Jaclyn Friedman and Naomi Wolf went on Democracy Now this morning to debate the rape allegations against Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. Part 1 of the debate can be found at the end of the latest episode, and part 2 can be found here.
A warning that this debate is incredibly triggering. I am quite frankly shocked by Naomi Wolf’s willingness to downplay the rape allegations in her attempt to defend Assange. What happened to nuance? Is Wolf completely unable to defend WikiLeaks and take rape allegations seriously as the same time? Wolf denies she’s victim blaming in this case, but I don’t know how to read this any differently: her argument falls apart in my eyes, but it seems to start from the place that if you’ve given consent once consent can be assumed from then on. Yeah, she’s basically saying, “Well, it’s complicated,” such an overwhelmingly standard rape apologist argument at this point it’s extraordinary to me someone with Wolf’s years of experience with the issue could speak like this.
Friedman actually has to say, in a debate with Naomi Wolf, “Consent is not a light switch. Just because you’ve consented to one sexual activity, say taking your clothes off, doesn’t mean you’ve consented to all sexual activity.” And further, “Every sexual person has the responsibility to get affirmative consent from their sexual partner.”
I really want to give props to Friedman. I don’t know that I could have responded to Wolf’s opening statements without flipping my shit, and Friedman does an extraordinary job of pushing back against rape apology from a self-identified “feminist.”
You can’t give consent while you’re asleep. This is obvious. So is the fact that states are acting in a politically motivated way when it comes to Assange. I believe a feminist should be able to hold both these realities in their mind at the same time.
Update: Privilege Denying Naomi Wolf. For self care purposes.