Not In My Name: Academics Publicly Attacking UN Torture Rapporteur

I am a survivor of rape, gang rape and the abusive police process I was subjected to when I reported it and I am fed up with watching sexual violence being used as a cover for political attacks on Julian Assange, his colleagues and his supporters.

I am not alone. Numerous other survivors have reached out to me tonight expressing the same sentiment and we deserve to be heard.

Today, members of what is supposedly a women’s advocacy group published an open letter addressed to UN top brass, from the Secretary-General on down, complaining about an article written by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer and attempting to call into question his suitability for his role.

Melzer has recently transformed the debate around 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Julian Assange’s situation by formally finding that Assange is a victim of state-sponsored (and publicly perpetuated) psychological torture.

The content of the open letter undermining Melzer is founded on a premise of advocating for and protecting the rights of women and of survivors of sexual violence. Yet when I self-identified as a survivor in tweets to the organisers of the open letter and dissented against their opinions, they belittled me and were dismissive of my arguments.

Yes, the very women who should have been most sincere about unpacking the experiences and feelings of a survivor of sexual assault could not muster a single shred of empathy for me, nor did they express even the mildest concern for my wellbeing or safety, despite my clearly having been triggered by the conversation.

The very women who complained in their open letter against Melzer, of “insensitivity to victims of sexual assault” and “..a profound lack of understanding…” were themselves apparently incapable of demonstrating any sensitivity or understanding when dealing directly with a survivor.

And it is thus, the issue. Too often the theory that is advanced that “we must support victims!” and “we must centre the voices of women and survivors!” doesn’t match the practice. Despite being self-styled advocates, academics and lawyers, they were simply too wrapped up in themselves to have the time of day for a lowly survivor of sexual assault who was outside of their clique. They  weren’t considerate of my right to my own opinions and weren’t prepared to consider them.

I can’t help but notice that their attitudes stand in stark contrast to that of Melzer himself. Standing in the harsh light of their accusations, he handled himself with poise, grace and more – with willingness to engage, receptiveness to their arguments, and with a concerted focus on bettering outcomes for survivors.

He even thanked them.

Twice.

The reactions of those same women to my (and others) inquiries couldn’t have been any different from Melzer’s reaction. Instead of welcoming our input or engaging in constructive dialogue, they defaulted to posturing themselves as the victims, proclaiming on social media that they were being attacked. While continually boasting of having added further signatories to their attempt to undermine Melzer’s career.

Sadly, Melzer is not a lone target of the tactic of organised mass signings of an open letter being employed against him. WikiLeaks PR Consultant Trevor Fitzgibbon was the subject of an open letter signed by 72 progressive organisations decrying him as a serial abuser of women. Their lobbying efforts against him brought down his successful business and destroyed his career and his marriage, prior to him being cleared of all charges after lengthy investigations by authorities. Fitzgibbon subsequently won a defamation case against his primary accuser, after revelations of her private text message communications with him (available on the court record) made it clear that he had never raped her. His accuser has now retracted her accusations.

Likewise the activism career of WikiLeaks advocate Jacob Appelbaum was destroyed by similar tactics. Open letters were used to de-platform him at major tech conferences and hackerspaces, including one he co-founded. The public shaming campaign against him eventually boiled down to a sole complainant of sexual assault – by a person who has since gone on to make extremely dubious allegations against two other high profile members of the tech industry and is likewise now facing defamation proceedings as a result.

As a survivor of rape, it is gutting to have to continually watch people who profess to act in defence of women attack and destroy good men in the name of protecting survivors. I can not simply sit by and allow rape to continue to be weaponised for political gain.

Therefore I am writing my own open letter in response to that penned by Melzer’s critics, both in direct response to the substance (or lack thereof) of their claims, and to draw a line. A line that says, if you take this man down, it will not be in our name.

If academics read this response and are principled and brave enough to co-sign it, that is great. However I am most interested in platforming and amplifying the voices of regular people, many of whom will also inevitably be fellow survivors, who too often are the forgotten or silent majority, while the circus of these tar-and-feather public shaming campaigns continues unabated.

It is only by speaking out that we can stop them. And it is way past time.

Not In My Name: Open letter in response to the open letter by purported women’s advocates attacking the credibility of UN Special Rapporteur for Torture Nils Melzer

To: Ms Michelle Bachelet Jeria, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Ms Kate Gilmore, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights; Coordination Committee of UN Special Procedures (chair Ms Anita Ramasastry, Mr Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Mr Javaid Rehman, Ms Leigh Toomey, Mr Clément Voulé and Mr Dainius Puras)

On 1st July 2019 an open letter was penned to your excellencies that has so far been co-signed by 150+ people who identify themselves as “practitioners and scholars in international law and human rights”.

The authors of the article assert:

  • They “are deeply disturbed by the way [Melzer] approaches the allegations of sexual assault in this case.”
  • that Melzer’s “tone is unbecoming of a UN mandate holder
  • that Melzer “dismisses the allegations on the basis that they do not “have the ring of rape in any language other than Swedish”. Mr Melzer’s statement is incorrect.”
  • that Melzer “grossly misunderstands the realities and legalities of sexual assault when he dismisses the allegations against Mr Assange on the basis that they “do not involve any violence”.
  • that “Allegations against powerful or high-profile men such as Julian Assange are routinely dismissed as attention-seeking or part of a conspiracy to bring them down. Mr Melzer’s “op ed” perpetuates this dangerous narrative

They concede:

  • that Melzer’s “overarching argument may merit attention
  • that in their arguments, they will be “leaving aside whether this is an accurate summary of the events of the case”
  • that “Mr Assange has fundamental rights to freedom from torture, a presumption of innocence, and a fair trial.

The crux of the assertions of the authors of the open letter hinge upon a portion of an interview Melzer gave to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges on his show On Contact. They quote Melzer as having said:

“I think it is also important to point out what is called a “rape” allegation is not by any stretch what would be called “rape” in English or any other language other than Swedish, and I know what I’m talking about because I do speak Swedish. What this “rape” allegation refers to is an offence that doesn’t involve any violence (…) [Assange] is being accused of having ripped a condom during consensual intercourse (…) this is something no one will ever be able to prove.”

But here is what Melzer actually said word for word:

I think it is important also to point out that what is called a rape allegation is not by any stretch what would be called rape in English or any other language than Swedish in the world and I know what I’m talking about because I do speak Swedish. So, what this rape allegation refers to, an offence, that doesn’t involve any violence.” 

In the interview, Melzer stresses the words “an offence”. This can be heard precisely at 10:57 in the interview. It is the offence itself, stipulated in the Swedish law books, that was specifically designed for when violence was not used in the course of the action.

The English translation of the law is insufficient to explain the precise wording of the definition of the charge. The original Swedish law text makes implicitly clear that it applies only to instances of lessened violence than a forced penetration. That is why it is usually reported in English-language media as “lesser rape”. In the Swedish language, the implied lessening of the level of violence is even more pronounced. Which is why Melzer was explaining that he is fluent in Swedish. Because of that, he was able to interpret the full meaning of the wording of the laws, and therefore the nature of the allegations, in a way in which English speakers cannot.

Therefore the accusation that Melzer was trying to depict rape as a non-violent act is completely false. This invalidates the core premise of the original Open Letter of complaint against Melzer.

Melzer was simply describing an offence as it existed in 2010 on the Swedish law books. That law has since been changed in 2018. The 2018 interpretation appears to be closer to what the authors of the Open Letter wish to ascribe; however it simply was not relevant to Melzer’s credible and learned assessment of the original 2010 offence invoked against Assange.

The signatories to the Open Letter are signing it on the understanding that it contains an accurate depiction of Melzer’s actions. However, as evidenced above, the letter does not. Therefore it is a fundamentally flawed document, a misuse of the network being employed to amass signatures, a potential risk to the academic reputations of the signatories and a disservice to those on whose behalf it seeks to advocate.

