SCENES FROM A SOCIETY THAT IS FAIR AND EQUITABLE ON THE BASIS OF GENDER

Three vignettes.

1. In Flagstaff, AZ – And I'd like to take a moment to point out that pretty much any headline regarding a news story from Arizona elicits a well deserved "Oh this oughta be good" these days – a police officer accused of sexual assault was sentenced to two years…of probation. It's OK though, because he lost his job and that's punishment enough. And more importantly, everyone involved in the case learned some valuable lessons.

The judge sentencing Evans, Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch, said she hoped both the defendant and the victim would take lessons away from the case. Bad things can happen in bars, Hatch told the victim, adding that other people might be more intoxicated than she was.

"If you wouldn't have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you," Hatch said…

Hatch said that the victim was not to blame in the case, but that all women must be vigilant against becoming victims. "When you blame others, you give up your power to change," Hatch said that her mother used to say.

That's a really good point, like when President Bush told all the World Trade Center victims that if they hadn't gone to work that day, nothing would have happened to them.

Note the gender of the judge and perhaps reflect on how misogyny is a function of power and institutionalized prejudices, not necessarily the possession or lack of a dong. But then stop reflecting on that because, like race, gender is not an issue in our society and certainly not in the legal system.

2. Across the pond, our friends in Derry, Northern Ireland have decided to install video cameras in the city's taxi fleet to "guard against false rape allegations." The cameras are not intended to make passengers feel safer or prevent, you know, rape. Any crimes or evidence thereof recorded on these cameras will be purely incidental. They are being installed to reduce the incidence of the most serious and pervasive of crimes in the UK: the ol' "fake like the cabbie raped you" scam. Oldest trick in the book.

3. A woman who admitted to the American public that she has had sexual intercourse on occasion spoke at the DNC and then some prominent right-wing media personalities had some very cogent points to make about the substance of her address.

Oh wait. I might have gotten that wrong.

25 thoughts on “SCENES FROM A SOCIETY THAT IS FAIR AND EQUITABLE ON THE BASIS OF GENDER”

  • In fairness . . .

    "[. . .] drivers believe that in-car cameras will give them evidence of professional behavior, as well as offering a higher sense of security to their female passengers."

  • Someone needs to coin a term for that feeling of combined amusement, disgust and just a hint of rage I so often have when reading G&T.

  • "When you blame others, you give up your power to change," Hatch said that her mother used to say.

    I think this is the point, had I been the complaining witness, that I might have started to feel as if I were tripping balls.

    Bad enough that the guy who raped me was getting, essentially, a pass, but I also had to listen to bon mots from the Oprah Winfrey show by way of getting set straight for having the temerity to go to a bar while female?

    This, in a nutshell, is why those who prosecute rape want their juries stacked with as many men as possible. Women judge other women harshly when it comes to rape, largely to protect their own sense of themselves as autonomous mistresses of their own fortune. They would never be so stupid as to break one of the tens of rules that women follow daily in a bid to avoid rape. They know that they should take taxis after dark, avoid getting staggering drunk, lock all of their doors and windows when home, avoid making eye contact with strange men in the street, carry their keys when walking (to appear nearly home), carry their phone in their hand when walking (to call 911), park in a safe spot (not too far away from a building, not in the dark, not next to any vans) and scan the back seat before getting into their car, watch their drinks being made, not let their drinks out of their sight once made, look over their shoulder when they open their front door so no one can push in behind them, take a self defense class, and so on forever. Judging other women's choices and behaviour is a way of distancing themselves from the reality that rape is ubiquitous and likely to be perpetrated in a location and context that it is almost impossible to avoid.

    While her perspective is somewhat understandable, it's obviously less than ideal that real cases be tried in the Land of Denial. It may be helpful for Judge Hatch to participate in some training from some organisation that actually understands sexual violence.

  • As a police officer, he represents the good. She shouldn't tempt him, staying at home would have kept his good guy status. It's also part of the "on one hand … on other hand" prevailing philosophy now in full force. And of course, women are not quite equal.

  • In 2008, at the Republican National Convention, the people cheered and cheered for a woman whose teenage daughter was about to have a child out of wedlock.

    In 2012, the same people demonize a young woman who's an advocate for contraception, and call her a slut.

