A controversial issue was raised by the Norwegian artist Marianne Aulie, when she, on the air, named two well known Norwegian males who attempted to drug and rape her 14 years ago.
The men in question can not be charged with anything today, it's too long ago. Marianne Aulie still felt she needed to name them in public. This has met some very aggressive reactions, but the men in question do not wish to press charges.
One of the interesting side issues of this was how the newspapers made a big deal out of the fact that some feminists do not choose to support Aulie's claim that she as a feminist needed to come forwards with her experience. What does that have to do with it? Is being a feminist being part of a club where I have accepted that some people have the right to speak for me? And I mean both sides of the issue in this case: I want to speak for myself, both when it's about sexual abuse, and when it's about what other people should say about sexual abuse. Neither Aulie or "certain feminist editors" have that right.
When that's said - this is a complicated issue. Should she speak or should she not? A Norwegian editor who initially supported Aulie's openness had her name blown up all over Norwegian media to the point that it became too problematic for her to maintain the support. Martine Aurdal had to publically recall her support of the act, and say she regretted saying it was "tøft" or "cool" to speak out.
Marianne Aulie is a hypersexualised artist. She knows her very good looks sells, so she uses it for all it's worth. More power to her. I am sure she can deal with her fan letters admirably, no matter what they contain. But we all have a limit, and too many have a story that was never told.
Aulie's story is about a party where she was too drunk or too drugged. Suddenly she was alone with two men. When she tried to leave by jumping from the fourth floor balcony, they stopped her and got a taxi. The taxi didn't take her home, but to the apartment of one of the men. When he left her alone there for a while, she managed to escape. She was just past 20 years old at the time.
Who wouldn't be troubled after an experience like that, no matter if she was drunk or drugged? Why shouldn't she talk about it now? OK, so she might have chosen the wrong moment, slander is illegal, but so was what she perceived had happened to her. And this kind of thing festers. It may appear to be unproblematic, but suddenly something happens, and everything you think you had supressed blow up in your face. It's a classic pattern.
Marianne Aulie might manipulate the media heavily with her good looks and her dramatic appearance. She might count on the shock value of revealing what happened to her, and she might expect the news to make her work sell better with the publicity. But I don't think these things make her stupid. I think she knew what she did when she named names, I think she knows what she experienced that night, and I don't think it's my (or anyone else's) job to take the decision of pointing fingers away from her.
Perhaps she'll get in worse trouble for it. Perhaps she'll find herself shut out of the artist communities and denied access to the media for having used her fame and access in order to spread slander. Perhaps she'll find that she is now old enough and strong enough to tell, and live with the consequences of what she has experienced and what she has done. I think Marianne Aulie may not be a brilliant tactician, but she has the right to commit her own errors. She is a grown woman, and has the right of her voice.