January 04, 2011

Assange and Lover's Revenge

This post continues my examination of the general wrongness that is some of the arguments being made by Assange supporters wishing to dismiss the rape allegations against him. Before commenting here, you should read the rest of these:

Assange and Sex by Surprise
Assange and Real Rape
Assange and the Victim Conspiracy
Assange and the Presumption of Innocence
How Must She Behave to Have Been Raped?

Part 5: Assange's accuser was clearly following her own plan for revenge!!!
You've read this one. You've seen it ad nauseum. Still, the basics: One of Assange's accuser's wrote a blog post laying out "7 Steps to Legal Revenge." Shortly thereafter:

Julian Assange hurt her feelings, she was angry about it and decided to take revenge on him. The main problem now is that she would never withdraw little lie, because she is responsible now for a huge thing and the whole world would hate her if she confesses. She puts herself in a pretty bad position, even if she regrets her lie by now. In order to protect herself, she would never ever admit that she lied.

The bottom line: Don’t sleep with feminists, and if you are drunk and do it anyway… Don’t sleep with her feminist girlfriend and hurt her. These girls think they are smart and know how to use Google to find funny stuff about Revenge. Another bad thing: They know feminist state attorneys.

For the record, no, it wasn't remotely difficult to find an example laced with that much mysogyny. It was the first post I found with the full English translation of the accuser's post. Also, don't read the rest unless you're into that sort of thing. Gack.

As we've seen in my other posts, reality doesn't always live up to the myth in this situation, largely because a large number of people have been involved in myth-making. How about in this case?

Well, to start with, Assange's accuser (Ms. A) didn't write the blog post. She translated an eHow article on the topic. It no longer seems to have a working permalink, but it was cached here, and snapshots are provided below for documentation. Click to see full size.

So, right off the bat, accuracy is losing out, but that's not really the important part of this argument. The important part is the idea that Ms. A's actions are following the plan laid out in these posts. So, let's look at those seven steps (as translated back into English) one at a time to figure out whether that's actually the case.

Step 1
Consider very carefully if you really must take revenge. It is almost always better to forgive than to avenge.

Well, that's not a promising start for supporting revenge apologetics. "Don't take revenge."

Step 2
Think about why you want revenge. You need to be clear about who to take revenge on, as well as why. Revenge is never directed against only one person, but also the actions of the person.

This loses a bit in multiple translations, but it's the start of a repeated theme of making the punishment fit the "crime." Remember that according to the timeline given in the leaked police report, the crime here is having sex with someone else two days after having once had sex with Ms. A and while otherwise staying in her apartment, platonically. That's the deed Ms. A's plan tells her to fit.

Step 3
The principle of proportionality. Remember that revenge will not only match the deed in size but also in nature. A good revenge is linked to what has been done against you. For example if you want revenge on someone who cheated or who dumped you, you should use a punishment with dating/sex/fidelity involved.

More exhortations to make the punishment fit. Are the people who are saying this describes what happens suggesting that filing rape charges is proportional to having someone you slept with once and don't otherwise have a relationship with sleep with someone else?

Step 4
Do a brainstorm of appropriate measures for the category of revenge you’re after. To continue the example above, you can sabotage your victim’s current relationship, such as getting his new partner to be unfaithful or ensure that he gets a madman after him. Use your imagination!

Hmm. The madman starts to sound promising. However, a look the original post suggests that "madman after him" means something like providing him with a crazy stalker as a new love interest. Nope, we're still nowhere near suggesting rape charges as revenge for having another one-night stand too soon after your one-night stand.

Step 5
Figure out how you can systematically take revenge. Send your victim a series of letters and photographs that make your victim’s new partner believe that you are still together which is better than to tell just one big lie on one single occasion.

Right. So what we want to do based on this is...anything but walk into a police station with one big story. And again, these are actions directed at the revenge victim's love life, not personal liberty.

Step 6
Rank your systematic revenge schemes from low to high in terms of likely success, required input from you, and degree of satisfaction when you succeed. The ideal, of course, is a revenge as strong as possible but this requires a lot of hard work and effort for it to turn out exactly as you want it to.

So she thought, "How high is the cost of a good set of rape charges?" Pretty high, actually. In the case of someone as high-profile as Assange, backed by a fanboi army that doesn't believe in privacy but does believe it's on a world-saving mission, those costs are predictably astronomical. Are the people making this argument suggesting that Ms. A sat down and calculated those costs--and still went ahead with this?

Step 7
And remember what your goals are while you are operating, ensure that your victim will suffer the same way as he made you suffer.

And we end with one more call for fitting punishment.

In short, in order to believe that the post Ms. A translated is anything like a blueprint for what happened, we would have to believe that Ms. A viewed Assange's behavior as (1) beyond forgiveness, (2) emotionally comparable and proportional to being charged with rape, and (3) worth having her life torn apart and her privacy violated. We would have to believe that Ms. A's friends agreed with her to the point of being willing to lie to the police about what she told them when instead of telling her to snap out of it and get a life.

There's no indication that Ms. A had any interest in Assange beyond his social status and his political mission (reading this, I can't blame her; even for a geek, this is so not romantic). Assange's own public comments about the situation state that he stayed with Ms. A for days but don't claim that she attempted to continue their sexual relationship. Where is the motivation for this kind of revenge? What horror did Assange perpetrate on Ms. A to make this all worthwhile?

The people who are arguing that Ms. A has simply done what this post suggests need to fill in that blank in their reasoning. Without it, their argument suggests that whatever Assange did, it was far worse than being a slut.

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