It's been, on the one hand, an amazing year for women in this world. And then on the other hand it has been the same uphill battle for women that it has always been. Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson's recent comments about rape victims deserves more than just a public admonishment. CBSnews.com quotes Judge Johnson in a recent article online:
"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.
The same article published the Commission's response:
"In the commission's view, the judge's remarks reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not `put up a fight.' Such comments cannot help but diminish public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the judiciary," wrote Lawrence J. Simi, the commission's chairman.
Mr. Simi is right. However the Commission to should take stronger action. Statements like this are biologically false and perpetuate the idea that rape is the victim's fault. Rape victims have enough hurdles to overcome without judges like Judge Derek Johnson. I think he should be voted out of his robe - if you ask me. Certainly I don't have that power - but maybe the California Commission on Judicial Performance should levy the highest punishment possible for such blatant misuse of science and power.
We look to our judicial system for justice. Not for judgement. Judge Johnson's personal views on rape victims are very clear and do not make for any victim in his court to receive the justice they are looking for.
It's one thing to believe personally that women are at fault when they are raped (funny - he hasn't mentioned how mens' bodies handle rape - maybe Judge Johnson finds that to be impossible as well). It's quite another to represent the State of California while telling a victim that she didn't fight back enough.
Rape victims are just that - victims. No one wants to be raped or asked to be raped. Men who hold public office who tell the public anything other than that are not only lying but they are disseminating blatant biological untruths and passing them off as educated ideas about crime, science, and sociology.
Please, California Commission of Judicial Performance, please take this seriously. Judge Johnson and his archaic views have had enough of an impact in your state already. I shudder to think how any rape cases he's presided over and how many victims have been made to feel like it was their fault by him. Or worse, how many victims have sat in Judge Johnson's courtroom while he's allowed rapists leniency because their attack wasn't appropriately thwarted enough to satisfy his honor's ridiculously ignorant views on rape?