Everywhere you turn there is a culture clash over the sexual revolution. Consent laws are currently being reviewed in NSW, while Germaine Greer has been widely slammed for suggesting rapists should receive lesser punishments.
Over in the US, Judge Aaron Persky has been recalled. Persky is the judge who sentenced Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail in 2016 and was widely criticised for leniency. The case was used to make a point about white male privilege and leverage a change in consent laws.
Persky maintained he had adhered to “the rule of law and not the rule of public opinion”. He added, “I believe strongly in judicial independence. I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, not to appease politicians or ideologues.”
Ultimately, his decision was unpopular with the popular mood that called for his scalp. Now they have it.
The last time a US judge was recalled was 1977; this is the first California judge to be recalled since 1932. As county judges in California are elected, if a petition to remove them gathers enough signatures a vote is held. It’s reported he will be replaced by Cindy Hendrickson (an assistant district attorney who publicly supported the recall campaign).
“We voted today against impunity for high-status perpetrators of sexual assault and domestic violence,” chair of Recall Persky and Stanford law professor Michelle Daubner said. “In this historic moment, when women’s rights are under attack, the women and many men of this country stood our ground.”
Both victim and perpetrator in the Turner case were intoxicated.
After this case, the law was expanded defining consent and penalties were increased for offenders who assault unconscious victims.
In the cold light of day, it’s easy to agree with this in principle but it simply does not reflect the complexity of modern sex.
A title case at the University of Cincinnati is riddled with such issues and underlines the potential minefield of policing sex, especially on campuses. The case has been summarized by Reason magazine as, “Male and female student have a drunken hookup. He wakes up, terrified she’s going to file a sexual misconduct complaint, so he goes to the Title IX office and beats her to the punch. She is found guilty and suspended.”
This kind of panicked speedy response after a drunken hook-up can now mean the difference between being labelled victim or perpetrator.
Of course, this was not what happened in the Turner case but it serves as a timely reminder of the troubling complexity of mutually non-consensual sex. The way these cases are interpreted and pre-existing gender bias is pivotal – and that sits in the hands of the judge.
If two drunken students hook up, sometimes, there is no victim until someone decides to take action the following morning.
None of us wants to trivialise sex crimes. But this discussion hinges on no one seeing through a filter of women being passive victims and men being evil perpetrators. The Duluth model should not be applied to all legal cases and it’s dangerous when politics sits before anyone as a judge.
If Judge Persky’s dismissal highlights one thing let it be the raging power the progressive left has taken over the judiciary and brainwashing the masses.
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