Julian Assange is one of the most controversial public figures of our time, and that’s saying a lot. You probably know him as the man who founded WikiLeaks, the juicy non-profit that publishes leaked/classified documents from anonymous sources.
Some people, such as Pamela Anderson, think of Assange as a hero and a pioneer for the truth who stops at nothing to give the people the real story. Others think of him as a
messy bitch who lives for drama criminal who has illegally leaked information that has been damaging to the world and the hacked emails of the DNC, which may or may not have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. These are the two sides of Assange most of us are familiar with, but what many of us don’t know is that he has also been accused of rape.
The rape allegations date back to 2010, when Sweden first started investigating Assange. The investigation has been closed and reopened a couple times, due to the complicated nature of investigating a man who is constantly running from arrest/extradition. However, the case was reopened this past May when Assange was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and immediately put in jail for breaching bail conditions.
Multiple interviews were held during the re-opened investigation, including with five witnesses who had previously been interviewed and two new witnesses who had not. However, the investigation was dropped after it became clear that the victim’s account was lacking due to the natural fading of memory of the years. In short, it was difficult for the victim to recount the evidence, as nearly a decade had passed. The deputy chief prosecutor, Eva-Marie Persson, found the victim to be both credible and reliable, but couldn’t rely on the faded memories as evidence. She said:
“After conducting a comprehensive assessment of what has emerged during the course of the preliminary investigation I then make the assessment that the evidence is not strong enough to form the basis for filing an indictment. An appeal against the decision could be made to the office of Sweden’s attorney general.”
Assange has always denied the allegations and implied that they are merely another way for Sweden to push for his extradition to the US.
This is yet another case where the fine print of a criminal justice system works against sexual assault victims.
Call me radical, but I just don’t think justice should feel like an impossible destination beyond a horizon of obstacles for rape survivors. Just saying.