It’s Sunday teatime, and so far today, Mini-Dragon and I have sat through Evita, and Robin Hood on Channel 5. The latter has left me with an uneasy feeling in my stomach.
See, halfway through Robin Hood, over your fish fingers and chips isn’t really the time you wish to see a man who’s been accused of rape (and done everything to avoid answering to the accusations) appear on the Ecuadorian Embassy’s balcony in a scene which reminds you, somewhat, of that infamous balcony scene from Evita. Y’know, the one which asserted her place as the hero of the film.
Unfortunately, Mini-Dragon had seen both clips. He’d asked about Evita, and was assured that she was a good person, especially by the time we got to “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.” Unfortunately, four year olds don’t miss much. Amid his disappointment over the adverts and news programme interrupting Robin Hood, he noted the number of people at the embassy when Assange came on screen. And made a comparison. During their brief touch on Assange’s speech, Channel 5 failed to even mention the rape that Assange has been accused of. To a four year old, this guy looked like a male Eva Peron. To people who have been living under a rock for the past two years, this man was a hero, speaking out for freedom of speech. The fact he’s facing extradition to answer questioning with regards to four seperate charges of rape and sexual violence was omitted.
At that moment, amidst the crowds, amidst the viewers, and amidst the silence, Assange was a hero. To a lot of Assange supporters, he still is. We’ve seen the hero worship of rapists before; in Ched Evans, in Mike Tyson. People will point out Assange hasn’t been convicted yet. But this is because he’s avoided questioning. The truth is, as of present, we have a man who is avoiding rape charges, because he refuses to return to Sweden for questioning. Some people will argue until they’re blue in the face that the charges against Assange are a conspiracy, with the aim of hauling him to America. I’m not buying it. I don’t think any feminist or feminist ally worth their gold is buying it.
The truth remains. As of yet, Assange has avoided four rape charges. Had he avoided these charges because Sweden had chosen not to charge him after he complied with their investigation, then I’d understand the omission of the charges from news reports, and I’d possibly forgive the hero worship he receives. But until the outcome of the questions that remain unanswered by Assange, the matter that there are four complaints of rape and sexual violence against him is one that is too important to miss; It’s one the media shouldn’t forget, and it’s one very strong reason why we shouldn’t be worshipping Assange. A rapist is no hero.