So, the sainted Julian is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy for the foreseeable future, and I’m left wondering yet again why it is that some* so-called ‘feminist men’ are so willing to ignore or dismiss women’s concerns, all in their rush to defend a man accused of sex crimes.

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Here’s George Galloway for example

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Michael Moore

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and our so-called ‘comrades’ at Occupy Wall Street

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I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s noticed there’s a trend going on here, a frustrating and entirely dispiriting trend, of men on the left selling women out, and of our concerns being sidelined or pushed to the back of the queue. It’s that “yeah, of course you can have your equality, but wait ’till after the revolution eh love?” phenomenon, that any woman who’s been involved in left politics for any length of time will be all too familiar with.

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It’s like one minute feminism’s an attractive and right-on proposition for some men, but as soon as things start getting a bit iffy, as soon as one of their own comes under scrutiny, suddenly it’s all boys together and women’s opinions don’t count – or “bros before hos” as I’ve seen it referred to elsewhere.

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And that’s exactly what’s been happening with Assange. I don’t think I’ve ever been so disillusioned with one of my own ‘heroes’ as I was when I saw Jon Pilger outside one of Assange’s first court hearings, explaining that even though he didn’t personally know the man, he was prepared to stand surety for him because he believed this was an issue of justice.

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Well maybe Pilger, Galloway et al would like to have a word with some rape survivors and ask them what they think of justice, and maybe while they’re there they could also ask them how it feels to see big important men falling over themselves and each other to defend a man who’s facing accusations of rape and other crimes of sexual violence.

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Anyone who’s been following social media over the past few days, especially since word first got out that Assange would probably be granted asylum by Ecuador, will be aware of the disgraceful misogyny that’s been flying around, much of it, depressingly, from men who purport to be on the left. Sadly none of this is anything new.

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In fact since I first dared to suggest that Assange might not be as pure as the driven snow, that he might not be the perfect hero everyone wants him to be, I’ve certainly had my fair share of misogynist abuse from the Assange fanboys and the conspiraloons, and I know other feminist writers who’ve covered this subject have faced the same.

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And yet for what? Not for saying we think Assange is guilty; not for accusing him of being a rapist; but for simply challenging the prevailing liberal left conspiracy theory narrative.

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That’s the narrative that suggests that Assange’s two accusers are part of some CIA inspired honey-trap and that the great man himself is the only victim here – a victim of some dark and covert plot. It’s also a narrative that says, yet again, that women who accuse men of rape are not to be believed, and that the rights of important men doing important work should trump a woman’s right to justice.

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Declaring a man to be innocent of rape and other crimes of sexual violence, purely on the grounds that he’s been engaged in important work that many of us would like to see continued, while discounting women’s testimonies and women’s concerns in the process, is just the same old same old, men protecting men protecting men. What a shame then that in any other context so many of those men would be declaring themselves our comrades and feminist allies.

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*I use the term ‘some‘ men in this piece because there are as always some notable exceptions.

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For my previous posts on Assange see:

Why it’s wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange

Putting things in context

Ohhh Helena

Assange (again)

Assange loses appeal against extradition

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The Rape Crisis National Freephone Helpline is open from 12-2.30pm & 7-9.30pm every day of the year: you can call them on 0808 802 9999

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