“Why Couldn’t You Just Keep Your Knees Together?

Robin Camp, a Canadian judge, was just recently reported to be asking a woman, ultimately the victim, during a rape case why she couldn’t keep her knees together.

Rightfully so, Camp is now in the midst of a week-long judicial counsel hearing which will decide if he will or will not remain a judge in the Canadian Federal Court.

“Young women want to have sex, particularly if they’re drunk”, said Camp, who later added that “some sex and pain sometimes go together.”

The problem with this goes beyond the old-age ideal that a rape is the victim’s fault. The bigger problem lies within the fact that people of significant government power, like a federal court judge, have maintained this mentality even after countless stories of rape and sexual assault have been showcased in the media and even our high school and college classrooms.

According to RAINN.org,  there are an average 288,820 victim’s (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States, the majority of victims being between the ages of 18 and 34. That’s about one in six women who have been victims of attempted or completed rape.

Picture this, six of the most important women in your life, your mother, your sisters, aunts, cousins. At least one of them, statistically speaking, has been a victim of attempted or completed rape. Men are victims or rape as well, an average one in 33 men have reported being victims of complete or attempted rape.

Also according to RAINN.org, 94% of women who are raped experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms during the two weeks following the rape and approximately 70% of rape or sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime.

Camp, how on earth could you tell this woman, who was a victim of rape, that some sexual intercourse should naturally result in pain? Not only are you promoting some bizarre misogynistic agenda which plays into some wonderful ideologies a victim-blaming society encourages, but you are doing so IN A FEDERAL COURT.

If you wanted to, you could suggest that this is literally an entire country saying it’s O.K. to rape or sexually assault because this happened in a federal court and a federal court is meant to represent a country as a whole.

And then you could ask well does this man have any daughters or a wife and if he did would he react differently if this happened to them? But, the problem with that question, is that a man shouldn’t have to have a direct connection to something like this to take it seriously – especially if he is a judge.

There are a ton of issues here and I’m really losing my mind trying to grapple with it.

A few years ago a woman named Grace Brown founded a project titled Project Unbreakable, which pairs an image of a rape or sexual assault victim with a quote, written in their handwriting, that their attacker said to them.

 

“I’m only doing this because you are beautiful”, said one attacker, “Shh… you’ll learn to like it” said another, “you could at least act like you’re enjoying it” said a third.

I don’t know about you but just reading these words, hearing survivors talk at survivor speak out events, and just imagining the sheer horror which must’ve ran through these human’s bones as these things happened to them, brings literal tears to my eyes.

So, while victims are growing more and more comfortable coming out and sharing their stories, and the media is shedding more and more light on these types of issues, why are there still so many people who would look a victim of rape or sexual assault in the eye and say, “why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” ?