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The accusations against Julian Assange have brought forth a fancy new defense of abusive behavior, which is that condom sabotage isn't that big a deal. In reality, birth control sabotage is a common and particularly scary form of abuse.

Written by Amanda Marcotte for RHRealityCheck.org - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Without commenting either way on the validity of the accusations against Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks who was recently arrested under politically suspicious circumstances for rape charges in Sweden international officials would usually ignore, I want to say that the charges themselves are very serious.  I realize it’s hopeless to suggest that pointing out the charges are serious isn’t the same as stating he’s guilty.  And that it’s probably hopeless to beg people not to rehash the same tired accusations that are always whipped out against women who file criminal complaints about rape.  When someone who has ever done anything that someone else liked is accused of rape, Rape Apology Day is declared, and all common sense is usually thrown out the window.  But I beg of you, this article has nothing to do with the validity of the charges or rendering judgment on Wikileaks itself.

This is about the seriousness of the charges and of birth control sabotage. Both of which are being downplayed by interested parties who struggle to grasp both that a man could do something they admire and do something that is immoral and illegal. Not that he did do it (please, people, calm down!).  But surely grown-ups can realize that people are complicated, and many can have both good and evil inside them.

The charges in this case, from what has been accurately reported, are rape, sexual molestation, and coercion---including accusations of holding a woman down and having sex with a sleeping woman.  But, as Jessica Valenti reports, there has been some information to suggest that one of the women is charging that Assange assaulted her by having sex with her after she withdrew her consent because he reneged on a promise to use a condom.  Unsurprisingly, the usual rape apologists stood by their usual claim that if a woman consents to [fill in the blank], then a man has a free pass to force whatever sexual acts he wishes on her.  But more surprisingly, some people came up the novel idea that birth control sabotage is not, in and of itself, a good enough reason for a woman to withdraw consent.

Most upsettingly, Naomi Wolf bypassed the actual accusations that Assange forcibly raped women, and latched on to the condom aspects of the case to accuse the women of being oversensitive babies.  Her facts were all wrong, of course---the lack of condom use was mostly noted in the charges as an aggravating factor, because the alleged victim had insisted on condoms. But I want to look carefully at the notion that a man sabotaging a woman’s birth control shouldn’t be considered a form of assault.  I’m not talking about honest mistakes (such as a condom breaking while you’re unaware), but the problem of men slipping off the condom during intercourse to get one over on the woman they’re sleeping with, claiming they’re wearing one in a dark room when they’re not, or otherwise doing things to a woman’s preferred form of contraception that makes it less effective.  Is this behavior just being "caddish," or should it be considered a form of abuse?

I’m in the latter camp, and think that if you had a few high profile cases where men were convicted of sexual assault for performing what I call the "condom slip," then the incidence of this dangerous, abusive behavior would go down dramatically.  I think that penetrating a woman who asked for a condom without a condom, either through force or trickery, is sexual assault and should be treated as such.  I think men who do this and other kinds of birth control sabotage, through force or trickery (which is a kind of force), do so in order to abuse and dominate women. And I’m not alone in this thought.  There’s a small but growing body of research to back me up.

As researchers Elizabeth Miller and Jay Silverman discovered, birth control sabotage is one of the many ways that domestic abusers demonstrate their dominance and control over their victims.  They do the condom slip, flush pills down the toilet, or otherwise use coercion to get unwilling women to submit to unprotected sex.  Often, they desire the pregnancy in order to make it harder for a woman to leave the relationship, but at the root of this is a desire to use a woman’s ability to get pregnant as a way to hurt her. 

Indeed, it’s not uncommon for men who force pregnancy on unwilling women to then demand an abortion.  It’s not about having babies, but about controlling women’s bodies.

It seems to me that tools in the abuser’s toolbox are often employed by men who sexually assault women they aren’t in relationships with. Just like batterers, rapists do what they do because they want to dominate and control their victims.  For a predatory man, it might be a particular thrill feeling like you’ve gotten one over on your victim by threatening her not with up front violence, but forcing STD and pregnancy risks on her.  This has the added bonus, to an assailant, of being hard to prove and therefore unlikely to get him in trouble.

