Of all the many darkly entertaining aspects of the fallout from Julian Assange being nabbed for rape charges, my favorite has got to be women cashing in their supposed feminist credibility in order to attack not just Interpol for this obviously political ploy, and not just the U.S. for overreacting to Wikileaks, but also the accusers themselves. Because they know that there are a sea of rape apologists eager to say, "If even a feminist jumps on the 'she was asking for it' train, then we totally get to say it this time!"
First you had Naomi Wolf minimizing the seriousness of the allegations, and now Daily Beast contributor Wendy Murphy's playing the "I'm a feminist so I'm totally unassailable" card to claim, without evidence, that the rape allegations are "bogus". Oh, and calling them "sex charges", when in fact they are rape charges, and claiming "no one" buys them. On the contrary, many of us feel Julian Assange has left a paper trail that indicates that he struggles mightily with accepting no for an answer, and reject the glib assertions that the accusations on record somehow are too ridiculous to be taken seriously.
Ironically, Wendy Murphy has her hand in the persecution of genuinely innocent people accused of sex crimes that are literally too ridiculous to be believed. Murphy finds it impossible to believe an imperious if brilliant man like Julian Assange might have penetrated a woman or two he was dating against their will-the kind of boring, standard issue rape that happens thousands of times a year in this country alone-but she totally believed that a group of day care workers held Satanic rituals involving raping children in their care that left no physical evidence and no recollection in the supposed victims, until they coughed up fantastic stories under hours of extremely leading questioning. Katha Pollitt described in 2002 charges that Murphy thinks were totally not bogus:
The result was that a respected working-class family who had run a popular daycare center in Malden for twenty years-a place that parents were constantly popping in and out of-were convicted of a total of twenty-six counts of child abuse involving nine children in trials that included accusations of extravagant and flamboyant sadistic behavior: children being anally raped with butcher knives (which left no wounds), tied to trees on the front lawn while other teachers watched, forced to drink urine, thrown about by robots, tortured in a magic room by an evil clown. One child claimed sixteen children had been killed at the center.
Murphy claims in her Daily Beast article that the charges against Assange are somehow bad for rape victims generally, because the prosecutors "exploit such a serious topic for unrelated political purposes." I think the jury is out on that one, but I don't think anyone involved in the persecution of people for sex abuse allegations that literally couldn't have happened doesn't have a shred of credibility for that "victims' advocate" card they're playing.
Standard disclaimer necessary in all posts about rape allegations: I'm not saying Assange is guilty or innocent. But those claiming or insinuating the accusers are lying haven't brought forward any evidence for such a serious accusation.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images.