British MP George Galloway defends Assange: It’s not rape if she’s asleep

Trigger warning

What a week. It looks like Todd Akin isn’t the only one who needs to be schooled on what constitutes as rape.

As Akin resists the pressure to withdraw from his senatorial campaign in Missouri, more news revealed that British MP George Galloway has come out with a pretty alarming defense of Julian Assange’s rape allegations by claiming that, come on silly, it’s not rape if she’s asleep! Yes, really: 

“Even taken at its worst, if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100 per cent true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape,” Mr Galloway reportedly said. “At least not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it. And somebody has to say this.

“Woman A met Julian Assange, invited him back to her flat, gave him dinner, went to bed with him, had consensual sex with him, claims that she woke up to him having sex with her again. This is something which can happen, you know. I mean, not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion.”

“Something which can happen?” That statement is a mark of exactly what Galloway’s comments are truly about. It’s not a lack of awareness about what rape actually is, or the collective need for some kind of Sexual Assault 101 course for the Akins and Galloways of the world. It’s blatant rape denialism and victim-blaming as a means to defend the policies — and people — that these legislators support. Because our bodily autonomy and human right to not be raped is simply not important enough to their political interests, therefore must be denied and conveniently discarded. And there’s no denying that.

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  • Spencer Koelle

    Wat. >< I know there's a lot of nasty patriarchal stuff going on among men in power, but WOW. An MP should really know better.

  • athenia

    Someone should ask Mr. Galloway if he would like his partner to ask every time before they stick something up his orifice. I’m sure things like that just don’t “happen.”

  • Deborah

    WOW. Thanks for sharing. I guess my husband doesn’t need to formally ask “prior to each insertion” because we have a pretty solid course of dealing and he knows when the answer is no without having to check. But I hardly see a slippery slope argument here. It’s hard to give consent (by word or action) when you aren’t even conscious – whether you did a mere once before or not.

  • Smiley


    Julian Assange is not being investigated for rape. He is wanted for questioning about having sexual intercourse without a condom.

    That’s the first point. It is not a quibble – presumably, had he used a condom, the (female) Swedish investigating magistrate would not even have bothered opeing a case.

    Second, Mr Galloway is making a good point (asking a good question?): how far does consent extend? In English law.

    True, someone who is comatose cannot give consent. But if she consented earlier, is it true that she has to censent at every ‘insertion’? I don’t know – maybe a lawyer can enlighten us?

    Interestingly, one of the women did not complain to the law until she’d heard about the other case. It could be argued – and his lawyers certainly will – that this is evidence that she had not been unwilling.

    Having said all that, I find Mr Assange a pretty distasteful character. But that does not necessarily make him a rapist.

  • jemima

    I put something on the community blog about this, but I think it is worth pointing here also that British law disagrees with Galloway. However as a former Stalinist and Catholic his views towards women have never been what one might call progressive.

  • Candice

    Nothing excuses what Galloway said, but considering he has faced political persecution for opposing the Iraq war, it doesn’t surprise me that he has knee-jerked in favour of Assange- he perceives him to be going through a similar thing. He should realize that it’s possible to defend WikiLeaks and freedom of speech without defending Assange and engaging in rape apology.