As Miller and Silverman noted, the problem of birth control sabotage isn’t just about women’s rights and emotional well-being---though in a perfect world, that would be reason enough to care.  It’s also a public health menace.  Birth control sabotage increases the rate of unintended child-bearing and all its heightened risks, STD transmission, and abortion. If we can’t care about women for themselves, we should care about how men employing clever, quasi-legal forms of assault are hurting the public health.  Instead of laughing off the condom slip as some kind of caddish behavior, we should see it for what it is: abuse.   And it should be taken seriously as a legal matter.

Originally posted to RH Reality Check on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:39 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  tipd and recd. nt (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, xysea, NY brit expat, andromeda

      "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

      by grannyhelen on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:57:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  who are you with (0+ / 0-)

      FBI, CIA, COINTELPRO? the circulation of smears going around the internet over a mere accusation is insulting and suspicious. it also smells of early FOX news.

      seeing as these women twittered and messaged to their friends about how wonderful their sexual conquest of Assange was, and in one case made the man breakfast the next day, and in the other case threw him a crayfish dinner party the next night suggests that sexual coercion of any kind never occurred.

      the fact that one of these women has FBI ties and the other has a blog on how to accuse a cheating lover of rape for the purposes of revenge only further discredits these claims. claims that, btw, have been thrown out of court twice before, and were brought back by a feminist judge outside of the jurisdiction were the supposed crimes occurred, seemingly in reaction to the US embassy leaks.

      The Republic has fallen.

      by Dude1701 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:03:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow, that didn't take long. (16+ / 0-)

        The diary is good, and it is valid.  The information is good.  So, of course, it's attack the messenger, right?

        lol

        *this space available for lease if you have something appropriately witty for me to share*

        by xysea on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:04:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dude1701's combattiveness aside, the diary - for (7+ / 0-)

          its merits - may simply not be applicable to the particulars of the Assange case. There is something very fishy and contrived about it.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:33:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I suppose we'll all have to wait and see... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fabian, rock the ground

            but I'd hold off on the gilded statues of Assange until all is settled...

            *this space available for lease if you have something appropriately witty for me to share*

            by xysea on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:40:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No gilded statues for me either (0+ / 0-)

              If the details that have been leaked are correct, Assange and his two ex-girlfriends are all petty low-level scumbags in their personal lives. Assange is guilty of cheating on the one he was living with with the other; and the two women guilty of conspiring to file a false and trumped up police report to exact revenge.

              None of this would appear to rise to an actual criminal offense, even in Sweden, which is why the prosecutor in the proper jurisdiction dismissed the case months ago.

              The fact that months later, as Assange became a more loathed international figure, that parties outside the jurisdiction would reopen the case with such fanfare (involving INTERPOL for what amounts to a misdemeanor!) should raise all our suspicions.

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:46:56 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, but I was reading how in one US city (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Euroliberal, Lujane, Robobagpiper

          (Baltimore, maybe) something like 60% of "real" rape complaints "fell through the cracks" last year because of sloppy paperwork (or simply inadequate police resources to processs the cases properly).

          But here in this case - where there was at least some modicum of consent given - you have the world's top law enforcement agencies helping out.

          Why don't we get their services in struggling US cities (I'm sure there's more of them than just Baltimore!)

      •  "feminist judge" is now a smear on a (9+ / 0-)

        leftish blog?

        Wow.

        Didn't see that one coming.

        "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

        by grannyhelen on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:08:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That was unfortunate, because it obscures (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          grannyhelen, jrooth, Cory Bantic, m4gill4

          the vastly more important "outside of the jurisdiction" part.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:26:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think this is what's bothering some (4+ / 0-)

            of us the most about the pushback against these accusations - a lot of it is belittling the victims and their claims of abuse.

            One can say that the theatre of the absurd surrounding the arrest and detention of Assange stinks to high heaven without saying - as the above person basically did - that the victims themselves work for the FBI or just have "jealous woman syndrome".

            "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

            by grannyhelen on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:37:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But when the alleged victim can be (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nailbanger

              shown to be publicly advocating lying to police to as a strategy get an ex-lover in trouble on her blog, then that raises legitimate questions about the very existence of abuse and their victim status.