Although the above sufficiently nullifies the allegations of professional impropriety falsely levelled at Melzer there is another issue which I wish to briefly cover off.

The open letter seeks to posture itself as being unbiased and objective, as well as to distance itself from any potential debate about the specifics of Assange’s case. Despite the fact that Melzer’s cited commentary was entirely specific to Assange’s case.

Unfortunately, even the most rudimentary research has unearthed that the primary organisers of the open letter have, in public, been far from unbiased towards Assange.

Out of respect, I will not name names at this point, as the purpose of this letter is not to engage in public shaming, however I am in possession of screenshots of multiple past statements published by the top proponents, organisers and signatories of the open letter making false, defamatory and biased statements about Julian Assange from their professional social media profiles and platforms.

Those statements echo some of the precise wording exhibited by state actors who have ultimately been responsible for the psychological torture of Assange that Melzer exposed.

Likewise, there is evidence of direct ties between the authors of the letter and some of the most voracious and defamatory critics of Assange that exist in the mainstream media sphere. The biases are deep and the relationships clear for all to see, with a few simple keyword searches.

It needs to be recognised and understood, that when Melzer exposed the public “mobbing” and psychological torture of Assange, that many professional human rights and legal advocates who had failed to act on Assange’s behalf or in solidarity with his plight across a number of years, themselves became tacitly implicated in his persecution. Whether it be because they had fallen victim to malicious mainstream reporting about his case, or whether it was due to their own ties to the states that have been and are actively persecuting him, they have been shown in action to have not lived up to their professed principles. That hypocrisy is publicly embarrassing. There are many professionals who would project themselves as being against torture, who have one way or another in this case, become complicit in it. Whether deliberately, or by their silence.

The correct action would be of course for them to acknowledge their error, atone for it and pick up the baton that Melzer has bravely carried thus far. Not to attack Melzer, undermine him, shame him, use social media to “mob” him as Assange was subjected to for so many years,  or seek to distract from the severity of the implications of Melzer’s findings.

It was bad enough that a publisher went most of a decade being tortured in the heart of a major Western capital city with so few in the professional class daring to speak against it. Let us not see those same tactics now be allowed to be wielded against a UN Special Rapporteur too. We cannot allow those who, be it purposefully or inadvertently, contributed to the torture of a publisher, become the public prosecutors of the Special Rapporteur who exposed the torture.

What Melzer has done, in thoroughly researching in minute detail the case of Julian Assange, is historic and lends great credence and weight to the reputation of the United Nations as a whole. I know of many who had frankly lost faith in the organisation, only to have it restored by Melzer’s courage, tenacity and attention to detail. His is a significant achievement, undertaken in good conscience and in the face of overwhelmingly powerful and hostile forces, and for that he should be rewarded and not punished.

My 2018, 24,000-word research tome about the Assange case, called Being Julian Assange was read by over 140,000 people on this website alone, not including the multiple other locations and countries in which it was republished. In that piece, which was tweeted by Julian Assange shortly before he was silenced, as well as by WikiLeaks, Christine Assange and countless others, I wrote an important piece of testimony, about what it feels like as a survivor to watch the allegations against Julian Assange bandied about as “rape” all these years. I feel compelled to quote it in full:

The apparent inability of self-styled defenders of women to differentiate between the physical and deliberate violence of actual rape, such as Bill Clinton’s rape of Juanita Broderick, compared to disagreements over condoms or in the case of Appelbaum, non-consensual back-washing, kissing someone in a bar, propositioning someone or making bad jokes, undermines and is frankly depressing to, those of us who are survivors.

Sexually harmful behaviours and other aspects of rape culture can and should be denounced and deplored, without having to equate it to rape. The proclivity of the liberal set for doing so waters down and diminishes the experience of rape victims, and the seriousness of it. It seems to be yet another function of privilege, to bandy about terms such as “rape”, “rapist”, and “serial rapist” without understanding the repercussions of doing so.

Rape is an assault on all five senses. For a protracted period of time thereafter, it renders you almost unable to live inside your body, to live inside your life. Unable to preserve your sensory perceptions or restore them to how they functioned before the rape.

To falsely describe sexually problematic behaviour common amongst the entire population as “rape” belittles and undermines survivors, as does unfairly expanding the definition of what constitutes a rapist, or branding every man a rapist by affiliation. Doing so causes many men who are not rapists to recoil from confronting what does need to change. It dissuades them from meaningfully engaging on legitimate issues. It encourages an inevitable and counterproductive backlash, that needn’t have occurred.”

This reflects a broad societal trend to blur the lines of what rape is, to expand its definition by using terms like “rapey“, a term often invoked in relation to Assange. I addressed the use of that term also.

“The term “rapey” is itself, offensive. With its use, the definition of rape is being willfully expanded into borderline meaninglessness and obscurity. As if there can be “racisty” or “sexisty” or “homophobicy”. There cannot. Rape is an absolute, and a serious crime against humanity. The term should not be callously invoked; watered down for the social convenience of he or she exercising the privilege inherently wielded when bastardising the language of the violated.”

Given that the eyes of many who believe themselves to be defenders of women are likely to read this letter, I felt it important to highlight those passages. Because foremost in the minds of those who advocate for survivors must be a concerted effort to understand how we feel, our wish to preserve the words which describe our experiences, and to retain ownership of them much as any marginalised or vulnerable group does with language used to describe them. Rape is a word that should be used with respect for the price those of us who have experienced it paid. It should never be callously bandied about, its definition should never be allowed to become meaningless, and the accusation of it should never, ever be used as a political weapon.

It is possible that in his research, Melzer read the above quoted passages and was affected by them. If so, I am grateful, and if not, I know that others were and will be.

But if Melzer is to now have rotten fruit thrown at him in the town square for breaking taboos to defend a victim of torture who others did not, then it will not be in my name.

Authored by: Suzie Dawson

Co-Signed By:

SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT WHO CLAIM THEIR RIGHT TO BE RECOGNISED AS SUCH AND HAVE THEIR VOICES HEARD:

            1. Suzie Dawson, Journalist and activist
            2. Ariyana Love, Journalist and Human Rights defender
            3. Beth Wendy Grundfest-Frigeri, Disabled activist
            4. Grayden Shelley, Artist
            5. Kitty Hundal, Retired, Ontario Civil Liberties Association, Author
            6. Rachel Collins, Housewife
            7. Lilain Duffy, Sociologist
            8. Caitlin Johnstone, Journalist, Poet
            9. Sarah Freeis, Activist, Artist
            10. Sandra Hewett, Unemployed
            11. Halo Benson, Mom
            12. Reverend Elisa Standridge Howell, Minister and Spiritual Advisor
            13. Sarah Jane Brennan, Independent Journalist, Human Rights Activist
            14. Sarah Taylor, Researcher
            15. Caressia Blair, Unemployed
            16. Pema Than, Parent, Scientist
            17. Christine Dopf, M.Sc, Activist
            18. Helena Jennie, College Professor
            19. Raine James, Forklift Operator, Mother
            20. Joanne Maree Le Mura, BA – Community Services, Community Development, Human Rights Advocate
            21. Sharon K. Raum, Retired
            22. Louise Bennet, Media Advisor
            23. Nicki Myers, Musician
            24. Carrie Ellsworth, Student
            25. Meaghan Walker, Researcher, Writer
            26. Teresa Marshall, Massage Therapist
            27. Diane Friedman, Retired Health Professional, Peace Activist, Mother, Grandmother
            28. Hope Kesselring, Writer
            29. Dr. Christine DeCarlo, Disabled Activist
            30. Taurean Benson, Husband and Father
            31. Annabelle Hodge, Mother
            32. Courtney Imholt, Homemaker
            33. Danielle J. Dunkley, Student
            34. Carmen Powers, Grandmother, Activist
            35. Doug, Retired Musician and Teacher
            36. Lily Torres, Engineer, Mother
            37. Tam Brewer, Retired, Activist
            38. Jayne Jackie Brown, Mother, Peace and Human Rights Activist
            39. Carol Watt, Chinese Medicine Practitioner
            40. Nadia N. Kira, Painter, Art Therapist
            41. Bella Magnani, Researcher
            42. Lorese Vera MA., Teacher, Writer, Editor
            43. Joanne Doran, Lecturer of Health Sciences
            44. I. E., Writer
            45. Vivian Kubrick, Composer, Filmmaker
            46. Irene Potashner, Project Coordinator
            47. Kat Irvine, Self-employed
            48. Alice Bergot, Artist
            49. Cleonarda da Venezia, Carer, Artist
            50. Kim McMahon, Student
            51. Patricia Call, Human Rights Activist
            52. V. V. R., Disabled Activist
            53. Eloïse Vanhouteghem, Illustrator
            54. Jill P. Michaels, Retired
            55. Siobhan Cawson Mooney, Musician, Activist
            56. Leslie Stein, Retired
            57. Kyra Moore, M. Ed., Teacher
            58. Wiesje Slot, Activist
            59. Jude Fleming, Human Rights Defender, Writer
            60. Sandra Hill, Researcher/Analyst, Mother, Student
            61. Madeleine Love, Independent Scholar, Senate Candidate (AUS)
            62. Ally Cordingly, Educationalist
            63. Animae Jones, Retired, Activist
            64. Marti Babb, Small Business Owner
            65. Stephanie Marsilia, College Lecturer, Licensed Psychotherapist
            66. Leanne Ramirez, Retired US Military
            67. Shari Nolder, Activist, Artist, Caregiver
            68. Eul Liester, Sales Worker
            69. Melinda McCracken, Retired
            70. Graham Elwood, Political Comedian, Filmmaker
            71. Ann Garrison, Journalist
            72. Dr. Marni Sheppeard, Unemployed Theoretical Physicist
            73. Julie Meyer, College Access Professional
            74. Lauren Ellis, Case Worker, Artist
            75. Cynthia George, Advocate for the Elderly
            76. Rosie Ingram, Mother, Grandmother
            77. Kristin Bright, Truck Driver, Humanitarian
            78. Quinn Petersen, Activist
            79. Deborah Hendry, Educator, Counsellor, PhD Candidate
            80. Hali Cespedes-Chorin, Technical Writer
            81. Susan Neece, Art Therapist
            82. E. Schemer, Artist
            83. Lorraine Tipton, Co-founder, American Mothers Party
            84. Esther Hendriksen, former International Policy Advisor
            85. Martin K. O’Connor, Unemployed
            86. Rosita Allinckx, Activist, Artist
            87. Ken Black, Entrepreneur
            88. Mairi Nicola Morrison, Legal Scholar
            89. Nel Lane, Activist, Writer, Social Justice Advocate
            90. Kylie McCrimmon, Intensive Care Nurse, Mother
            91. Elpo Damianou, ex-UNHCR Congo
            92. Kristine Rael, Piano Teacher
            93. Yvonne Holzmayer, Teacher, Mother
            94. Hamed Pakatchi, Graduate Student
            95. Elise Tak, Artist
            96. Kit Jones, Licensed Psychotherapist/Mental Health Counsellor
            97. M. Mayermiar, Veteran
            98. Johanna Harman, Supporter
            99. Lauren B. Wilson, Disabled Activist, Artist
            100. Pamela Anderson, Activist
            101. Deepa Govindarajan Driver, Lecturer, Trade Unionist, Mother
            102. Adele Margaret Goldie, Artist, Peace Activist, Worker
            103. David Denton, Government Worker
            104. Carol Hale, Retired Federal Public Defender, Investigator
            105. Dr. Lilliana Corridor, Marine Biologist, Oceanographer, Human Rights Defender
            106. Charmaine Jones, Chef, Grandmother, Activist
            107. Barbara Kim Thigpen, Grandmother, Consumer advocate, Teacher, Activist
            108. Tamara Otello, Retired Social Worker
            109. Ania Nowakowska, Graphic Designer
            110. Ginger Beeler, Operating Room Sterilizer
            111. Kara Seboldt, Data Analyst
            112. Marirose Walker, Disabled Activist
            113. Magda Hassan, Psychotherapist, Educator
            114. JoAnn Maschè-Daane, Activist, Artist
            115. Dr Carol Mackenzie, Urban Social Scientist
            116. Susan Chandler, Disabled Activist
            117. Arturo Íñiguez Yuste, Principal Administrator, European Economic and Social Committee
            118. Rasili O’Connor, Musician, Copyeditor
            119. Steve Jimenez, Journalist
            120. Damian Nicell, Mental Health Advocate

          OTHER CARING HUMAN BEINGS STANDING IN SOLIDARITY WITH NILS MELZER:

