I was wrong. The story got little attention then. Ardin and another politically and sexually active young woman, Sofia Wilén, are the orignators of the complaint - or their approach to police, seeking "advice."
As noted yesterday in the Australian press by Melbourne barrister James D. Caitlin:
The damage to Assange’s reputation is incalculable. More than three quarters of internet references to his name refer to rape.Just what kind of rape or rapes did Assange perpetrate on these two victims?
[H]aving consensual sex in Sweden without a condom is punishable by a term of imprisonment of a minimum of two years for rape. That is the basis for a reinstitution of rape charges against WikiLeaks figurehead Julian Assange.Caitlin's article may be the most detailed article yet in English on how absurd what is being described as "rape" was in this case.
That further evidence hasn’t been confected to make the charges less absurd does Sweden no credit because it has no choice in the matter. The phenomena of social networking through the internet and mobile phones constrains Swedish authorities from augmenting the evidence against Assange because it would look even less credible in the face of tweets by Anna Ardin and SMS texts by Sofia Wilén boasting of their respective conquests after the “crimes”.
In the case of Ardin it is clear that she has thrown a party in Assange’s honour at her flat after the “crime” and tweeted to her followers that she is with the “the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing!”. Go on the internet and see for yourself. That Ardin has sought unsuccessfully to delete these exculpatory tweets from the public record should be a matter of grave concern. That she has published on the internet a guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends ever graver. The exact content of Wilén’s mobile phone texts is not yet known but their bragging and exculpatory character has been confirmed by Swedish prosecutors. Niether Wilén’s nor Ardin’s texts complain of rape.
But then neither Arden nor Wilén complained to the police but rather “sought advice”, a technique in Sweden enabling citizens to avoid just punishment for making false complaints. They sought advice together, having collaborated and irrevocably tainted each other’s evidence beforehand. Their SMS texts to each other show a plan to contact the Swedish newspaper Expressen beforehand in order to maximise the damage to Assange. They belong to the same political group and attended a public lecture given by Assange and organised by them. You can see Wilén on the YouTube video of the event even now.
I can't find the youtube video. But we really don't need it.
What will probably end up being the basis of Swedish charges against Assange, if this somewhat ridiculous case ends up in court, will be that of "unequal power relationships." To those of us trained in aspects of domestic violence and sexual assault (I received and gave numerous trainings in this field during 13 years working in public safety), rape as generally understood, is a crime of violence. Unequal power relationships are part and parcel of what that is. But the ways Swedish case law is developing in how the inequality is determined is getting bizarre:
Proposed reforms of Swedish rape laws would introduce a test of whether the unequal power relations between the parties might void the sincerely expressed consent of one party. In this case, presumably, the politically active Ardin, with experience fielding gender equity complaints as a gender equity officer at Uppsala University, had her will suborned by Assange’s celebrity. The prosecutor coming as she does from a prosecution “Development Unit” could achieve this broadening of the law during Assange’s trial so he can be convicted of a crime that didn’t exist at the time he allegedly committed it. She would need to. There is no precedent for it. The Swedes are making it up as they go along.
In Alaska, our most notorious case involving unequal relationships was the Satch Carlson case of 1989-91. Carlson, a teacher at Bartlett High School in Anchorage had sex with at least one student. She was 17 at the time. The judgement of many in the education and law enforcement fields was that Carlson was taking advantage of his unequal power relationship with young women to have sex with them. There were many ramifications, including a new state law, dubbed the "Satch Carlson Act," that made sex between people "in a position of authority" and anyone 18 or younger a sex crime.
I can't imagine somebody in Alaska being accused or convicted of rape for starting consensual sex with a condom and not stopping when the prophylactic became dysfunctional in one way or another. But that is the substance of the charges being contemplated against Julian Assange.
Another Alaskan lesson, Julian, is that abstinence clearly works better.
Ask Bristol. She knows:
So, Julian - "Pause before you play."
image - Anna Ardin