Trigger Warning: This post contains a description of sexual assault that may potentially be triggering for survivors of assault.
Is it rape if you don’t put up a fight? Well, according to Orange County judge Derek G. Johnson, no, not really. To be clear, he believes that if a woman doesn’t put up a fight when attacked, then technically, yes, it is rape, but not “a real, live criminal case.”
Let me explain. Back in 2008 Judge Johnson was overhearing a rape case that including charges of domestic battery, stalking, threats and “forced oral copulation” and ruled that it wasn’t really rape because the victim didn’t put up a fight. And instead of sentencing the assaulter to 16 years of prison he lessened the time to just 6 years. I should add, the assaulter, beside the already heinous crime and other charges, was said to have threatened the victim, his live-in girlfriend, with mutilation to her face and vagina with a hot screwdriver.
As far as why this was his ruling, according to transcripts of the trial, Judge Johnson is quoted saying “If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case.” That’s news to me. Really, if women could close up their vaginas anytime we didn’t want to have sex then wouldn’t rape cease to exist? If we had the ability to just shut it down so sexual assault wouldn’t happen, don’t you think we would do that? It sounds like Judge Johnson and Todd Akin took the same health class. And what kind of damage is he talking about? Because it sounds to me that there was plenty of emotional, mental and physical abuse going on.
Now, you’re thinking, but this happened back in 2008? Why are we just hearing about it now? Because the San Francisco based Commission on Judicial Performance just learned about these remarks back in May and in June held a hearing on the judge’s conduct. They reprimanded Judge Johnson that his “remarks reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims” Um, that’s stating the obvious. And to make matters more head shaking, Judge Johnson was not taken off the bench. But you’ll be happy to hear he did apologize and admit his comments were “inappropriate.”
What is infuriating about these comments is not just a rape victim, who had the courage to stand up to her attacker and abuser in court, was depreciated by a judge. It is that there are uneducated people like this judge, who don’t seem to understand the severity of a crime like rape and don’t seem to know the basics of how a woman’s body works, are allowed to make decisions.
Read more here.
Image via ninja9.org.