Jaclyn Friedman and Naomi Wolf debate Assange

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  1. Posted December 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Jaclyn Friedman on a lot of points but also see Naomi Wolf’s point of view. The victim blaming and stereo typing of what rape looks like needs to stop period, whether these allegations are true or not because it harms victims (whatever sex or gender they are). I agree with Jaclyn that no doubt, just because you agree to one activity does not mean that you agree to all. I disliked some of the examples Naomi gave were what the stereotypical setting rape, such as a “dark alley way” and thus perhaps a stranger, when a good portion of statistics show rape is committed by a person the victim knows. I do not, however, know enough about the allegations one way or another or even wikileaks, to take a side on whether I think Assange is guilty or not. I agree with Naomi that this definitely could be solely political. I also see how perhaps the left may be concerned that evidence could be fabricated because of Assange’s leak of information if there is to be a trial. I also can see the other side that perhaps evidence would not be accurately represented for the women because of the controversial timing and that their voice would not be heard. Also, just because their may not be physical evidence of rape does not mean that it did not occur and too often victims are silenced. I do believe that these women have a right to a trial regardless, particularly since, as Jaclyn pointed out that Sweden has a poor history of actually allowing rape cases play out in court. I do see the left’s side though how this could be a huge attack against Assange purely for Wikileaks and the timing seems perfect if these allegations are false. And if they are false, then what? But what if they are not? However, just because a person leaks information that the public has a right to know and thus does service to the public, does not mean that person isn’t capable of committing a crime such as rape. And just because someone says rape has occurred doesn’t mean it has and yet again, many victims are not taken seriously. Ultimately I think a trail needs to occur because if someone claims they have been raped, they have a right to be heard period. The accused also has a right to defend themselves as well in the face of such allegations period. I definitely am interested in hearing more facts about this and also what the diversity of responses will be from the feminist community. I will say one thing for certain though, I think this issue can, as seen with Jaclyn and Naomi, split the feminist and progressive community apart.

  2. Posted December 21, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    By the way, I believe the second half of the debate should be posted on here because it gives a more clear picture of what Naomi Wolf’s and Jaclyn Friedman’s stance is. I have to say after watching the second video and reading more on the case that I have new questions. Naomi Wolf makes very good points in the final recording as well, such as there seems to have been a dialogue between them regarding the sex and that it was the police who instigated the charges, not the women. Yikes, this is complicated.

  3. Posted December 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Also, this isn’t just any guy as Naomi Wolf states, and I do not believe what so ever that he should be extradited to the United States and I agree with her that this has to be taken into context of the bigger picture as well. Both Naomi and Jaclyn agree that he should face these allegations and I do believe this could be done without Assange having to return to Sweden.

  4. Alex
    Posted December 24, 2010 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    I might be biased since I’ve already heard about Naomi Wolf (nothing good) and have read and loved Yes Means Yes! contributed to by Jaclyn Friedman, but I have to say I’ve got to side with Jaclyn on this. Naomi’s views on rape are scary to be honest. The point is, if what was reported in the Guardian are the true details of the case, then this was rape. Jaclyn’s not denying that it could be a political set-up and she certainly believes that Assange should not be extradited to the United States, and she also acknowledges that the “zeal with which this is being pursued” is certainly politically motivated. It’s just that just because there’s obvious political motivations here, it doesn’t mean that a crime didn’t happen. Naomi doesn’t seem to even want acknowledge that there still could have been a rape here. Overall, I’d say Jaclyn’s stance is much more balanced and, until we know whether or not it’s a setup, we shouldn’t just assume that these women are lying. Else, we aren’t any better than the Right when they say women are lying when they accuse the Right’s heroes of sexual assault.

  5. Posted December 24, 2010 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    Just wrote a blog about a lot of this, especially the Naomi Wolf and Jaclyn Friedman debate, though others might be interested. I think they both make some good points, and some really problematic points. I go through some of these arguments and their implications, as well as how we might approach this issue in a politically smart way. The article is called: The Politics of Consent, The Politics of Feminism.

  6. JD
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Naomi Wolf destroyed her own reputation with any serious person when she repeated the Daily Mail’s story–fed to them by holocaust denier/diplomatic cable fabricator/WikiLeaks’ representative in Russia Israel Shamir–for the purpose of destroying two alleged victims of sexual assault. She and everyone else who repeated that story should have learned long ago that it was NOT what Assange was accused of. Has she apologized? No, because to do so, she’d have to admit that WikiLeaks employs a hate-driven loony who has been known to invent stories. It’s absolutely shameful.

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