How do I know that Interpol, Britain and Sweden's treatment of Julian Assange is a form of theater? Because I know what happens in rape accusations against men that don t involve the embarrassing of powerful governments.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was held in solitary confinement in Wandsworth prison in advance of questioning on state charges of sexual molestation. Lots of people have opinions about the charges. But I increasingly believe that only those of us who have spent years work ing with rape and sexual assault survivors worldwide, and know the standard legal response to sex crime accusations, fully understand what a travesty this situation is against those who have to live through how sex crime charges are ordinarily handled--and what a deep, even nauseating insult this situation is to survivors of rape and sexual assault worldwide.
Here is what I mean: men are pretty much never treated the way Assange is being treated in the face of sex crime charges.
I started working as a counselor in a UK center for victims of sexual assault in my mid-twenties. I also worked as a counselor in a battered women's shelter in the US, where sexual violence was often part of the pattern of abuse. I have since spent two decades traveling the world reporting on and interviewing survivors of sexual assault, and their advocates, in countries as diverse as Sierra Leone and Morocco, Norway and Holland, Israel and Jordan and the Occupied Territories, Bosnia and Croatia, Britain, Ireland and the United States.
I tell you this as a recorder of firsthand accounts. Tens of thousands of teenage girls were kidnapped at gunpoint and held as sex slaves in Sierra Leone during that country's civil war. They were tied to trees and to stakes in the ground and raped by dozens of soldiers at a time. Many of them were as young as twelve or thirteen. Their rapists are free.
I met a fifteen-year-old girl who risked her life to escape from her captor in the middle of the night, taking the baby that resulted from her rape by hundreds of men. She walked from Liberia to a refugee camp in Sierra Leone, barefoot and bleeding, living on roots in...
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