Skip to content

How We Describe Women Who Report Sexual Assaults Now:

“I feel as if I’m in a surreal Swedish movie being threatened by bizarre trolls.”

– Mark Stephens, lawyer for Julian Assange, who has been charged with (a) refusing to stop having sex with a woman after she said no, and (b) being told that having sex with another lady was only consensual under certain terms, and then disregarding those terms and penetrating her anyway, under circumstances he had allegedly been informed she did not consent to.

Both of which are, kids?

I dunno. I just think that when you don’t try to get sympathy from the bepenised among us by describing it as “his lack of interest in using condoms,” it sounds real different, is all.

EDIT: From the Guardian, which is providing live updates, we have the following:

2.51pm: The two women concerned in the case regarded the used of a condom as a prerequiste for sex, the court heard, according to the legal affairs commentator Joshua Rozenberg, who was in the court.

Rozenberg told Sky News that charges were read out to Assange. In one of the cases Assange was alleged to have had sex with a woman who was asleep, the court heard, according to Rozenberg. The other case allegedly involved coercion, he said.

You guys, why are these women engaging in the (risky, socially consequential, unlikely-to-succeed) act of charging a socially prominent man with lots of supporters of sexual assault? They’re spies, right? Or they’re feminists who go around tricking men into having sex with them so they can make rape accusations? Whatever the case may be, it sounds like this is totally just about broken condoms, of all things! HOW BIZARRE!


  1. Ellie wrote:

    But the idea that we should automatically believe women who say they were raped is really dangerous.

    Dangerous to rapists, maybe.

    Oh, wait. That means it threatens the whole structure of society. My bad.


    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  2. canomia wrote:

    Oh and the guy who made the Dilbert comics is apparently an idiot And if you didn’t know, we don’t have 400 words for “your cute friend is next” and getting someone in jail for rape in Sweden isn’t easy by any means. I have friends who work for helplines for girls and so many don’t even know that what they’ve been through was rape, it was just that time they had sex when they really didn’t want to. And so many don’t have the courage to go to the police and if they do the statistics are not good. And there have been cases where a whole town bullies a girl for reporting even when there was strong physical evidence. And there have been cases where the lawyer tells the rape victim in court that its her fault because she looks like a prostitute. No it’s definitely not easy to get someone convicted of rape in Sweden. I hope it gets better.
    /A Swede

    Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  3. minna wrote:


    As an Australian woman, it mostly sounds to me like you need better friends.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Permalink
  4. radical_mepho wrote:

    @50 & 52

    So I am confused by all the vitriol toward rosmar. Sady asked rosmar to back down; rosmar did.

    Also to reference #3, is it not possible to believe all those points, specifically that Assange may be a rapist, while at the same time believe that the criminal justice system is far from infallible?

    I apologize Sady if you wanted this conversation to back down, but I would like to appreciate instances where folks can have actual insightful conversation and debate about these issues (much in the vein of response #31).

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 12:19 am | Permalink
  5. Vee wrote:

    @ Canomia And there have been cases where a whole town bullies a girl for reporting even when there was strong physical evidence.

    Oh, you mean the Bj√§sta case? Ugh, I know. It’s even worse than that, actually, a whole town bullied the girl even after he was convicted in court. And he did it again, after which they bullied the second victim as well, because surely this upstanding fellow couldn’t have raped two young girls? OH WAIT.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink