a classically memed post (from the daft logic of many failed movements) attempting to completely frame the grounds of a debate into a single plane. Then to cast anyone who disagrees as being a particular type of person. It is an admirable post of the type that I love to cleave into with an offensive machete and other ways of thinking. Life is invariably more complex than such a small and simple prescription.

                  The problem is that TRP crunched multiple strands of debate in his post together, and then pushed a single binary choice about what it is about. Which was a blatant smear about what the arguments were used in yesterdays post. Effectively he argued that if you don’t agree with his assessment of what the problem was that you were perforce only capable of thinking about it one other way. Of course he was probably reacting to various people who had in fact argued in exactly that style. But there were heaps of comments on that post and damn near a different point of view per person.

                  I think that he was completely wrong in the first paragraph for trying to say that guilt or otherwise and avoiding what looks like a crazy persecution were the only issues in the Assange case. He was just being completely obnoxious in the final one for passing judgement on everyone who wasn’t thinking about it the ‘right’ way about what it is all about. It was a completely narrow focus of someone only looking to a particular model of a complex debate and trying to shove everyone who disagreed with a particular interpretation into some daft ideologically driven wee box.

                  Worthy of a Whaleoil award for simple bombasity.

                  Especially when he dragged out of the 300ish comments and said that was what his opposition was saying ‘are you calling me a rape apologist?’. When that was in less than 20 of those comments and confined on a handful of commenters.

                  Worthy of a Winston award for spinning a line and saying that was what his opponents were saying.

                  He somehow missed the point that much of the debate has been about the flawed legal process that followed the original complaints, and speculation about why that had taken place.

                  Of course such transparent agenda setting and misinterpretation gets a kickback and wide derision from the people who aren’t interested in being so framed. Including from me. So I stopped doing the stirring I was doing yesterday, and started getting to what I see as the kernel issues in the case that he is trying to derive lessons from. To me they are the legal ones, especially about the legal process and the motivations behind it.

                  I do like it when new authors give me a straight forward excuse to help improve their technique 😈

                  Your comment appeared to be much the same as TRPs. So I treated it as much the same.

                  • “Especially when he dragged out of the 300ish comments and said that was what his opposition was saying ‘are you calling me a rape apologist?’. When that was in less than 20 of those comments and confined on a handful of commenters.”

                    Which is what I said when I wrote “Oddly, it was primarily used by those defending Assange in reference to themselves, usually as an accusation in the style of ‘are you calling me a rape apologist?’.”

                    They are not my opposition. I have no set opinion on Asssange’s guilt or innocence and won’t have until the process is finished, one way or the other. However, a handful of those who support Assange in his flight from facing the Swedish authority’s wish to question him used attacks on the women concerned in a way that victimised them and contributed to an aspect of rape culture. I’m opposed to that and I called them on it.

            • Ad 1.1.1.3.3.2

              “Is there a wider lesson to be learned here? I hope so.”

              Back up a bit and start with that Lyn.

    • xanthe 1.2

      stephanie There are those who would enter into dialogue to learn, there are those who will try to assemble facts and arguments to try to convince and there are those who clinging to a personal barrow will try to attack and discredit any who happen to be in their way. In calling out rape apologist you prove yourself to be the worst sort of bully, an ignorant one!

      • weka 1.2.1

        Did you read the post? Which of the things listed as rape apoology do you disagree with? Which do you think didn’t happen in the Assange thread?

  2. KJT 2

    I think you are mis-characterising many of the people that commented on the thread.

    It is not “rape apology” to say Justice for both the women involved and Assuage is not being served by the political shenanigans of the Swedish prosecutor.

    If you actually listen to what the women themselves said initially, they just wanted Assuange to have an aids test. Sounds like no-one was listening to them.

    It may be rape. It sounds like it to me. (Don’t put parts of yourself where people don’t want them, is axiomatic). I think it should go to trial where the facts can be examined. That it was a entrapment, or not, can then be determined by the court.

    However, at this stage we don’t know if he is guilty or not. There is far to much heat and not much light at present.
    Some have expressed ideas that Assuange is definitely a rapist, so he deserves to be rendered and tortured, regardless of the outcome of a trial. I can see, and even sympathise with, the urge to cut the balls off of any suspected rapist.

    But what happened to the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial.
    False complaints are rare, but not zero. Between 2 and 10%.
    (I can attest to what could have been one. Personally).

    And the right of whistleblowers to be treated by the justice system, on unrelated charges, the same way as everyone else.

    It is pretty clear from statements made by those in power, in the US Government, and military, that Assuange will be extradited, and face whatever charges they can trump up.

    • Pasupial 2.1

      On 30 August, Assange attended a police station in Stockholm voluntarily and answered all the questions put to him. He understood that was the end of the matter. Two days later, Ny announced she was re-opening the case. Borgstrom was asked by a Swedish reporter why the case was proceeding when it had already been dismissed, citing one of the women as saying she had not been raped. He replied, “Ah, but she is not a lawyer.” Assange’s Australian barrister, James Catlin, responded, “This is a laughing stock… it’s as if they make it up as they go along.”

      On the day Marianne Ny reactivated the case, the head of Sweden’s military intelligence service (“MUST”) publicly denounced WikiLeaks in an article entitled “WikiLeaks [is] a threat to our soldiers.” Assange was warned that the Swedish intelligence service, SAP, had been told by its US counterparts that US-Sweden intelligence-sharing arrangements would be “cut off” if Sweden sheltered him.

      http://johnpilger.com/articles/the-siege-of-julian-assange-is-a-farce-a-special-investigation

      Swedish and British courts are responsible for how the women’s allegations have been handled. As with every rape case, the women are not in charge of the case, the state is.

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/women-against-rape-julian-assange

    • greywarshark 2.2

      Surely there are degrees of rape as in murder. In this case Assange was entertaining the women or vice versa and they were okay about having sex and he then has a second helping! Is that violent, out of the blue, completely unexpected and unwanted when it already happened a short time before? Is it someone climbing through a window and forcing themselves on someone? Grabbing someone in the park and dragging them into the road? One I heard of in South Auckland years back the man drove his car into the girls legs and actually broke her leg, dragged her off and had sex with her. I am sure I read that, but it seems impossible for such brutality now I mwntion it.

      It’s sexist to use the word rape as if the word means one thing when actually it can only marginally be called rape, but could better be called intercourse without consent. Then rhe word rape can be used for the vile acts. It is sloppy behaviour on the part of the protagonist in this case, but not as sloppy on the part of the vigilantes who want to tar and feather him for having sex at all, it seems.

      I don’t know why I am bothering about writing this. There appears to be no way that some people here can cope with the idea of finding a reasonable response to this so-called rape. And no attempt at discussion of fairness can change the obdurate approach of the protagonists here.
      edited

      • weka 2.2.1

        Seems like you are doing some tarring and feathering of your own there grey. Nevertheless, let’s look at what you just wrote. There is such a thing as proper rape, and then there is other things that aren’t really rape because there were no culturally accepted definitions of violence involved. That’s a rape myth.

        Calling rape sex. That promotes rape culture, because we live in a society where too many men already can’t tell the difference between sex and rape and some actively use it as a rationale for raping women. Women also have trouble believing they were raped, yes even women who were raped in obviously violent ways, because people keep calling rape sex.

        However the law doesn’t agree with you. eg having sex with a woman while she is asleep without her consent is rape. It doesn’t involve violence, and the critical factor for the law is lack of consent. Basically the law says that people have a right to say what happens to their bodies. You are suggesting that there should be some line between different kinds of rape, but this undermines the basic principle of body sovereignty which is protected in law.

        I can see how tempting it is to look at what is in the public domain about the Assange case and go, oh it wasn’t really that bad, so what’s all the fuss about. The fuss is that for any given case virtually no-one outside of the victim and sometimes those close to her can have any real idea about the impact on her. It’s those judgements that get made from the outside when really no-one knows what the fuck they are talking about, those are what damage women who have been raped and they’re supporting rape culture. Because if you can state that it wasn’t real rape because of x, y, z, which are your personal reasons, then why can’t someone else say it wasn’t real rape because she was wearing a short skirt, or she’s a prostitute, or she works for the CIA, or she had sex with him the night before, or she’s a mature and sexually experienced woman etc etc etc ad nauseum.

        Just in case this isn’t obvious from what I have said, you are essentially arguing that women’s right to determine what happens to their bodies shouldn’t be protected by law. That’s downright dangerous.

        • the pigman 2.2.1.1

          To my eyes, all greywarbler did was suggest there might be different levels of culpability/severity within the crime of rape itself. That is hardly a novel idea, given that most countries already separate culpable homicide into different categories or classes. In NZ, the severity aspect can be addressed in the process of sentencing, although of course there are various different crimes involving non-consensual penetrative sex (oops, used the word sex! 10 hailmarys!), relating to the age/gender of victim and perpetrator.

          Suggesting something novel does not equal “don’t know what the fuck [he’s] talking about”, and I wish certain commenters would quit being so reductive/patronising/sarcastic (to your credit, I haven’t seen you being sarcastic at all, weka).

          • weka 2.2.1.1.1

            “To my eyes, all greywarbler did was suggest there might be different levels of culpability/severity within the crime of rape itself.”

            If that’s true, and it may well be, then maybe she needs to learn how to do that without promoting rape culture. That is what this thread is about if you read the post.

            There was nothing sarcastic in my comment.

            I truly believe that for any one woman who has been raped very few people will have a good understanding of how it has impacted on her unless they know her well or spend time with her. This is because rape isn’t just about the act that is perpetrated on someone, it’s also about how the woman experiences it. This doesn’t mean that people can’t have general empathy and understanding, lots of people do, and some people obviously have way more understanding than others. But to suggest that because no obvious physical violence was involved it wasn’t real rape denies the complex vulnerabilities and experiences that different women have. Bear in mind that rape is not solely a physical assault.

            That’s not me being patronising or reductive. It’s me commenting on the complicated nature of violations of humans especially sexually.

            • the pigman 2.2.1.1.1.1

              You are preaching to the converted, and experienced, but you are still mis-characterising greywarbler’s comment in order to do so.

              *waits for OAB to drop in and point+laugh “haha u r an experienced rapist lolol”*

              • weka

                was that sarcasm in your last sentence?

                I’m happy for grey to say what she meant if I got it wrong. I can only go off what I read.

                On the otherhand, I’ve told you what I meant about my comment when you got it wrong, but you’ve not responded. So is there any point to any of this?

                • the pigman

                  Firstly, I didn’t say you were sarcastic. I said that you weren’t, unlike the others trolling Bill’s post yesterday.

                  And I don’t think I did get it wrong. I think you deliberately mischaracterised greywarbler’s comment as denying rape had occurred, when (s)he (grateful for clarification on gender btw) had said that different acts involving penetration without consent should be attributed different levels of culpability/attract different levels of criminal/societal penalty.

                  You used this misconstruction as a launching pad to say GW was wrong (on what, I’m not clear!) because having sex with a woman who was sleeping (a matter not even TOUCHED ON in GW’s post) was rape.

                  See where I’m going with this?

                  Then when you were called on this misconstruction, you began talking about how all-encompassing and enduring the negative effects of rape are on women (same goes for males, btw). That’s why I say you are preaching to the converted, because it is very unlikely that GW denies this, and I certainly don’t.

                  And the last sentence in my post was simply a reference to the level of debate engaged in by OAB (and on occasions, TRP) in Bill’s thread yesterday. That was provocative rubbish and it’s not victim-blaming to say that it lowered the tone considerably and created a medium in which the distasteful comments like those TRP has gone on to quote in today’s post flourished.

                  Any questions arising?

                  • weka

                    I think you are raising some important things, but I’m braindead now so will reply tomorrow when fresher, cheers.

            • les 2.2.1.1.1.2

              so do you acknowledge there are different ‘levels of culpability/severity’ re this offence..or not?

          • lprent 2.2.1.1.2

            To my eyes, all greywarbler did was suggest there might be different levels of culpability/severity within the crime of rape itself.

            I think that was what the Swedes were trying to get to in their range of sexually based offenses. There are actually come graduations in sexual assault charges here already as I remember it. Yeah. Police definitions and the relevant names in the Crimes Act my italics..

            Sexual offences: Although all violent offences are thought to be under-reported to the police, sexual offences are substantially more likely to be under-reported. Changes in public education and awareness of violence may also influence the likelihood of reporting. As highlighted above, crime data in New Zealand is published using the ANZSOC scheme, and includes groupings such as aggravated sexual assault; non-aggravated sexual assault; and other non-assaultive sexual offences. These offences are defined in the Crimes Act 1961 as sexual violation (including rape), attempted sexual violation, indecent assault, incest and other offences described in sections 127 to 144.

