A judge handed down a decision in a rape trial. And Marvin Zuker judged the entire damned system.
“The myths of rape should be dispelled once and for all,” Justice Marvin Zuker wrote in his 179-page decision on Thursday. “It doesn’t matter if the victim was drinking, out at night alone, sexually exploited, on a date with the perpetrator, or how the victim was dressed. No one asks to be raped.”
He was just getting started.
The myths of rape needed to be dispelled, once and for all, he said in the decision. “We cannot perpetuate the belief that niceness cannot coexist with violence, evil or deviance and consequently the nice guy must not be guilty of the alleged offence.”
He also took on what he called unrealistic expectations around how a survivor should act. “For much of our history the ‘good’ rape victim, the ‘credible’ rape victim has been a dead one,” he wrote. “There are many misguided conceptions of what constitutes a ‘real’ rape or how a ‘real’ victim of sexual violence should behave (ie scream, struggle to the utmost and report immediately). No matter how sophisticated the law is, any allegation that derogates from the stereotype is likely to be approached with a degree of suspicion.”
He added: “No other crime is looked upon with the degree of blameworthiness, suspicion, and doubt as a rape victim. Victim blaming is unfortunately common and is one of the most significant barriers to justice and offender accountability,” he said.
I’ve seen all of this. Just the other day I saw a comment thread elsewhere where people were railing against an accusation of harassment, using the usual buzzwords: “Victim culture!” “Witch hunt!” “He is such a nice guy!” And of course, those damned SJWs were entirely at fault for daring to criticize a Brave Hero. It’s infuriating that pointing a finger at a man is treated as more of an assault than fondling, groping, or raping a woman.
Despite the good, strong words of the judge, though, we’re still left with a broken system that leaves the victims further wracked.
The verdict did little to blunt the trauma of the past year and a half, she said. “But, I mean, these statements don’t un-rape me, first of all, and nor does it erase the process that I’ve had to go through.”
She pointed to her experience of reporting the incident to police, which left her feeling as though she was to blame for what happened. “This process has been so brutal to me that I just cannot at this moment feel any sort of happiness. I will give you that the judgment is beautiful, and I will appreciate it one day, but not quite yet. I’m still not over the trauma of the system.”
I felt the same way. Still do, in most respects. The system is broken, awful, and rarely delivers justice when it comes to rape. Cops put you through hell, attorneys put you through hell, and too many times, the judge does too.
I’m grateful to Justice Zuker, but he needs to be joined by everyone else in the justice system.
Her comment at the end should really be front and center. It’s great that Justice Zuker is tearing apart this system, but I wish the focus could be on the victims of the system, rather than the privileged people speaking out against it. But I get why it has to be this way. When a female rape victim complains about the system, no one listens. When a male judge complains, people listen.
I always love this idea that there are good people and bad people and that if you’re one of the former you will never do anything bad and if you’re one of the latter you’ll never do anything good. I think Lou Reed said it best:
“You can’t depend on the goodly hearted, the goodly hearted made lamp-shades and soap”- Busload of faith
It never ceases to surprise me that this needs to be said over and over — lack of consent is the defining element of the crime/
You know, if you’re mugged no one ever asks you what type of wallet you carry. If your house is broken into, no one will ask if you decorated your lounge room in a suggestive manner. If you lose money in a Ponzi scheme, no one will ask if you frequently talk to other grifters and con-men.
Yet somehow for sexual assault it’s perfectly fine to grill the victim in such a manner.