Rape culture – a term that has become all too common in households, college campuses, and news outlets. Now, the term has made its way into the familiarities of a courtroom thanks to Federal Court Judge Robin Camp.
In Canada, Federal Court Judge Robin Camp was presiding over a sexual assault case from 2014 when he proceeded to ask the victim why she couldn’t “just keep [her] knees together.”
The 19-year-old female victim said she was raped over a bathroom sink at a house party in 2014, and instead of finding justice and safety in the courtroom of her case, she was ridiculed for her lack of efforts to stop the assault.
Granted, the justice system has not exactly proven to be beneficial for victims of sexual assault as the case of Brock Turner clearly displayed. On the same note, does society’s normalization of sexual assault give this judge the right to ridicule a young woman for her “failure” to stop her attacker?
In case you weren’t sure, the answer is no. Nobody ever, ever has the right to blame a victim for his/her attack.
Oh but wait, if you think that’s the end of things, it is only the beginning. Those weren’t the only words Camp had for the 19-year-old victim. He continued to ask her why she didn’t “skew her pelvis” or push her bottom into the sink to avoid penetration.
Hmm, let me get this straight. A young woman is sexually assaulted and yet she is the one to blame for her lack of preventative measures? That’s funny, because here I was thinking that a human should never have to fend off another human trying to forcibly penetrate them. Moreover, sex by demand and force and aggression, but not consent, is not sex. It is rape.
We have treated rape like a bad word for years, and brushed it under the rug like a taboo that shouldn’t be addressed. Rape is not a disease. Rape is not a bad word. Rape is a very real thing. Every 2 minutes, someone in America is sexually assaulted.
After Camp gave these choice words to the young woman, he acquitted the young man charged with the crime and decided to leave him with some words of wisdom as well.
“I want you to tell your friends, your male friends, that they have to be far more gentle with women. They have to be far more patient. And they have to be very careful. To protect themselves, they have to be very careful.”
Okay, so let me see if I can understand this part of the trial. Camp issues an acquittal, then tells the accused man to be “far more patient” with women and “to protect themselves, they have to be very careful.”
So let’s not mind the fact that he allegedly raped a woman, let’s just give him a break and tell him to be more careful next time. Oh, and to share it with his male friends, just for future reference.
Somebody please pinch me because this must be a joke.
First, this oh so sensitive judge accuses the victim of not taking preventative measure during the attack. Then, instead of telling the accused attacker not to, oh I don’t know, not forcibly have sex with women who are not consenting, he tells him to go on and be more careful next time.
You mean, be more careful the next time he tries to rape someone? Logical advice, Federal Court Judge Robin Camp. Thank goodness we have someone like you determining the outcomes of these cases. (Please note the aggressive sarcasm).
Rape is not something you should “be very careful” with. Rape is not a mistake you learn from for the next time around. Rape is not a joke.
But for some reason, today’s society has normalized rape culture and victim blaming that the lines have been blurred, and authorities have been compromised.
The world has painted this picture of rape victims crying wolf when they say they’ve been raped, rather than believing the outcry for help and working towards justice.
Lastly, Camp closed out this outpouring of great advice with these wonderful generalizations about sex for the courtroom: “Young wom[e]n want to have sex, particularly if they're drunk. Some sex and pain sometimes go together...that's not necessarily a bad thing.”
Wow. I have no words for this spectacular statement. Apparently, I, as a young woman, want to have sex, but most definitely when I’m drunk. Thank you, Judge Camp, for telling me what I, alongside all other young women in the world, want.
Oh but it doesn’t end there? Some sex and pain is not necessarily a bad thing? Hm. What about the pain of being sexually assaulted over a bathroom sink? I personally thing that’s far beyond a “bad thing.”
In conclusion, Camp has explicitly educated the courtroom about sex. The jury thought they were going to be viewing a case on sexual assault, but instead it was a case of the blame game: rape culture edition.
If a girl drinks, she wants sex more than she already does – pain included. If a girl says she was raped, she clearly did not try hard enough to prevent it. If a man is accused of rape, he just wasn’t careful enough.
I beg anybody who reads this to understand the reality of sexual assault, its prevalence across the world, and the abhorrent normalization of rape culture.
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” ― Rachel Carson