            These are all offenses that are largely checked by the usual intent/action coupling of our usual legal practices, with a small proportion of perceived offence. They are attempted to be operated at some reproducible standard of proof of intent and action leading to a consistent sentencing.

            However the problem that I have is that the laws that Assange is being investigated for are well below the level that our laws operate at. Sure the penalties reflect that. But the process of judgement also appears to be quite different and not so much based on intent or actions.

            • the pigman 2.2.1.1.2.1

              Thanks Lynn. Yeah, I’m aware the NZ Crimes Act does differentiate in terms of the range of offences under which one might be charged. But I also think (before sentencing) there could be clearer definition in the Crimes Act in terms of sexual violation (beyond age/gender/species of those involved) to look at the polarised examples that GW mentioned, because it *is* reductive to block your ears and repeat “rapists be rapists” and, moreover, it reduces the likelihood of men who committed sexual harm at the lower end of the spectrum of awfulness of coming forward, owning it, and engaging in some process more healing and less adversarial than a defended trial.

              Because, let’s not be idiots, there is a difference between raping someone at threat of violence vs. accidentally ejaculating inside your partner when she has not invited you to do so.

              Now this is where Wendigo Jane, and all those horrified by the thought of discussing legal principles with reference to real life anecdotes [dramatic chord] will need to shut their eyes and scroll down (because “it’s so GROSSSSS!” (except when it’s Carrie from Sex in the City or other “icon” talking about it)), but as a young man SWIM (Someone Who Isn’t Me – phew!) experienced a temporary loss of ejaculatory control during unprotected intercourse with SWIM’s partner (in the moment, the unprotected intercourse had been explicitly invited, the internal ejaculation specifically cautioned against). Based on the comments of certain commenters here and in Bill’s thread, this makes SWIM (and Assange) rapists who worthy of criminal sanctions. If you ask SWIM, the embarrassment, awkward conversations, and anxiously waiting for SWIM’s partner’s period to arrive were punishment enough. SWIM’s partner does (SWIM thinks) agree.

              Now, in case I haven’t made this clear, or others would like to pretend otherwise, none of this is to deny that we live in a culture that demeans and sexually objectifies women and, at its worst, trivializes/normalises sexual conquest of women, consenting or otherwise.

              “Rape culture” is not some invisible, nuanced, new clothing of the Emperor that can be seen only to the truly enlightened, like some people here like to pretend it is (I am aware that others, like les, appear to have their blinkers on and seem happy to pretend it’s the exclusive invention of “man-haters”) – it is all around us.

              • Ergo Robertina

                (except when it’s Carrie from Sex in the City or other “icon” talking about it”

                Yeah, right. Your patronising attitude to women – that their ‘icon’ is materialistic and shallow, and that they’re easily led/waiting to be told what to think – is pretty revealing of your agenda, especially the comments about rape.
                In respect of ”real life anecdotes” – they are of course like most comments, less what is said, more how it is said, and its context.

        • les 2.2.1.2

          can you please clarify..you meet a woman,she goes home with you,takes all her clothes off and gets into bed with you …you attempt to have sex with her and she says desist,you are trying to rape me…is this attempted rape ,does this situation have no bearing on any ‘implied’ consent?

          • weka 2.2.1.2.1

            if she tells you to stop and you don’t you are assaulting her.

            If you are worried about implied consent issues I suggest that you learn some skills around talking to sexual partners about sex. I know this is not something we get taught, and many people have sex or start to have sex without talking about it at all, but if you are worried about what that means for you legally, the solution is pretty simple. Ask.

            If you are worried about the woman and how she might feel about it, it’s also a good idea.

            • les 2.2.1.2.1.1

              I’m not worried…its just you seem to be such a font of knowledge about these matters…I guess a pre signed contract like a pre nup before any engagement in coitus is the safest option then.

              • weka

                I doubt that a pre-signed contract would hold up in law. You do realise that women are allowed to change their minds and that you can’t sign away statutory rights. And that women have statutory rights when it comes to their bodies.

                People who joke about getting a signed letter beforehand strike me as having seriously weird ideas about what consent is, let alone mutuality. Perhaps you don’t realise how that comes across.

                • les

                  whos joking..you appear to be quite serious…celibacy seems the only safe option…given that you state a woman who say goes home with a man ,takes all her clothes off ,jumps into bed with a man,say performs oral sex then may complain that position X is not to her liking has a valid case for criminal charges.

                  • weka

                    Joking and not joking I think.

                    “say performs oral sex then may complain that position X is not to her liking has a valid case for criminal charges.”

                    If at any time you force a woman to do something or have something done to her without her consent, that’s rape. It doesn’t matter what you or she did earlier. If you have trouble knowing whether a woman has consented or not, you probably need to learn some communication skills.

                    You really do seem quite confused about what consent is. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, there seem to be enough other men who don’t get it either. Here you go, the actual NZ law and what it says about consent.

                    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057

                    edit, what felix and PM say below (it’s really way better for men to explain this stuff to men).

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Weka’s already pointed out some ways to help you understand this – the remark about mutuality and consent is especially valuable.

                    You don’t seem to be taking time to understand the responses though, because the above question has already been answered.

                  • celibacy seems the only safe option…

                    If you are serious in these comments, rather than just taking the piss to satisfy an unusual sense of humour, I would say this is definitely true in your case.

                    • les

                      what about masturbating Psycho…I expect you’re an expert on that..as well!

                    • weka

                      “celibacy seems the only safe option…”

                      if you are serious in these comments, rather than just taking the piss to satisfy an unusual sense of humour, I would say this is definitely true in your case.

                      roflnui. Ok, I take back some of what I said about smartarsery. That was funny and useful.

              • felix

                I don’t know why you’re making it so complicated, les.

                You can only do stuff with other people if that’s what they want too.

                Not just sex stuff, anything at all. Swimming. Eating pasta. Playing with a dog. Juggling apples.

                And when someone wants to stop doing any of those things, you don’t get to make them keep doing it.

                It’s not that hard.

              • its just you seem to be such a font of knowledge about these matters…

                Think of it more like “It’s just that you seem to be able to actually grasp that if someone wants you to stop doing stuff with their body and tells you so, you should stop doing that stuff.”

                That isn’t difficult for pretty much everybody on this thread to understand. The question is, why is it so difficult for you to understand? Do you imagine that some situation establishes rights for you over someone else’s body that precludes them requesting you to desist from whatever it is you’re doing?

                • les

                  so it works both ways then?Hey I didn’t give you permission to do that…you just assaulted me(man)?

                  • felix

                    I think you mean “I didn’t give you permission to do that, so stop it”.

                    • les

                      so the rider is ‘stop it’..if ignored an assault occurs…that I can relate to.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Silence is not consent.

                    • felix

                      We were getting somewhere there OAB…

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      so the rider is ‘stop it’..if ignored an assault occurs…that I can relate to.

                      It provides all sides with a chance to clarify and confirm what is actually going on. Maybe she’s leaning in towards you because she wants you to kiss her, or maybe she’s leaning in towards you because she’s about to keel over due to sunstroke. In both cases some action is required, best not to mix up what.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The fact that silence is not consent means that “stop it” isn’t the only “rider”. Carry on.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Silence with actions can definitely be consent. As you were.

            • Ergo Robertina 2.2.1.2.1.2

              There really is no point engaging with that weka, in my view, unless it’s for the benefit of those reading I suppose.
              It is rubbish that should be deleted given les essentially made the same comment yesterday, and did not heed the responses.

              • weka

                Thanks ER. I should probably stop, I’m just curious to see how far he wants to go with making out that rape is this thing he thinks it is and not the thing that the law says or women experience.

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    Why diminish the extradition from Sweden to the US for espionage. As for Sweden a liberal haven !. Really.

    And somehow you say its unlikely he will be dispatched to US for crimes he hasnt be charged with.

    Cough…he hasnt been charged by Sweden for sexual crimes either!

    Obviously you dont understand the US federal justice system, where they can have a secret grand jury and a ‘sealed’ indictment.

    While it may be the case any ‘defence’ of rape is rape apology, its not how the justice system works, and Assange is entitled to a defence for what he is charged with, whenever that happens.

  4. Steve Withers 4

    I don’t think there is any constructive way to engage the competing priorities and sensitivities in this case.

    Some people look at Assange and see a man who was set up / ensnared / entrapped. Others look at him and see – in absolute terms only – a rapist (without regard for any possible mitigating circumstances).

    Which is the most relevant or ‘real’? Which matters more – if one is forced to choose? Are we forced to choose?

    It’s ‘shades of grey’ vs ‘black and white’.

    They don’t mix. They only cause trouble.

    • KJT 4.1

      The problem is, as far as we know he could be either.

      Bringing your own baggage to the issue to say it is definitely one or the other is not helpful IMHO.

      • weka 4.1.1

        confusing or conflating personal baggage with someone’s politics is not helpful either 🙂

        • KJT 4.1.1.1

          http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/women-against-rape-julian-assange

          “The judicial process has been corrupted. On the one hand, the names of the women have been circulated on the internet; they have been trashed, accused of setting a “honey trap”, and seen their allegations dismissed as “not real rape”. On the other hand, Assange is dealt with by much of the media as if he were guilty, though he has not even been charged. It is not for us to decide whether or not the allegations are true and whether what happened amounts to rape or sexual violence – we don’t have all the facts and what has been said so far has not been tested. But we do know that rape victims’ right to anonymity and defendants’ right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty are both crucial to a just judicial process”.

          I agree with this. Don’t you?

          • weka 4.1.1.1.1

            Probably, although I haven’t followed what the media have been doing. It’s an important statement, but for me it’s a given and not really that relevant to the rape apology issues of the last few days. Those issues aren’t about Assange, they’re about the way in which some people are supporting him at the expense of women.

            • KJT 4.1.1.1.1.1

              This from TRP

              “The very insistence that the consequences of going to Sweden even for the investigation part of the judicial process outweighs the gravity of his alleged offending is a type of rape apology”.

              Just stating something is a rape apology, does not make it a rape apology.

              I can think that the justice system should be applied to Assuange for rape just the same as any other suspect in Sweden, that is not a whistleblower, is not a rape apology. It is an appeal for fairness for both the women and Assuange.

              That some-one will possibly subjected to cruel and unusual punishment is a reason for not going to another country.
              Does TRP think that all drug smugglers should be sent to Indonesia. To “man up” and face their crimes.

              • I’m with you on the later examples, KJT. But context is important.

                The reason that the first para shows an example of rape apologia is because it highlights the negation of the gravity of the alleged crime. That is, its being said that the risk to Assange of being sent to the States trumps the need to participate in the Swedish legal process.

                Now, the concept that a particular conviction has consequences beyond the gravity of the crime is not unusual. It’s why so many young All Blacks escape convictions for their drunken misdemeanour’s, for example. But rape, and whatever it is Assange may or may not be charged with (lets say espionage) are, actually, near equivalents in terms of seriousness. Both would risk lengthy jail terms on conviction, here in NZ, or in Sweden, or in the States.

                But the suggestion appears to be that the rape investigation he is hiding from is really not that important in the wider scheme of things. Hence, it minimises the crime.

                • KJT

                  Who has actually said the rape investigation is not important.
                  Just about everyone has said that if he did it, he should do the time, in Sweden.

                  There is the opposing suggestion that anyone accused of rape is automatically guilty. I think I have shown the problems with that above.

                  I think a conversation about the fact that no means no can be valuable. If we can keep it adult.

                  Talking about this is something I find stressful, just like Stephanie does, but I do think we learn from these conversations, difficult as they may be.

                  • weka

                    “Talking about this is something I find stressful, just like Stephanie does, but I do think we learn from these conversations, difficult as they may be”

                    Thanks for saying that KJT, I think more of this honesty and consideration in the conversation by everyone would go a long way 🙂

                  • Tracey

                    and who amongst those who say the rape investigation is important are supporting Assange’s extradiction to the USA? Cos that was also bandied about yesterday.

          • Tracey 4.1.1.1.2

            “honey trap”

            That came up a bit in “discussion” yesterday

          • Steve Withers 4.1.1.1.3

            I agree. (with the quote from the Guardian about the judicial process being corrupted).

            Similarly…here in NZ we tend not to deport people who commit crimes here if they are going back to a country where they will face the death penalty. Though we definitely have sent people back to China on the basis the death penalty wasn’t certain in their case (and they were, in fact, subsequently executed).

            Do we take such things into consideration with respect to the one alleged crime if it may lead on to other outcomes much worse? Legally no….one thing at a time. Morally? I would would argue yes…we do (should) take such things into account.

