An Instagramer has compiled 10 sentences which testify to the lack of consideration for the victims of rape on the part of certain magistrates Victim blaming, ignorance of the impact of sexual violence … These sentences prove the urgency of a better support by justice.
When a victim of sexual assault or rape testifies, the question is often asked: why did she not file a complaint? On Instagram, a young woman responds to this criticism by compiling the sentences that some victims have heard during the trial of their attackers. Pronounced by judges, they take into account the still frequent guilt of victims, but also the significance of the myth of “perfect rape”. It amounts to representing sex crimes in a stereotypical way: the rape would be committed by a stranger in a dark place, at night, sometimes at gunpoint. Cases which in reality represent few rapes. Indeed, contrary to popular belief, most rapes and sexual assaults are committed by relatives. This representation harms the victims, as do these hallucinating sentences pronounced by magistrates.
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Banalization of rape and blaming the victims
- “It was a rare type of rape. It’s not like getting jumped on by someone on the street. It happens inside the family and doesn’t know anything publicly”: a judge who reduced the sentence of a man who raped his ex-wife by two years.
The opportunity to recall that marital rape exists and is punished by 20 years in prison in France, since a law of April 2006 strengthening the prevention and repression of violence within the couple.
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- “As the gentlemen on the jury will understand, when a woman says no, she doesn’t always mean it. Men can’t turn their emotions on and off like some women can.”
Beautiful illustration of the representation of an inconstant woman who leads to justify the unqualifiable, here we have the American version of the “Often woman varies, very crazy who relies on it” present since François 1er, that the king even had engraved on the stained glass windows of the castle of Chambord. We also find the stereotype of the man subject to his impulses, which is not based on any scientific reality and simply serves to establish male domination.
- “Sometimes pain and sex go together”
- “Why didn’t you keep your knees closed? Why didn’t you plunge your body into the pelvis so that it couldn’t penetrate you?”
- “If someone doesn’t want sexual interaction, the body locks in. The body doesn’t allow that to happen unless they are hurt a lot. In this case, even though the victim wasn’t particularly consenting, she did not struggle ”
The phenomena of hold or bewilderment can lead to a disconnection between body and mind. Often triggered during a sexual assault, these physical reactions are a frequent source of questioning for victims.
- “She admitted that she used to do dirty things. It seems that she was inherently abnormal and had sexual instincts from a young age.”
The idea that because a person is used to certain practices, they are always ready to go, is frequently mobilized in cases of sexual violence. In particular, when they are exercised against women who have had several partners, or against sex workers. It is essential to underline that the consent to a sexual act is reversible: one can refuse something that one has hitherto accepted.
- “She’s a young girl, 17. Maybe she’s a little overweight but she has a pretty face, right? She felt a little flattered. Maybe it was the first time he was interested in her. “ Apparently the 49-year-old abuser “was attractive and did not look his age”.
Grossophobia and trivialization of the attraction to young underage girls combine to call into question the victim’s testimony. As a reminder, rape is not a question of attraction or desire but an act of domination.
- “You have shown interest and consideration by providing contraception” : a judge congratulating a rapist for bringing a condom. The rapist received a reduced sentence of three years.
- “Because the victim did not make gestures to signify her refusal to her partner, this can hardly be considered a plausible case of rape.
- “It seems obvious that this child did not suffer the consequences of these crimes” about an 8 year old girl sexually abused for a year by an already convicted pedophile.
France not left behind when it comes to rape culture
If all these sentences come from the United States, France is unfortunately not left out concerning the culture of rape which interferes in the courts.
- “The grip, it exists. But there are also women whom the power makes hard. The starlet who goes to see a famous producer and says to him ‘I want to become a star’, and the other responds to him ‘okay , but you sleep. ‘If she sleeps, it’s not a rape, it’s a sofa promotion. And I would add that not considering this is to insult all the women who have the courage to say no.”
This sentence was spoken as a commentary on the #MeToo movement by a lawyer who later became Keeper of the Seals by the name of Eric Dupond-Moretti. In France, according to latest figures for 2019, “94,000 adult women say they have been victims of rape and / or attempted rape over a year.” The same report of this survey cited by Release Declare that “Rape remains weakly reported to the police and gendarmerie services. Over the period 2011-2018, 17% of victims of rape or attempted rape declared that they had lodged a complaint.”
Missions: Mathilde is an expert in subjects related to women’s rights and health. Addicted to Instagram and Twitter, never stingy with a good …