          1. Louise Bracken, Retail Cashier
          2. Niki Konstantinidis, Barrister and Solicitor
          3. Lohan Gunaweera, Visual & Performance Artist, Translator
          4. Dr. Thomas Harvey, Honorary Research Associate in Philosophy, University of Auckland
          5. Clinton David Hohneck, Engineer
          6. Laura Genovese, School Secretary
          7. Marijke Hultzer, Retired journalist
          8. Taylor Hudak, Journalist and activist
          9. Rasmus Sylvester Forsberg Outzen, Intelligence activist
          10. Paula Iasella, Broadway Costume Design/Wardrobe
          11. Paul Neville, Retired
          12. Laura Killian, Unemployed Academic (Science and Engineering), Pirate Party Australia
          13. John Anthony Giles, Retired
          14. William Hogan, Professor
          15. Linda Hagge, Retired University Instructor
          16. Nicholas Woodward, Painter
          17. Stacy O’Neill, Teacher
          18. Mary-Ann Jones, PhD, Retired Scientist
          19. Julie Milicevic, Educator
          20. Vivek Nayak, Data Entry Office Worker
          21. Cassandra Fairbanks, Journalist
          22. Patricia Perlo, IT Business Analyst
          23. Jessie A. Kim, Small Business Owner
          24. Roger Close, Unemployed, Former DJ, Student
          25. Tyler McMillan, Consultant
          26. Lorilee House, Retired Editor
          27. Bruce Turnbull, Pensioner
          28. Deborah Thomas, Hand Therapist
          29. Flavia Westerwelle, Self-emplyed Artist
          30. Kendra Christian, Sales Manager
          31. Michele Cochrane, Retired University Administrator
          32. Clare Smith, Self-employed
          33. Mary Naylor, Retired Teacher, Poet
          34. Jason Brinkman, Retired
          35. Marie Apap, Teacher
          36. Laura Eckert, Artist
          37. Joslyn Erica, Social Worker, Herbalist, Mother
          38. Michelle Wood, Activist, Mother, Naturopath
          39. Concerned Citizen, Portland Activist
          40. Alex Hills, Activist
          41. Marty Cook, Teacher
          42. Chris Lonsdale, Psychologist, Linguist, Educator, Entrepreneur
          43. Lorraine Harvey, Retired
          44. Gordon Dimmack, Independent Journalist
          45. Ann Batiza, PhD., Retired Academic
          46. Chris Leising, Photographer
          47. Daniel Wirt, Medical Doctor
          48. Fabel Arostegi, Teacher
          49. Celia Moore, Carer, Swimming Teacher, Activist
          50. Dave Donnellan, Peace Activist
          51. Dragos Savu, Accountant
          52. Lynne Bon de Veire, Artist
          53. Stephen Boni, Essayist, Editor, Storyteller
          54. Ian Colville, Product Manager
          55. Nic, Retired Mental Health Worker
          56. Lorese Vera, MA, Teacher, Writer
          57. Anna Moras, Executive Assistant
          58. Shaista Salam, Peace Activist
          59. Lucinda Manning, Activist, Archivist, Feminist, Librarian
          60. Noah Baslaw, Student
          61. Kristin Scott, Therapist
          62. Humberto Arturo Reaza Jr., Teacher
          63. Odette Louise Stevens, Artist
          64. Monique Jolie, Unemployed
          65. Rob Trimmer, Security Guard
          66. Nina Cross, Teacher, Writer
          67. Mehdi Taileb, Activist
          68. Shona Davidson, Retired
          69. Tatiana Schild, Mother, Activist
          70. George Szamuely PhD., Author
          71. Charlotte Gracias, Project Manager
          72. Elizabeth Hamilton, Grandmother, Disabled Activist
          73. Somerset Bean, Graphic Designer
          74. Julie Collier, Homemaker
          75. Bradley C. Hughes, former Greens Counsellor and Deputy Mayor, Randwick, NSW
          76. Judy Driggers, Mother, Grandmother
          77. Pierre Studler, Plumber
          78. John Hayward, Pensioner
          79. Stephen Perrett, Small Business Owner
          80. Christian Larsson, Student
          81. Jose Rivera, Builder
          82. Belinda Curtis, Support Worker, Accomodation Manager
          83. Spring Grace Eselgroth, Copy Editor, Activist
          84. Theodore W. Altmeter, Retired
          85. Elizabeth Mueller, Activist, Researcher
          86. Jenni Hall, Investigative Research and Screenplay Writer
          87. Paula Murphy, Supporter
          88. Jean B. Palmer, Supporter
          89. Serena Ferrario, Unemployed
          90. Francois Guesdon, Unemployed
          91. Jennifer Lyon, Clinical Librarian
          92. Sasha Mitrovich, Retired
          93. Annika Dahlbäck, Acupuncturist
          94. Lissa K. Johnson, Clinical Psychologist
          95. Elizabeth Hawke, Retired
          96. Jean Chevrier, Self-employed
          97. Mike Hurt, Web Developer
          98. Göran Stål, Osteopath
          99. Roseanne Martorana, Physical Therapy Driver, Dog Walker
          100. Tristan Roch-Desparois, Hardware Store Worker
          101. Anna Palczynska, Nurse
          102. Brad Lacke, Freelance Artist
          103. Satu Hiitola, Supporter
          104. W. Hall, Supporter
          105. Christa Oberwalder, Activist
          106. Freyja Inanna, Nurse, Midwife
          107. Michael Inanna, Engineer, Healing Retreat Manager
          108. Eleanor Boyd, Retired Teacher
          109. Claire Lowe, Complimentary Therapist
          110. Jane George, Author, Illustrator
          111. Lyndsey Young, Receptionist
          112. Wilson Mpalweni, Journalist
          113. Juan Rebes, IT Consultant
          114. Dennis Revell, Property Management, Technical Research
          115. Karina Fernandes, Self-employed
          116. Andreas Schwarzmeier, Engineer
          117. Karen Sprowl, Rehabilitation Counsellor, Nurse
          118. Davena Turvey, Retired Actor
          119. Barry J. Fleming, Consulting Director, Technologist, Activist
          120. Tricia Rajabipour, CT Tech
          121. Nozomi Hayase, PhD, Author
          122. Danielle Wood, Artist, Activist
          123. Donna Piranha, Anthropologist, Activist
          124. Elvira Ferreira, Activist
          125. J. Bogoeva, Supporter
          126. Miguel de Sousa Pires, IT Worker
          127. James Miller, Carpenter
          128. Irene Heitsch, Housewife
          129. Sherry Clayton, Musician
          130. Jeanie Schmidt, Nurse, Mother
          131. Pete DeLorenzo, Musician, Restaurant Worker
          132. Vanessa Byrne, Mother, Homemaker
          133. Chris Whitside, Writer, Producer
          134. Donna Moon, Home Healthcare Provider
          135. Tom Pappalardo, Uber Driver
          136. Jon Krampner, Activist, Author
          137. Colin Goodayle, Retired Public Servant
          138. John McEvoy, Journalist
          139. Calvin Benson, Whistleblower Advocate
          140. Cory Twinney, Pharmacist
          141. Yvonne Langlois, Retired Administrator
          142. Frank Hopewell, Network Rail
          143. Desiree Assaad, HR Specialist
          144. David Sutton, Unemployed Engineer
          145. Isabel Oliveira, Supporter
          146. Jenny Trigg, Retired Health Worker
          147. Magnus Mickelsson, Software Developer
          148. Kimera Muwanguzi Anthony, Photographer, Farmer, Small Business Owner
          149. Shannon Shipley, Lead Organizer for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
          150. Arianna Marchionne, Scientist
          151. Bjørnar Simonsen, Sociology Student
          152. Mary Kostakidis, Journalist
          153. Carl Clarke, Human Resources Manager
          154. Michael Fitzgerald, Commercial Real Estate Broker
          155. Fionnuala Hendrick, CEO
          156. Liesbeth Nieuwenweg, Webmaster
          157. Anne Ridgley, Translator
          158. Tresilla Wood, Homemaker
          159. Lauren Richardson, Investor
          160. Maria Mollenkopf, Disabled
          161. Greg L. Bean, Information Systems Architect
          162. Kate Hecimovic, Higher Education Administrator
          163. Patrick Coss, Unemployed
          164. Tom Heron, Recording Engineer, Teacher
          165. Sandra Lewis, Child Carer
          166. Raphael Steele, Engineer
          167. John Mayall, Software Professional
          168. Lorine Brice, Supporter
          169. Andrew Mcguinness, Lecturer
          170. David Macilwain, Independent Writer, Activist
          171. Dane Owen, Supporter
          172. Jim Kavanagh, Former Professor, Political Analyst
          173. Elissar Hanna, Student
          174. Bjørn Danielsen, Systems Architect
          175. Maarten Vos, Student
          176. Tuan Tran, History Teacher
          177. Linda Hanakova, Healthcare Worker
          178. Paul J. Zickler, High School Teacher
          179. Tony Ansell, Sales Worker
          180. André Forsberg, Medical Student
          181. Mary Henning, Filmmaker
          182. Kathleen Cain, Supporter
          183. Sylvia Bennet, Retired Theatre Professional
          184. Zeina Farah, Political Scientist
          185. Sue Worp, Speech Language Pathologist
          186. Kent Kingsley, Self-Employed
          187. Roy David, Writer
          188. Carol Barnes, Former Domestic Abuse Coordinator/Advisor
          189. Alex Tiedemann, Supporter
          190. Jacqui Ham, Musician
          191. Emily E. Hamilton, Cook
          192. Lianne Rowe, Artist, Psychologist
          193. Alex Mazey, Poet, Essayist
          194. Vincent Abinet, Self-Employed, Teacher
          195. Tamara Thomas, Property Manager
          196. Juliet Smith, Teacher, Mother
          197. Brett Smith, Naturopath
          198. Pete Hallpike, English Teacher
          199. Mara Modesto-Wrobel, Retired
          200. Peter Thomas, Team Manager
          201. Teresa Bear, Certified Public Accountant
          202. Mehrzad Mahmoudian-Geller, College Professor
          203. Mark Brooks, Writer, Retired Business Person
          204. Jodi Thomas, Housewife, Former Senior Physiotherapy Assistant
          205. Colleen Whittemore, Retired
          206. Brian Robinson, Retired
          207. Gary M. Lord, Activist
          208. Paul Mansfield, Civil Servant
          209. Dr Lawrence Taylor, Activist, Retired Chiropractor
          210. Fiona Hansen, Supporter
          211. Lisa Cardon, Retired Nurse
          212. Rob Skinner, Supporter
          213. Mara Kupka, Screenwriter, Performer
          214. Fletcher Lenz, Auditor
          215. Manfred Pürro, Software Architect
          216. Cathy Raats, Supporter
          217. Victoria Husemeyer, Fund Manager
          218. Claus Bang, Mathematician
          219. Amin Talha, B Arch, PMP
          220. Christine Assange, Mother of persecuted journalist Julian Assange
          221. Susan Inman, Retired
          222. Karen Lawson, Supporter
          223. Elmarie van der Merwe, Activist
          224. Valentina Flex, Archivist
          225. Olga Christensen, Graduate
          226. Hans Jørgen Kjærnet, Supporter
          227. Kelly Kolisnik, Web Developer
          228. Jack Yan, Publisher
          229. Stephanie Wilson, Supporter
          230. Sonia Soares, Supporter
          231. Omer ElSouri, Journalist
          232. Gadi Nisenholz, Programmer
          233. Deborah Meyer, Retired, Artist
          234. Uschi Schueller, Artist, Human Rights Activist
          235. Michael Joyce, Supporter
          236. Anna L. E. Price, Administrator
          237. Manuela Alava, Lab Technician, Student
          238. Alan L. Stewart, Author, Activist
          239. Chris Whittington. Retired Programmer, Publisher
          240. Cheryl Browne, Supporter
          241. Charlene Parsons, Entrepreneur
          242. Anne Hinde, Supporter
          243. Nabil H., Disabled Activist
          244. Sue Stathoris, Supporter
          245. Dan Smith, Analyst
          246. Brenda Bonnici, PhD., Pharmacist
          247. I. Zvonko, Supporter
          248. Michael Zakko, Student
          249. Spyros Marchetos, Historian, School of Political Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
          250. Sergio Mauro, Engineer
          251. Alison Hunter, IT Systems Analyst
          252. James Fields, Supporter
          253. Tania Yegdich, Retired Mental Health Educator
          254. Judith Tanner, Supporter
          255. Caspar Nørgaard, Photographer
          256. Bernie Cunningham, Supporter
          257. Cristina Mérchante, Supporter
          258. Katrina Watson, Researcher
          259. Currie Dobson, Supporter
          260. Kimber Maddox, Graphic Designer
          261. F. P. Turner, Self-Employed
          262. John Read, Interpreter
          263. Yukari Miyamae, Translator
          264. Mercy Wolf. Activist, Mother, Marriage Celebrant
          265. Jie Wang, Customer Service
          266. Abby Brickler, Supporter
          267. Jeff Bunsell, Software Developer
          268. Jerome Davis, Accountant
          269. John Thomson, Real Estate
          270. Jim Moore, Engineer
          271. Gera Shumaker, Supporter
          272. Daryl Snow, Retired Firefighter (FRNSW)
          273. Rodney Lomax, Disability Pensioner
          274. Nick Bruechle, Writer
          275. Ian Caruana, Engineer
          276. Shaun Davis, Geologist
          277. Raul Ilargi, Writer
          278. Kathy Fannin, Retired Informatics Manager
          279. Dominique Lorec, Translator
          280. Ronnie Mitchell, Supporter
          281. Alain Schenkel, teacher
          282. Karyn Hemming, Mortgage Broker
          283. Christiane Reuthner, Industrial Engineer, Student
          284. Thushara Wijeratna, Software Engineer
          285. Rachel Markoff, Unemployed
          286. Matthew Prockter, Investment Adviser
          287. Oana Halla, Housewife, former IT Systems Administrator
          288. Julian Tol, Tech Entrepreneur
          289. Daeha Ko, Web Developer
          290. Dominique Michel, Artist
          291. Christopher Dawson, Cybersecurity Architect
          292. Miriana Demas, Supporter
          293. Mark Crispin Miller, NYU Media Professor
          294. Catherine Curtis, Actor, Stuntwoman, Coach
          295. Mike Gajda, Retired
          296. Cynthia Pryce, Investments
          297. Karen Logan, Artist
          298. Rodney Taylor, Supporter
          299. Maranke Spoor, Permaculture teacher, Artist, Jurist
          300. Brandon Zsoldos, Portfolio Manager

