The XX Factor

California Judge Claims Rape Victim “Didn’t Put Up a Fight”

Judge Derek Johnson has finally been publicly admonished for his ludicrous statements about rape.

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First Todd Akin, and now this: A judge in California is finally being admonished by the California Commission on Judicial Performance for his 2008 comments justifying giving a light sentence to a man who beat his girlfriend with a metal baton, threatened to mutilate her face and genitals with a heated screwdriver, and then viciously raped her. The offending quote really needs to be read in full, for maximum jaw-dropping effect:

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. That tells me that the victim in this case, although she wasn’t necessarily willing, she didn’t put up a fight. And 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.

I wanted to give Judge Derek Johnson the benefit of the doubt—after all, his primary concern is not trivializing rape! But he appears to believe vaginas have some sort of snapping mechanism and the only way that a rapist can really rape you is by breaking the hinges. Which still doesn’t explain why he thinks having someone tell you to open your snapper or else he’ll break your vulval hinges doesn’t count as rape. If someone points a gun at a store clerk and tells them to open the cash drawer or else, it’s still a robbery even though the register does, in fact, have a sealing mechanism designed to keep intruders out.

Oh, and what was Johnson’s job before he became a judge? He worked for the Orange County district attorney’s sex crimes unit. Comforting. And he’s still on the bench.