Outrage after California judge says victim's body can prevent rape by 'putting up a fight'
A Southern California judge has been publicly rebuked for saying that a rape victim 'didn't put up a fight' to save herself during an assault.
He also said that if someone did not want a sexual intercourse, the body 'would not permit that to happen'.
The California Commission on Judicial Performance voted 10-0 to impose a public admonishment, saying Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson's comments were inappropriate and a breach of judicial ethics, Herald Sun reports.
"In the commission's view, the judge's remarks reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not 'put up a fight," Lawrence Simi, the commission's chairman, wrote.
"Such comments cannot help but diminish public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the judiciary," Simi added.
According to the report, Johnson had made the comments in the case of a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver, beat her with a metal baton and made other violent threats before committing rape, forced oral copulation, and other crimes.
Though the woman reported the criminal threats the next day, the woman did not report the rape until 17 days later.
Johnson, a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney's sex crimes unit, said that during the man's 2008 sentencing he had seen violent cases on that unit in which women's vaginas were 'shredded' by rape, the report added.
"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 commission found that Johnson's view that a victim must resist to be a real victim of sexual assault was his opinion, not the law.
In an apology to the commission, Johnson said his comments were inappropriate.
He said his comments were the result of his frustration during an argument with a prosecutor over the defendant's sentence, the report added.