Hear My Voice: No, Judge Low, Great Men Do Not Rape

What a great guy, the judge said, as he sentenced the convicted rapist to life in prison for his crimes.
04/15/2017 01:01 am ET Updated Apr 15, 2017
Jan Erickson

Attributing this to the Trump effect is too easy because it’s gone on far longer than the so-called new guy has been alive. And yet as evidenced by the videotape about kissing we’ve all seen, his behavior seems to give men cover for their own behavior, as they assume all females appreciate their pathetic advances. But here’s the thing, for some of these cretins, it doesn’t stop with pathetic advances.

Take the judge in Utah who felt it was his duty to offer some words of support when sentencing a convicted rapist, telling everyone listening what a great man the rapist really is. It was a mistake, after all, the ten counts of forcible sexual abuse and the one count of object rape, a Bishop in the Mormon church no less. What a great guy, the judge said, as he sentenced the convicted rapist to life in prison for his crimes.

Apparently, survivors are a more than a little upset that this same judge let the rapist out of jail before sentencing. The two girls mentioned in the article published in The Guardian were 17 and 19 when they were attacked by this rapist with whom, as a Mormon Bishop, they should have been safe. But he’s a great man who did a bad thing. Eleven counts of bad things, but who’s counting in view of such blinding greatness?

It’s terrifying when a child experiences sexual abuse no matter what the age. The trust we’re supposed to feel for adults gets blown right out of the water the first time a parent or relative, or anyone else for that matter, does the unthinkable. The ground shifts under our feet and nothing is ever the same again. We may be threatened by the predator into silence, afraid that in telling the truth others may suffer the same or worse fate. So we stay silent, the predator winning in the end.

I finally told my mother when I was nine and her response was, never you mind, denying the conversation ever took place some twenty-five years later when I began dealing with what happened. It was like telling all over again but this time she couldn’t tell me to never mind. I’m certain it’s difficult for a mother who doesn’t save her child from a predator. The guilt must be enormous. But it pales in comparison to what a child experiences when her home is unsafe.

Survivors of all kinds of abuse struggled with the recent election of a man who at minimum has some boundary issues with women. And if we believe the various allegations by all the women who came forward then it may be far worse than unhealthy boundaries.

Predators like my own abuser as well as the Mormon Bishop just sentenced see their victims as objects, devoid of any worth. Born an empath, I not only experienced the abuse itself but the vampiric vibration infusing it, knowing it was coming, knowing as a child I could do nothing but leave my body until the predator was gone, feeling the predator’s intention, oozing and tendril-like, all while no one intervened.

It’s hard enough to come forward. If the predator is a family member children are often not believed and fear rejection if they speak their truth. We feel isolated enough, so we survive as best we can. Judges like these cannot be allowed to serve and we’re hearing too much these days about judges with a boys will be boys attitude about violent rape. I know this sounds like hyperbole but when shit like this happens it’s as if the survivor is raped all over again, this time by the judicial system itself. And that’s fucked up.

We’re a mixture of strength and vulnerability, both our silence and our voice making us so. They think we need their permission to speak or to survive what was done to us.

We don’t.

What we need is for the judicial process to unfold in an impartial manner, allowing us to speak our truth in a place of respect and dignity. Judges should be held to a higher standard given their position of authority. Singing the praises of a rapist during sentencing should result in a charge of judicial misconduct and immediate dismissal from the bench.

But with the rapist’s brother comparing him to Jesus during sentencing, I won’t be holding my breath.

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