CA Judge Derek Johnson Says Rape Victim “Didn’t Put Up A Fight,” Body Would Have Shut Down

Men who inaccurately believe a woman’s body “just shuts down” during rape aren’t just all up in your legislature making your laws. They also sit on your courts.

California Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson has been publicly admonished in a 10-0 vote by the CA Commission on Judicial Performance for his comments that a 2008 sexual assault victim “didn’t put up a fight” during her rape and that her rape was only “technical,” whatever that means, and not “a real, live criminal case.” Rape can’t happen because if a woman’s body doesn’t want sex, Johnson said, because her ladyparts “will not permit that to happen.”

Good to know he was also a former prosecutor on the Orange County DA’s sex crimes unit, huh?

Warning, there is a description of a very violent threat of sexual violence after the jump.

Johnson made his comments on a case regarding a man named Metin Gurel who had threatened to mutilate the genitals and face of an ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver. Instead, he  beat her with a metal baton and raped her.

Johnson said during sentencing:

“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. … To treat this case like the rape cases that we all hear about is an insult to victims of rape. I think it’s an insult. I think it trivializes a rape.”

This is rape culture: the idea that legitimate sexual assault has to involve physical force.

This is rape culture: false medical science that “proves” rape can’t happen.

This is rape culture: the idea that some things are not really rape and a victim is actually insulting real rape victims by saying she was hurt.

This is rape culture: Johnson’s apology, agreeing he was “inappropriate,” but claiming that he only said this stuff because he was just frustrated with the prosecutor.

The  CA Commission on Judicial Performance ruled that Johnson’s view that a rape victim must physically resist to be a “real” rape victim was simply his opinion, but not the law in CA since 1980. Well, it’s not his opinion either. It’s not up for debate because it’s not an opinion: it’s a complete and utter lie. I can believe there is a purple dinosaur under my desk snuggling at my feet and that doesn’t make it true, either. A statement released by the commission said:

“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. In his response to the commission and at his appearance, Judge Johnson conceded his comments were inappropriate and apologized.”

Johnson eventually sentenced Metin Gurel to six years in prison, instead of the 16 requested by the prosecutor. Gurel had been convicted of rape, forcible oral copulation, stalking, making threats and domestic battery.

Judge Johnson is still sitting on the California bench.

I’m so dispirited by this whole story that I don’t even have anything else to say.

[Los Angeles Times]
[Guardian UK]

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Thank you to readers Emily and Logan for the links.

[Photo: ThinkStock]