              You can't publish a "lie to the cops" manifesto and not be suspected of, well, lying to the cops.

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:50:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  All true - but there's reasonable skeptism (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Fabian

                and then there's over-the-top, hair-on-fire name calling.

                I'm just not down with the latter when folks come forward w serious accusations of abuse. I'm more of a wait-and-see person.

                "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

                by grannyhelen on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:54:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But the same could be said of Assange (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  grannyhelen, Nailbanger

                  "Molestation", "rape", "abuse", and other terms not supported by the actual charges.

                  From what the newspapers looking into this could find (despite considerable redactions), the initial complaint from one of women appears not to have been - as reported later - that he continued to have sex after the condom broke against her will, but simply that they had consentual unprotected sex, and that she thought better of it later and went to the police to see if she could compel him to get an STD test.

                  Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                  by Robobagpiper on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:00:46 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The allegations are what they are, but Assange (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    NY brit expat, sullivanst

                    is innocent until proven guilty...and the allegations are serious and shouldn't be dismissed out of hand, neither should the people making them be vilified for stepping forward.

                    I know that looking at it like this might be too much to ask for in this climate, but I remain hopeful.

                    "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

                    by grannyhelen on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:25:32 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The allegations are so serious that they were (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Karl Rover, Nailbanger

                      dismissed after being investigated once before, aren't an offense at all in most countries, and are apparently penalized with a fine even in Sweden where they are an offense?

                      See, this is my problem with it. Nothing adds up.

                      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                      by Robobagpiper on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:34:20 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  From what I read, it was the clients who (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        sullivanst

                        appealed for them to be taken up again after the chief prosecutor didn't think there was enough evidence to go to court.

                        "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

                        by grannyhelen on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:14:19 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  That is not a factually accurate understanding (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        NY brit expat

                        of the charges.

                        One of the accusations is that he started having sex with one of the women while she was still asleep. I don't know about "most" countries, but many countries do consider that a crime, since it's impossible to give consent while asleep.

                        Only the least serious of the allegations - the one that stood even when the other charges were dropped (before being reinstated) - is penalized only with a fine. The more serious charges, the ones that justify an arrest warrant, are punishable by jail time.

                        The lack of things adding up is in part due to a fog of claims and counterclaims being thrown up by lawyers and supporters on both sides.

                  •  The actual charges do support those terms (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Bill W, NY brit expat

                    as defined in Swedish law.

                    In fact, that's what the charges are.

                    Rape = sex without explicit consent, in Sweden. This includes continuing a sexual act after consent is withdrawn, even if it started consensually. It also includes initiating a sexual act with a partner who is not awake.

                    To suggest that "abuse" is not supported by the charges, even in a parochially American understanding of the word, is absurd. Having unprotected sex with a woman who'd only consented to protected sex is clearly abusive. Having sex with a woman who's asleep is clearly abusive.

                    And molestation is what even the prosecutor who dropped the rape charge was still investigating him for, but it doesn't appear to be a particularly serious offense in Swedish law.

      •  uh did you read the diary? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grannyhelen, Fabian, andromeda

        PLEASE donate to a global children's PEACE project: Chalk 4 Peace

        by RumsfeldResign on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:08:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

        And here come the Servants of Saint Julian to claw at any who dare besmirch the name of the Sacred One.

      •  Oh, Juuuuulian (0+ / 0-)

        I have the vapors.

      •  Uh... WTF are you talking about, exactly? (0+ / 0-)

        been thrown out of court twice before, and were brought back by a feminist judge outside of the jurisdiction w[h]ere the supposed crimes occurred, seemingly in reaction to the US embassy leaks

        I see at least four material falsehoods in that quote alone.

        First, the accusations have never been to court, much less been thrown out of one. A warrant was issued by the local on-call prosecutor, then withdrawn by her boss, then re-issued by national prosecutors. When the national prosecutors filed their warrant with Interpol, they made a technical error and had to re-issue it.

        Second, the charges weren't brought back by a judge, they were brought back by Sweden's (national) chief prosecutor.

        Third, Marianne Ny's jurisdiction is national.

        Fourth, the charges were reinstated at the start of September, almost three full months before the release of the embassy cables.

