1. On recent statements regarding the Julian Assange sexual assault case

    SlutWalk Toronto believes everyone deserves safety and a right to live without violence. We are not experts in international criminal law or extradition procedures. However, what anti-sexual violence activists know from the years of work that they have done is that victims of sexual violence often do not report, often face consequences when they do, and that systemically the vast majority of perpetrators of violence are never convicted for their crimes.

    We recently learned of statements made by SlutWalk London (UK) in support of the organization Women Against Rape regarding the ongoing case against WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange for sexual assault. We have concerns about these statements and even as we do, we want to recognize that the work these two organizations have done has been instrumental in supporting hundreds of survivors and fighting back against sexual violence. We are thankful for their voices and their efforts in doing so much for so many.

    Statements from Women Against Rape can be seen here.

    Statements from SlutWalk London can be seen here.

    We also believe people must be held accountable. Julian Assange has been accused of rape and no matter who he is and what importance people feel he has had in stopping other atrocities, he must be accountable to the warrant for his arrest on this basis. That he is being pursued with a zeal that is unfortunately not given to most sexual assault cases that may be politically motivated, does not in any way alter the severity of what he is being pursued for. We recognize that often justice and institutional systems are not a safe or worthwhile mode of recourse for many survivors, but with a legal course of action being the path the survivors accusing Assange have chosen to take, he must be accountable to this.

    No matter who Assange is, his political involvement and status should never be used to discredit or cast doubt upon his victims or protect him from being accountable. Suggesting otherwise goes against what we believe SlutWalk is. We recognize many survivors have expressed pain, anger and hurt at recent statements from SlutWalk London regarding this case and we welcome further dialogue on this issue.

    *UPDATE:

    On Sun. Sept. 30th 2012, SlutWalk London released this public statement where one of their organizers took responsibility for the Assange comments:

    The recent views expressed regarding the extradition of Julian Assange were my own rather than those of SlutWalk London. I apologise for using this platform to express these views and hope they do not deter from the purpose of SlutWalk, which is to send the message that there is never any excuse for rape and to demand protection and justice for all rape survivors. - Anastasia Richardson

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