In recent days, Julian Assange has been making the media rounds to give his account of the events that have led him to be investigated for rape and sexual misconduct. Assange’s two accusers have been silent throughout this wave of media attention, but one of them — the woman known as Ms. A — gave an interview to the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet last August, telling her own version of the story.
A few details from the Aftonbladet article have been reported in the English-language press, most notably Ms. A’s statement that she does not fear Assange or consider him violent — a statement that reads quite differently in its original context than it does in some second-hand accounts. Other aspects of her account have, however, received virtually no attention.
The interview Ms. A gave Aftonbladet is consistent with the version of events contained in the Swedish police reports that leaked last month, but includes more detail on several important elements of the story, particularly regarding the aftermath of the alleged assaults and her own perspective on Assange’s actions.
There’s nothing particularly explosive here, but the interview does address some questions that have been asked repeatedly in the press and on the blogs, and it’s worth reviewing for that reason:
- Ms. A told Aftonbladet that although she considered herself to have been sexually assaulted by Assange, she did not go to the police on her own behalf. Rather, she accompanied Ms. W — who had decided independently to make a police complaint — to offer support and corroborating testimony.
- She characterized both her encounter with Assange and Ms. W’s as ones in which consensual sexual relations became abusive, and attributed the alleged assaults to his inability to accept no for an answer.
- She stated that she did not regard Assange as a violent person, and that she did not — at the time that she spoke to the reporter — feel fearful or threatened by him. At the same time, however, she characterized Assange’s attitude toward women as warped and described his actions toward her as sexual assault.
- She denied that her actions and Ms. W’s had been orchestrated by any government or other outside agent.
The Aftonbladet article has never, to my knowledge, been translated into English. This summary is based on a Google translation, with a few ambiguous passages clarified by a Swedish-language speaker. I of course welcome corrections and additions.
Update | A full translation of the Aftonbladet article is now available here.