        I find it hilarious that you throw out mere accusations to smear a commenter, before, in the same paragraph, saying such actions are "insulting and suspicious".

      •  I'm stunned, let me tell you (0+ / 0-)

        that a d00d who has "Dude" right in his username is blowing his shit over a very, very reasonable diary examining the issue of rape in general and not saying one word about whether Assange is guilty or innocent.

  •  People think he's a hero. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agent, rock the ground, xysea

    But no one would leave him alone with his or her daughter. Kinda casts a shadow on the hero thing.

    I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

    by doc2 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:42:31 AM PST

  •  assault (12+ / 0-)

    Instead of laughing off the condom slip as some kind of caddish behavior, we should see it for what it is: abuse.

    If a woman makes it clear she wants a condom used, to have sex with her without one over her objection isn't just abuse.. it's assault. Sexual assault. Granted, I'm not a lawyer so maybe they mean the same thing in legalese. But in English they mean very different things.

  •  Birth control sabotage on all fronts is sickening (17+ / 0-)

    Whether it's an abusive and controlling scummy man or a manipulative and deceptive woman doing the nasty deeds, parenthood shouldn't be forced or tricked upon someone else.

    I wouldn't shed a tear at all if such selfish and destructive activities were made criminal offenses across the board to send a clear message:

    Our bodies are our own and belong to NO ONE but us...period. When we make responsible decisions in good faith and someone deprives us of our choice, that person has committed a criminal act, in my estimation.

    If President Obama didn't intend to lead, he shouldn't have applied for the job.

    by APA Guy on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:45:23 AM PST

  •  Thank you (13+ / 0-)

    I've been surprised at all the people here who are suggesting that this accusation isn't a big deal.

    Innocent until proven guilty is valid here, but not "this is not rape."  

  •  maybe people should wait for some facts (10+ / 0-)

    to be disclosed

  •  I don't see how one can discuss the charges (14+ / 0-)

    in the Assange case without considering the very peculiar circumstances surrounding those charges.  

    And I think it's very unfair to suggest that expressing serious skepticism about the charges in this case (given those very peculiar circumstances) equates with being dismissive of the seriousness of those charges.

    •  Indeed; while the diarist is discussing a serious (6+ / 0-)

      issue, the Assange case, and such details as have been trickling out, would seem to make for a very poor springboard for discussing it.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:55:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  OTOH, don't we all use 'major events' to review (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane

        topics that would otherwise go unnoticed, undiscussed? How many people here open diaries involving countries not in the news, for instance?

        I believe RH when s/he says s/he doesn't make allegations about Assange. I didn't realize this diary was going to springboard off the Assange case, but came here because I wasn't sure what type of sabotage the diarist meant. I thought there might be someone opening boxes of condoms and poking holes in them at the store, or something. No, really.

    •  But it is possible to express scepticism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grannyhelen

      without saying things like "a condom breaking isn't illegal" or "this isn't what rape charges usually look like" or "but she consented to sex, how can it be rape"

      Yes, it takes more effort, but it is entirely possible to questions the circumstances of the charges without claiming that if the charges were true than what happened wouldn't be a crime.

  •  Call me skeptical (and a bit offended) (5+ / 0-)

    I am fully against sexual abuse in all of its forms. I am also a bit put off by the idea that "abuser" means man. This diary bugs me because it seems to imply that all abusers are men even though the topic (birth control sabotage) is one perpetrated at least as much by women as by men.

    First of all men are rape victims. Sure most rape victims (I think the number is 80%) are female. But that means that 20% of rape victims are men. Some of these are victims of female rapists.

    Male victims are traumatized further by the fact that society doesn't take their victimization very seriously.

    But this dairy is about birth control sabotage. If lying about birth control is rape, then the gender of the perpetrator doesn't matter.

    It seems to me that this diary trivializes rape in a way that makes me uncomfortable.

    •  Oh men are victims of BC sabotage constantly... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grannyhelen, Fabian, khereva, Lujane

      ..no question about it.

      And I agree that these acts committed by women inflict long-lasting and terrible harm on the men affected.

      There is no hard-and-fast rule regarding BC abuse by gender. It happens via a variety of motivations and with equally-varying consequences...and it all should be criminal.

