Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Julian Assange is charged with several sex crimes in Sweden one of which is a very serious charge of rape. He allegedly had sex with a woman while she was asleep. This constitutes rape in Sweden and I believe in the US (and other civilized places). One of the debates within current feminist theory is what constitutes (informed) consent. The classical definition is that someone consents if they are capable of denying consent but does not do so or explicitly does so. If she is incapable of rendering consent such as if she is asleep, underage or drugged, e.g., and a man takes advantage of her, that is de jure rape. But there are varying degrees of capability for rendering consent. Someone may be semi-conscious etc. In such a state, the perpetrator's intent (whether he is justified in an expectation of her to consent if she had been conscious) may play a role in whether or not it is rape. His expectations may be justified on a pattern of previous behavior from from their relationship or from explicit consent such as if she willingly tells him to drug her and render her unconscious to have her way with her. Why she would do this is something altogether irrelevant; perhaps she has a weird fetish but if she chose to give consent to this, it seems to me to be not rape even though she would be unconscious and unable to stop the act before it starts or mid coitus. This is because he would be given reasonable expectations that she would consent had she been conscious. This, of course, doesn't mean he could do anything he likes to her sexually, just what he has reasonable expectations that she would consent to.

In certain cases it may be better to have an intermediate category for crimes that are not as serious as rape but still sex crimes (such as sexual assault) which border vague cases may be classified as.

I think the charges very serious and I had always been angry at the "progressives" like The Young Turks, Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann demeaning these charges and dismissing them when the facts are not yet available. If true under the right circumstances, it is rape, it wouldn't even be a vague instance of rape in this case if she had been completely asleep, and Assange need to pay for that if that had occurred.

No comments:

Post a Comment