Aubrey Clark · @aubsclark

20th Dec 2010 from Twitlonger

@EAGsquared The defense itself should not be at issue; it is the human right of any person to assert the innocence of another. The nature of the defense, however, came under fire due most prominently to the nature of the allegations.

As scattered, incomplete details came out about the allegations Assange was facing, a hungry media quickly pounced on every morsel, not waiting for the full account to publish what would become the backbone of most Assange stories published that day. And so the misinformation storm began, and by days end the notion that Assange had raped a woman 'by surprise' and that the Swedish definition of rape included merely the breaking of a condom during intercourse, fiction thrice repeated became fact (I have said it thrice; what I tell you three times is true - Lewis Carrol).

Perhaps this is the bedrock of 'rape apology' culture. The certainty of rightness and wrongness, backed with facts from reputable sources. Neurologists call this the certainty bias, in which one is so certain of the rightness of ones position that all doubt is removed, and any willingness to be proven incorrect ceases to exist.

Rape deniers exist everywhere. They exist in the parent unwilling to believe that their spouse has molested their child and in the friend who testifies as a character witness for their accused friend. And the the police officer who denies his partner could commit a sexual assault, and covers it up. These are all examples of rape deniers, and perhaps Michael Moore is, in my opinion, a rape denier. But is he a rape apologist?

The phrase 'rape apology' implies that one is apologizing for a rape committed by another. 'Apology' in this sense does not mean that one is sorry for the act, but instead making an excuse for it, defending it. Is Michael Moore a rape apologist?

"You must have done something." The five words no rape survivor should ever hear. A tacit example of rape apology. Does Michael Moore believe that Julian Assange committed rape, but that the rape was somehow justified? Based on his own statements, that does not appear to be that case. After relying so heavily on heretofore trusted reporting from multiple sources, the certainty bias kicks in. Michael Moore is not a rape apologist, because he does not believe that Julian Assange committed rape, and therefore has nothing to defend.

Language shapes our thinking. We must choose our words carefully, they have power over us.

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