When Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, asked two Swedish women out on dates in August, he may not have known that Swedish laws protecting women in their sexual encounters include wide-ranging definitions of sexual assault and rape.
“Sometimes we lawyers joke that soon you have to have a written permission before you can have sex,” said Bengt Hesselberg, a defense lawyer with extensive experience in sexual cases….There is a category identified as “severe rape,” which involves a high degree of violence and which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the perpetrator; another known as “regular rape,” which may involve some violence and calls for a maximum sentence of six years; and a third called “less severe rape,” which may not involve violence but still includes the imposition of sexual intercourse on a person against her will.
The prosecutors seeking Mr. Assange’s extradition suspect that he may have engaged in this last category, which is punishable by as much as four years in prison. – NY Times
Somewhere over in Europe, a rueful Roman Polanski shakes his shaggy-wigged head. And where’s Whoopi Goldberg, with her incredible “It wasn’t rape rape” defense?
I sure don’t know what happened, but here’s what I do know: Assange is on the shit list of the largest, most powerful governments on the planet, as well as some of the smaller but more ruthless ones. To paraphrase an old saying, they could indict him for having sex with a ham sandwich. The truth of these allegations is irrelevant.
But let’s look at the underlying premise. The one about defining “sexual assault.”
As inspiring as those Swedish hair-splitting definitions are – “severe,” “regular,” “less severe” — I think, given the direction we’re going, we should augment the list. How about:
- “Jurisprudential Rape” When the state, under pressure to find a reason to detain somebody, finds one of the party’s sexual partners and makes a deal.
- “Buyer’s Remorse Rape” This is a charge brought by a sexual partner who decides afterwards it was a mistake, and wants the other partner punished for his or her own misjudgment.
- “Legacy rape” A sexual partner learns that the other one is filthy rich, and figures a large payment could be forthcoming in exchange for not bringing rape charges.
- “Publicity rape” One party figures that getting the word out about a particular high-profile sex partner would be good career move, so brings charges.
Please note that I carefully avoid using gender-nouns in the above descriptions. Nor should anybody assume I limit these descriptions to heterosexual events.
Whatever your opinion on WikiLeaks, Hacktivist Julian Assange, and the allegations of sexual assault, the way governments go about the business of what they consider “protecting themselves,” and how it plays out in the long run, should scare the hell out of you.
As for what constitutes “sexual assault” in a politically correct world, maybe it’s a big joke to Swedish lawyers, but somebody needs to make the case for common sense before too many people guilty of nothing more than Possession of Active Hormones get shipped off to jail.