Julian Assange lawyer admitted Assange “pushed at the boundaries of what they felt comfortable with” – i.e. non-consensual sex

I’m reposting this article because I found it quite hard to find when I searched for it, yet it has critical information for anyone commenting about the Assange wikileaks case and his rape allegations.

In the article below the defence lawyer describes non-consensual acts i.e. rapes, and says he is not disputing that Assange ‘pushed at the boundaries of what they felt comfortable with’. Although the defence lawyer doesn’t consider it rape, he effectively describes rape then uses subsequent consent to suggest the earlier rape didn’t count.

Here, his defence lawyer clearly doesn’t understand UK law. In UK law, if there is penetration by a penis and the penetrator does not reasonably believe consent has been given, then it is rape. The onus is on the penetrator to gain consent. Consent is not given if there is emotional or physical coercion.  If the victim is asleep then it is assumed in law that no consent is given. So if Assange admits to sex with a sleeping person who previously refused sex, it is not reasonable to imagine he believed consent was given.

Yet, here Assange’s defence lawyer describes and does not contest part of the victims’ experience of being penetrated by Assange, clearly without their consent. Their lack of consent is explicit. Assange’s defence lawyer goes on to say that because it appeared that they consented (i.e. they continued to have sex) then it was not rape. That is bollocks. Firstly there is nothing described here that indicates consent. Not fighting someone off does not indicate consent. Secondly, even if they had changed their minds and decided they were up for it, the bit where they didn’t consent was still rape. Someone might get raped and then decide to have sex with their rapist, particularly if they didn’t recognise it as rape at the time. It is very common for rape victims to not recognise their experience as rape until a while after the event when they have had time to reflect on it.

I wonder if all those lefty celebrities, politicians, ‘feminists’ who made a statement supporting him are going to make a statement about this? I haven’t heard anything from them, and this article is over a year old!

Anyway, here’s the article by Angus Johnson in full and I highly recommend reading the update with the definition of consent discussion:

Assange Lawyer Concedes “Disrespectful,” “Disturbing” Sexual Acts: July 12, 2011

Wednesday Update | A representative of the Swedish prosecution team is forcefully rebutting the Assange defense’s definition of consent in today’s hearing. Click here for ongoing coverage.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is in a London court today, contesting an order that he be extradited to Sweden to face allegations that he raped two women there last year.

Assange’s attorneys are contending that the extradition order is invalid because the actions alleged are not criminal under English law. In doing so, they appear to be conceding the truth of at least some of those allegations. “Nothing I say,” Assange lawyer Ben Emmerson told the court this morning, “should be taken as denigrating the complainants” or to “trivialize their experience.” His arguments should not be construed as disputing that they honestly consider Assange’s behavior “disrespectful” or “disturbing,” he said, or that Assange “push[ed] at the boundaries of what they felt comfortable with.”

Emmerson went on to provide accounts of the two encounters in question which granted — at least for the purposes of today’s hearing — the validity of Assange’s accusers’ central claims. He described Assange as penetrating one woman while she slept without a condom, in defiance of her previously expressed wishes, before arguing that because she subsequently “consented to … continuation” of the act of intercourse, the incident as a whole must be taken as consensual.

In the other incident, in which Assange is alleged to have held a woman down against her will during a sexual encounter, Emmerson offered this summary: “[The complainant] was lying on her back and Assange was on top of her … [she] felt that Assange wanted to insert his penis into her vagina directly, which she did not want since he was not wearing a condom … she therefore tried to turn her hips and squeeze her legs together in order to avoid a penetration … [she] tried several times to reach for a condom, which Assange had stopped her from doing by holding her arms and bending her legs open and trying to penetrate her with his penis without using a condom. [She] says that she felt about to cry since she was held down and could not reach a condom and felt this could end badly.”

As in the case of the first incident, Emmerson argues that subsequent consent renders the entire encounter consensual, and legal.