      If President Obama didn't intend to lead, he shouldn't have applied for the job.

      by APA Guy on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:59:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It isn't rape. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cory Bantic, ubertar, eaglekid85va

        Many years ago I found out that a woman I was with wasn't taking birth control pills as she had claimed. I was furious (fortunately nothing more happened).

        But I would have never claimed I was raped.

        •  Under Swedish law, its considered such. (4+ / 0-)

          In the US it would be called sexual coercion of some kind, or possibly assault.  

          *this space available for lease if you have something appropriately witty for me to share*

          by xysea on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:08:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's interesting stuff. (0+ / 0-)

          Julia Christeva called it right: the last power seeking ideology!

          A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

          by Salo on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:16:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for bringing that up. (0+ / 0-)

          If a man is having sex with a woman and the woman request a condom and the man does not wear one, and during the sex, the woman realizes it, and requests that the man stop having sex with her and he doesn't, then that is rape.

          If a man is having sex with a woman and the woman request a condom and the man does not wear one and she doesn't know til after the sex is over with, that is not rape, though it is a form of deception.

          Is such deception despicable? Yes!

          Should it be illegal? Maybe, I'll leave that to others to discuss.

          "Progress is possible. Don't give up on voting. Don't give up on activism. There are too many needs to be met, too much work to be done." - Barack Obama

          by eaglekid85va on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:36:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Don't misunderstand me...I never said that was... (0+ / 0-)

          rape when women perpetuate BC sabotage.

          However...

          In my judgment, it IS criminal and should be treated and prosecuted as such.

          If President Obama didn't intend to lead, he shouldn't have applied for the job.

          by APA Guy on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:28:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Uh-oh, better not be going against the flow of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xysea, eaglekid85va

      the Narrative now... When victimization is the issue, it's not nice to point out that humans are capable of every kind of kindness and cruelty. Not much room for real-world complexity in our culture. "All Muslims (or maybe only 10%) are terrorists," after all, and All American soldiers are brave and honorable and don't kill civilians (unnecessarily) or rape their female fellow soldiers..."

      I personally might not buy the notion that all humans have some good somewhere inside them. Dick Cheney? Richard Nixon?

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:01:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Men commit the vast majority of sexual assaults. (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, women commit some, but the average woman who does, if discovered, will receive much, much more intense news coverage (e.g., Mary Kay LeTourneau), because of misogynist media stereotypes, which gives the impression that women sex offenders make up a much greater percentage of sex offenders overall than they actually do.

  •  I don't buy it. (10+ / 0-)

    The man is a high priority target.  I will give him the benefit of the doubt no matter what charges are brought against him until I see some actual evidence.

    I don't think anybody (crazy people excepted) is saying that the charges themselves are not serious.  I think they are saying that they are only being brought because he is the founder of Wikileaks.

    Here's a concept: government secrecy is incompatible with democracy.

    by Hunter Huxley on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:09:01 AM PST

    •  Well (0+ / 0-)

      I have definitely seen people here saying the charges are not serious, and making remarks such as "Bet she never told him to stop." But maybe those fit under your crazy-people exception.

      There are times where a victim comes forward because the accused becomes more public or prominent. We had a situation like that in a nearby town with a dentist accused (and later convicted) of assaulting female patients. Once one woman came forward to the police there were dozens of others who then did so. But they had all been sitting at home quietly all that time before somebody got the ball rolling. I certainly don't know that this is the case here, but it did come to my mind as a possibility that the reason the alleged victims are coming forward now could be the result of Assange's recent presence in the media.

      Both this possibility, and the idea that charges are being brought because of Wikileaks, are speculation.

      •  I guess we ought to see if a half a dozen (1+ / 0-)

        Women come forward will similar stories about him. Otoh someone ought to trawl through the former relationships that male prosecutors and judges associated with the case have done themselves. I've been around enough lawyers to know they are ruthless 24 hour party people. Guys on those salaries literally support the entire stripper  prostitute industry.

        A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

        by Salo on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:29:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Let's start by separating Julian Assange off (10+ / 0-)

    from the discussion to start and then we can add his case back in.

