No, There’s Nothing ‘Flattering’ About Sexual Assault

Sexual assault survivors routinely hear any number of victim-blaming comments about their experience, from questions about what they wore to judgements of how much they had to drink. One of the most common remarks by those who disbelieve or underplay sexual assault is the claim that a victim should have been flattered by the attention.

Usually, however, the person making the thoughtless comment isn’t a sitting judge.

Not so in Canada, where Judge Jean-Paul Braun has been accused of making derogatory statements in the case of a taxi driver who allegedly sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl. Braun reportedly claimed that the girl was probably “flattered” by the man’s attention.

“’You could say she’s a little overweight, but she has a pretty face, huh?’ Braun said, per a recording obtained by Journal de Montreal,” reports US Weekly. “Braun also commented that the victim might have flirted with Figaro because he ‘looks good’ had ‘nice manners’ and ‘liked to wear cologne.’”

The “she wanted it” argument is usually a defense attorney’s gambit, not a judicial one, but apparently this isn’t the only time Braun has minimized and dismissed sexual assault.

According to BBC News, “It is not the first time Mr Braun has come under scrutiny. He was criticised in 2013 for saying the case of a telecom technician who verbally harassed a 19-year-old and grabbed her breasts was not ‘the crime of the century.’”

Braun’s comments about the attractiveness of the victim weren’t the only disturbing remarks he had to offer about the case, either. In other statements, Braun made it quite clear that he’s only mildly interested in consent prior to some physical contact between an aggressor and the aggressor’s target.

“The judge also suggested that trying to kiss someone may be acceptable but that a different level of consent would be needed for anything more,” the Guardian reports. “A man is interested in her, he tries to kiss her. Surely the same consent isn’t required to try to kiss someone as for – as we say – putting one’s hand in the basket,” Braun asked, using a French expression for grabbing someone’s rear end.”

We already know that rape culture is rampant not just in North America, but also across the globe. And recent revelations in media, politics, Hollywood and beyond show us just how far many powerful men will go to take advantage of women if they believe they can get away with it.

What’s frightening, however, is the frequency with which these statements come from the people who are supposed to uphold law and order.

Then again, maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the U.S. elected a man to run the country who has no regard for the concept of consent. And that belief has oozed its way through the party and into the judicial system, too.

As Professor Ange-Marie Hancock wrote in The Hill in 2016:

And yet this basic norm [that no means no], this truism, is largely absent from Republican defenses of Donald Trump, perhaps because Trump himself is heard on tape not even bothering to pretend that consent matters: ‘…I just start kissing them. I don’t even wait…’ This statement (and Billy Bush’s chortles) contributes to rape culture – a culture that objectifies women’s bodies and specifically disregards women’s rights and safety. This statement perpetuates a climate of men and women saying ‘boys will be boys,’ or judges deciding the threat of ruining a convicted sex offender like Brock Turner’s right to not have his life ruined outweighs the victim’s right to justice.

Still, pervasive or not, judges are the arbitrators of justice, and it is up to them to adhere to the laws. With the obvious ill-conceived notions that Judge Braun has repeatedly demonstrated regarding consent, assault and violence against women, it is clear that the Canadian Judicial Council needs to remove him from his post.

Rape culture will not end until all of those who are responsible for contributing to it are stopped — and that includes individuals who enforce the law.

Take Action!

Urge the Canadian Judicial Council to rule Judge Jean-Paul Draun unfit to serve by signing this Care2 petition.

Photo Credit: Maranatha Pizarras/Unsplash

68 comments

donald Baumgartner
donald B22 days ago

Charges SHOULD be brought against ALL who assault women & Children, NO time limit !!!

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Ann B
Ann B25 days ago

signed

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Stephanie s
Stephanie sabout a month ago

No and it's rampant. Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie sabout a month ago

No and it's rampant. Thank you

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Chad Anderson
Chad Andersonabout a month ago

Thank you!

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a month ago

Thanks!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cABVKIPk_u0

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Veronica D
Veronica Danieabout a month ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica D
Veronica Danieabout a month ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica D
Veronica Danieabout a month ago

Thank you so very much.

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA Rabout a month ago

I will keep quiet about Croatia... :(( Petition signed & shared. Thank you!

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