    'Nuff said…

  • "If you wouldn't have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you,"

    Awwwwwwwwwwww shit! Not only did this judge commit a travesty of justice while blaming a woman for her own rape, but she also sits on the bench despite not knowing how to properly construct a 3rd conditional. You've got to be shitting me.

    The people who ought to stay out of bars are men. Aside from preventing rape, this would also prevent random senseless shootings as well as idiotic bro-violence. Brothers, STAY AWAY FROM BARS!

  • At such moments, I always wonder about the past cases of a judge-with-poor-judgement. Even if she has never verbalized her bias quite so stupidly, don't you imagine her decisions have always been informed by it?

    The fact that she is a woman, and of a certain age, means she might have been indoctrinated as a child to believe she would be "asking for it" if she herself went to a bar without a man there to show other men she was off limits. Being Arizonan, she might have chided the victim for going drinking without a sidearm. But as a judge, I would have liked her to display a modicum of critical thinking skills, or fairmindedness, or something. Something.

  • @Corwin, the only apology was for the "any additional anguish my comments may have caused." She did not apologize for her remarks.

    Classic.

  • In 2008, at the Republican National Convention, the people cheered and cheered for a woman whose teenage daughter was about to have a child out of wedlock.

    In 2012, the same people demonize a young woman who's an advocate for contraception, and call her a slut.

    The difference being that Bristol Palin Learned A Valuable Lesson from her experience, while Sandra Fluke is advocating that women should be able to have sex (while enjoying it, even) and go on with their lives Without Consequences. Note that there is no discussion of restraining the sacred dudely right to prong.

  • I liked Amanda Marcotte's take on why conservatives have responded so vehemently to Sandra Fluke.

    The responses to Ms Fluke suggest that US conservatives (and Republicans, I suppose, given their SRHR platform) are massively out of step with other soi-disant 'pro-life' international discourses. Generally, those seeking to restrict the provision of abortion want to increase access to contraception, and the most robust methods of contraception. Even in Malta, in which the Catholicism is the state religion and which has extremely low levels of contraception use, it's possible to buy the BCP over the counter in a pharmacy.

  • You know, I think when judges go to Judge School, they should be counseled that no matter what they think of the case in front of them, they should never EVER make commentary or offer advice. It just works out better that way for all involved.

    Yes, there is Judge School. Believe it or not.

  • while Sandra Fluke is advocating that women should be able to have sex (while enjoying it, even) and go on with their lives Without Consequences.

    Actually, Sandra Fluke isn't really advocating that women should have sex without consequences. She is advocating that women should be able to access whatever they need for their healthcare as provided for under the ACA without having assholes fuck it up by saying that contraceptives violate their beliefs–because if you back down on that, next it's pap smears (non-sluts don't need pap smears!) or any other procedure for woman. It's the conservatives who have turned it into "Fluke wants to have sex all the time!" She never even really talks about the sex–hers or any other woman's sex.

  • @KarlinNH, I see your point, but this is about as much as any public figure ever apologizes today, not least because of concerns about potentially being sued. In this case, the victim accepted the judge's apology, which went about as far as she could go without actually saying, "boy that was some stupid shit I said the other day. Brain fart. I'm not normally that mean-spirited or ignorant. My bad."

    What she did say was: "As a Coconino County Superior Court judge, it is my responsibility to ensure that all victims and defendants are treated fairly and in a respectful manner in the courtroom… It’s a responsibility I take very seriously. I also believe victims should not be blamed for coming forward to report crimes… I have learned an important lesson and will apply what I have learned to future cases, to ensure that the rights and views of all victims are heard and respected."

    That sounds like WAY more contrition than we usually get from the right.

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    Not to nitpick, but you may want to change "accused" to "convicted." It would be inappropriate to sentenced a merely accused person to anything. :-)

    Now that he's convicted, the sentence is far too light.

  • "I also believe victims should not be blamed for coming forward to report crimes."

    The judge's original comments did not suggest that she blamed victims for reporting crimes, so much as blamed victims for being sexually assaulted.

    That she doesn't understand sexual assault, while simultaneously presiding over sexual assault cases, is the travesty here.

  • You know, I think when judges go to Judge School, they should be counseled that no matter what they think of the case in front of them, they should never EVER make commentary or offer advice.

    This, times infinity. Believe it or not Your Honor, most folks don't wind up going to court to hear about the judges personal fee-fees or homespun wisdom from back when they wore onions on their belts, as was the fashion at the time.

Comments are closed.