Via Broadsheet comes this nauseating story of a judge who believes that if a woman agrees to have sex with one man for money, it’s perfectly okay for several of his friends to gang rape her at gunpoint. Well, wait, not entirely okay — it’s a “theft of services.”
You seriously cannot make this kind of shit up.
A DEFENDANT accused of forcing a prostitute at gunpoint to have sex with him and three other men got lucky, so to speak, last week.
A Philadelphia judge dropped all sex and assault charges at his preliminary hearing.
Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni instead held the defendant on the bizarre charge of armed robbery for – get this – “theft of services.”
Deni told me she based her decision on the fact that the prostitute consented to have sex with the defendant.
“She consented and she didn’t get paid . . . I thought it was a robbery.”
The prostitute, a 20-year-old single mother, agreed to $150 for an hour of oral and vaginal sex on Sept. 20, according to assistant district attorney Rich DeSipio. The arrangements were made through her posting on Craigslist.
She met the defendant, Dominique Gindraw, 19, at what she thought was his house, but which turned out to be an abandoned property in North Philadelphia.
He asked if she’d have sex with his friend, too, and she agreed for another $100.
The friend showed up without money, the gun was pulled and more men arrived.
When a fifth man arrived and was invited to join, DeSipio said, he asked why the girl was crying – and declined. He helped her get dressed so she could leave.
Oh yeah. That sounds like “consent” to me. Don’t women consent to sex with multiple partners in a vacant lot at gunpoint all the time? While crying?
This is a woman we call a “judge.” And yeah, you better believe that she’s judging someone.
Of course you would think — hope — that if any other woman agreed to have sex with a man and then was gang raped at gunpoint by his friends, it would undoubtedly be considered a rape. Deni’s issue, of course, is that the victim is a prostitute. And everyone knows that such a “loose” woman (or a non-virgin, a wife, a black woman . . .) can’t be raped. If you think that Deni’s contempt for the victim is astonishing thus far, keep on reading.
“Did she tell you she had another client before she went to report it?” Deni asked me yesterday when we met at a coffee shop.
“I thought rape was a terrible trauma.”
A case like this, she said – to my astonishment – “minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped.”
The defendant was charged in an identical incident involving a 23-year-old woman four days later, DeSipio said.
Neither woman knew the other and both told identical stories. The other men involved in the attack couldn’t be identified.
DeSipio was so stunned by Deni’s ruling in the first case that he refused to present the second one.
“I wouldn’t demean her that way,” he said of the second victim, calling the proceedings “a farce.”
Judge Deni then threw out the second case for failure to prosecute.
Firstly, “Judge,” I imagine that if the victim did see another client before reporting the rape, it was due to either A. shock (you know, the trauma that she supposedly didn’t feel) or B. an extreme desperation for money. And regardless of her reasoning, the last time I checked, even waiting ten days (or any other amount of time) to report a rape and having sex several times in the interim doesn’t actually negate the attack.
And since the victim reported the rape, she was obviously traumatized enough to believe that a crime punishable by law had taken place — particularly since admitting that she is a prostitute opens her up to being charged with a crime herself. But allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment and pretend, as Deni suggests, that she was not traumatized. Why, exactly, does that make a difference? If a man beats his wife but doesn’t leave bruises, does not mean it’s not abuse? If a rob someone, but the victim doesn’t miss the property I took, does that not make me a thief? Does failing to kill someone mean that you weren’t actually drunk driving? Is it okay to burn down someone’s house because their homeowners’ insurance will take care of it? I would certainly hope that the answer to all of these questions would be a resounding no.
Quite simply, though the impact caused by the crime may influence sentencing, it does not, nor should it ever, be the determination of whether or not a crime took place. And again, the victim does in fact seem to be pretty fucking traumatized.
More evidence that despite what you may think, we do in fact live in a rape apologist culture. How else would such judges stay on the bench? Why else would we allow it? And yes, I am particularly disheartened by the fact that a female judge could internalize such misogyny.