        [This page is being continually updated.]

        CC: The 150+ academics engaged in signing their names to the open letter to complain about Melzer, named here, and:

        Prof. Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

        H.E. Mr António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

        Ms Beatriz Balbin, Chief of Special Procedures Branch

        Mr Coly Seck, President of the Human Rights Council

        Mr Christophe Peschoux, UN Chief of Section for mandates on torture, religion and belief, and human rights and counter-terrorism

        Ms Peggy Hicks, Director, Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division

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131 thoughts on “Not In My Name: Academics Publicly Attacking UN Torture Rapporteur”

    1. Excellent article! Many thanks for speaking on behalf of us all.

      Please can you add my name:

      Carol Barnes – former Domestic Abuse Coordinator/Advisor

  1. Nils Melzer is a rational, factual advocate for Julian Assange. Those who have read the Swedish case against Assange agree with Melzer that there is no evidence of rape. I denounce neoliberal “academics” who continue with this smear in an attempt to limit support for Julian Assange, whose Wikileaks files have shown us the true face of empire. Free Assange.

    1. Thanks Suzie for your brilliant and brave work. Please add my name: Michele Cochrane, retired University Administrator

  2. Once again, outstanding work Suzie!
    You make the world a better place in which to live. Sign me on!

    Doug

  3. I support Julian Assange 100%. The attack on Nils Melzer is a frame up by corrupted foreign agents, and their press lackeys. The weaponisation of feminism is the oldest trick in the book of propaganda. The suffragettes were used by Edward Bernays, to market cigarettes, as “torches of freedom”. They even used the line “20,679 physicians say “Luckies are less irritating”. Sound familiar?

  4. I want to co-sign your letter, my name is Jessie A. Kim. I’m a small business owner & I live in South Korea. Thank you.

  5. A remarkably powerful defence of Nils Melzer. Outstanding and brave work,Suzie. I thank you, Nils, and Julian for shining your light into the darkness. I would be honoured to add my name. Marty Cook. Teacher.

  6. Please add my name to the list of “other caring human beings who stand in solidarity with Nils Melzer…” Melzer’s voice has been remarkably specific and strong in describing the judicial malfeasance and persecution of Julian Assange. Note the ugly voices now threatening Glenn Greenwald in Brazil for exposing crimes of its government. Julian’s case is no different; replace the name of the country and object of persecution and you have the same phenomenon – threatening and demeaning a publisher/ journalist for exposing crimes of the powerful. Thank you, Mr. Melzer, for your courage in speaking the truth about Julian Assange.

  7. Not in my name, either! I support Nils Melzer for his courage of telling the truth about the torture of Julian Assange.
    Please, sign me on: Dragos Savu, Accountant

  8. As a person who has experienced non-consensual sex I also loudly say ‘not in my name!’. I am horrified to have my experience used in this way.

    Currently a housewife & mum but with the following quals, B.Education, B. Commerce, B. Business.

  9. Excellent. I think you’ve got that covered Suzie. Indeed it does look like these ‘lesser’ academics may have ulterior motives for such a ridiculous attack on the character of a good man. This is so twisted, only an idiot would fail to see through it. Rape/violation/humiliation is also a war crime. It would be better if they focused on why western governments haven’t taken it seriously, or prefer to cover it up. Please sign me on. Thank you.
    Carer/swimming teacher/activist

  10. Please add my name & description to your stunning letter: Activist, Archivist, Feminist, Librarian. Thank you for your courageous journalism over many years. We are all in your debt for for supporting a free press & speaking out with others against colonialism, imperialism, war & the horrors of Empire.

