Judge ‘Victim-Blaming’ over Rape Comments

A female judge’s opinion that drunk women are putting themselves at higher risk of rape was “victim-blaming”, a police commissioner has said. Judge Kushner QC has been heavily criticized after she stated that women are entitled to “drink themselves into the ground” but their “disinhibited behaviour” could put them in danger. She believes that it is not wrong for a judge “to beg women to take actions to protect themselves.” Judge Kushner, 64, made the courtroom plea as she jailed a man for six years for raping and 18 year old woman in Manchester last year. She believes that “as a woman judge” it would “be remiss” if she did not plead with women to take actions to protect themselves from predatory men who “gravitate” towards women who are drunk.

We cannot be reductive about Kushner’s remarks; it is not a simply case of victim blaming. As Kushner herself admitted in regards to rape: "There is absolutely no excuse and a woman can do with her body what she wants and a man will have to adjust his behaviour accordingly." However, it is the act of placing any form of responsibility on the victim, and therefore implying that they can control whether or not they are a victim of rape, which is the issue here.

(Photo Credit: Feministing)

Thankfully, Kushner has been called out on her comments. Former Labour MP Ms Baird told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "When somebody is raped they feel guilt and shame and they find it very hard to report it." If a judge has just said to them 'Well, if you drank you are more likely to get raped, we are not likely to believe you and you have been disinhibited so you've rather brought it on yourself' then that guilt is just going to get worse." Ms Baird, a former solicitor general and ex-defence barrister, said the judge should have given advice to help women stay safe instead of implying "it's your fault for having attracted him in the first place." "This looks like victim-blaming and they (organisations such as Rape Crisis) are worried that, yet again, it is going to become harder to get women to make reports," she said." That's a terrible shame."

As a judge, and a woman, Kushner should know better. Nothing is an excuse for rape. The only person responsible for rape is the rapist. End of.  

(Photo Credit: The Odyssey)