Over the past few weeks we have heard a whole barrage about Julian Assange, we have heard from some people saying he should just go to Sweden and deal with the rape charges.  We have had some people saying what he did wasn’t rape it was just bad manners.  Lots of people with wild conspiracy theories that if he goes to Sweden the next day he will turn up in an orange jumpsuit in Guantanamo Bay.  But we have not had anyone really saying errr wait a moment what about the two victims. 

Now on the 12th August 2007, I found myself in the unfortunate position of being the victim of a serious sexual assault which was reported to the police who handled the matter and it ultimately resulted in a prosecution and conviction for the vile little man.  However you may ask what has that got to do with this situation?

Well the perpetrator absconded from bail for about 18 months.  So for this 18 month period I was left in limbo I was unable to see justice done while the perpetrator went about his life doing whatever he fancied.   Now of Mr Assange can’t quite do what he likes as he has inadvertently made himself a prisoner in the Ecuadorian embassy. 

But the two women who have levied serious allegations against him are left in limbo they have no idea what is happening, and at this stage they don’t even know if he will actually answer those charges.   Now that feeling of just not knowing what will happen or even if the accused will deal with the situation in the proper manner is one that leaves you with more questions than answers. 

It makes you start to question are you doing the right thing? Maybe it would be easier if I just called the police and told them to drop the whole thing. It makes you question the whole criminal justice system, you question yourself.  It makes your life very hard to lead as you have this weight you are dragging around with you, an inability to move on and just live your life because of all of this stuff.

Now I can only imagine what the added pressure and stress on these two women is, with the fact that their accused is on every news program and newspaper every day doing his hardest to actually avoid facing justice.   Spouting on about that the USA want to arrest him for espionage charges, which there has been no indication of such charges. 

Now dealing with the whole situation myself with the support of friends and family made me ill both physically and mentally at times, it caused me to drink lots to try and block out the whole situation to try and escape from the nightmare that was the situation.  In effect it made my life a living nightmare for 2 years till it all went to trial and I could finally relax.  

So regardless what side of the debate you are on, be that he should go to Sweden or one of his apologists maybe just maybe you should take two minutes out  before you next comment on the whole situation and think about the victims in this situation.  The two Swedish women who didn’t ask for this situation to drag on like this, who didn’t ask to be involved in some mass media show but who just want to see justice be done; and think how you would feel in their situation and then if you can then still just dismiss how they feel go for it.  But don’t take offence when someone calls you up on the whole situation. 

I have come across this story on a few different places on internet message boards.  Now every time I have come across it the LGBT community in large numbers have defended her actions blindly, in an attempt to justify her actions. This bemuses me beyond belief.

Now I have looked at several different sources on this incident and there is no great deal of difference in who said what and what happened.  The basic facts are three undesirable people made some offensive comments; her and a group of her friends went to confront them.  She was attacked by one of the women in the undesirable group which lead to her retaliating and stabbing fatally a man; who had at most only said some offensive comments. 

Now the LGBT community seem to think that her actions were that of self-defence, which on consideration of the facts this is a stupid accretion.  As the confrontation which lead on to her assault and the fatal stabbing was something that she created, she had the option to ignore the possible situation and move on.  At this point it’s gone from there being any possible innocent people involved to people participating in civil disorder, which ultimately lead to murder. 

I even took time to look at the laws for murder and self-defence in the state of Minnesota, which for murder are actually straight forwards.  Which if you impose the facts in to them there is no grounds for a claim of self-defence, yet these people seem to think that she should somehow be allowed to claim self-defence. 

Now one of the most alarming comments I read on this whole issue was, that the murder victim as he had a past of violent criminal convictions and he was supposedly a member of a Neo-Nazi group and was inherently homophobic and transphobic that it was fine for her to kill him.  The justification for this was, that well he may have at some point in the future tried to kill her.  Now if this was any form of justification for murder then it would give just about everyone the possibility to go and murder who they wanted to, because that person at some point may want to kill them. 

Now what worries me is the strange disregard for the rule of law, and how that if someone from a class of people you belong to does something wrong that they defend them to the hilt, regardless of what they have done.  It is as if these people become somehow blinded by the fact that the person involved is like them in some way. 

People need to wake up to reality, and it’s not just the LGBT community it’s all minority groups.  You may want to think that your little clique is perfect and no one does anything wrong because they have something in common with you.  Well that’s a load of poppy cock every minority group has rotten eggs in it, its part of life.  To blindly defend someone’s actions because of who they are is just wrong and will lead the world to a very bad place.

As where would it stop? If they are happy to defend someone who commits murder or child abuse or grievous bodily harm because well they are kind of like us.  Do we carry on do we start trying to justify that locking up Dennis Nilsen was wrong because he was a gay man or we shouldn’t lock up Muslim paedophiles because the Muslim community says a proper Muslim can’t be a paedophile. 

Civil society says that if someone breaks the law we should punish that person, and that it doesn’t matter if that person is LGBT, religious, from another country, male or female or even from another planet.  If someone breaks the law they should be put on trial and if convicted punished accordingly.  We should not start to let people off because of what could have happened if they didn’t do something, or because we think that maybe it’s a bit harsh that they are being put on trial.

This all comes down to the fact that as a society we seem to have lost the grasp that people are accountable for their own actions.  If that person does something they shouldn’t do they have to face the consequences, there should be no exceptions; and the rest of us should not try and justify the un-justifiable.  As it makes you look foolish and almost as bad a person as the perpetrator.