            But in the Assange case all manner of propaganda has been flying in all directions…and the result has been a corrupted judicial process.

      • Tracey 4.1.2

        Is this personal baggage?

        All Apologies

    • weka 4.2

      Steve, it’s not either or. I have no idea of Assange’s guilt or innocence, and have focussed on the actions of commenters and how they contribute to rape culture or not. Assange’s guilt or innocence is irrelevant to that. It is possible to be look at the extradition issues without making rape apologies. That rarely happens. The divide isn’t between people who like or loathe Assange (although that’s a problem too), it’s between th peopl who are challenging rape culture and those who are resisting that.

      • Steve Withers 4.2.1

        Fair enough.

        It’s hard sometimes to see through the piles of baggage some people bring to this. I’ve run into a fair number of advocates of the “all men are rapists” meme over the years….and the natural response to such behaviour is to swim the other way….and you’re then an “apologist”. There is too often little allowance given (in any direction) for poorly chosen words on the first draft or for any imprecision. Most of us aren’t perfect communicators on the first draft.

        I generally avoid the whole thing because some people just can’t be rational about it – either way. Others prefer confrontation to vent whatever it is they feel they need to vent (this applies to any topic, not just this one). Which is just a form of bullying, I feel. I know I’m guilty of that myself at times, too. But I try hard not to be.

  5. Once was Tim 5

    Here we go again

  6. But are some of the defenders of Assange really rape apologists? Having trawled through the comments, the answer is probably yes

    But was one of the commenters really a sanctimonious shit who spent much of the thread delivering passive-aggressive insinuations that anyone who disagreed with them was a rape apologist? Having trawled through the comments, the answer is probably yes.

    [Would you care to identify the commenter concerned, PM? Please provide examples. TRP]

    • And to head off another round of insinuations, yes if the accounts of the complainants are correct he committed rape, and will hopefully be charged, found guilty and given a custodial sentence, assuming the prosecutor takes the stick out of her arse and shows a bit of flexibility.

    • [Would you care to identify the commenter concerned, PM? Please provide examples. TRP]

      Sure. Here are a few examples from commenter Te Reo Putake, addressed to various commenters (some of whom, admittedly, actually were writing rape apologia):

      “Mind you, I’ve never tried to suggest avoiding a rape investigation was in some way noble, so if you’re feeling a tad embarrassed…”

      “But because it’s Saint Julian, no worries. What’s a little light raping anyway? The victims were asleep, so what do they care?”

      “But unlike you, and so I’m led to believe, Julian Assange, I don’t think sexual assault is a minor matter.”

      “But the important thing is that people accused of rape should not be challenged on it if they’re really, really cool.”

      “I’m not naive, macro. But then I don’t fuck people without their consent, either, so maybe I am out of touch. Blurred lines and all that.”

      [Not nearly good enough, PM. First and only warning. TRP]

      • Bill 6.2.1

        You (and yes, others besides) were flaming all the way through that thread trp and PM has provided reasonable examples from your comments.

        • te reo putake 6.2.1.1

          Actually, not minimising rape isn’t flaming, Bill. Particularly so when there were numerous examples of rape apology in the comments that the author chose not to moderate or simply didn’t recognise for what they were.

          • weka 6.2.1.1.1

            “Actually, not minimising rape isn’t flaming”

            True, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a large degree of reactionary winding up going on.

            I’m coming to the conclusion that flaming people who have posted rape apologist comments is an inadvertent contributor to rape culture. I think there are people in this conversation who are open to understanding what the whole rape apology thing is about, but when the conversation degenerates into nasty tit for tat soundsbites it just polarises people instead of bringing about understanding. Worse, people who aren’t part of the bun fight will just get put off and stop reading or commenting, which leaves the debate in the hands of badly socialised children.

            I’m not going to parse PM’s comment or the other’s who have linked to the Finally! post to see who said what when, but it is pretty clear that the clever dick comments just made things worse and entrenched a whole bunch of positions. On the other hand, people on the receiving end of some of those comments usually failed to stop and check out what was being meant and instead went with their own initial, often incorrect interpretations (happening in this thread too). This also has created a whole slew of misunderstanding and entrenchment.

            Big fail all round.

            • Psycho Milt 6.2.1.1.1.1

              …it is pretty clear that the clever dick comments just made things worse…

              Am willing to own up to several of these, particularly those in response to the guy who thought it isn’t rape if you ignore a woman who wants you to stop fucking her if you’re busy fucking her right now – in hindsight, those comments were highly unlikely to convince him of the error of his viewpoint.

              • weka

                From what I remember those short comments were pretty spot on (from a number of people). But yeah. In general, because too many men (and a few women) seem to really struggle with concepts of consent I think it’s better to keep the heat and smart arsery low and attempt to explain and clarify.

                I often think of all the people reading who aren’t commenting (and it’s not like ts would exist without them). Some of those people are trying to make sense of some pretty complex issues, and if they didn’t know the players involved god know what they would think of this conversation.

          • Bill 6.2.1.1.2

            Really fucking stupid comment there trp. ‘The author’…not that he’s the only fucking moderator…was nowhere near a computer until evening. Not a chance in hell of you upping your game, is there?

            • weka 6.2.1.1.2.1

              I agree. If the author was not around, how come the other moderators didn’t step in? Not that they have to, but it does seem strange to expect Bill to moderate according to other moderator’s ideas.

              Having said that, from the outside it’s unclear who can and would moderate across posts. I’m guessing it’s also tricky when one is deeply involved in a conversation on someone else’s post and one is in disagreement with the author.

            • te reo putake 6.2.1.1.2.2

              Fair enough, Bill, you cant be expected to do all the moderating, especially given the overwhelming number of comments.

      • Psycho Milt 6.2.2

        I can’t imagine what would be good enough for you. On the other thread, I invited you to dispute the content of my comment, rather than making insinuations, and you didn’t take it up. Banning me wouldn’t be a substitute for mounting an argument. (OK, actually I guess it would be – but not a good one.)

  7. weka 7

    .It is not “rape apology” to say Justice for both the women involved and Assuage is not being served by the political shenanigans of the Swedish prosecutor.

    No one has said it is. Reread the post, it’s pretty clear that’s not what TRP was talking about. It’s also not why statements in the other thread have been called rape apology.

    Some have expressed ideas that Assuange is definitely a rapist, so he deserves to be rendered and tortured, regardless of the outcome of a trial. I can see, and even sympathise with, the urge to cut the balls off of any suspected rapist.

    Please link so we can know what you are referring to.

    • KJT 7.1

      Oh come on.

      The various comments like “Assuange should man up and face his punishment” even if it included years of solitary confinement/torture in the USA.

      I think he should be charged with rape and tried.

      I do not think the USA should be allowed to torture and confine some-one for exposing their troops murdering women and children, as they have already done with Bradley Manning.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1

        Can you link to that comment?

        I said Assange should go and beat the trumped up US charges in court. No, I don’t think that’s a very nice thing to have to do. It would be better if the DoJ acknowledged that they’ve got no case against him.

        Edit: on second thoughts. it’s off topic. Open Mike or the original post if you like.

        [It’s Ok, OAB, because it’s within the context of the thread. However, I’d prefer we don’t rehash previous discussions, but rather shed new light on them. TRP]

      • weka 7.1.2

        KJT, clear communication is essential in something as heated or as complex as rape culture discussion. Link or it didn’t happen.

        • Colonial Rawshark 7.1.2.1

          Hi weka, sure. Here’s an example. In the other thread, OAB said:

          PS: why do you suppose I think Assange should face the potential for extradition to the US? Cluebat: it’s about power.

          he then clarified further by saying:

          Specifically, Assange’s power, ie: he’ll increase it by doing so. David & Goliath etc.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2.1.1

            That you persist in deliberately misinterpreting my remarks as wanting Assange to be punished isn’t surprising. It’s still wrong though. I think he’d beat the rap (possibly in Sweden, certainly in the USA), and I think it would do him and his cause a lot of good.

            • weka 7.1.2.1.1.1

              Ok, can I just point out there is no way to know if CV is willfully misinterpreting you. I’ve seen some surprising statements from all round that have made me think most of what is going on here is people not listening and not checking out, rather than people deliberately skewing the debate.

          • weka 7.1.2.1.2

            CV, KJT said,

            Some have expressed ideas that Assuange is definitely a rapist, so he deserves to be rendered and tortured, regardless of the outcome of a trial. I can see, and even sympathise with, the urge to cut the balls off of any suspected rapist.

            I asked for specific links. You quote OAB,

            PS: why do you suppose I think Assange should face the potential for extradition to the US? Cluebat: it’s about power.

            …Specifically, Assange’s power, ie: he’ll increase it by doing so. David & Goliath etc.

            I didn’t understand OAB’s comment at the time, and I tried to get clarification but didn’t end up any the wiser (have ended up guessing what he meant). OAB’s comment looks obscure to me but I don’t believe he is saying in that comment that Assange is a rapist who should be tortured. This is a classic example of the kind of miscommunication happening all over this conversations. OAB writes obscurely, you don’t ask for clarification, everyone has a fight based on misinterpretation. Really, we should stop doing it like this.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2.1.2.1

              I didn’t realise it was still unclear.

              I think Assange’s best defence is to defend himself in court. I think it’s in his interests to do so. In the specific case of the USA, I think such a defence would expose the US (mostly republican) position as utterly bankrupt.

              What a horrible thing to have to do. It would be much better if the US acknowledged their crimes against humanity and prosecuted those responsible.

          • Tracey 7.1.2.1.3

            Don’t get too dizzy on your moral high ground CV. There was flaming and stupidity on all sides of the argument yesterday…

        • KJT 7.1.2.2

          “Extradite the fucker”.
          “I think Assange liked being powerful. I think he enjoyed the doors it opened for him, never mind the legs”
          “avoid being in circumstances where he could be accused of rape”.. (Well that means everyone has to avoid sex, unless they have permission in writing?)
          “He should, ahem, man up”. TRP.
          “creepy coward and should get to Sweden for a trial”. Well yes, for the rape accusations, not for rendition or extradition.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2.2.1

            Power makes people more attractive. The legs remark refers to that. It was an ugly way to put it in the context. Hence my response to Weka at 20.1.

            As Weka says, there are lessons to learn, including by me.

          • Tracey 7.1.2.2.2

            I hope your quoting only one side of the flame war is not indicative of any belief that the other “side” were all behaving with impeccability?

            • weka 7.1.2.2.2.1

              that might be the comment of the thread. Not aimed at KJT, because it could just as easily apply to the other side.

            • KJT 7.1.2.2.2.2

              No I don’t.

              But I didn’t think we had. Sides!

              • weka

                I’m not anyone’s side, I want to bang everyone’s heads together 😈

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Head splitter 😉

                • KJT

                  Yes.

                  Every one has their personal experiences to bring to the conversation. Of course mine are different from yours.

                  The other bit of personal baggage I have is the strong desire to string any rapists up by the balls. Especially after you see effects in the eyes of a young woman you know and love. And remember my daughters friend that was killed a few years ago, because the prick decided if he couldn’t have her nobody else could. (The person that got me started on the UBI. Because if she had an independent income as of right she could have got away from him much sooner). When he was assualted in prison my first thought was ‘good one’.
                  So I am actually inclined to be more anti Assunge. I think if nothing else, he is a creep.

                  But it is also coloured by my own experience.
                  I would never promise to pull out at the last moment, because at that point it would take a bomb to stop me.
                  And every woman I have had sex with made it clear that they liked being woken up to sex. Including the one who has been good enough to put up with me for the last 25 years.
                  I hope the drunken women who took me home when I was young knew what they were doing, because I didn’t.

                  I think we are also very poor at letting our young people know how to negotiate the pitfalls of sex. I cringe at some of the things we thought were OK when I was in my teens.

                  Have a look at most movies. Hassling a woman in the street, Stalking a woman. Almost every movie. Working to change a woman’s will, because she “really deep down wants sex with you even if she says no”.. Is a recurring theme in popular culture. Rape culture.

                  I also think TRP unnecessarily made this a flame war, rather than a discussion.

                  • “I also think TRP unnecessarily made this a flame war, rather than a discussion.”

                    Certainly not my intention, KJT. I asked at the end that people concentrate on the language, not the Assange issue and a lot of people tried to do that. I was hoping to see more comments like yours. It’s a shame that there was a lengthy diversion around what the second sentence in the post meant, which, on re-reading some of the comments, seems to have caused some confusion, including for me. I could have worded that better. I was heartened that some of the woman who comment here, including those who are not regulars, felt able to put their feelings about the male dominance of this site on record. And I hope readers, even those who disagree with the post, will have at least gained some insight into an important issue. But, as the little sparrow sang, non, je ne regrette rien.