    A woman agreed to have sex using a condom not only for birth control, but for protection against STDs. If the man refuses to use a condom or deliberately sabotages it or deliberately slips it off, the woman has not agreed to have consensual sex. That is why this is treated as sexual assault ... she has not consented to have unprotected sex. Nonconsensual sex is rape.  These are serious charges. If the situation was not deliberate and the condom broke or is defective, the least the person can do is submit to tests for STDs and certainly this would not constitute a case of sexual assault.

    Back to Assange, I have no idea about the specifics of the cases in the sense of whether this behaviour was deliberate or accidental and barring that certainly I will not make any statement as to his behaviour without knowing the facts. The condemnation of the women without knowing anyone knowing the specifics of the case (and disclosing their names and information is reprehensible). This is a case for the prosecutors and courts of Sweden to decide.

    An additional separate question concerning the timing of the call for a red alert international arrest warrant can legitimately be raised, but this must be done without dismissing the importance of the charges and abuse of the women involved; these are serious charges and these women's privacy should have been assured as all people that have been the victims of sexual assault or have reported charges along these lines.

    No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

    by NY brit expat on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:26:45 AM PST

  •  I'm not disputing your conclusions... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Euroliberal, ubertar, m4gill4

    ... just interested in exploring your thoughts and others for my own education.

    What if it was a woman claiming she was on birth control (say the pill) and wasn't?  Is that also "sexual assault" ?

      •  Well, I think it's an interesting question... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jrooth, m4gill4

        It's not a moral question I've ever considered.  I mean yes, it's obviously immoral but whether it is "sexual assault" is not something I had ever considered.  I wasn't entirely convinced by the diarist (nor was I unconvinced).  Exploring edges and applying logics to varying scenarios and then asking why or why not is how we learn.

        I do think there is an obvious problem with the assertion that needs to be worked out.  In the above example, clearly a guy has recourse to manage his birth control without requiring the cooperation of the lady.  In the reverse this is also true.  And so, fundamentally, not taking their birth control into their own hands they are making a trust agreement with the other.  Violation of that trust agreement is clearly immoral.  Illegal?  I'm not sure.  Sexual Assault?  I'm not sure.  

        I also agree with the diarist that a violation of this would fundamentally be about exerting power/control over the other.  There is an argument to be made that since it's the woman's body who will become pregnant that the positions are not equal or comparable.  I agree and disagree.  I think they are comparable and that the difference is merely a matter of degree.  There is a certain amount of power a woman can exert over a man.  It's this exercise of power without consent that makes it immoral.  However not all exercises of power over others w/o consent is necessarily illegal (or even immoral, although in this case it is).

        I'm frankly torn myself at the moment.

      •  why? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        "It takes two to lie. One to lie, one to hear it." Homer Simpson

        by Euroliberal on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:47:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's resentfully called (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Euroliberal

      Child support based on a Succesful paternity test.

      A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

      by Salo on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:24:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm confused by your use of the word (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Euroliberal

        "resentful".

        I'm not disagreeing that Fathers ought to be made to pay child support.  The question was whether the immoral act of deception by the lady in the described scenario rises to the level of sexual assault.  Sorry but I just didn't understand what you are driving at...

        •  It's not generally considered (0+ / 0-)

          To be  sexual assault is it. Much less pursued as such by the man in question.  

          A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

          by Salo on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 11:35:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thats why its a really good idea to get to spend (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, vc2

    some time and thought getting to know someone to see if that person is someone you might trust in physical intimacy. I know it sounds really old fashioned but it really cuts out a lot of these problems

    •  old fashioned is not a bad thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daysey

      in all cases. As you said, it cuts out a lot (not all) of these problems. I have lived a pretty wild life until my 40's and enjoyed being less than choosy but i always realized that doing so may be fun but was not a way to gain real intimacy (one of the unconscious reasons i suspect lol) and meant risk.

      The problem I see is that to my generation and others make the mistake of thinking physical intimacy does mean trust and therefore take the leap to trust and not verify even if it could be done by taking control of their own birth control.  Then they end up hurt either emotionally or physically because they conflated the two.

