After an Arizona police officer was convicted of sexually abusing a woman at a bar, here’s what the judge had to say to the victim:
The judge sentencing Evans, Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch, said she hoped both the defendant and the victim would take lessons away from the case.
Bad things can happen in bars, Hatch told the victim, adding that other people might be more intoxicated than she was.
“If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you,” Hatch said. …
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change,” Hatch said that her mother used to say.
I guess bars are just a permanent no-go zone for women. Or anywhere that people are drunk. Or anywhere that anyone might sexually assault them. They just have to stay away from any place rapists might be.
Except, you know, that’s everywhere. Women are raped anywhere and everywhere: at bars, concerts, rallies, offices, in hotels, subways, alleys, parks, the woods, elevators, cars, any secluded or isolated space, in public, in broad daylight, even in their own homes. The “she shouldn’t have been there” argument is really nothing more than a “she shouldn’t have been anywhere” argument, because there is nowhere that women are not raped. What “power to change” ought the victim have exercised? The power to remove herself entirely from the society in which she lives, as all women supposedly must do because rapists just can’t stop raping people?
Would-be rapists do not have some Sims-like beacon above their head that says “I am here to rape someone”. If they aim to get close enough to someone to rape them, then broadcasting clear signals of their intentions is precisely what they will try not to do – they’ll seek to imitate non-rapists as best they can, so they don’t stand out at all. But hey, let’s not go blaming other people for raping women or anything. Let’s just hold the victims responsible for not being able to read people’s minds and identify predators at a glance, and for failing to wall themselves into a sealed room for the rest of their lives.
By the way, that claim of “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you”? It’s not even true. It is explicitly, demonstrably false, in this very same case:
Evans also pinched another woman on the buttocks an hour before sexually abusing the victim in this case, according to a witness. The judge ruled before trial that the incident would be prejudicial if it was allowed to be admitted as evidence.
If she had not been there, someone else would have been assaulted. Someone else was assaulted. How many women should have to avoid public spaces just to keep from being abused by this man? All of them? They aren’t the ones to blame for this. If he hadn’t been there, none of this would have happened.