The victim wore a tube top, no bra, high heels and plenty of makeup on the night she was raped.
The victim and her rapist both drank plenty of alcohol that night.
She went off into the woods with her rapist. She even kissed him.
According to the judge, she was asking for it.
Yesterday, a judge in Winnipeg sentenced a man to a two year conditional sentence with no prison time for raping a woman 5 years ago. The Crown was asking for a three year jail term. However, Justice Robert Dewar believed that rapist Kenneth Rhodes was nothing more than a “clumsy Don Juan” and wasn’t really all that bad, because the victim looked so “inviting.” In sentencing, Dewar said:
“This is a different case than one where there is no perceived invitation… This is a case of misunderstood signals and inconsiderate behaviour… I’m sure whatever signals were sent that sex was in the air were unintentional.”
But he still took these “unintentional” signals into account when sentencing Rhodes to no jail time for rape.
Dewar is saying that because she wore a tube top, raping her was not that bad.
Because she wore lots of makeup, saying the word “no” when Rhodes tore off her clothes was to be taken less seriously than if she had worn no makeup at all.
Because she had high heels on, when Rhodes violated her, he was deserving of less punishment than if she had worn flat, sensible shoes.
Using this logic, then breaking and entering into a well-cared-for house in an affluent neighbourhood is not that bad, because it’s obvious the house has lots of expensive things in it that are just begging to be stolen.
Using this logic, stealing a BMW that someone had previously given you a ride in is no big deal, because you’d already been invited to sit in the passenger seat.
Using this logic, if you are at a party and enjoying yourself and being friendly with a man you have no intention of having sex with and you are later pinned down, have your sleazy clothes forcibly removed from you by that man, that man who is bigger and stronger than you, and are raped by him, it’s less bad than if that man raped someone who was clothed head to toe in modest, sensible, prim clothing, no makeup, and flat shoes.
Should this be the message we’re sending about sexual assault? That if you are too tempting, if you look like a slut, that you can’t expect a reasonable man to be able to control himself? That it’s not his fault – it’s yours?
Blaming the victim is a shameful practice, and Justice Dewar should know better. If he does not, then he should no longer be on the bench. Case closed.
By Thomas Locke Hobbes on Flickr