Even assuming that Emmerson is not vouching for the accuracy of these accounts but merely offering them as summaries of the charges against his client, his introductory statement, excerpted above, is striking in its tone and approach:

“Nothing I say should be taken as denigrating the complainants, the genuineness of their feelings of regret, to trivialise their experience or to challenge whether they felt Assange’s conduct was disrespectful, discourteous, disturbing or even pushing at the boundaries of what they felt comfortable with.”

At a minimum, such language would seem to preclude two of the defenses that have previously been offered by Assange defenders — that the complainants were merely spurned lovers or government plants concocting fantastical stories for their own purposes.

EXTRA TRIGGER WARNING FOR THE COMMENTS: They already include rape apologists and inaccuracies about what consent means.

8 thoughts on “Julian Assange lawyer admitted Assange “pushed at the boundaries of what they felt comfortable with” – i.e. non-consensual sex

  1. Jo says:

    Oh do pipe down. He may or MAY NOT HAVE penetrated her without consent. However, she has given latent consent to his actions by letting him stay at her house and sleeping with him again the following week!! If a woman sleeps with a guy the night she meets him and still sleeping with him a week after the so called rape then she is giving her implied consent that all is well and she is up for more of the same. And don’t even get me started on ‘oh the condom broke when we were doing it so it must be rape’ argument. The whole thing is a set up of hogwash which it seems UK want to believe as they can’t wait to say a man is a rapist!

  2. […] There are some pretty big elephants in the room here.  Namely that Assange is a rapist, and Galloway thinks that he is not a rapist because Galloway thinks that rape is acceptable […]

  3. Krevno says:

    You pipe down Jo. Let me put it another way for you. Victims often forgive the criminals who offended against them, but that doesn’t stop them being criminals now, does it? Even with a common law misdemeanor like shoplifting, the victim is free to change their mind about whether to press charges. But with a felony like rape, the victim doesn’t have that option. The Felon must be convicted whether the victim likes it or not, if only to protect the public. She does not get to give “implied consent”, whatever that means. This is if the facts about penetrating the woman in her sleep are true.
    One reason why rape victims often try to act normally afterwards is because there are so many arseholes like you who are able to persuade them that their complaints don’t count.

  4. Consenting of allged victim to let the alleged perpetrator sleep in one house does not attract the statutory definition of consenting to having sex. The arugment that consenting to pass the night in one room means consenting to having sex might have a moral logic but can not be appreciated as to having a legal consent for sex.

    Mike Tyson was convicted for three years without a parole. Tyson’s plea that his girl friend after sex asked him to drive her home which Tyson refused. She dejectedly instead of walking down her home reached police station and reported rape. This plea was not given a consideration by the juries. Mike Tyson might be telling a lie or this might have happened the way Tyson described but it was not given a consideration. The law generally gives more than enough protection to female side. A female could or would not take advantage with the definition of Rape.

  5. […] way of the organisation, he did he lot more than that, he actually admitted part of the charges and even his defence team said that he’d had sex with someone when asleep – if this is true then he is a rapist and if he really likes to court “groupies” […]

  6. Chris says:

    Have to say that although I find Assange to be an unsavoury character I do not believe that he is guilty of either rape or sexual assault. Please read this article by Assange’s Australian barrister: http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/12/02/when-it-comes-to-assange-r-pe-case-the-swedes-are-making-it-up-as-they-go-along/

  7. […] Since 19th June 2012, Assange has lived in a room in Knightsbridge, a guest of the embassy of Ecuador, his request for asylum accepted by the President of a nation who has little concern for free speech. Assange has, in effect, sent himself to jail without trial under much more unpleasant conditions than he would have been subject to in Sweden: where he would have been unlikely – even if found guilty – to have been sentenced to more than three years. If he intends to imprison himself in Knightsbridge until the statute of limitations expires in Sweden, he will stay there til August 2020. Let’s just be clear about what Julian Assange is alleged to have done: both women consented to sexual intercourse with him if and only if he used a condom. Both women say that getting Assange to agree to that was a struggle, and that he attempted to circumvent their wishes: one woman says that the next morning, while she was asleep, Assange entered her without a condom and therefore without her consent. That was rape. […]

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