                    • weka

                      It kind of mirrored what happened to Bill, another author who put up a post with one intention and then watched as the commentary went of in another direction entirely. I think in both cases it was inevitable because of the subject matter, but I think in both cases it would also have led to different debate if the posts had been worded differently. In the case of this one, leaving out the stuff about Assange and the legals and focussing on the language of rape culture might have worked better (although I get you wanted to make the point about extradition trumping rape culture and why you think that’s wrong. Maybe that could have gone at the end of the post?).

                      I was also heartened by the women that weren’t involved in the hard out parts of the conversation commenting about the fact that it ended up being two groups of blokes having a go at each other (and how inappropriate that is). Outside clarity is a gem. I wish I’d gotten there sooner myself. I would just add that as a woman who comments here a lot, this is what it is like here a lot, not just in conversations about rape culture or other gender issues. I miss karol.

                      Les below links to a post that Lynn put up about an aspect of the Assange case in 2010. Reading the comments is enlightening, but not in a particularly happy way.

                • KJT

                  Masculine violent reaction

                  Can’ t we just all kiss and make up. consensually of course..

              • Tracey

                There are sides to an argument, so of course there are sides. there are sides to a discussion, so of course there are sides.

                • KJT

                  If there were sides, there were at least ten different points of view. Not a scrum.

                  Some seemed to think that, if you were for a rather nuanced point of view.

                  That it automatically puts you on a side.

                  I can agree with the second part of TRP,s post without agreeing with the first. TRP made it so he conflated the two in the post.

                  • No, I didn’t. Apart from pointing out the bleeding obvious fact that Assange is a fugitive from justice, (and not just Swedish justice; he broke British bail laws when he bolted) I made no comment at all about the merits of his case.

                    Some folk seized on what they saw as an inconsistency in the second sentence and then used that entirely minor matter to avoid talking about the guts of the post. Which kinda entirely proved the point of the post.

                    You really don’t have to agree that Assange is hiding from justice to agree with the bigger point. Even better than just agreeing with the substance of the post, as you say you do, is coming up with solutions to the problem. Not you, specifically, KJT, but generally, we need to acknowledge the problem and do something about it.

  8. Alfonso Peres 8

    Can you be a rape apologist if the rape hasn’t been proved? Personally I think Assange is a creepy coward and should get to Sweden for a trial.

    Having recently read the allegations in full, it has confirmed a long held suspicion that blokes who get involved in these anti government/leftie/protest movements, are in it for the sex.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      They said that about guys who play in rock bands

      • Alfonso Peres 8.1.1

        Just as valid though they don’t tend to hide it behind a pretense of “caring” and “justice”.

        To be fair, if I hadn’t won the genetic lottery and ended up as attractive to the opposite sex as I am, I would have joined the Greens, or something like it, in order to shag some naive birds.

        [Tempted to trash this comment, but it’s probably better that we all know how AP thinks. TRP]

    • Can you be a rape apologist if the rape hasn’t been proved?

      Given that the entire point of rape culture is to make it impossible to “prove” rape happens, of course you can.

      • Alfonso Peres 8.2.1

        Is that correct?

        Surely if someone uses one of the examples TRP states above and says “she was dressed like a slut” then that would be trying to mitigate responsibility of the rapist rather than prove it hadn’t actually happened.

        • te reo putake 8.2.1.1

          It’s a continuum, Alfonso. As I noted in the post, there are people who deny that rape exists, except in tightly defined terms. And there are people who make excuses for rape, such as in your example. Both are forms of rape apology.

          • Alfonso Peres 8.2.1.1.1

            It’s a bloody mine field.

            All I can confidently say I have learnt from this case is “make sure your condoms don’t break” because if they do and the lady you are with hasn’t consented to unprotected sex, you could be in a world of trouble.

            • weka 8.2.1.1.1.1

              Something else you can learn from this case is to not make minimalising statements like that in a conversation about rape. You’ve basically just said that men need to fear women in the case of condom breakage, which isn’t what this case is about.

            • Psycho Milt 8.2.1.1.1.2

              All I can confidently say I have learnt from this case is “make sure your condoms don’t break”…

              It’s not clear how this case could be imagined to contain that lesson.

              Also, condoms hardly ever break. I’ve been using them since 1979 and never had one break. What men tend to refer to as a condom “breaking” would in almost every case be more accurately referred to as “user incompetence” or “malicious intent.”

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Um, yes they do (quite possibly due to user incompetence, who knows?). That said, it’s very obvious when it happens, and the solution equally so.

              • lprent

                Ha! Shows what you know… Both of my parents are quite adamant that I am a result of exactly that back in 1958. Which is why their wedding photo has a comment in the family album about my unsuspected attendance.

                I’ve had at least one tear in a condom myself. I have also had one slide off and sort of stay behind, which is why you shouldn’t hang on in there for too long if you are using one…

                😈

                • Oh yes, the sliding-off thing. Didn’t take many condom uses before I implemented a system of making sure I had a grip on the thing with my fingers when I pulled out (you get shouted at a lot less that way).

            • Tracey 8.2.1.1.1.3

              It is a sad indictment of you that is all you have learnt from this case. What did you learn from Roastbusters? Dont’ brag about your rapes?

              • Colonial Rawshark

                That you can’t trust the fucking authorities and people in charge to do the right thing.

                • Tracey

                  There are sides to an argument, so of course there are sides. there are sides to a discussion, so of course there are sides.

                  Are you admitting to being Alfonze peres????

              • les

                the two women involved appear to have been happy to brag about their celebrity conquest…comparing their notes and then 3rd party interventions and now we have a rape case.Beggars belief.

  9. KJT 9

    “Despite the lack of evidence to back the belief”,

    But there is evidence.

  10. Hateatea 10

    I avoided the previous post after I quickly realised that the idealisation of Assange as a whistleblower was imposed over the seriousness of his being accused of sexual assault / rape.

    As it looks as if, despite TRP’s best efforts, that this may head the same way, I will get in early. It matters not if a person is in all other respects, a wonderful, caring, ethical person if they have non consensual sexual activity with another person. They have committed a crime and should undergo appropriate legal processes for that crime.

    What may or may not happen to that individual as a consequence of being arrested, charged, prosecuted or imprisoned for that crime should not be weighted as more important than the need for normal legal processes to be applied.

    I am angry and shaking just thinking of the thought processes that would excuse sexual offending because it may make the offender vulnerable to retribution for other activities that are deemed to be laudable. One has nothing to do with the other.

    IF the claims of sexual assault prove to be specious or, IF he goes to trial and is found either guilty or not guilty by Swedish legal process, then the other legal matters that he faces will need to be addressed. Any supposition about what may or may not happen if he is taken into custody by Swedish authorities is just speculation. That he has been accused of sexual assault is a fact. Let us deal with fact first.

    • KJT 10.1

      “Normal legal processes to be applied”.

      They were not. That is the problem.

      Because of Assuanges other whistleblowing activities the normal process was not followed.

      It is doubtful now that either the victims or Assuange were treated, normally.

      • Tracey 10.1.1

        Can you posts any link to show the Swedish have the notion to hand him over to the USA without any trial (should he be charged)?

        • les 10.1.1.1

          why cant they guarantee he wont be sent to the U.S then?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1.1.1

            That was answered in depth yesterday. Is it too much to ask that you consider the answer rather than simply recycling the question?

          • Tracey 10.1.1.1.2

            can you post the links to sweden showing a willingness to extradite assange to usa before or after any possible trial. tia.

            • KJT 10.1.1.1.2.1

              I think their is enough evidence of that all around the net and from the Statements, and actions, of US authorities already.

  11. just saying 11

    Some have expressed ideas that Assuange is definitely a rapist, so he deserves to be rendered and tortured, regardless of the outcome of a trial. I can see, and even sympathise with, the urge to cut the balls off of any suspected rapist.

    I think this is one of the hidden assumptions that caused people to talk at cross puposes, so I’m glad you’ve put it into words.

    What I’d like to ask is who said this? If no-one said it, what words led you to believe that it was what anyone believed?

    I found the whole damn thread brain-scrambling, but I don’t believe that anyone involved in this discussion believes even a weaker version of this kind of argument. So where does it come from?

    • weka 11.1

      spot on, esp the second paragraph. Let’s try and be open and up front and genuine in communicating around something so important. Kindness wouldn’t go amiss either.

    • KJT 11.2

      Stephanie’s first hit and run, for starters.

      • Please spell out when I ever said “Assuange is definitely a rapist, so he deserves to be rendered and tortured, regardless of the outcome of a trial”.

        • KJT 11.2.1.1

          “Saint Julian”.

          • weka 11.2.1.1.1

            Mate, seriously, I think you need to take a step back if you believe that calling Assange “St Julian” is the equivalent of saying that he’s a rapist who deserves to be tortured.

            I’m going to ask the moderators to step in on this at some point, because this degree of misinterpretation is very harmful to the conversation and I don’t think it would be tolerated if say a rightwinger was doing it about something else that lefties consider important.

            I like you KJT and have a lot of respect for your comments here on ts in general, but what you are doing with this misinterpretation would be called out and out troling if you weren’t known here. I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I am at a loss to understand how you are getting to your conclusions currently.

            • r0b 11.2.1.1.1.1

              I’m going to ask the moderators to step in on this at some point

              Difficult when authors argue!

              I haven’t been following this debate at all (at any level) and I really really don’t have time to do so now. I just ask that all authors (indeed all commentators of any kind!) be careful to represent each others’ positions accurately, and debate respectfully.

              • weka

                Lovely comment r0b, thanks. Pretty interesting dynamic seeing so many authors weighing in!

                • Agree, weka. Worth remembering the next time TS gets accused of having a hive mind or being an echo chamber 😉

                  • weka

                    True. Makes me nervous though. I don’t remember seeing so many authors at odds with each other in a such a heated conversation before.

                    • lprent

                      I have. Many times.

                      It is one of those things that comes and goes (they disagree with each other just as much as others do). But that is exactly what this site is here for. If you don’t disagree then you don’t find out where the differences are.

                    • Tracey

                      My observation is some of the most heated and miscommunicated threads involve discussions about sexual violence.

                      Many people declare their baggage. I declare that I was sexually abused as a child by a man. I don’t hate men nor do I think they are all rapists but I sometimes feel that is what I am being accused of. I take responsibility for my “feelings”

                      But those threads get passive aggressive really quickly and then they get mean.

                    • weka

                      @Lynn, yes I’ve seen them disagreeing in the past too, just not seen to many at odds with each other, which is a different thing.

                    • weka

                      Thanks tracey, that’s a great observation. I’ve been thinking a lot today about how triggering conversations like this are for so many people (probably everyone) and for so many reasons. In some ways it’s just a reflection of how we handle sexual violence in general in our society.

                      “But those threads get passive aggressive really quickly and then they get mean.”

                      Which begs the question of why. Lots of ways to think about this, but one if them is how badly the culture on ts fails to support useful and safe discussions about sexual violence. Macho politics has limitations.

                      Still, I think we’ve done better this time than the last round we did on Assange a few years ago.

                    • KJT

                      My heart goes out to you, Tracey.

                      And Weka. I think we are getting better about these things, but we all have a long way to go. I think we know each other in these discussions to disagree without lasting rancor

                      .

                    • weka

                      Cheers KJT. We’ll probably all be on to the next fight in no time 😉

                • r0b

                  Cheers weka…

            • KJT 11.2.1.1.1.2

              This is my honestly held opinion of Stephanie’s bit of sarcasm. I rather like sarcasm myself, but to say that it was not, at the very least a jab at anyone who supports Assiange, for any reason, is being disingenuous.

              I don’t particularly support Assaunge, but i do not like abuse of process.

              Just as I did not like it with Teina Pora. A rather dim young man railroaded into a confession for something he obviously couldn’t have done.

              • weka

                Yes, I completely agree that Stephanie did a direct pre-emptive blow at what she sees as the Assange supporters (not all people who support Assange’s case necessarily I think, but she’d have to clarify that).

                However that’s a different thing than saying that “St Assange” = “I believe that Assange should be extradited and tortured”. That was a complete mirepresentation of her actual words and from what I know of her, her actual position. It was grossly inflammatory in the context you said it in.

                If you’d said that in response to her original comment, it might have gotten away with being a pointed comment about her own inflammatory statement, but to bring it into this quite different conversation about rape culture, it just looked like an intentionally fabricated lie designed to slur her and the general argument around rape culture and Assange. I couldn’t imagine you doing that deliberately however, hence my comment.

                “I don’t particularly support Assaunge, but i do not like abuse of process.”