    Especially appreciate your activism in organizing to help right egregious wrongs like the world wide, state supported trashing & oppression of Assange, Manning, Snowdon & so many other brave whistleblowers.

    Among so many good activist works, thank you for doing this:
    Based on the incredible impact of the last vigil, Elizabeth Lea Vos, Cassandra Fairbanks and I, along with dozens of amazing volunteers, have launched the #Unity4J online vigil series, fighting for human rights, free speech, press freedom and safe passage for Julian Assange.

    Together we will overcome state sponsored terrorism & fear.
    Pete Seeger: We shall overcome. We shall overcome, some day. Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe. We shall overcome, some day. We’ll walk hand in hand. We’ll walk hand in hand, some day. Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe. We shall overcome, some day.

  11. Not In My Name
    I support Nils Melzer for his courage of telling the truth about the torture of Julian Assange.
    Please add my name. Filomena Rocha, Master degree in Environmental Sciences, with Specialization in Environmental Quality

  12. I would be very happy to support this letter. Please include me: Nicole Hosein, Women, Peace and Security Consultant

  13. Suzie, you letter is prefect! As a rape survivor, I have always stood by Julian Assange,
    I will not stand idly by and be Complicit to the Crimes against him. I have survived this henious act with the love of my family, friends., and the town I grew up in!
    Rape is an henious act and last a lifetime! Yes, all 5 senses, a smell will set off the memory of attacks! And yes I relive it, l’m sorry Suzie for what happened to you! If you ever want to talk I’m here, and I understand!
    Respectfully, Tam Brewer Activist -retired

  14. Thank you Nils Melzer for your brave position and providing clarity to this massive crime being committed in front of our eyes.
    Please ad my name, Paula Murphy, Canada

  15. These academics who are willing to smear Nils Melzer to further a political agenda on the backs of women enduring sexual assault should be ashamed of themselves.
    I have endured such assault and am appalled by the original letter. I would like to support this letter. I am an activist and animal lover. NOT IN MY NAME!

  16. Please, add my name.
    If possible I’d like to remind the UN as well as other organization advocating for human rights (Amnesty International, just to quote one which has never been vocal on the mistreatment of Mr. Assange, but happily joined the reproach against Mr. Mezer) that they work for the common people, the weakest, the forgotten, the unheard. These categories are those who they should listen and pay attention to, not academics who are in a position of privilege and who feel they can lecture others from their teaching posts, while ostensibly ignoring the sufferings of those whose rights the claim to advocate.

  17. Please sign my name. I am a rape survivor who realizes that Truth Tellers are often mislabeled as rapists in order to undermine their message or destroy their ability to speak Truths. These types of accusations are the Hemlock of our generation. My name is Kyra Moore, M.Ed., and I am a former teacher from the U.S.

    1. thank you so much for your incredible courage and bravery in sharing that with us and standing with us in this endeavour!

  18. Please add my name. I support Nils Melzer and Julian Assange.
    Thank you for all you have done and are doing Suzi and especially for your letter. You provide hope.
    Jean B. Palmer

  19. As a survivor of sexual assault…
    The rape rhetoric triggered me a little bit, but I always knew that the benefits and lives saved by Julian’s work far outweighed the (as yet untried) possibility that he’d been a bit too pro-life on one occasion. The little dark that we all carry doesn’t cancel out our light.

  20. Add me on the list. No title. Thank you Suzie for being so strong and hard working. I tried to contact you in Unity4J-discord.

  21. Mr Melzer is a man of integrity, exactly the kind of human being we all need to grow up to be; competent, moral, honest and fair. The thoroughly unlawful and criminal actions against Assange are so egregious that every thinking person on the planet should be concerned and enraged. Mr Melzer is speaking out based on facts he has established because the destruction of Assange, who has been wrongfully accused, must be stopped. It is imperative that those responsible should be made to answer.

    Please add my name to your open letter.
    J. Bogoeva, supporter

  22. I totally support Mr. Nils Melzer. Unfortunately people are judging him wrong. Please add my name to the list, Suzie.
    I’m a truth teller. Activist.

  23. Thank you for being such a generous woman, pouring your heart and soul into what you, and so many of us, truly believe the world truly needs.

  24. I find it interesting — and revealing — that you didn’t bother to quote, much less respond to, this part of what Melzer said:

    “One of them claimed he had ripped a condom, and the other that he had failed to wear one, in both cases during consensual intercourse — not exactly scenarios that have the ring of ‘rape’ in any language other than Swedish. ”

    Actually, those scenarios have the “ring of rape” in numerous languages, including in English. In fact, the open letter cited a UK case involving Assange himself that held *precisely* that a jury would be entitled to find non-consent (and thus rape) when a man lies about wearing a condom during sex. It is precisely Melzer’s implicit endorsement of a very retrograde understanding of rape, one that denies the possibility of conditional consent, that the signatories to the open letter were protesting.

    Feel free to dismiss me as an Assange-hating right-wing academic out to, as you put it, “undermine Melzer’s career.” In fact, I’m a comparative criminal law scholar, an academic member of the London barristers chambers defending Assange, a long-time supporter of Wikipedia’s work, and — above all — someone who has been friends with Melzer for more than a decade. I think Melzer is an excellent special rapporteur and deeply appreciate his work on behalf of Assange. That does not, however, justify’s his extremely unfortunate, and highly inaccurate, description of modern rape law — something, notably, that *Melzer himself* acknowledged in response to the open letter. You might want to acknowledge that, as well.

    1. Next time you read several thousand words of a rape survivor pouring their heart out about how they feel about the way rape terminology is being bandied around and weaponised in society, you might want to say more to them then just to poke holes and pontificate about your own legal qualifications. Since your legal qualifications are so overwhelmingly significant (to your own mind), perhaps you now might want to try some sensitivity training for dealing with survivors, as to be honest, I’m not really happy about the tone of your own above message, which reads as pretty high-and-mighty and inappropriate, given to whom you are directing it and in what context. – Suzie

    2. What a bizarre comment. Did you read it back to yourself before posting?

      As you note in your second paragraph, quoting Nils Melzer’s op-ed, which clearly states: “… in both cases during consensual intercourse”.

      You then move straight on to say both these scenarios “have the ring of rape”. Unprotected consensual intercourse has “the ring of rape”? Are you sure about that?

      Then, apparently, the open letter challenging your friend Nils Melzer that you signed onto “cited a UK case involving Assange himself that held *precisely* that a jury would be entitled to find non-consent (and thus rape) when a man lies about wearing a condom during sex”. This is very strange indeed as there has never been any allegation whatsoever that Assange LIED about not wearing a condom – quite the opposite, SW’s testimony records the conversation they had about it prior to her saying “You’d better not have HIV” before consenting to continue – so I’m puzzled as to which of the extradition hearings 2010-2012 you’re referring to. Perhaps you could ask one of your colleagues at Doughty Street Chambers who actually dealt with the case? (I assume ‘an academic member’, criminal law scholar or not, means you’re not involved with the Chambers’ caseload directly.)

      Good to know you’re a “long-time supporter of Wikipedia’s work” (personally, I’m not). How do you feel about WikiLeaks?

