And by members of the GOP, no less! Who would have expected such a thing?
…look, let me clear this up really quickly: I don’t think that the Democrats are all guilt free when it comes to treating women disrespectfully. There are Democrats that are just as awful toward women, toward gays, toward minorities as we keep hearing over and over again about Republicans.
But I’ve been hearing a LOT about Republicans saying terrible things. And it’s often powerful Republicans. Members of the state or federal legislature, for example.
I mean, here’s a recent one. Representative Joe Walsh from Illinois has decided to jump on the “Screw that Sandra Fluke woman” bus and continue to bash her for… well, trying to suggest that health care directly affecting women should have some women discussing it, and maybe health care providers should start covering birth control pills, which are necessary for some women to control hormones and cure ovarian cysts and the like. I don’t know if you remember Fluke back when Rush “Weather Balloon” Limbaugh decided calling her a slut made sense, but she popped back into national view this week with a speech at the DNC. And a bunch of Republicans attacked and belittled her. Walsh told her to “get a job.” Because, clearly, she’s got no job and just wants Americans to pay for her contraceptives, with the implication that Americans should be paying for her ability to have care-free sex.
It’s wonderfully disgusting, don’t you think?
But that’s nothing. That’s really just rude and uncalled for, especially compared to this next thing. Also said by a Republican.
But the great horrific, M. Night Shamallama-esque twist on this? It’s said by a woman.
In Arizona (which, despite having a female governor, is one of the absolute worst places for women legislatively, as well as minorities), a cop named Robb Evans drove himself to a bar 8 beers in, flashed his badge to skip on the cover, went up to a woman, put his hand up her skirt and rubbed her genitals.
Clearly, this is a case of sexual assault. A jury convicted him of such and the police force fired him.
But trial judge Jacqueline Hatch, appointed by Governor Jan Brewer, decided the jury was wrong. She decided jail time was unnecessary, sentencing Evans to probation and 100 days of community service. He also won’t have to register as a sex offender.
Then, she said this to the victim: “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you.”
It’s pretty much the exact same as the old mainstay, “If she hadn’t dressed like that…” Except it’s even worse. People can dress provocatively, sure, not that the statement still has any merit or truth at all. But now, apparently, women should just not leave their houses. They should expect to be sexually assaulted at places like bars.
It’s doubly awful. First, it paints men as these basely driven creatures with no control over their sexual impulses. It suggests that we’re pretty much out there to rape. That’s just what we do. “If you just hadn’t been a woman, I wouldn’t have had to rape you!” It’s a pretty awful portrait of men, and no man should accept such accusations. We’re not sex addicts or rape machines.
But worse than that, it basically tells women that rape is completely their fault. That someone else’s choice is their fault.
Imagine this judge, Hatch, presiding over the case in Aurora, dealing with the shooting. “Well, if so-and-so wouldn’t have been there that night, she wouldn’t have been shot and killed.”
Imagine that. Imagine how quickly she’d be defrocked. Yet, apparently, when talking to women about sexual assault, it’s fine?
Yeah, I’m suggesting she should lose her job for this and for the statements she made. This isn’t just an “apologize and forget” moment. This is a fundamental lack of understanding of law, a broken philosophy that punishes victims and protects criminals from proper sentencing.
The very idea that women should be held responsible for the actions men take against them – “You shouldn’t have dressed like that,” “You shouldn’t have been there” – is disgusting.
Sure, there are things women (and men) can do to avoid having things happen to them. Don’t walk around naked. Don’t go down dark alleyways. Avoid places where people get shot every couple of minutes. But we should not be demanding women dress a certain way and go to specific places, otherwise rape’s their fault. If applied to any other crime, this line of reasoning would be laughed out of court. But for some reason, since it’s being levied against a woman and deals with her sexuality… Well, women should just KNOW better.
It’s disgusting. It’s reprehensible. Hatch should be fired and the jury’s original verdict should be put in place. And if you meet anyone that makes that type of argument? Slap them. Slap them reeeeeeeeeeally hard. For me. EVERYONE should be offended and disgusted by such statements and philosophies. EVERYONE should want them to stop.