Julian Assange first expressed his willingness to be interviewed by Swedish prosecutors, who were investigating allegations of rape and sexual molestation made by two women against the Wikileaks founder, in London in November 2010, as this BBC time line demonstrates.
It is common practice for Swedish prosecutors to interview persons of interest in countries other than Sweden via video link, or by travelling to meet with them.
Assange has continued to express his willingness to be interviewed by Swedish prosecutors for five years. However, the Swedish government has not seen fit to carry out this basic next step in the investigation of the women’s accusations.
In fact, the Swedish government has succeeded in validating Assange’s claims that they harbour a hidden agenda: to get him back to Sweden not to investigate rape allegations, which they can do perfectly well in the Ecuadorean embassy in Knightsbridge, but to expedite his extradition to the US.
I have no idea what occurred between the women and Assange. Neither does anyone else, but that didn’t stop feminist Naomi Wolfe from globally slut-shaming them at the time of their complaint, claiming that they insulted all rape victims with their “personal hurt feelings.” Interpol were, Wolfe mocked, the world’s new “dating police” and the women weren’t raped, they were just mad because Assange didn’t call them back.
The women at the centre of the allegations were let down first by their government, who have to this day taken no concrete steps to proceed with their case, and next by a world-famous feminist author who was unable to distinguish between the politically motivated pursuit of Assange, and the fact that he had been accused of sexual crimes.
Things only got worse for the women, who became targets of derision, contempt and hatred from Assange supporters all over the globe. Few of these supporters, it seemed and seems, have the wit to tease out a complicated situation and understand that yes, Assange is indeed being extraordinarily hounded for his activism, and yes, there are sexual allegations against him that need to be investigated, for his sake as well as the sake of the women involved.
Rape victims are indeed being demeaned and insulted by this situation, but not, I would argue, by Assange or the alleged victims. Rather the governments of the UK, Sweden and the US are making a mockery of rape victims by creating a situation in which, yet again, alleged crimes against women are rendered a very poor second to alleged crimes against the state.
Public argument for the last five years has repeatedly returned to the question of whether or not the allegations are true. This is the wrong question. Why do three western governments continue to allow allegations of rape to go unexamined, is the question and the answer is, because women. Women are collateral damage in affairs of the state. It has always been thus, and the Assange case demonstrates it is still thus.
There is now only one allegation against Assange, a statute of limitations having been reached on the others. The Swedish prosecutors have knowingly allowed time to run out. They have deprived the alleged victims and the accused of the human right to natural justice. They continue to deny the alleged victims and Assange the human right to natural justice on the still valid allegation of rape. This act of denial continues to be perpetrated by three western governments claiming a high moral ground in the matter of state security, and Assange’s alleged attacks on that security.
Women? Molestation? Rape? Pfffffft. Tell it to someone who cares.