    3. I aknowledge that Mr.Melzar apologised for his unintentional mis representation of lesser-rape charges. He embodies the human rights standards in his communication with others, which I hold in the highest esteem. He has been an example for all of us in nurturing dignity and respect, especially in how we communicate with others.
      Mr.Mezler gave a detailed report of what happened in this case. So I won’t repeat all that here. I couldn’t do a better job.
      I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor. I have spent a lifetime coming to terms with it, but I have never been the same. My innocence was taken away from me when I only seven years old.
      Living my life, I could never deminish a survivor of abuse. It’s simply not in me. I live it. I have no ill feelings towards the two women. As explained the women requested a HIV test. Both women made statements they were not raped. I understand that they may have felt violated by what happened regarding the condom. I felt mortified for them both when the tabloid published their story on the front page of the paper. Which is would have to be the worst outcome for any woman who already felt violated and vulnerable. For the whole world to know about such a sensative issue.
      The case is unusual, the women did not press the charges. The police did, then the case was dropped, and reopened by a differnt prosecuter. A red notice was issued to Mr.Assange. Also the EU warrent was not authorised by judicial, only the prosecuter. After Assange lost his apeal in Supreme Court a new law was brought in to prevent it from ever happening again. Now it appears Sweden was unable to get an EU arrest warrent, at this stage a go ahead of the initial investigation. Which has been the case for nine years.
      Mr.Assange, although not convicted of rape has endured global coverage by MSM as a rapist. As well as being pusued by the most powerful people on earth for revealing war-crimes. He lived confined to a small room with no light, fresh air, or time outside for seven years.
      I hope that you can appreciate the stress Julians family, friends, and supporters have endured while his life hangs in the balance. Seemingly the whole world ‘almost’ against him. This has left us feeling on edge and extreemly protective of Julian. So I apologise if we come across as defensive, it has been very difficult. Because Julian has been persecuted, as described in Mr.Mezlers report.
      I hope this entry has made available another point of veiw that helps increase understanding. We are all human beings, and imperfect, but I feel we are all trying to advocate for Human Rights.

    4. Kevin, I think you might benefit from a closer analysis of the quoted text.

      “One of them claimed he had ripped a condom, and the other that he had failed to wear one, in both cases during consensual intercourse — not exactly scenarios that have the ring of ‘rape’ in any language other than Swedish. ”

      The only case in which the above described would indeed have the ring of ‘rape’ is if there was substantiation for both of the following:

      a) Either of the women stipulated the use of a condom as a condition for consent.

      b) Julian failed to use a condom or ripped his condom after engaging in intercourse with either of the women if they had stipulated the use of a condom as a condition for consent.

      As the ripped condom provided by AA contained no DNA, and as SW stated in her police report that she allowed Julian to continue initiating or engaging in intercourse, thereby giving consent, and given that neither the women or the original prosecutor alleged rape, the above conditions cannot be satisfied.

      This means that Melzer’s categorisation of the interactions as consensual sex is valid in the context that failure to use a condom, or the existence of a ripped condom do not confer the ring of ‘rape’ to the scenario when the use of a condom was not a condition for consent in one case, and where the presented evidence of a ripped condom with no DNA in the other case undermines the credibility of the claim, and would be no evidence in any case that the condom was damaged intentionally if at all, or that it was removed.

      More critically though, due to the fact that neither woman alleged that a rape had occurred, this implies that their sexual interactions with Julian, and the conditions under which those interactions occurred, were of a consensual nature. This means that requirement (a) listed above can never be fulfilled, as either the use of a condom was a stated condition for intercourse, and the condition was met, or else the use of a condom was not a stated condition for intercourse.

  25. Thank you Julian Assange, thank you Nils Melzer, and thank you Suzie Dawson. Please add my name to the supports list.

    Neil Youngson, retired IT Director, photographer

  26. Well argued. Julian Assange and his associates have been subject to an organized smear campaign. Please add my name in support of your public letter:
    Andrew Mcguiness, lecturer.

  27. Well done Suzie, and Melzer! I’ve written for AHT and OffGuardian about Assange, and in protest against Australia’s silence and inaction over his persecution and torture.
    I’m an independent writer and activist, watching from Australia the criminal state my birth country has become – or perhaps always was! Please add my name to this important letter,
    David Macilwain, Victoria Australia.

  28. Excellent piece, I think it reiterates what so many authentic women and men think. There is no greater insult to women collectively than rape being used for political gain, or to persecute a man, and no greater crime to a man than to have it used against them for the same.
    Add my name to the letter as a rape survivor.
    Nel Lane (Australia)
    Bachelor of Education, Community Services Welfare Cert, Activist, writer and social justice advocate.
    Long term WikiLeaks and Assange supporter and warrior.
    Thankyou

  29. Thanks to every signer to this campaign to save Freedom of the Press in the persons of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and too many others to name. For the record, I am a survivor of nonconsensual sex. I am a licensed psychotherapist/mental health counselor. I want to see Julian #Assange freed—along with his entire family. I want for them all to heal from the years of his forced incarceration…and healing as well for the others mentioned above who are now either held or threatened with harm…All for Speaking Truth! You are my heroes. I cannot thank you enough for your sacrifices for the Truth. ❤️

  30. I’m not a survivor of sexual assault but I am only just surviving the lies and bs of this world!.. so far…
    Thankfully we have people like you Suzie working to support Julian and Melzer. Thank you Suzie!
    Pete Hallpike, English teacher

  31. Congrats on a great document. I was enthralled and humbled by all the victims who came forward and who could see past their own pain and memories but still remain unbiased and compassionate for Julian Assange.
    All the while I was wondering at the motive behind their letter of attack against Nils M and pleased you identified that. A little dissapointing that those calling themselves professionals would be lacking ethos but hey we all know there are pro’s that can be bought.
    Excellent work and solidarity to our cause for JA and use my name for support in any that helps.

  32. Please add my name: Lisa Cardon, retired nurse. Not in my name! Free Julian Assange! #FreeAssange This is a grievous farce against Julian Assange. Clearly the term “rape” does not apply to this case. When consensual intercourse is initiated and if a condom so happens to rip that does not mean rape occurred. This is a witch hunt against Julian Assange!

  33. Please add my sign – Fiona Hansen from NZ. Not sure if this is the place to do it. Fabulous letter. Thanks again for your comprehensive eye for detail and facts. I hope they take the time to study this, and come to a favourable conclusion for Nils(and the truth).

  34. The UK jailed Assange who is the best journalist and publisher of this century and now the same executioners are targeting Mr Melsner for supporting Assange.

  35. A: Survivor of rape and childhood sexual assault. Yes I would like to be identified as one.
    B: Adele Margaret Goldie
    C: Artist, Peace Activist, Worker
    Thank you Suzie for your bravery. I stand with Julian and his family. Not in my name.

  36. Please add my name to this. I stand with Mr Melzer and Julian Assange. Innocent until proven guilty, right? Right? Pisses me right off people using woman’s rights issues to shut truth tellers up. This shuts down both truth telling and women’s issues. Not in my name. – Stephanie Wilson NZ

  37. Thank you. Your letter is clear and thorough. we want justice for Julian and for Mr Nils. Tho I am not a victim of sexual abuse, please add my name to this list of supporters of Julian and Mr. Nils.

  38. Please ad my name:
    Uschi Schueller
    Artist and human rights activist I fully support Mr Melzer’s thorough report, and I am grateful that you crafted a strong response to this smear

  39. Thank you for fighting for the truth, and for Nil and Julian. Please add my name to survivors. Carol Hale, Retired Federal Public Defender Investigator, Sandy Valley, Nevada.

  40. Thank you Suzie. I appreciate your endeavor very much. Please add me as co-signed:
    Gadi Nisenholz, programmer, Israel

  41. THE TORTURE OF JULIAN ASSANGE IS OUTRAGED!AND TOTALLY OUT OF RANGES WITH INTERNATIONAL LAWS!I HAVE STILL NOT ANY EXPLANATION ON WHY 53JURNALISTS WERE KILLED LAST YEAR!JULIAN ASSANGE IS TOTALLY INOSENT!THAT’S A FACT!

  42. Thank you for this article; please add my name:
    Tamara Otello
    Rape survivor, and retired social worker, after having worked for 30 years with Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors.

