Below is a collection of articles that discuss the internet backlash against the two Swedish women who have accused Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks of sexual assault. These charges come just after WikiLeaks publicly released 1500 of 251,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables to the outrage of the U.S. Government. With the release of the documents, Assange has become a high profile media figure embroiled in global controversy bringing him both powerful enemies and loyal fans.
Unfortunately however, his fans (including many on the progressive left) and the media have taken to victim blaming. The women have been subjected to all manner of digital harassment – everything from accusations of concocting a CIA ‘honey-trap’ to publishing their identities (photos, writings, names, addresses, twitter accounts) all over the internet.
Like most women who make allegations against powerful men, these women have been lied about, harassed, and generally dragged through the mud. It would be nice if various justice systems took allegations of sexual assault as seriously as they have with Assange, but the global resources and effort is not about the care and regard for a fair and legitimate trial but seems more like a cynical and opportunistic attempt to punish WikiLeaks.
This case reminds us of the lack of respect and down right misogyny that is hurled at women who dare to report abuse. Just as we should treat the accused as innocent until proven guilt, we should withhold judgment of these women and take allegations of sexual assault seriously.
If you have found any other articles or interviews that discuss the backlash please post links in the comments. Thank you to Jonathan McIntosh of Rebellious Pixels for collecting many of these articles.
1. Assange Defenders Attack Rape Accusers for No Good Reason by Amanda Marcotte on Slate.com, December 8, 2010
2. The rush to smear Assange’s rape accuser by Kate Harding on Salon.com, December 7, 2010 3. Assange rape allegations: treatment of women ‘unfair and absurd’ by Amelia Gentleman on Guardian.co.uk, December 8, 2010
5. Whatever the Assange arrest is about, it’s not about how much women suck by Maggie Koerth-Baker on BoingBoing.net, December 7, 2010
6. Some thoughts on “sex by surprise” by Jill Filipovic on Feministe.us, December 6, 2010 7. Naomi Wolf says “Assange captured by the dating police”? by Jill Filipovic on Feministe.us, December 8, 2010
8. No one gains from this ‘rape-rape’ defense of Julian Assange by Libby Brooks on Guardian.co.uk, December 9, 2010
9. What the Assange case reveals about rape in America by Jessica Valenti on WashingtonPost.com, December 10, 2010 10. How AOL News Started The “Sex By Surprise” Lie by Jessica Valenti on Jessicavalenti.com, December 10, 2010
12. Jaclyn Friedman (Women, Action & the Media) and Katrin Axelsson (Women Against Rape) on the BBC’s World Tonight (radio interview at approx 15 minutes) on BBC Radio 4, December 14, 2010
13. What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape by Jaclyn Friedman on Prospect.org, December 10, 2010
This post originally appeared at Feminist Frequency