A Canadian federal judge could be ejected from the judiciary for blaming a 19-year-old accuser in a rape trial for her own assault. Insert eye roll and flipping over table gifs here:
And, we’re back. According to Slate, the beyond insulting and out of line comments were made by Justice Robin Camp during the victim’s 2014 trial. We’re going to insert a trigger warning here because they’re seriously messed up.
TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT. Please stop reading now if you have SA triggers.
During the trial Justice Robin Camp peppered the victim with questions such as “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?”, and, “She knew she was drunk … Is not an onus on her to be more careful?”
All the comments not only show a complete lack of sensitivity toward the accuser, but a complete lack of comprehension of the definition of rape and the laws in place to protect rape victims. Which is incredibly troubling coming from ANYONE let alone a judge that is supposed to understand and uphold the law.
Justice Robin Camp also went on to refer to the accuser as ‘the accused’ during the trial, and ultimately acquitted the man that was accused of rape.
Which is beyond horrible anyway, but especially because Camp’s comments don’t suggest he didn’t think the victim was raped, but that he thinks she didn’t do enough to ‘protect’ herself, so the rapist shouldn’t be convicted of rape.
This kind of ignorance and insensitivity has no place in the court of law, and luckily many others agreed, since the ruling was overturned on appeal, and a new trial was ordered.
Slate reports that Canadian Judicial Council is currently debating whether to oust Justice Robin Camp, and will make their decision after closing arguments on Monday. During the hearing Camp apologized, calling his comments “unforgivable” and saying that since he is originally from South Africa and moved to Canada in 1998, he was ignorant of how Canada’s rape laws had changed.
While comments like these coming from a judge are frustrating and incredibly dangerous, the good news is that it is becoming increasing clear that people around the world will not stand for this sort of ignorant and callous treatment of rape victims and disregard for the law. The more we are able to speak up when the people put in place to protect the law aren’t doing their jobs, the closer we can get to a just legal system.