      I remember one man saying "we don't need condoms, i know you are safe" and I just stared at him. Said 'then you know more than I do! I don't know the health of every partner of my last one and regular checkups by necessity have unknown periods. Apart from that, i would never take the chance with anyone unless in a deeply involved long term relationship!"  He actually was shocked at me saying bluntly i didn't know if i was safe, but none of us can be certain. We can be pretty sure but thats when fails happen.

      Barack Obama: "These guys want to be paid like rock stars when all they're doing is lip-synching capitalism." may21, 2010

      by vc2 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:41:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  great points, and when one consents one should (0+ / 0-)

        understand what that means from a condom could break to a heart could break. It seems that all these problems come from taking something that has such huge consequences too lightly.
        And then there is the theory that when one consents too quickly there is an agenda somewhere in that consent.

    •  Exactly right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daysey

      If all you want is quick relief, you've got two good hands, so use 'em.

  •  hmmm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Euroliberal, daysey

    I do not know the validity of the charges. I do not know how many Swedes are charged with this each year. I do not know what kind sentence these crimes bring.I do not know if Sweden commonly uses Interpol to find suspects in these crimes. I do not know if individuals charged with this are jailed in isolation and if Sweden commonly asks another country not to grant bail even upon surrender of passport.
     What I do know based on the pressure brought by our Government including threats and censorship that Mr. Assange has replaced bin Laden as America's #1 enemy.

    "Can't close the door when the wall's caved in"

  •  I have no comment on the Assange (0+ / 0-)

    case, except to ask if there are any "charges," as alleged by the diarist.  I have heard that there are no pending charges in Sweden, only that he is wanted for questioning.

    As to the thesis of the diary, it seems to me that if a man does not want to have an unplanned child, he should use birth control, like a condom.  If a woman does not want to have an unplanned pregnancy, she should use birth control available to her and completely under her control.  I am assuming, of course, that both partners are adults, and therefore capable of making their own decisions and using their own devices to protect those decisions.  

    I would never in a million years belittle a rape victim, but this notion of "sex by surprise" is ludicrous and perpetuates the notion that women are somehow a weaker sex that need to be protected.  Sorry, that's just how I feel.

    •  Who says the condom was for contraception? (0+ / 0-)

      What if the woman was taking the pill and not worried about pregnancy but "merely" diseases.  Male condoms are cheaper, more widely available and more acceptable in society.

    •  Acknowledging that women are physically weaker (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Endangered Alaskan Dem

      than men, and that we still live in a patriarchy that strains itself giving the benefit of the doubt to men while pillorying any woman who reports being raped, is not implying that women are "somehow a weaker sex." It is acknowledging power differentials.

      If a heterosexual couple commences intercourse with the condom on, both of them can be said to be responsible for birth control and STD prevention... up until that point. If the condom breaks in an obvious way during intercourse, and the woman objects but the man forcibly completes intercourse, that's rape.

      •  I don't disagree at all. (0+ / 0-)

        I once gave the example that if a woman has sex with an entire football team and gets to the last player -- the placekicker -- and says, "No," then the placekicker is guilty of rape if he does not desist.  That is still my position.  

        If a couple starts with using a condom and the condom breaks and the woman says, "Stop," then the man has an obligation to stop.  But if the condom breaks and nobody notices it, or if the woman does not say, "Stop," then there is no offense.

  •  let's not forget the other side of the coin. (0+ / 0-)

    One, women who perforate condoms in order to trap men with pregnancies.  There's even a slang term for this that has to do with getting on the gravy train for child support.  This is apparently surprisingly common in some places.

    Two, any sex, straight or gay, without a latex barrier to prevent exchange of bodily fluids, carries the serious risk of getting or giving STDs including HIV that can be fatal.  Done intentionally it's attempted murder with a long timeline.  

  •  hmmm (0+ / 0-)

    RH  I agree that the charges in and of themselves should not be a joke. As a male sniped by choice after our 2nd child a long time ago I cannot really understand a woman's viewpoint. At the same time can we agree that there can be a separation between assigning heroic actions by Mr. Assange and his wikileaks and not giving him carte blanche status as a human being?

    ......"Moses stood up a full six foot ten
    Said "You can't close the door when the wall's caved in.""

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