The social realities of justice affirm what most people already intuit about the reason sexual assault is vastly under-reported; More so than with any other offense, cultural conditioning provides tacit acquiescence to the habit of victim-blaming.
Though games of “blame the victim” are not unique to crimes of sexual assault, they are routinely the most obvious manifestations, with few being more jaw-dropping than that of Canadian Federal Court Justice Robin Camp when he questioned an alleged rape victim:
And when your ankles were held together by your skinny jeans, couldn’t you just keep your knees together?
The wildly offensive comments were made by 64-year-old Camp during the 2014 rape trial in which he branded the young woman “unsavory,” questioned her morals and painted her attempts at self-defense as “very ineffectual.” When the victim complained of having been in pain since the incident, he suggested:
Ouch. That must have indeed smarted, even for Camp, as he was subsequently hauled before a five-member committee reporting to the Canadian Judicial Council in a fight to maintain his $314,000-a-year job over the mishandling of the case.
Alexander Scott Wagar was accused of raping the young woman over a bathroom sink at a house party in 2011, when she was just 19-years-old. Unsurprisingly, Camp acquitted the accused, but the acquittal was later overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeals, and is scheduled for retrial this November.
Judge Camp is now embroiled in a week-long formal investigation which will end with closing arguments on Monday. The investigation was initiated by legal experts from the University of Calgary and Dalhousie University who maintain that he showed ‘disregard, if not disdain‘ for the rape shield provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code, thus undermining ‘public confidence in the fair administration of justice.’
Exactly! Is it any wonder why victims fail to come forward?
The proceedings began Tuesday, when the complainant—whom Camp repeatedly referred to as ‘the accused’ throughout the trial—testified that his comments led her to ‘consider suicide‘.
I felt ill and dizzy and I hoped I would faint just so he would stop. I was so confused during the trial. I’m so disappointed and sad about the system. My biggest worry is the victims who will never come forward because of what they read in the newspaper about Justice Camp’s words.
Camp, who has since undergone counseling and training with three experts — a judge, a psychologist and a professor who is an expert on the law of sexual assault — apologized Friday on the witness stand, conceding:
Yes, yes you were. Rude and insulting, unprincipled, unethical, prejudicial, dishonorable, ignominious, unjust and a damaging influence to all victims of sexual assault—past, present and future—for having buttressed the endemic under-reporting of a reprehensible crime in a way that ultimately serves to foster more violence.
And… you were a misogynistic pig.
There. I’ve said it.
But no worries, Judge, if your last-century mentality does indeed mandate that you vacate your position on the bench, you can always move to America for an honored position as Legal Analyst for Fox News.
Featured Image: YouTube screen grab via Inside Edition