Over a period of years, Assange has both personally expressed ideas which vilify feminism and Sweden’s limited anti-rape laws, and has paid lawyers to assert that rape is not rape.
Although his defenders frequently try turning all discussions about this issue to whether he is guilty of the serious crimes Sweden is conducting a criminal investigation over, the issue for feminists is broader.
Feminists’ aim in passing anti-rape laws and campaigning for a better approach to rape cases by the state is not merely to promote better handling of rape by the judicial system, but also to reinforce public understanding that rape is wrong. When high-profile activists spend several years exerting their considerable influence to encourage their supporters – many of them young men – to repeat rape excuses, myths and ideology and to vilify anti-rape laws – this has a detrimental effect on public consciousness, and sends the feminist…
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