Bad/good people can do good/bad things.

This post from MAYA at feministing navigates the apparently difficult conflict inherent in the desire to support the whistleblowing of Wikileaks, and the rape accusations leveled at the public face of Wikileaks.

In  doing so,  I think that she neatly takes apart Naomi Wolf’s conflation of support for Assange as a whistleblower and with Assange as a rape defendant:

There is very little disagreement that Interpol’s aggressive pursuit of Assange is politically motivated…

And yet it’s entirely possible to believe that and still avoid acting like an anti-feminist asshole! It’s possible to point out that rape accusations are rarely taken seriously when the accused isn’t an internationally wanted man, without automatically dismissing the charges as “personal injured feelings.”

It’s possible to lament the lack of justice for the many other victims of sexual assault, without assuming that the accusers in this case are lying. As Jill at Feministe said, “we can chew gum and walk at the same time.”

This shouldn’t be that difficult. It is not that hard to separate the two things: Roman Polanski may have made good films, but it doesn’t mean that he isn’t a rapist.

Assange has arguably done some good things in bringing into question the tendency of governments to suppress information that shows what they are actually doing. At the same time, he has been accused of rape. He deserves the presumption of innocence in this case, as in any, but the allegations of sexual assault need to be considered, and considered with respect. That’s not really that hard, is it?


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