                I think more statements like this would be useful, as would statements from people like myself saying that I don’t have an opinion about Assange’s guilt/innocence, or that I am aware of how evil the US is but am choosing to focus on the rape culture aspect of the case etc. Maybe next time this conversation arises I will make a pre-emptive declaration of my general position 🙂

                • KJT

                  You are correct.

                  It is in the wrong conversation, and probably more an impression I got from a whole lot of comments rather than any particular one.

                  Stephanie has my apology, for what it is worth, for that comment.

                  I have objected to unwarranted assumptions people have made in the past, about others. Now I see myself doing it.

                  Don’t always meet my own standards so thanks for reminding me

          • Tracey 11.2.1.1.2

            Calling him a saint in a mocking way is equivalent to saying he is definitely a rapist and deserves to be tortured?????

  12. Stuart Munro 12

    I don’t buy your analysis TRP. But the Swedish legal process is going on, we’ll see if anything credible comes out of it.

  13. Colonial Rawshark 13

    In the recent post about Julian Assange’s continuing attempt to avoid Swedish law, the phrase “rape apologist” was used many times. Oddly, it was primarily used by those defending Assange in reference to themselves

    What a generous load of spin you’ve doled out for us to read, TRP. Let’s check the facts and see who actually used the phrase first and most, eh?

    One Anonymous Bloke – not an Assange defender IMO – kicked off using the term rape apologist at 2:40pm on the 15th of March. Over the next hour and a half he uses the term once more, and weka (also not a defender of Assange IMO) uses the term NINE TIMES. Including three times in a single comment.

    NO ONE ELSE uses the term in that time frame except for Chooky who uses it just ONCE, in defending herself from being labelled and smeared by the above as a “rape apologist.”

    [I found a comment from OAB at 2.40. It does not use the term rape apologist as you claim. The actual number of times the phrase (or derivations of it) was used is immaterial. The point of the post is that rape apologies were used. Talk to that issue, CV. TRP]

    • Colonial Rawshark 13.1

      OAB doesn’t use the term rape apologist? I think people can decide for themselves from what he does actually say:

      Rapists the world over take note: join a protest group and you’ll have a ready made supply of apologists.

      Finally!

      BTW almost all your points comprising rape apology do not apply at all to the other thread: No one argued that no force means it was OK, no one argued that she was asleep so it was OK, no one argued that she asked for it so it was OK, no one argued that she didn’t fight back so it was OK, etc.

      As for honeytraps. Yes, those have been set up since day dot. And they’re still used today because they work to leverage and smear targets. But only a full investigation and court of law is going to determine if that has any relation to Assange’s case.

      • McFlock 13.1.1

        The hint is in the almost.

        • Colonial Rawshark 13.1.1.1

          The discussion around consent, withdrawal of consent and the communication between Assange and the alleged victims probably comes closest. As well as the claims that the possibility of a professional honeytrap (or even an involuntary honeytrap) should be taken seriously and be covered in an investigation.

          • McFlock 13.1.1.1.1

            ..and one of them was a CIA agent….weird that…honey traps?…
            So while some Assange supporters are claiming that the women didn’t want charges laid at all, Chooky claims explicitly that one of the women is a CIA agent.

            Not to mention Les’ confusion around even the basic concepts of consent.

            So yeah, very close to “rape apology”, I agree. Well within the bounds, I’d say.

            • Colonial Rawshark 13.1.1.1.1.1

              If your ideology prevents you from discussing the fact that Assange was a probable target of the US intelligence agencies clandestine services, that’s not my problem.

              Honey traps voluntary and involuntary have been used to leverage and smear people from day dot and the possibility needs to be at least considered.

              • McFlock

                Bam, there it is.

                There’s a difference between knowing that the US was pissed at Assange and probably has run hacking ops at the very least against him, and claiming that one of the complainants was a CIA agent simply because she made a complaint. Particularly when other commenters claim she never wanted to make a sexual assault complaint in the first place.

                Asking for an investigation of bias or ulterior motives in a case is fine, if there is the evidence to back it up. The stronger the allegation, the stronger the evidence has to be. This is especially true when the allegations can and have been used to hide actual crimes in the past.

                Or to put it another way: if your idolatry of Assange prevents you from discussing the fact that character assasination has been used by supporters of accused sexual abusers to deny, minimise or excuse the alleged abuse, that’s not my problem

              • Tracey

                If only you were so reasonable and open to considering the views of those who take an opposing view to you…

              • Anno1701

                Honey traps are classic “spy craft”

                it used to be used a lot to blackmail homosexual diplomats back in the day, before the liberalization of attitudes about homosexuality

                go read a history of the KGB…

                • Tracey

                  are all rape accusations the result of honey traps, historically speaking

                  • KJT

                    No. But at least a couple were. If we stay in internet range I will try and find the spy stories about it.

                    It is what Mata Hari was accused of after all, though she may have been a young woman caught in a social whirl beyond her depth.

                  • Anno1701

                    “are all rape accusations the result of honey traps, historically speaking”

                    did i say that ?

                    what a silly question

            • les 13.1.1.1.1.2

              what nonsense you post…back it up..if you can.

              • McFlock

                I did. I linked to your subthread in the blue text with your name.

                Such highlights as:

                “so a woman agrees to have sex with you …just as you are about to climax…she says get off ..now..whats that?”

                “who is the rapist ?Consensual sex with a list of conditions seems a very tenuous arguement.”

                “I guess technically consent can be withdrawn…just like debentures ..at any time.”
                That’s not a technicality. It is a basic concept relating to consent. If you think it is some sort of technicality, then you are experiencing confusion about a basic concept of consent.

              • KJT

                It seems a basic human right to me. You, man or woman, can withdraw consent to anything that affects your body directly, at any time.

                So if you are going to have sex with a woman to the point where you cannot stop yourself, you should be sure that’s what she wants, beforehand.

                • les

                  good call…need a list to tick the box ..for allowable intimacy…quite the passionate ,romantic ,guide to the pleasure of sex.Someone needs to rewrite the Karma Sutra.

                  • Do try and keep up, les. Hollywood is 30 years ahead of you:

                  • McFlock

                    But here’s the thing – what somebody consented to when they ticked the box might change immediately after ticking the box, and the box-ticking isn’t legally binding.

                    If someone is so incapable of judging consent that they need an itemised list, an itemised list is an insufficient way of stopping them doing something against someone else’s wishes.

                    They don’t need a lawyer to notarise a sex contract. They need a normal human being as a referee who can step in when it looks like they might start doing something against the other person’s will.

      • Tracey 13.1.2

        …and honey traps were mentioned a number of times CV. So was the notion that they were sexually experienced and mature as evidence of their duplicity.

  14. wtf 14

    Another crap article … [Deleted. You don’t get to tell us what to write or how to run the site. TRP]

  15. wtf 15

    Go f… [Deleted. TRP]

    • Hateatea 15.1

      I found your remarks offensive. There is no need to take your ‘nick’ to that length.

  16. It isn’t important. The fact that actual rape apologies were used is important. That’s the point of the post. I’m pleased that CV has at least tried to address that issue in the second part of his second comment.

    Edit. This was in reply to a comment that has now disappeared.

    • Crashcart 16.1

      I deleted my comment because I felt that CV had addressed it better than I had. People using actual rape apologies is an important topic. However your first statement being completely incorrect was probably quite infuriating for those who were called rape apologists.

      • te reo putake 16.1.1

        Tough for them. If they’re infuriated it should be for being rape apologists. At least those that were. Many people managed to make comments supportive of Assange without going down that track at all. And you’ll note I left the identifiers off the quotes in the post. That’s because I’m not trying to publicly shame any individual, just make them (and us) think about what they have done.

        • les 16.1.1.1

          how can anyone be a ‘rape apologist’ regarding an incident that no one has been convicted of …rape?

          • Tracey 16.1.1.1.1

            easily. i dont think you understand two key concepts

            rape culture
            rape apologist

            • les 16.1.1.1.1.1

              fabricated terms to suit a position.Who apologies for rape….maybe the offendor ..no other reasonable person!

              • Thanks for confirming you don’t know what an ‘apologist’ is. Have you considered that someone unacquainted with the terms being used in a debate should think twice about joining it? Or at least let Google fill them in on what the terms mean?

                • les

                  never complain,never explain…and when were you appointed the arbiter of definitive terms?

                  • weka

                    you probably don’t like the definitive term trole either.

                  • …when were you appointed the arbiter of definitive terms?

                    Never, nor likely to be, ever, nor claimed to be. However, one needn’t be an arbiter of definitive terms to have manners. If I were to read a post about ‘rape apologists’ and didn’t have the faintest idea what the term ‘apologist’ means, I’d for a start not comment on said post. However, if for some reason I was determined to unleash my ignorance on the comments thread, I would at least trouble myself to bung the term ‘apologist’ into Google and find out what it actually meant, so as to minimise the resulting idiocy.

                    So much for my policy. Your own policy, apparently, is to comment on things you don’t know the meaning of, under the motto ‘never explain.’ Fine by me – the ways of the loudmouth ignoramus are among life’s immutable mysteries and it’s pointless to second-guess them. However, don’t be surprised at the responses using variations on the word ‘tr*ll.’

          • Chooky 16.1.1.1.2

            @les…+100…[Deleted. Read the post. TRP]

  17. Bill 17

    Is this the most deceitful and/or dishonest post to date on ‘the standard”?

    First up, the post you are referring to was not about Assange’s continuing attempts to avoid Swedish law, it was about the Swedish authorities finally agreeing to question Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy…something he and his lawyers have been pushing for for years.

    Secondly, the term ‘rape apologist’ was used 18 times in the space of 470+ comments. I’ve cut and pasted the instances below and attempted to allow for context. Sometimes, the term is used sarcastically (eg CV at 12.1) as well as in other ways. It certainly doesn’t appear to be have been used, as you claim, usually as an accusation in the style of ‘are you calling me a rape apologist?’

    CV: 1.3.1.1.1.2 “WIthout being too pointed, how many “rape apologist pig fucker” stickers are you having printed up?”

    Weka 4.2.1.1.1….”That you (Chooky) are arguing those lines on a left wing political blog is why you’ve been named a rape apologist.”

    OAB 5.3. I. 2.1 “I figured you rape apologists apologise for rapists.”

    Chooky: 5.3.1.2.1.1 “I am NOT a rape apologist!…as a feminist who has walked on ‘Take Back the Night’ protests for women to walk safely at night (and learned a martial art so I could walk safely) …. I take rape very very seriously!…but I also take justice seriously

    Weka: 5.3.1.2.1.1…. “Being supportive of changing rape culture in other ways doesn’t mean one can never be a rape apologist.

    Weka 5.4 ” If you want to say there are two sides to every story and not align yourself with the rape apologists, then also say something about how lying about rape is rare..”

    Weka: 6.1 “What matters is that you (Penny Bright) are on a left wing political blog aligning yourself with rape apologists in one of the biggest global debates about rape culture that we have seen.

    Chooky: 9.1 “…(and these woman (Women Against Rape – Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff) are asking for justice…they are NOT rape apologists)”

    CV: 9.1.1 “the socially liberal left loves calling those who seek a fair trial for Assange and his alleged victims “rape apologists” as some kind of sneering put down.”

    OAB 9.1.1. 2.1.”That must be it! Everyone who thinks you’re a rape apologist is in the CIA”

    Weka: 9.1.1.4 “That is an outright lie CV. People get called a rape aplogist for making specific statemements regarding rape that are rape apologies, not for making statements about Assange’s safety re extradiction to the US”

    CV: 12.1: “You’re a dirty rape apologist you are.”

    Chooky: 12.1.1.1″i agree….you are NOT a “rape apologist” and nor is CR….and nor am I….and nor is anyone who has serious reservations about how Assange has been treated”

    Pigman: 18 A whole lot of “Oh if you suggest that any sexual assault complaint could be motivated by anything other than sexual assault, you are a rape apologist” (the implication being because no true feminist would really do that) and a lot of “You’re not truly Left if you’re criticising Assange” going on above.”

    Weka 19.1 “…heroes can be rapists too and that otherwise good men can be rape apologists…”

    Chooky:19.2 “…lets wait for the trial to see whether he is really guilty of rape and his supporters “rape apologists””

    Chooky: 19.2.1.1.2: {…and anyone here who takes Assange’s side is called by some on this site “a rape apologist”…..draw your own conclusions as to their motivations }

    Meanwhile trp, can you please point to the instances within that thread where I (your accusation) suggest avoiding a rape investigation was in some way noble or where I implied or suggested that Assange was attempting to avoid the same? Merely pointing to the post header (as you did) and claiming it was in some way triumphalist (which it wasn’t) as though that verifies your point is straight up avoidance.

