Recently a judge, Jacqueline Hatch in Arizona told the victim of a sexual assault “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you,” Her assailant was a police officer who was drunk, had put his hand up her skirt, while she was having a drink in a bar, and ran his fingers over her genitals. A jury convicted him and sentenced him to two and a half years and ended his career. He won’t serve any time; he’s slated to serve a hundred hours of community service and probation.
The problem isn’t that the victim reported the crime. In fact she is right to have reported it. Rape is one of the most under reported crimes, because victims often feel ashamed or that it is a “personal” matter. The problem is that the judge admonished her for being in the bar in the first place. The judge went on to say:
Bad things can happen in bars
"I hope you look at what you've been through and try to take something positive out of it," Hatch said to the victim in court. "You learned a lesson about friendship and you learned a lesson about vulnerability."
Hatch said that the victim was not to blame in the case, but that all women must be vigilant against becoming victims.
Women should be vigilant against becoming victims. Why? Why should we be hyper-vigilant? Why shouldn’t men behave as if they are grown up and not as if they are five years old, and in need of grabbing a girl’s vulva or breast, to prove that they are “man enough” to do it? What happened to acting like civilized human beings?
We have evolved from war like cultures, where taking a woman to wife, in battle was all the rage. There is no excuse for men to behave this way. None.
Blaming the victim is only making it harder for women (and men) to come forward, when they are raped. Shaming them only makes the trauma worse. It gives the perpetrator more power over the victim. Is this what we want in our society?
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As a postscript to this... the judge in the Arizona case is/has apologized to the victim in the case -- http://azdailysun.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/judge-issues-apology/article_14f3a2e3-1be1-5b8a-9ade-e306a40964e1.html