Stupid is as stupid does: Judge’s comments about rape

17 Dec

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: One doesn’t know if it is studied ignorance or stupidity that makes some folk say the most interesting things. Moi reports, you decide. Here is the source of moi’s being perplexed. AP is reporting in the article, Calif. judge says victims’ body can prevent rape:

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California judge is being publicly admonished for saying a rape victim “didn’t put up a fight” during her assault and that if someone doesn’t want sexual intercourse, the body “will not permit that to happen.”

The California Commission on Judicial Performance voted 10-0 to impose a public admonishment Thursday, saying Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson’s comments were inappropriate and a breach of judicial ethics.

“In the commission’s view, the judge’s remarks reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not ‘put up a fight.’ Such comments cannot help but diminish public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the judiciary,” wrote Lawrence J. Simi, the commission’s chairman.

Johnson made the comments in the case of a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver, beat her with a metal baton and made other violent threats before committing rape, forced oral copulation, and other crimes. http://www.seattlepi.com/news/crime/article/Calif-judge-says-victims-body-can-prevent-rape-4117130.php#ixzz2FHvaGDsF

It is helpful to have a few definitions in order to make the decision regarding whether the judge’s comments were studied ignorance or stupidity.

Dictionary.com defines stupid as:

stu·pid

adjective, stu·pid·er, stu·pid·est, noun.

adjective

1. lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.

2. characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless: a stupid question.

3. tediously dull, especially due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless: a stupid party.

4. annoying or irritating; troublesome: Turn off that stupid radio.

5. in a state of stupor; stupefied: stupid from fatigue.

The Urban Dictionary defines stupid as:

stupidity

 
Lack of intelligence. The most common thing known to man, followed far behind by hydrogen atoms.

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”-Albert Einstein

Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal Constitution definesstudied ignorance” in the article, Hall’s studied ignorance doesn’t mitigate guilt about former Atlanta Superintendent Hall and the Atlanta cheating scandal:

If that is true — and it probably is — it’s because Hall “most definitely” chose not to know of any widespread cheating.

Hall chose not to look. She chose not to care. She chose to be blind because it suited her own interests to be blind, and her own interests were paramount.

http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2011/07/07/halls-studied-ignorance-doesnt-mitigate-guilt/

In order to determine whether Judge Johnson’s comments were stupid or studied ignorance, one must discuss rape.

Teen’s Health defines rape:

Listen

Rape, sometimes also called sexual assault, can happen to both men and women of any age. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines rape as: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Rape is forced and unwanted. It’s about power, not sex. A rapist uses actual force or violence — or the threat of it — to take control over another human being. Some rapists use drugs to take away a person’s ability to fight back. Rape is a crime, whether the person committing it is a stranger, a date, an acquaintance, or a family member.

No matter how it happened, rape is frightening and traumatizing. People who have been raped need care, comfort, and a way to heal. http://kidshealth.org/teen/safety/safebasics/rape_what_to_do.html

The theory that a woman’s body prevents rape has been around for awhile.

Pam Belluck reported in the New York Times article, Health Experts Dismiss Assertions on Rape:

The idea that during rape, “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” to prevent pregnancy, as Mr. Akin said, has surfaced periodically among anti-abortion advocates over the past two decades, usually involving the term “forcible rape” to refer to what Mr. Akin called “legitimate.”

Dr. John C. Willke, a general practitioner with obstetric training and a former president of the National Right to Life Committee, was an early proponent of this view, articulating it in a book originally published in 1985 and again in a 1999 article. He reiterated it in an interview Monday.

This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight,” Dr. Willke said of a woman being raped, adding, “She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.”

Leading experts on reproductive health, however, dismissed this logic….

Dr. David Grimes, a clinical professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina, said, that “to suggest that there’s some biological reason why women couldn’t get pregnant during a rape is absurd….”

Dr. Willke, 87, asserted yesterday that “way under 1 percent” of rape victims become pregnant, not just because of female biology but because about half of rapists “do not deposit sperm in the vagina.” That, Dr. Willke said, is because many rapists have “a preference for rectal intercourse over vaginal”; experience “premature ejaculation, which is a major factor”; or “some of these guys just plain aren’t fertile.”

But several experts said there is no solid data supporting such contentions. A 1996 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, generally considered one of the few peer-reviewed research efforts on this subject, estimated that 5 percent of rapes result in pregnancy.

Yeah, there are all sorts of hormones, including ones that cause your heart to beat fast when you’re frightened,” said Dr. Greene. But he added, “I’m not aware of any data that says that reduces a woman’s risk of getting pregnant.”

As for the contention that a rape victim’s fallopian tubes tighten, Dr. Grimes, formerly of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “That’s nonsense. Everything is working. The tube is very small anyway and sperm are very tiny — they’re excellent swimmers.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/us/politics/rape-assertions-are-dismissed-by-health-experts.html

Although, not all judges are lawyers, most are. There are certain skills that lawyers have.

LASC.org lists the skills that most successful lawyers possess:

Lawyers and Their Skills

Reading and Listening

Lawyers must be able to take in a great deal of information, often on topics about which they are unfamiliar. The ability to digest information from lengthy, dense texts is essential. Equally important is the ability to listen to clients and understand their unique issues and concerns.

Analyzing

Lawyers must be able to determine the fundamental elements of problems. They spend much time discerning the nature and significance of the many issues in a particular problem. In every issue, the lawyer must study the relationship between each element in order to arrive at an answer, result, or solution.

Synthesizing

Lawyers must have the ability to organize large amounts of material in a meaningful, focused, and cogent manner. The complexities of many issues and the number of laws either directly or tangentially relevant make this kind of organization crucial.

Advocating

As an advocate, the lawyer’s role is to represent his or her client’s particular point of view and interests as vigorously as possible….

Counseling

Lawyers also spend a good deal of their time giving clients legal advice….

Writing and Speaking

Whether in the courtroom or the law office, lawyers must be effective communicators. If lawyers could not translate thoughts and opinions into clear and precise English, it would be difficult for the law to serve society. After all, the law is embodied in words, and many of the disputes that give birth to laws begin with language—its meaning, use, and interpretation. Litigation leads to written judicial opinions; congressional enactments are recorded as printed statutes; and even economic transactions must be expressed as formal, written contracts.

Negotiating

One of the lawyer’s primary roles is reconciling divergent interests and opinions. When the parties to a proposed transaction disagree, the lawyer, acting as a facilitator, may be able to help them negotiate to a common ground. Although the client’s interests are a lawyer’s first priority, often those interests are served best after compromise and conciliation have paved the way to an equitable settlement. Because lawyers are trained to see the implications of alternative courses of action, they are often able to break an impasse. http://www.lsac.org/jd/think/lawyers-skills.asp

So, in answer to whether Judge Johnson’s comments were stupid or studied ignorance? Moi says a bit of both.

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

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