    And then can you please desist from dragging ‘the standard’ down into some kind of tabloidesque slime?

    • Happy to help, Bill. It’s your post entitled Finally! and the words in it and in the preview. Now would you like to address the point of the post, which was the numerous examples of rape apology in the comments?

      • Bill 17.1.1

        So, you have absolutely nothing to back your accusation that I view avoidance of “a rape investigation” as “in some way noble”.

        And you obviously didn’t read my comment before responding, otherwise you’d be aware that I’ve cut and pasted every instance of the term (rape apologist) being used and challenged, on the evidence of the actual comments, your assertion that it was primarily employed as a passive/aggressive attack line by people critical of the actions and inactions of legal and governmental authorities.

        • te reo putake 17.1.1.1

          Just your post, its title, the words in it and in the preview, Bill. Now, how about you stop whining about the intro para, read my post and have a think about the quotes that form the bulk of it. Do you agree that the quotes are rape apologies? If not, why not?

          • the pigman 17.1.1.1.1

            TRP – anti-feminist, victim-blaming, rape-culture-enabling, defending-Assange-at-all-costs crap commenters (which I think represents an infinitesimally small minority among TS readership) were anonymously identified and baited (without any examples) from post #1 in response to Bill’s post. It was not a coincidence of timing and it is plain dishonest to pretend it was.

            If it had been anyone but an author, there is a good chance they would have been insta-banned for the thread derail, subject to the mood and disposition of the moderator/author.

            Does it surprise you that you generated a depth of anger from commenters? Many of them would have partners, sisters, mothers, cousins, or themselves have been victims of rape. Does it seem odd that, when you (and others) then go on to throw around the accusation that they are then rape-enablers, it provokes quite a depth of fury?

        • Lanthanide 17.1.1.2

          I’ve stayed out of this whole thing, but your post did come across as triumphalist.

          But, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that being ‘happy’ that the authorities are finally doing the (obviously) right thing, means you’re suggesting that Assange’s actions are noble.

    • Tracey 17.2

      So 5 people used the phrase, yes?

      Is someone going to do a thread citing all the people who accused those supporting Assange being held to account IF he had broken a law in terms of rape of being authoritarian, fake lefty, US sympathising whatevers, anti Assange and on and on? (sarcasm).

    • Murray Rawshark 17.3

      +1 Bill.
      The discussion yesterday very quickly deteriorated into people hiding behind assumed positions and throwing accusations at each other. My subjective impression is that this mostly came from those who think Assange should hop across to Sweden. They will no doubt have the opposite impression.

      It’s a subject that few of us are mature enough to debate seriously. Not being an author, that’s all I’m going to say. People can take what they like from that.

    • felix 17.4

      +1 Bill.

      And Murray.

      I find this whole post pretty distasteful considering the way TRP basically trolled the first one.

  18. lprent 18

    And ignoring Sweden’s law that no person can be extradited to a country where they may be subject to the death penalty.

    What complete and utter unthinking crap… Go and have a look at our extradition outlines. If the US government made a simple undertaking they wouldn’t execute someone, then we’d extradite them for an offense that carried the death penalty. I’d expect that Sweden much the same restrictions. Your argument is a crock as it doesn’t stop him being tried for treason under those extraordinary laws that the US has and flung in prison for life.

    But think it through, the US doesn’t have to request extradition on such extreme charges. They can always tie people up in legal knots later.

    Once in the US on any old charge for extradition, Assange can be charged with almost anything else. Including those left over treason acts from the first world war that seem to be the favorite of senators.

    Nor could the country that he has been extradited from do anything effective about it. Just as if the UK sends Assange to Sweden, they cannot restrict what the Swedes do with him, including if they extradite them to the US.

    This has been a basic issue with extradition treaties for a very long time. One that has left things open for unscrupulous and immoral governments like the US and others to game the system.

    There is reason for anyone to fear extradition even if they are innocent of the charges (and in Assange’s case he doesn’t even have those) because they are being pulled into an environment away from support systems, usually jailed, and subject to further extradition. In other words made legally supine and in a position to be easily prosecution raped by a foreign legal system.

    Usually the way that the commonwealth courts get around it is to look at questions about why arrest warrants have been raised and if there appears to be something more going on. Essentially making the extraditing country to build a prima facie case for the charges that have been laid to show that they appear to be prosecution rather than persecution based. Which is of course where the FBI is having problems here with KDC.

    So essentially your entire post is based on a silly precept that ignores that there is no reason for an accused to avoid being accused or arrested, falsely or otherwise. As far as I can see you are making a presumption of guilt because someone isn’t comfortable in answering questions under duress or an abuse of process.

    The problem for Assange is that after 4 years there are simply no charges to answer or the courts to review. All there is simply a arrest warrant to be forced into interrogation with no defined endpoints or guarantees. That was why Assange eventually left Sweden in the first place. He was expected to hang around for how long?

    He’d finished what he was doing there, there was nothing more happening on complaints that he’d been told about, no restrictions on him, and he so he left to carry on with what he does. Then Marianne Ny decided she wanted more… and the question has to be asked why? And what changed?

    The solution has been evident from the time that I wrote a post on it about 4 years ago. Marianne Ny should have had some of her staff to interview Assange in London, decide if there was enough evidence to lay charges and then charge him if appropriate. Because she seems to be grandstanding for whatever reason, she has not.

    But then the courts in the UK would have been able to look at the charges and the backing evidence that the arrest warrant were for rather than just looking at the legal process of the warrant. It would have also allowed them to look at the motivations of the prosecutor and prosecution itself. Which is part of what the extradition procedures are meant to look at (read the link above for our procedures).

    Or she could have also got her government to make assurances that extradition from Sweden would not be permitted and that after trial and possible punishment, he would be returned to a safe jurisdiction.

    She has done neither. In fact she appears to have quite deliberately dragged this case out and we can only speculate about her motivations. To me, it appears likely that it was just for domestic political reasons. To others it could have been a ulterior plot of some kind for a further extradition. In the latter case, all she would have needed to do was to provide assurances from her government or their courts that this would not happen – which hasn’t happened.

    BTW: I’d also suggest that you rectify your idealized ignorance about Sweden. They don’t exactly have a particularly good reputation in some areas in recent history. Some of the the things that they did during WW2 with refugees were outright appalling. Much of the reputation you are referring to has been done by individuals and groups and often despite what the state apparatus would have done. Some of the material around on their way of dealing with adolescent “hooligans” and teenage mothers isn’t exactly pretty either (but nor is ours).

    Now you’ll note that I haven’t said a damn thing about what Assange is being sought in questioning for. That is primarily because I don’t damn well care. It is the misues of the process of law that I object to. In particular I find it to be offensive in the misuse of an extradition, on what appear to be slim grounds, for what look like ulterior motivations that don’t seem to have much to do with the law. It has a distinct reek of authoritarian politics, with someone doing things simply because they have the power to do them.

    The simple idiots trying to push their own agendas on gender politics or whistle blowing or whatever are just irrelevant to me. And I really don’t care for people trying to shove the debate into such stupid wee boxes in the way this post does.

    If Ny had a good case within something like English or even Swedish law and had been able to explain it then I suspect we’d have seen specific charges to be addressed. But then she’d have have had to explain it to people – something that hasn’t happened in any court so far. If there was a prima facie case in the supporting depositions that she should have been supplying the English courts then damn near everyone would have been enthusiastically throwing Assange to the wolves. So I suspect that is why none of that was addressed in her case to the English courts. It was virtually all procedural about her right to demand extradition for the purpose to questioning..

    Marianne Ny appears to have been going to her upmost to not provide anything substantive about any possible charges after 4 years. Her only action appears to have been to have tried to drag Assange back under her custodial interrogation without explaining her reasons about why she hasn’t laid charges, or why she didn’t conclude this when she had a chance to do so in Sweden (like simply taking a passport), or going and asking her questions in London.

    To me, after 4 years of this, Marianne Ny just looks like a legal sadist or rapist, arrogantly abusing the law to persecute someone simply because she can. Avoiding explaining the motivations for her actions. Still bringing the swedish justice system into disrepute.

    Even a self-evident arsehole like Assange deserves better out of the law than that.

    • Macro 18.1

      Totally agree.

      To me, after 4 years of this, Marianne Ny just looks like a legal sadist or rapist, arrogantly abusing the law to persecute someone simply because she can. Avoiding explaining the motivations for her actions. Still bringing the swedish justice system into disrepute.

      Says it all.

      • Tracey 18.1.1

        about many things….

        legal rapist?

        • Colonial Rawshark 18.1.1.1

          Using the complexities and exercise of legal power and legal processes to fuck someone over, take away their livelihood, their reputation, their freedom, their health, all without even laying a single formal charge.

          [Ny hasn’t done any of those things, CV. Assange is free to progress this matter any time he chooses. This post is about language that diminishes, discounts and disadvantages women. That applies to the prosecutor, too. TRP]

          • Macro 18.1.1.1.1

            Oh stop being so foolish TRP – If you read the chronology of this sad affair you will see that Ny has acted in a thoroughly abusive way. It was Ny who used a piece of EU legislation that was enacted after 9/11 supposedly with the intention of apprehending “terrorists” (It has never been used for that purpose).
            Just think about this. There is an arrest warrant issued without ANY charge being laid. Yet she gave Assange permission to leave Sweden after he had attended an interview with her, and after he had waited 5 weeks without any sign from her that she wanted to carry the investigation further. Then somedays after he had left Sweden she issues and arrest warrant under this spurious legislation – in the middle of a publicity campaign in which Assange was drawing attention to the deceitful ways in which the counties of USA and Europe (including Sweden) had been involved in the Iraqi War .
            Despite all your protestations to the contrary it is highly likely (and Assange has been advised) that the Swedes will to hand him over to the US. If they do not they will suffer the severe displeasure of the US. There is ample evidence of this. Why else are the UK and Sweden working hand in glove over what is an otherwise minor incident.
            (I am not being an apologist here – if Assange has committed an offence then he must expect to suffer the consequences but on the published facts and statements from the women involved it would seem that a prosecution would be extremely difficult. Certainly the first prosecutor thought so).
            Furthermore the Swedish Government (to which Ny has close connections) have been embarrassed by Wikileaks and forced to admit complicity with the US rendition programme.
            This incident is a golden opportunity for the powerful to get back at the flea that has been biting their bum for the past few years and causing them so much embarrassment and they are taking the opportunity to punish him as hard as they can.

          • Chooky 18.1.1.1.2

            +100 CR and Macro…”This incident is a golden opportunity for the powerful to get back at the flea that has been biting their bum for the past few years and causing them so much embarrassment and they are taking the opportunity to punish him as hard as they can.”

            …and accuse anyone who supports him as a “rape apologist”

            [Not so. Only actual incidents of rape apologia have been highlighted in this post. Stick to the facts and message of the post. TRP]

    • Nope, Lprent, my entire post is based on the fact that commenters on another post used rape apologies in defence of Julian Assange. I also mentioned the salient point in another reply that rape and espionage are similarly serious crimes, so it really doesn’t matter which he is charged with actually. Both would see him go to prison for a long time, in either NZ, Sweden or the States. The point is that trying to say fear of possible extradition somehow trumps facing the allegations of rape is a form of rape apologism. It’s saying that what did or didn’t happen to the Swedish women is less important than the possibility the Americans might also want to try him on other matters. It minimises the alleged offences.

      Your references to Ny are pretty awful, btw.

      • KJT 18.2.1

        No TRP. Your post also included a section about your opinion of the Assaunge case, which you used your status as an author to force your on point of view.

        You would have been better to have left that out.

    • left for deadshark 18.3

      Thanks Lynn,
      Are you lot clear now.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.4

      if the UK sends Assange to Sweden, they cannot restrict what the Swedes do with him, including if they extradite them to the US.

      Not according to the surrender procedures between Member States.

      4. Notwithstanding paragraph 1, a person who has been surrendered pursuant to a European arrest warrant shall not be extradited to a third State without the consent of the competent authority of the Member State which surrendered the person. Such consent shall be given in accordance with the Conventions by which that Member State is bound, as well as with its domestic law.

      In other words,

      If the US would request Sweden to extradite Assange the issue not only have to be approved by the Prosecutor-General, Supreme Court and Government in Sweden, it also has to go through the British legal system a second time (which took more than 500 days the first time).

      Mark Klamberg.

      • Tracey 18.4.1

        this is what yesterday could have been about, people posting links to support certain views… so we could all learn and draw conclusions.

