While the United States is currently enjoying its own rape controversy in the UK George Galloway MP has got himself into some trouble of his own. Although Todd Akin seems to have slept through almost every biology class, George Galloway seems to have misunderstood exactly what it even means to rape someone.
Galloway, one of the UK’s more memorable professional taxpayer-funded clowns, has claimed that the act that has Assange in such trouble with the Swedish authorities is not rape. Rather, Galloway claims, Assange is only guilty of “bad sexual etiquette”:
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.
One of the women involved in the case claims that she woke with Assange having sex with her. Galloway said of this sort of encounter:
What occurred is not rape as most people understand it.
The BBC reported on what British law would have to say in such a case:
… the law was clear that if the woman was asleep when a sexual encounter began, consent cannot "reasonably" have been given and having had sex before did not give a man the right to have sex again at any time and assume consent.
Quite where Galloway picked up that having sex with someone while they are asleep is not rape is anyone’s guess.
Whatever one might think of Assange’s hacking and the legitimacy of whistleblowing it is important to remember that he is wanted in Sweden on charges of sexual assault, not espionage. Were Assange not involved in wikileaks he would have been on a plane to Sweden months ago, and he would certainly not be holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Galloway is sticking by his remarks, and I suppose we won’t see if a Swedish court is sympathetic to his claims about what counts as rape until Assange is extradited. Given the current diplomatic fiasco, that may take some time.