Now if we go back 60 years to the early 1950’s male homosexuality was illegal, and you could find yourself in prison just for following through with your sexual attractions to another man.  However at this time attitudes were starting to change with regards to if this should be a criminal offence.  Then we saw in 1957 the Wolfenden Report  which suggested the decriminalisation of certain sexual acts. 

Which eventually did materialise a decade latter with the Sexual Offences Act 1967; and over the coming decades we have seen major changes in public attitudes to homosexuality.  Now culminating in the current consultation that is looking at how we can grant marriage equality for same sex couples and we have a raft of anti-discrimination law for homosexuals. 

However today I was saw a re-tweet of a link to a news story comparing homosexuality with paedophilia (http://m.yahoo.com/w/news_america/b4u-act-pedophilia-takes-step-toward-being-considered-212800919.html?orig_host_hdr=news.yahoo.com&.intl=us&.lang=en-us).  By a group who want to normalise the attraction of people to children.  Wishing to de-sensitize society to the effects of paedophilia so that some people may consider it normal like we do with homosexuality now.

So naturally I had a look at their website to see how credible this group actually is, and to see if it’s not just a group of paedophiles’ trying to find a way of justifying what they do so that they can eventually campaign for the de-criminalisation of their actions.    However their website doesn’t list names of either the lay people or the medical professionals that are part of this organisation.  So it does raise credibility questions. 

However as a gay woman I find their stance and comparison to the LGBT movement unnerving and very offensive.  As with homosexuality it concerns two consenting adults, who know and understand what they are doing and can rationalise their feelings for each other. 

Whereas does a young child know what is happening and would they want to have sexual relations with a middle aged man?  Now I know some 8 year olds are very bright you occasionally hear of an 8 year old getting a GCSE or an A-level.  But that type of intelligence is not the same as being able to cognitively understand what sex is.  This is why we have an age of consent for sex; as this is the age where people can understand what sex is. 

I don’t think any rational human being would agree that we should let paedophiles have sex with children because they consider it to be a natural thing just like homosexuality.  The problem is not if it is a natural thing or not, but it’s what it is doing.   There are numerous scientific studies that say children that go through sexual abuse can have a multitude of problems in later life.   This on its own should be enough to convince people that to even consider talking about the possibility of doing something with the law on this issue should just not happen. 

This I see as being one of the few things that society will never be able to accept, because of the shear destructive effect that it can have on the lives of the children involved.  It is an abhorrent and egregious act and we shouldn’t be looking at listening to their nonsense we should be looking at ways to strengthen the protective measures in place to stop these people doing it in the first place.  Personally I consider this a crime up there with murder and should upon conviction automatically generate a life sentence, on public protection grounds.        

Every time I watch one of these police programs on the telly I always get the feeling that the police are a little frustrated with the criminal justice system.  They do their bit and arrest the suspect and put them before the courts, yet the courts always seem to be very lenient when it comes to sentencing.  

You get the impression that the police know roughly who committed the relevant crimes in a set area but finding the concrete evidence is always an issue.  This is illustrated when the police do catch someone for something like burglary and they are put on trial and duly convicted; its then at that point that the burglar asks for other crimes to be taken in to consideration when passing sentence, which the judge does and they normally get a few more months in prison as a result. 

However the way I see things is we have the Law there as a deterrent to stop people committing crime with a punishment attached to it.  Now I think for the average person the risk of being sent to prison for something is not one that they want to take, as within the majority of society there is still a stigma attached to having been to prison.   

However for some people that stigma doesn’t apparently matter as there are a fair few people out there with a string of criminal convictions, which is illustrated by the UK’s re-offending rate.  Now there will be some people who will argue that people re-offend because prison doesn’t work and that these people are a perfect example as to why we shouldn’t keep sending people back to prison. 

However I think I have to disagree with that argument, I think they re-offend because prison fails to tackle the underlying issues of these people.  Prison is supposed to be about re-habilitating people who have done wrong so that when they are released they can be valued members of society.  If we are not going to tackle Mr Jones drug problem while he is in prison then when he comes out he’s only going to commit more crime to fund his drug addiction. 

This is where sentencing comes in to play, if Mr Jones has a drug problem then sending him to prison for a few weeks from burglary is not going to fix Mr Jones, his drug problem or reduce his likelihood to reoffend. 

Judges normally have a large amount of freedom when it comes to sentencing, as in most cases the guidelines published are nowhere near the maximum penalty they could hand out. Now if we made it mandatory that anyone with a drug or alcohol problem as part of their sentence had to go through rehabilitation, then we would reduce the likelihood that they would re-offend upon release.  Now obviously this wouldn’t be a cheap thing to do, and in a time of economic austerity some people would think it to be hard to justify the funding of such a program.  But I think there are ways around the funding issues, however we currently have 88,000 prisoners who are not really doing a lot.  If we were to utilise these people in making something or producing things they could actually generate a revenue stream that could be used to fund proper rehabilitation. 

So instead of sending Mr Jones to prison for 26 weeks, who then on release goes straight back to a life of crime to fund his drug problem, we would send him to prison to properly rehabilitate him so when he comes out he’s a productive member of society.  Now yes it would mean sending him to prison for longer, having him get clean from drugs and having him and the other prisoners work but in the long term it should reduce crime and the amount of money we spend catching people, prosecuting them and subsequently locking them up.  Prison should be about rehabilitation and punishment then it should work to the benefit of society.