        But in my opinion the tone WAS set by the Author’s post, which was triumphant, sarcastic and judgmental of the Swede’s (thanks for correction left for dead) and their motivations.

        • Tracey 18.4.1.1

          OOps, thank you sir/madam – corrected

        • Colonial Rawshark 18.4.1.2

          Judgemental of the Swedes?

          Nonsense. Judgemental of the high flying prosecutor in charge of the case, maybe. The Swedish Bar Association has been waiting for that prosecutor to get her A into G for many months instead of stonewalling.

          The step to question Assange brings justice for Assange and his alleged victims another step closer. It is a very positive development for all concerned.

        • left for deadshark 18.4.1.3

          @ Tracey, 🙂

    • McFlock 18.5

      The thing is that the Swedes don’t file charges at the same stage of the case as UK/commonwealth justice systems do. This was covered in the extradition hearings, and the UK courts said that if the case were in the UK he would have been charged well before.

      Although it is clear a decision has not been taken to charge him, that is because, under Swedish procedure, that decision is taken at a late stage with the trial following quickly thereafter. In England and Wales, a decision to charge is taken at a very early stage; there can be no doubt that if what Mr Assange had done had been done in England and Wales, he would have been charged and thus criminal proceedings would have been commenced. If the commencement of criminal proceedings were to be viewed in this way, it would be to look at Swedish procedure through the narrowest of eyes. On this basis, criminal proceedings have commenced against Mr Assange.

      As for the prosecutor delaying this interview, why rush? The reason that there’s not much point to it is that he can’t be formally charged and prosecuted after it. If he wants to imprison himself, that’s his call.

      And if he’s extradited to Sweden, he can’t be extradited to a third country without the UK’s permission:

      Once the British authorities enforce the UK Supreme Court’s decision to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden, Sweden is bound by the so-called “Doctrine of Speciality” which means that Sweden cannot extradite him further to a third country, for example the USA, without permission from the UK.

      So he’s actually safer from the US in Sweden than he is in the UK: in Sweden a US extradition request would have to go through the Swedish system, then the UK system. And his lawyers sure can string out a case.

    • Tracey 18.6

      GREAT post lprent (thanks )partifcularly about the notion that extradition can be got around by the destination country making concessions on penalties..

      Can you post links to where the Swedes have indicated they are open to extraditing him to USA before any charges/trial or after?

      Did you have to put that last part… a legal rapist? Were you being deliberately inflammatory?

    • Chooky 18.7

      +100…” after 4 years of this, Marianne Ny just looks like a legal sadist or rapist”

  19. Macro 19

    I think a timeline clearly shows that Assange had – up until his departure from Sweden because he realised his long term future was in danger (i.e. extradition to US) – complied with the Swedish authorities with respect to this investigation. Furthermore – since his isolation in the Ecuadorian Embassy he has attempted to cooperate with them (either she visit, or Skype) or if the Swedes would guarantee that he would NOT be extradited to US then he would return to Sweden.
    It is also clear that the Warrant (issued under a draconian EU law specifically drafted for terrorists – but never used as such) was incorrectly interpreted by the UK law courts and his incarceration in the Embassy is the result of bad law incorrectly applied.

    Less than 24 hours later, the Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, took over the investigation. She wasted no time in cancelling the arrest warrant, saying, “I don’t believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape.” Four days later, she dismissed the rape investigation altogether, saying, “There is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever.” The file was closed.

    Enter Claes Borgstrom, a high profile politician in the Social Democratic Party then standing as a candidate in Sweden’s imminent general election. Within days of the chief prosecutor’s dismissal of the case, Borgstrom, a lawyer, announced to the media that he was representing the two women and had sought a different prosecutor in the city of Gothenberg. This was Marianne Ny, whom Borgstrom knew well. She, too, was involved with the Social Democrats.

    On 30 August, Assange attended a police station in Stockholm voluntarily and answered all the questions put to him. He understood that was the end of the matter. Two days later, Ny announced she was re-opening the case. Borgstrom was asked by a Swedish reporter why the case was proceeding when it had already been dismissed, citing one of the women as saying she had not been raped. He replied, “Ah, but she is not a lawyer.” Assange’s Australian barrister, James Catlin, responded, “This is a laughing stock… it’s as if they make it up as they go along.”

    On the day Marianne Ny reactivated the case, the head of Sweden’s military intelligence service (“MUST”) publicly denounced WikiLeaks in an article entitled “WikiLeaks [is] a threat to our soldiers.” ,Assange was warned that the Swedish intelligence service, SAP, had been told by its US counterparts that US-Sweden intelligence-sharing arrangements would be “cut off” if Sweden sheltered him.

    For five weeks, Assange waited in Sweden for the new investigation to take its course. The Guardian was then on the brink of publishing the Iraq “War Logs”, based on WikiLeaks’ disclosures, which Assange was to oversee. His lawyer in Stockholm asked Ny if she had any objection to his leaving the country. She said he was free to leave.

    Inexplicably, as soon as he left Sweden – at the height of media and public interest in the WikiLeaks disclosures – Ny issued a European Arrest Warrant and an Interpol “red alert” normally used for terrorists and dangerous criminals. Put out in five languages around the world, it ensured a media frenzy.

    Assange attended a police station in London, was arrested and spent ten days in Wandsworth Prison, in solitary confinement. Released on £340,000 bail, he was electronically tagged, required to report to police daily and placed under virtual house arrest while his case began its long journey to the Supreme Court. He still had not been charged with any offence. His lawyers repeated his offer to be questioned by Ny in London, pointing out that she had given him permission to leave Sweden. They suggested a special facility at Scotland Yard used for that purpose. She refused.

    Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote: “The allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction… The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will. [Assange] has made it clear he is available for questioning by the Swedish authorities, in Britain or via Skype. Why are they refusing this essential step in their investigation? What are they afraid of?”

    my bold

  20. the pigman 20

    Looks like it’s another day to follow Marty Mars’ example and take the (grand)children to the skate park.

    This site is not enhanced by these kinds of provocative, passive-aggressive attempts to shame its commenters/other authors and generally self-destruct. You may claim it has another legitimate purpose, but I think you’re smart enough to know exactly what you were doing TRP.

    • Bollocks, pigman. I deliberately left of the names and links to the rape apologist quotes so nobody would be personally vilified. The point of the post was to get people to think about what their words mean. I have a high regard for most people who post and author here, but I’m also aware that this is not a good place for women. Now that might be just reflective of political blogs generally, but we have an extremely low number of woman authors and only a slightly higher percentage of female commenters on the Standard. In my opinion, the Standard would be a better blog if women felt respected here and felt safe to comment and author.

      • the pigman 20.1.1

        I’m sure women felt much more comfortable watching you/OAB/McFlock do your little cirque de jerque of your feminist e-peens by attacking a large section of the commenters with vicious sarcasm yesterday. Or maybe like Stephanie they just found it “stressful”?

        WHEN THE POST WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT THE INVESTIGATION OF FUCKING ASSANGE.

        *ahem* That feels better.

        • weka 20.1.1.1

          I can tell you, as a politicised woman, I feel safer here with men who get what rape culture is. If I was just arguing with men who don’t and there were no or very few men who get it, I doubt that I would bother. It’s just too exhausting and my energy is better spent elsewhere. I don’t like the macho end of the debate culture on ts, and I have to discipline myself to not become like that, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the men who stood up against rape culture in this round of the discussion made the place more tolerable to have the discussion at all.

        • Chooky 20.1.1.2

          +100 the pigman

      • les 20.1.2

        why do you think women do not feel ‘respected and safe to comment’….a number of women here are frequent posters who present their opinions without fear or prejudice.You almost seem to be an apologist that suggests women are not equal!

        • te reo putake 20.1.2.1

          Way to miss the point, Les. ‘A number of posters’ is not proportionally representative of the actual female population. We are missing out on their input so, yes, women are not ‘equal’ in terms of their contribution here. My opinion, as expressed in the comment above, is that there is a culture on TS that is not supportive or encouraging of women’s voices. And, yep, my own snidey, know it all voice probably drowns some out too. However, I’m not too old to learn. Howabout you?

          • les 20.1.2.1.1

            how do we know the gender of posters on here trp?

            • te reo putake 20.1.2.1.1.1

              Good question! Lprent has previously posted summaries of the age/gender/etc of visitors here, but the technical aspects of how that is determined is way beyond me. But, in terms of comments, it’s not too hard to determine gender from the language used and from the disclosures posters make via their handles or their anecdotes. For example, I don’t imagine there are too many people who couldn’t guess my gender from the way I write. However, I’ve learned not too assume anything and I’ve not got it right every time. But my guess is that males dominate comments here by a considerable margin and I think there are only a couple of active women authors at the moment. And given the shit that one of them cops every time she posts, I’m surprised that the imbalance isn’t greater.

              • les

                so you have confirmed you don’t really know what you’re talking about…at 20.1.2.1….forget your gut feelings and assumptions.

                [Don’t push it. If you think I’m wrong, best you say how you came to that conclusion and provide some facts and figures to back up your claim. TRP]

                • weka

                  Nope, it’s obvious to anyone who spends time here that it’s a male dominated place. That there are only a couple of intermittent women authors now is fact (karol left recently). Lprent can confirm the exact stats on commenters, but there was a post on this recently, so you can look back in the last couple of pages of posts, or seach by lprent for posts (not comments) and you will find the stats.

                  Lots of us know each other from spending time with each other and gender becomes obvious in those conversations for many. There are a few people here whose gender I don’t know, but by and large it’s obvious. For instance I am assuming you are a bloke on the basis of what you have said. Is that not a fair assumption?

                  • felix

                    I don’t think the stats on the gender of site visitors count for much. AFAIK they only pick up email addresses that are linked to google accounts, and even then who knows what info is real?

                    • weka

                      Yep, although I thought that was taken into account in Lynn’s analysis. Would be interesting to consider whether women hide/lie about their gender online more than men. Gmail requires you to say your gender doesn’t it?

                    • felix

                      I think so. Either one.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      It has an “other” option too.

                    • lprent

                      Felix: nope.

                      Email addresses here are completely unreliable because they don’t have to be valid unless you

                      1. Have a login (because those require a confirmation email)
                      and
                      2. Haven’t changed your email to something invalid

                      Since I have had the ability to create a login locked away from public use for about 4-5 years. There aren’t too many people who have them.

                      I think that a majority of email addresses here are invalid and are frequently degendered. They are just a secret ID that gets you a gravatar, and requires that when you change them a moderator has to release your first comment.

                      Google analytics picks it up from a pile of information about you from the cookies that travel with you. These are set by programs like google analytics. They get us on this site to place them because we like the stats and need them if we advertise (I have some questions on that now that we don’t need to anymore). But you are carrying them from virtually every site you go to

                      When you access sites that share information with them, they collect information, either from what you share or from cross-correlations like gmail, facebook, twitter, and damn near every commercial site.

                      However they are only sure of about half of the visitors on this site, so that is what they report on.

                      They say that about 30% of the readers here are women. Which is lower than I’d like. Based on everything else we get with the statistics and the things that I can check, that is probably pretty accurate. It moves with the types of posts that we write in any given period in ways that you’d expect.

                      My guesstimate is/was that a slightly higher number of the commenters than 30% were women. However that level seems to fluctuate more than the gender readership levels as people head on and off the site. However I am basing that mainly on the feel of how people write and what they write about after I observe them for a while. Some of the confirmation comes from people emailing me and trusting me with who they are in real life. Sometimes that shows me that I am wrong :0 And I may be guilty of wishful thinking with that.

                      But there is a distinct gender difference in the way that people express themselves that you pick up after a while, just as age differences are often quite clear as well, so are political affiliations, attitudes about living, and general ‘trustworthiness’. Everyone who reads the net for a while learns to ‘read’ other people via what they say or what they avoid.

                      What has been happening over time is that the gender imbalance has been slowly correcting itself here. In 2008, I would have said that well less than 10% (probably closer to 5%) of our commenters were women.

                    • felix

                      Ah, thanks for the explanation Lynn.

                  • lprent

                    Nope, it’s obvious to anyone who spends time here that it’s a male dominated place. That there are only a couple of intermittent women authors now is fact (karol left recently).

                    Yes. That is especially the case amongst authors (*sigh*). Not deliberately or by intent. More I suspect by subject matter (politics) and the continual grind.

                    but there was a post on this recently, so you can look back in the last couple of pages of posts, or seach by lprent for posts (not comments) and you will find the stats.

                    On Age
                    On readers and the work they cause me
                    On connections to other sites
                    On election months
                    On site residency

                    I know I wrote that. But I can’t find it. I obviously gave it a crap lookup.

