Suzie Dawson: Rape Apologist?

Let’s start with a definition of a rape apologist,

A person who defends acts of rape, usually by claiming that rape is not a serious crime or that people do not need to give consent to sex.

Urban Dictionary

Yesterday I started an experiment to see whether The Daily Blog is censoring valid commentary to protect their writers from criticism. While I am waiting for the twenty four hours to roll around I thought I would sink the some of the arguments that were posed in, “NOT IN MY NAME: ACADEMICS PUBLICLY ATTACKING UN TORTURE RAPPORTEUR” (All caps hers).

In it, Miss Dawson strides to the defence of Nils Meltzer after he published an official piece on the website Medium about Julian Assange. When I read the article, I thought he had jumped the shark and it seems many others did as well because they refused to publish it. To quote it,

This Op-Ed has been offered for publication to the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek.

None responded positively.

Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange

In one part of the article Nils Meltzer attacks the use of the word rape in connection with Assange.

One of them claimed he had ripped a condom, and the other that he had failed to wear one, in both cases during consensual intercourse — not exactly scenarios that have the ring of ‘rape’ in any language other than Swedish.

Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange

This led to a group of mainly women taking him to task by writing an open letter to various people in the U.N. pointing out that he was wrong.

At this point the President of the Internet Party, Suzie Dawson, seems to have seen an opportunity to throw away her morals in order to gain public attention (see below). Firstly she attacked a human rights lawyer and was swiftly and correctly rebuffed. (It is worth reading the tweets. What would you do if someone leapt out of the woodwork claiming to be the victim of rape, gang rape and the police process who then told you not to represent rape complaints because she thinks they are politically motivated?)

Then she claimed victim-hood because she had been rebuffed. Then she raised Melzer up as a shining light and tried to tie it all together into a grand conspiracy involving attacks on the supporters of Assange. Pretty classic stuff.

There are, however, more than a couple of things wrong with this;

She mischaracterised the,”Open letter in response to UN Special Rapporteur’s op-ed on Julian Assange” by not quoting the main quote but instead taking issue with a supporting quote. To make it worse she took issue with the emphasis in a way that apparently made no difference to the meaning of the phrase.

What this “rape” allegation refers to is an offence that doesn’t involve any violence

On Contact: Julian Assange w/UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

and

So, what this rape allegation refers to, an offence, that doesn’t involve any violence.

On Contact: Julian Assange w/UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

To make it worse, if you listen to the video he doesn’t actually say either of these things. He stuffs around and umms a lot and both Suzies and the original interpretation are technically incorrect.

She then seeks to say that the use of the word rape is a mistranslation of the Swedish word used. I am unsure how she would know this as, as far as I know, she doesn’t speak Swedish. Language, though, is used to describe things so an easy way to deal with this is to look at New Zealand (her place of birth) and see whether the situation described would be rape there.

Person A rapes person B if person A has sexual connection with person B, effected by the penetration of person B’s genitalia by person A’s penis,—

(a) without person B’s consent to the connection; and

(b) without believing on reasonable grounds that person B consents to the connection.

Crimes Amendment Act 2005

Allegedly, the women agreed to sex on the condition Mr. Assange wear a condom and that consent does not exist if he had sex with her without one. Even in New Zealand this would be a rape charge.

But, in the end it doesn’t really matter because the allegation is that it happened in Sweden. If someone came to New Zealand from Algeria and raped their wife, we wouldn’t say,”Oh no, that is OK because it isn’t illegal in Algeria.” That would be wrong.

Why a self confessed victim of rape would feel the need to silence other women’s complaints is simply bizarre. Especially at this point. Julian Assange is already looking at extradition to the U.S. so there is no longer anything to stop him addressing the complaints as he can’t be deported twice.

As per usual, I could go on but instead I am going to round this up by pointing out that it looks like not even Suzie Dawson believes what she is writing. In her piece,”A diary of a person of interest” she has already talked about how sexual relationships involving lies are a form of rape,

It is a form of rape because it is sexual activity procured or obtained by deception.

Suzie Dawson: Diary of a person of interest

It seems that Miss Dawson is quite clear on what would be considered rape when it comes to her. It appears that she should be quite clear on what is considered rape in the country that she grew up in. But it also appears she is willing to throw all that out the window to defend Julian Assange and his supporters.

What the article really points out is the giant split in Assange supporters where one group want to save Assange from the United States but aren’t willing to throw women’s rights under the bus to do so, and the other group that are. Miss Dawson’s piece definitely points to what side of the fence she sits on in this.

Is she a rape apologist? Pretty close I would say. Using the definition at the beginning there seems little doubt that she is defending one. That she calls complaints she doesn’t like politically motivated doesn’t say much in her defence when she would certainly cry fowl if someone said her revalations of rape and gang rape were politically motivated.

Further reading

From myself,

From others,

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