  43. We are WikiJustice Julian Assange. We support your letter. We are been committed to defending Julian Assange and demand his release. The members of our committee come from all countries and backgrounds. How can we unite our voices with yours? The more we come together, the stronger we will be. Strength comes from unity. You can ask us for our founding text. It is available in English.

  44. I would like to sign and add my name to this important protest.
    Tania Yegdich, Mental Health Educator (retired), Australia.

  45. Thank you for your amazing, lucid writing, and your ongoing ferocious advocacy for truth and justice. Please list me as a supporting co-signer.

  46. Soy una persona corriente que desea ofrecerte mi apoyo y todo mi ánimo para seguir luchando contra la Injusticias.
    Admiro a las personas cómo tú , como el Sr. Nils Melzer y muy especialmente a Julián Assange. A cualquier persona que defienda la Verdad y la honestidad.
    Por favor, agrega mi nombre.
    Gracias, Suzie!

  47. Great work Ms Dawson, supporting the stirling (but belated) work now being done by the UN’s Mr Melzer. This is how you win.

    I would be honoured if you would add my name to the letter.

    Jim Moore, engineer.

  48. Me Too. Anyone who has experienced Attack against their character, after speaking up, Clearly see’s this as an Op, attack. Adult age of consent is ? If u can not beat them from outside n then destroy from inside out. We know. We Stand. We know the difference. Bless you Suzy Q

  49. Go , Suzie , go fucking get them !!!
    Excellent, hair-raisingly clear, shit woman, you’re good !!!
    Where can I co-sign ? (don’t worry, I’ll find it, even when it’ll be the last thing I do)

  50. I hope I’m getting this right, Contraspin , can I co-sign here ?
    If so, please , do so.
    Antoon van Maris,
    former teacher and victim,
    Hillegom, the Netherlands.

  51. Hello Suzie, can you add my name ? Dominique Lorec: Translator Unity4JFrance – (Discord: Mûlan )

  52. As a child, I survived sexual assault and grew to became a husband and father. I find utterly disgusting that anyone, let alone practitioners and scholars in international law and human rights, can conflate rape and consensual sex for unavowed political motives. They characterise Julian Assange, who at the time of the facts did not even have a working bank card, as a powerful man, and thus dismiss as a conspiracy theory what to most impartial observers seems a very plausible conspiracy by Swedish police and prosecutors affiliated with the Social Democratic Party to have Assange extradited to the USA and perpetually imprisoned. I expect at least some of the signatories to consider the damage they are inflicting on their own professional reputation and withdraw their names.
    Arturo Íñiguez Yuste, career official (principal administrator) at the European Economic and Social Committee

  53. Kevin Jon Seller

    I was most interested in your reply and your quote from Melzer’s article, the part you say was not addressed by Suzie Dawson. You then go on to explain how ‘rape’ does indeed fit the scenario depicted.

    Let me try to explain to you and the signatories of the letter, where you have taken a wrong turn.

    In short you are a legal professional (as many of the signatories) and thefefore you are inclined to believe that the quoted statement applies to your ambit when in fact it applies to the public’s understanding of the word.

    The issue really involves two distinct ambits where the same word ‘rape’ has been used and the way in which the two have been muddled, causing confusion. The first, is that of legal process and procedure and the second, is the wider public arena as when used by the media or in conversation or discourse.
    Whereas the legal definition of the word ‘rape’ can indeed stretch to cover a wide range of scenarios, depending on the jurisdiction, this is not the same thing as the common understanding of the word as used in the ambit of wider discourse which determines the public perception and honourability of the person associated with an investigation even when only an investigation and not a charge as Prof. Melzer pointed out.

    In his article and interview Prof. Melzer is showing how it is possible for these two areas to get muddled and how such a muddle (partly deliberate ) has allowed for an entirely skewed perception in public opinion of what Julian Assange is in fact being investigated for. Prof. Melzer explains in terms that are accessible by a broader public that the facts surrounding the investigation prove an abnormal zeal. How could anyone argue that it is wrong for the public to come to know that the scenario was one relating to the intentions of the parties involved and not actual force?

    Now if we look at the matter as a whole with all is gravity and the effects amounting to torture that Melzer explains as an expert, would such a case regarding a legal notion call for a single letter directed at the source, who may well take it on board and be more mindful (as took place)? Or would such a case require an open letter to the top officials with 300 distinguished signatories?

    It is really in this second method that we see all the unnecessary venom of single-issue crusaders because to disregard the issues and facts as a whole when a human being is gravely and unjustly tortured on a free speach issue shows a loss of any understanding of how the world of legal theory is sometimes translated into real world abuses.

    In the end even if the basis (and I hope not) was a single obsessive man-hating agenda, such a case would have to make you think first about the wider picture and you could not use any method but the first (a single private letter to Melzer) to call attention to the rights of the two women. The UN and international law are weaker than ever and to undermine an international forum and body’s credibility further is only adding to a problem that is a threat to us all.

    Based on the above, I consider these eminent signatories deluded single-issue crusaders because they have carried out what the legal process does best when it is at its worst, they have ‘depersoned’ Mr. Assange while claiming to be advocating against rape which does precisely just that. In some sense with all their emminent titles and their clever theory but underlying narrow-minded brutality they have ‘raped’ (only in the sense of depersoned) Mr. Assange.

    I would have gone further but have applied mitigating circumstances: after all the letter does not call for the removal of Melzer but for a dialogue whereby supposedly he can be subdued and taught the way of truth.

    I apologise for any errors. I have precious little time for such matters.

    G. Solomon

  54. As an ordinary man, but strongly disgusted by unfair treatments actually reserved to Julian ASSANGE , by a MAFIA STATES’ CONSPIRACY, I’ve sincerely and deeply appreciated your courage, Suzy DAWSON, for writing such argumented special Open Letter, in reaction of another so called “one”, in so called name of women rape assault victims.
    I want to thank you for time, you’ve taken doing that, and for helping even not at all informed people, to understand the satanic strategy leading to dishonor this admirable man, MELZER, the UN Rapporteur, pretending doing so, to be the voice of all those women rape assault victims.
    They just try, to drag his name through the mud, the same way, they did it with Julian ASSANGE, because they can’t stand up, and allow a different tune, story, besides their own one, elaborated conspiracy.
    According to me, the same public personalities, linked in shadow, with the state organizations who already condemned Julian ASSANGE, and sweared his death, are behind this satanic strategy trying to injure MELZER reputation further…
    Allow me to send you, all my respect and sincere consideration for your assumed position, for helping us to continue fighting for this flame lighted by Julian ASSANGE, in heart and consciousness of all Humanity…
    Nasser ALAMI

  55. Sign me up. I am an actor, stuntwoman, and coach trained to identify grooming and abusive behavior and I resent like hell the diminishing of this crime by it being used as a political cudgel for nefarious purposes. The pussyhatted brigade can bite me. I am fed up with their phony concern which they abandon at first convenience.

  56. Thank you, Suzie, for the brave and important work you’ve been doing. Please add my name to your letter. I am a journalist and survivor of several years of child sex abuse who played a key role in getting the Child Victims Act signed into law in New York State earlier this year — a battle that took more than a dozen years and meant going head to head with the Catholic Church.
    I am outraged by the smearing of Julian Assange and the silence of too many of my fellow journalists. Politicizing sexual assault is equally abhorrent, as it reminds me of how the Church has behaved during this endless abuse scandal. Standing for justice is a matter of human and planetary survival now; and the angry mob that has sought to destroy Assange has become much like the perpetrators that we assault victims and survivors have been been fighting for so long.

  57. This destroys trust in our society and has nothing to do with feminism. We must protect our journalists and press freedom. Thank you for your work and writing this letter.
    Sorry I forgot this, I am industrial engineer and student.

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