As editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange receives his Ecuadorian asylum, feminists seek justice for the two women at the centre of the sexual assault allegations against the high profile whistleblower. But author Naomi Wolf claims that Britain and Sweden are using the issue for political purposes. Wolf asserts that for the tens of thousands of women who have been raped in wars; as workers in the sex industry; as victims of date rape and of domestic violence – who are still waiting for justice, this response by Sweden to the allegations made by Anna Ardin and Sophia Wilen ‘is a slap in the face’.
According to the ABC’s Four Corners program Sex, Lies and Julian Assange both Anna Ardin (left) and Sophia Wilen (right) had sexual intercourse with Assange ‘the cyber-celebrity’ while he was in Stockholm in 2009. Ardin told a friend that she had a “wild weekend” with Assange: “I was proud as hell to get the world’s coolest man in bed and living in my apartment.” She later informed police that Assange had violently pinned her down and ignored her requests to use a condom. Assange has denied this.
Assange spent several days staying with Anna in her Stockholm apartment before having sex with Sofia Wilen, another admirer. The sex might have been consensual but Assange had again refused to use a condom causing Wilen concern about the possibility of an STD. Fearing infection she contacted her friend Anna Ardin and the pair sought police advice to see if Assange could be forced to undergo a blood test. Although no charges were filed against Assange, the police believing some sort of sex crime had been committed, issued a warrant for his arrest.
The two Swedish women were clearly flattered by Assange’s attention: Ardin describing him as a “cool man” – one of the “coolest men in the world” that she’d had in her bed. Sofia Wilen was enthralled by the Assange phenomena – she texted during his talk, “He looked at me!” Assange was at his peak, working with some of the most prestigious and influential media outlets in the world – including the Guardian and New York Times. Three weeks later WikiLeaks launched the third big hit against America: The Iraq War Logs.
Swedish radio personality Helene Bergman writes that :
“In the 1970s we feminists fought for our right to lust and sexuality, not to make men criminals but so we could enjoy sex together with them. In addition we learned to trust our own survival instincts. Our own ability to assert a ‘no’, to stand our ground.”
“So let me stick out my feminist chin and state that after having read the protocol that at least the two women who filed charges against him have no knowledge of men’s sexuality and/or were blinded by Assange’s rock star status and halo. When it was later discovered he was an ordinary man in bed, their disappointment was too heavy to bear and then came the revenge instead and the women went to the police.”
Assange as ‘an ordinary man in bed’ was in control, refusing to wear a condom and failing to respond to a change in the vital area of consent. So much for equality feminism: the right to have sex with whoever and whenever and be over whelmed and attracted by powerful and prominent patriarchal men.
Whether the women were sexually assaulted by Assange is yet to be decided but what needs to be part of a wider discussion is why men rape and that conversation must begin with an understanding of our patriarchal society. Patriarchy gives men the power and the excuse to control and dominate women and such behaviours lead to rape.
Radical feminism in contrast to equality feminism seeks to over throw patriarchy and its oppression of women. Anna Ardin and Sophie Wilen have paid the price of the delusion that was 1970s equality feminism.