How can any sexual assault be ‘bad etiquette’?

I read an article where George Galloway has insisted he regards non-consensual sex as rape but says he stands by controversial comments made about sex assault allegations facing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

The Respect MP was widely criticised after speculating Mr Assange was guilty merely of “bad sexual etiquette”.

In a podcast on Monday, Mr Galloway created a storm by suggesting that one of the women concerned had consensual sex with Mr Assange and then “woke up to him having sex with her again” – arguing that this did not constitute rape. “Not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion,” he said.

He added: “It might be really bad manners not to have tapped her on the shoulder and said, ‘do you mind if I do it again?’ It might be…bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning.”

Really?  How does that bankrupt the term of rape?  Rape is where someone has not consented to sex, it doesn’t matter whether they did the first time, if they say No it means No.

With any sexual offences there are always issues in relation to what was consensual and what isn’t.  Mr Galloway might as well say that a person who has been sexually abused again and again consented to the first time, so it goes without saying that they wanted it again and again.  What is the difference?  Rape is Rape regardless of whether there was initially consent or not.

So Mr Assange didn’t ‘tap her on the shoulder’ and ask her to do it again?  Am I being stupid by thinking if a person is asleep and wake up with someone on top of them having sex and they didn’t agree – that’s ok because they have said once already, so it’s the ‘unwritten rule’?  How ridiculous!

Mr Galloway has done nothing but created bad press and bad feeling.  Even if he believes that Mr Assange has been set up, to suggest that she was still consenting as they had sex the first time is just so wrong and hugely disappointing for all those who are involved in the work in trying to encourage people to make complaints of sexual abuse and rape.  How is someone going to feel now when they see his comments and think ‘I said Yes the first time, so they will just say I wanted it again’.  Thank you Mr Galloway.  Your comments are most useful.  Now we will have to try and repair the faith his comments have lost and make it clear for victims that we do not think this is the case, but that someone who is so prominent and has stage to make public his thoughts and views, he has sent the wrong message to a lot of people.

So enjoy your time in Indonesia Mr Galloway.  Try not to come back too soon.

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