                • les

                  I came to that conclusion by reading your post above mine…where you offer nothing reliable to sustain your arguement about gender stats re posters.Do you think that womens views are not equal to those of men,or should an allowance be made for women posters ,as to how they are engaged in discussion,because of their gender?

                  [If you are suggesting that Lprent is unreliable, then it’s probably lucky you’re dealing with me, not him. Don’t carry on down this path. TRP]

                  • weka

                    Not sure if you are talking to me or TRP, but of course women’s views are as valid as men’s, and of course if women feel unsafe then it’s good to consider how to make the place safe for them (that’s true of other people too). Whether it’s realistic is another issue.

                    TPR, Hateatea and I have given reasonable explanations on how we have an idea about gender participation on ts.

            • Hateatea 20.1.2.1.1.2

              Most people give clues to their gender if you read them regularly, others don’t but least you are in any doubt, I am a woman. I found both this thread and the previous one a very difficult forum in which to be fully involved. Posts such as those you made reinforced my feeling. I have nothing but admiration for those women such as weka and Stephanie for their courage to articulate what I wanted to but felt too unsure and intimidated to do so,

              I do not need to be reminded of the ‘rape culture’ that I experienced as a young woman which has taken many, many years to work my way towards understanding and overcoming my anger and resentment for the cost to my physical and emotional wellbeing.

              Thank you too to all those who understood the difference and tried to help others see it too.

              • les

                well so called ‘clues’ can be way wrong…I could say the impetus for this thread is Assange and whether he is guilty of a sexual crime…the evidence so far does not appear to support this.The wider topic of consent seems to me to be inflamed by people, I will assume by the ‘clues’ as I interpret them by ..man haters.

                • weka

                  “I could say the impetus for this thread is Assange and whether he is guilty of a sexual crime…the evidence so far does not appear to support this.”

                  That would be because that’s not what this thread is about.

                  “The wider topic of consent seems to me to be inflamed by people, I will assume by the ‘clues’ as I interpret them by ..man haters.”

                  that would make you either stupid or a bigot or a trole. Most people here engage with at least some level of genuine intent. Feel free to go against the grain on that, and see how you get on.

                  btw, have you read the About and Policy tags at the top of page? They’re important to understanding how things work here. You’re getting a few comments from the moderators, it’s always good to have a look at the rules when that happens.

                  • les

                    is the test for being ‘genuine’ agreeing with you?…if so I fail!’Stupid,bigot,troll,’ dear oh dear someone who has abandoned debating any issue and resorted to the refuge of personal abuse.

                    • weka

                      “is the test for being ‘genuine’ agreeing with you?”

                      No, why would you think that?

                      “’Stupid,bigot,troll,’ dear oh dear someone who has abandoned debating any issue and resorted to the refuge of personal abuse.”

                      At some point it’s just easier to short hand responses to people’s behaviour. I’m pretty sure that most people here would consider calling the regular women commenters here manhaters because of their political beliefs is a form of troling. Maybe not where you come from, but in this case it’s a good idea to learn the culture of the place you are visiting if you don’t want to get called names.

                    • lprent

                      Not to mention that sliding a barb in at an appropriate time is often useful to get to understand someone’s net personality from how they react.

                      He (definitely male) does feel a bit trollish. However he also feels like he is a bit of a newbie to net conversation. Definitely not from any of the net generations. Probably in the older demographics and getting a bit too much time on their hands in their spare time.

                      Has a high opinion of themselves, but it is hard to see why so far as they don’t say much coherent that is of interest. Has the trollish chip of their shoulder. Has spent a bit of time in the sewers of the net which accounts for the hackneyed imitations of “debating technique”. Hasn’t picked up on many good techniques yet because he is still attracted to the flame.

                      Probably give him time to grow into it – doesn’t look too mindless. But I really haven’t seen enough of him yet to really get a good feel..

                    • Chooky

                      les…I like your spirit…and your comments ( although of course I may not agree with every single one of them)…they have the mark of calling a spade a spade

                • Hateatea

                  Actually, the original point of this thread was, I believe, about some people appearing to trivialise ‘rape’ and ‘sexual assault’ by the language they used and the examples they gave.

                  Perhaps I am naive but I must have missed the ‘man haters’. However, you, on the other hand, come across as somewhat less than perceptive in matters of male and female relationships.

                  • les

                    I think the OP has presented his bias quite clearly…his premise about what constitutes rape is clearly connected to the Assange situation.Please point me to those posts that ‘trivialise rape or sexual assault’…if you can.

                    [They’re in the OP, les. Last chance. TRP]

                    • weka

                      They’re in the post. In italics. If you cut and paste them and put them in the search box you’ll get them in context.

                    • les

                      heres what LP said on Dec 4th 2010…’ You need a law degree to know whether you have been r-ped or not in Sweden. In the context of such double think, the question of how the Swedish authorities propose to deal with victims who neither saw themselves as such nor acted as such is easily answered: You’re not a Swedish lawyer so you wouldn’t understand anyway. The consent of both women to sex with Assange has been confirmed by prosecutors.’…

                      better put him on his ‘last chance’ as well!

                      [lprent: Sure. Did you read why I said that?

                      I was looking at the laws of Sweden and comparing them to NZ or British law. The way that the Swedish laws were set up, in my opinion, were deeply ambiguous and liable to massive amounts of misinterpretation.

                      I also had unkind things to say about the prosecutorial system there.

                      If you hunt around, you will find me saying similar things about part of the NZ Crimes act, the NZ summary offenses act, quite a lot of the glacial processes of our court systems. Same for sections of legal gobble that pass for law in the US.

                      For a non-lawyer I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about legal process. This arises largely from having suffered through a ex-partners law degree when she was doing it. ]

                    • Hateatea

                      If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are high that it is a duck.

                      You, dear Les, give every appearance of a troll. What should I believe – the words from your own mouth?

                      ‘ is the test for being ‘genuine’ agreeing with you?…if so I fail!’Stupid,bigot,troll,’ dear oh dear someone who has abandoned debating any issue and resorted to the refuge of personal abuse’

                      I think that it is time to leave you to your own devices and turn to my bedtime reading instead.

            • Chooky 20.1.2.1.1.3

              @ les …actually i think there are some here who pretend to be women….or they are part of an authoritarian twisted sister brigade…and i am as scared of them as I am of some men

              …and for the record: i really am a girl chooky…and I like men very much ( generally, with some exceptions)….and i am NOT a “rape apologist” ….I am also a supporter of Julian Assange until it is proved he is a rapist…[Line deleted. TRP]

              • les

                they seem to want to reinvent natural human behaviour through statute…quite frightning….rednecks to the right of me…lesbians to the left…the voter stuck in the middle has to make a choice …and has at the last 3 elections….sad over reaction to ‘equality’ imo.

        • weka 20.1.2.2

          why do you think women do not feel ‘respected and safe to comment’….a number of women here are frequent posters who present their opinions without fear or prejudice.You almost seem to be an apologist that suggests women are not equal!

          I think it would be more correct to say that there are women who post here strongly despite it not being a safe place. The safety thing isn’t a reflection on women, it’s a reflection on the place.

          • les 20.1.2.2.1

            why is it not a ‘safe’ place?For gods sake its an internet forum where you can choose anonymity!

            • weka 20.1.2.2.1.1

              Anonymity is against the rules here. We use pseudonyms, so that people can track commenters over time and better understand them. Also stops troling.

              Why it’s not safe is a bigger explanation which it’s too late at night for me to get into. Stick around, I’m sure it will come up again.

              • les

                mr semantics..pseudonym-.’a fictitious name used by an author to conceal his or her identity; pen name.’

                • weka

                  Given you are turning out to be boring this is probably the last bit of friendly advice I will give. Read the About and Policy, there’s even some stuff about pseudonyms and anonymity. Failure to understand what is written there is the quickest way to get a ban.

          • les 20.1.2.2.2

            I can not identify the gender of these regular women posters who you allege I am calling ‘manhaters’…I guess one of my many flaws is trying not to make assumptions.Good to know you speak for ‘most people’ though.

            • weka 20.1.2.2.2.1

              Stop misrepresenting what I say. And I’d suggest you stop with the trolebaiting too.

              • les

                I am definately not misrepresenting what you say…troll has 2 l’s btw.

                [Good night, les. Feel free to come back tomorrow, but for now, you’re done. TRP]

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  People tend to mis-spell it – tr*ll, trole, etc, because the correct spelling usually sends the comment straight to moderation.

    • felix 20.2

      Agree. It’s the kind of thing I’d expect to see on Whaleoil.

      • Chooky 20.2.1

        +100 felix…and a reason i never go near Whaleoil….went there once and was repelled

  21. Wish I hadn’t read all through the comments. I don’t find TS a safe place at all whenever the topic is feminism/gender equality/ sexual violence. Too many old-school, angry ignorant blokes, debate soon gets dragged to a basic/somewhat offensive level. Reading most of the comments now reinforced why I don’t bother coming to this site often and don’t often bother to comment. Have also noticed when the topic is sexual violence, male commentators talk about their sex lives – little anecdotes e.g. condom use discussion above. Unnecessary detail and just plain eeuw. I wish there was a different left-leaning blog, more advanced in terms of gender issues.

    • les 21.1

      [Deleted. That was entirely uncalled for, les. TRP]

      • weka 21.1.1

        Honest and open first person expressions of experience and opinion aren’t that common here, I thought her comment was enlightening and completely valid. She just shared a number of things about her experience, what’s wrong with that?

    • weka 21.2

      Cheers WJ. Any thoughts on what would make it safer?

    • Ergo Robertina 21.3

      Spot on.
      At times it’s worse than talkback radio around here.
      Angry blokes baiting each other, using whatever subject matter is at hand, without much thought at all. So when the thread topic involves sexual violence the result will not be respectful. And then those little anecdotes …
      Cheers for speaking up about it.

    • lprent 21.4

      …e.g. condom use discussion above. Unnecessary detail and just plain eeuw.

      That was my intent. I should have also mentioned that I have an aversion to them. But I’d have said that was pretty obvious.

      But I figure that if the subject is something that I don’t like that much, then leading by lowering the standard is a good thing.

    • Tracey 21.5

      “. I don’t find TS a safe place at all whenever the topic is feminism/gender equality/ sexual violence. Too. ”

      i find it uncomfortable at those times and tend to walk away. My observation is that when it turns to the topic of sexual violence, response, responsi ility and accountability it feels nasty in here.

      • miravox 21.5.1

        +1
        I find it very difficult to cope with, but do appreciate the input of the likes of trp, aob and mcflock (who I assume are males). It was also a revelation (making it easier to comment), during the whole roastbusters debate to have support from rogue trooper – who seemed to have turned away from a somewhat dark past himself.

        It’s not just women who have issues with, and experiences of, sexual assault being belittled and being at the rough end of rape apologists.

        • Tracey 21.5.1.1

          i completely agree with your last sentence. however when people do not feel able to reveal their underlying pain all a reader can “see” is anger… sometimes as poorly targetted as a gatling gun.

    • I wish there was a different left-leaning blog, more advanced in terms of gender issues.

      Why settle for wishing other people to create the blog you’d prefer to read? Surely you should wish them to create you a better internet?

  22. Penny Bright 23

    Can a male be a ‘feminist’?

    Not in my view.

    Penny Bright

  23. Sable 24

    Sweden like New Zealand and others is a US vassal state. Made so by traitorous politicians and their lackeys. [Line deleted. Read the post. TRP]

    • Chooky 24.1

      +100 Sable…certainly seems to be the case

    • Colonial Rawshark 24.2

      It’s clear to me that plenty of people on the so-called left 1) have no idea of the true exercise of imperial power or 2) are quite OK with imperial power and are therefore satisfied with perpetuating little self centred circular squabbles.

      And the irony is almost too much to bear. So much for dealing to the patriarchy. Because patriarchy is of course what imperial power is all about, but patriarchy, like imperial power, fucks both men and women alike without descrimination, albeit in slightly different ways. Like I said, irony.

      • Chooky 24.2.1

        CR +100…lets hope it is just insular ignorance

      • weka 24.2.2

        How partriarchy fucks men and women is entirely discriminatory, that’s the point.

      • Tracey 24.2.3

        changes some words and it also describes you who despite obvious intelligence chose to pursue a line that conflated a desire to protect and honour women with acceptance of imperialist power

  24. saveNZ 25

    [Line removed. Read the post. TRP]

    Could Assange to be tried for Rape in Sweden with the understanding that the charge can not be used as an excuse to extradite him to the US or try him for WikiLeaks?

    But can he get a fair trial? I don’t think that is possible and that is what the problem is.

    Investigative journalism should not be used to persecute people.

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  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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