“I’m not a gynecologist, but…”

No shit you’re not a gynecologist. No one with any real knowledge of or expertise in the functioning of the female anatomy would think what you just had the mindlessness to say what this guy just said out loud.

Derek Johnson, a California judge, has been sanctioned by the state’s Commission on Judicial Performance for being a time traveler from a previous and less enlightened age. He’s been reprimanded for saying, in a judgment in a rape case, that the victim didn’t put up enough of a fight against her attacked, going on to say,

“I’m not a gynecologist, but I can tell you something: If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case.”

The law of the state of California doesn’t require the victim to prove that he or she put up a fight, and this hasn’t been the case since 1980. So even though Johnson’s views sound medieval, he may only be visiting us from the Reagan era.

What really got me was this, though:

Johnson, a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney’s sex crimes unit, said during the man’s 2008 sentencing that he had seen violent cases on that unit in which women’s vaginas were “shredded” by rape.

Worst. Mansplaining. Ever.

The Commission said that Johnson’s remarks “reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not ‘put up a fight.'” It concluded that “such comments cannot help but diminish public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the judiciary.”

This year has been a bumper year for people in power saying awful, outdated, hurtful and damaging things about rape. Really, just a hell of a year. It looks like Team Say Appalling Shit About Something They Don’t Understand is trying to squeeze a few more in before the calendar flips over. Maybe they’re shooting for a record or something. But on behalf of all decent people everywhere, please stop. Just stop.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

Read more about Chloe

Join the Conversation