Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Why people do not want to believe Assange is a rapist:
Believe it or not, people stated beliefs on his actions have nothing whatsoever to do with his guilt or innocence of the charges.
I've observed this phenomenon before in neurotypicals. It goes something like:
"I believe I am a good person, therefore I only like good people, therefore if someone I like has done something bad then that makes them a bad person and if I like them I must be a bad person".
And who want's to admit they're a bad person?
Thing is, the world is not made up of Angels and Cartoon Villains. It's made up of ordinary people who can be good, who can be bad, who can be cruel regardless of whether we consider them to be good or bad people.
Fact is it is perfectly possibly to agree with Assange's actions in political terms without needing to believe he's an angel who wouldn't rape someone.
Some facts about people:
Walt Disney? Arguably one of the most important men in terms of the creation of animation, was still egregiously sexist and racist. One can despise his actions over the latter without ignoring that he was the father of an industry.
Lincoln? Yes, he did a lot for People of Color in the US, however he was not the great white hero, in fact he was somewhat racist himself. He did great things, but he did them in spite of his upbringing and socialised beliefs.
This is a quote from a speech he delivered in 1958:
“I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races—that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
My point? People can do things we respect and even admire and still do or say bad things as well. It is not an either or proposition. We are all capable of great good and great evil.
Assange can be both a supporter of freedom of press and a rapist. So there's no need to try to rewrite the definition of rape to make him "innocent" of it, there's no need to attack the victims, there's no need to be a rape denier/apologist because Assange can still be a rapist even if we think he's a good person or support other things he's done.
Ultimately if Assange is a rapist? It wouldn't change his other actions. Assange is not an angel because he did something you approve of, he's still a fallible mortal man who is just as capable of committing rape as anyone else.