Another guy – a judge this time – thinks women’s bodies have magical little portcullises that slam down during attempted rape.
A Southern California judge is being publicly admonished for saying a rape victim “didn’t put up a fight” during her assault and that if someone doesn’t want sexual intercourse, the body “will not permit that to happen.”
Which is why rape is so extremely rare – it’s hard to bash through the portcullis.
Johnson made the comments in the case of a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver, beat her with a metal baton and made other violent threats before committing rape, forced oral copulation, and other crimes.
Though the woman reported the criminal threats the next day, the woman did not report the rape until 17 days later.
Johnson, a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney’s sex crimes unit, said during the man’s 2008 sentencing that he had seen violent cases on that unit in which women’s vaginas were “shredded” by rape.
“I’m not a gynecologist, but I can tell you something: 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,” Johnson said.
I suppose he’s talking about lubrication, and saying the lack of it will leave marks. I’ve watched enough Law and Order: SVU to know that tv cops, at least, treat that as part of the picture. (But I also know they have consultants, so they probably get details like that right, however much they simplify and dramatize.) But it’s not symmetrical – marks may indicate rape, but absence of marks doesn’t indicate no rape. There, I’m a lawyer because tv! Straightened all that out for him.
The commission found that Johnson’s view that a victim must resist to be a real victim of sexual assault was his opinion, not the law. Since 1980, California law doesn’t require rape victims to prove they resisted or were prevented from resisting because of threats.
In an apology to the commission, Johnson said his comments were inappropriate. He said his comments were the result of his frustration during an argument with a prosecutor over the defendant’s sentence.
Well ok, but be more careful.