Assange sex charges
Aside from the rather obvious possibility that he is being framed by a conspiracy of governments, fronted by Sweden, the sex assault charges against Julian Assange fall right into that confusing area of sexual guilt/innocence that Angie and I have discussed many times. As a basis of international controversy, the allegations are fairly nuanced. Something like: subject has consensual sex with first woman, who at some point decides she does not want to continue, apparently making it nonconsensual from that moment on. Then, in a different episode, subject has consensual sex with second woman, but later in bed he starts again but she says no, making it nonconsensual. There are more details, but different reports give conflicting details.
Now-- he could well be a nasty sexual predator, and if so deserves to answer for his behavior. But the point I will make here is once you are having consensual sex the picture changes dramatically. All the forces of reproduction are working to make the consummation complete, so getting cold feet (or whatever) mid-coitus after first thinking it was a fine idea is simply not the same thing as an 18-year-old farmer's daughter being jumped and sexually violated on her way to the library one evening.
If a women senses something is going wrong, is it reasonable for her to just get dressed and leave? I'm not talking about a situation of being kept against her will-- that's obviously criminal. I mean, they are in bed, he starts acting a little weird but not violent. If she doesn't get up and leave right then, is she waiving the right to complain (or press charges) later? I don't know, but again I see this as a very different thing from a blind sexual assault.
If Assange, or any man, was convicted of rape for continuing (originally consensual) intercourse after the woman changes her mind mid-bonk, I would feel uncomfortable about the fairness of that. The point being-- it may not have been the best night of your life, you might have radically misjudged the guy, you might have real emotional pain about it-- but is it fair to bring charges in a situation like that? I don't know, but it bothers me, and my own feelings on it bother me, and for sure it lends a strange color to the whole Wikileaks story.
##UPDATE Dec 07 '10 5:13pm## Reuters article paints allegations as driven by concerns about STDs. see full article in COMMENTS below.