Arizona Judge Jacqueline Hatch Blames Sex Assault Victim: Time To Resign From Bench?Posted: September 7, 2012
Did Judge Jacqueline Hatch, an Arizona judge, and a former Chief Deputy Public Defender, no less, just blame a sexual assault victim for her attack because she went to a bar where an off-duty police officer sexually attacked her when he put his hand up her skirt and grouped her genitals?
And, in response, no doubt, to an online petition for her resignation, Judge Hatch issued an apology today, claiming her words were “poorly communicated”.
Sorry, judge, your words (and your beliefs) were perfectly and clearly articulated when you said to the victim at the defendant’s felony sexual assault sentencing hearing, ” if you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you”. No question, you blamed the victim for the sexual attack.
My word, how do you treat domestic violence victims who wear short skirts or do not leave after the first punch? Or, stay at home moms who do not work outside the home yet ask for spousal support?
And, how many victims will come forward now or even report the crime knowing a Flagstaff judge might blame them?
Blaming a sexual assault victim not only chills reporting, it also further traumatizes the victim, perpetuates the mistaken belief (and myth) that the victim is to blame or somehow responsible, fails to hold the perpetrator responsible, and amounts to the very character assassination that many victims fear will occur if they do come forward.
Judges are the gatekeepers of justice. And, when a judge is unfair, shows bias or lacks impartiality, justice is not served.
A victim’s actions are never the cause or the blame of a sexual attack and should never be considered by judge or jury. Had this been a bar fight, between a bartender and the defendant cop, would we blame the bartender for being at the bar? So, why the different standard? How are the judge’s words not evidence of a serious gender bias and discrimination making one unfit to be a judge?
Maybe, some will buy this judge’s “apology”, but, not this former prosecutor of domestic violence and child abuse cases. Yes, one could expect as I did in many trials, that a defense attorney would blame the victim to get his/her client off, or even, expect an inexperienced attorney unfamiliar with the dynamics of sexual attackers to blame a victim, but, to hear this from a judge who served for over 20 years as a public defender and most recently, as the Chief Deputy Public Defender, creates serious questions about Judge Hatch’s fitness to be a judge.
Judge Hatch also told the victim at the sentencing hearing that “she learned a lesson about vulnerability”. What? Isn’t the “lesson” lecture meant for the wrongdoer? Something a parent or even a judge might say to a teenager who crashes the car after speeding.
And, in her “apology”, the judge still doesn’t get it when she states, “the victim was not to blame in the case, but that all women must be vigilant against becoming victims”. What? Again, she blames victims. Is her worldview that women are victims? Does this judge really believe that sexual assault victims can prevent becoming victims? Or, choose to be rape victims? Tell that to a women who is raped by a rapist who breaks into her home. Or, to a 10 year-old boy who is raped by his football coach. Besides, if “all women” are to be vigilant, what about men? And, vigilant against whom? Men? What does this say about this judge’s opinion of men? Or, their actions?
And, to only give probation to a defendant convicted of a felony (not a misdemeanor) sexual assault, and to not require sex offender registration in light of the circumstances is also concerning. Given that this was a brazen attack on a women in a public place by a former police officer, can we believe this was his first attack? Is 200 hours of community service and two years probation with no jail time or sex offender registration ever appropriate for a felony sexual assault? ( the maximum sentence was 2 1/2 years prison)
Maybe, a wise women said it best, “when you blame others, you give up your power”.
And, when you blame victims, it’s time to give up a judgeship.
Simply my opinion, what say you?
For further reading:
Judge Former Chief Deputy Public Defender http://azdailysun.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/elections/article_165d197b-8110-519e-a7e4-b6ad873a48f8.html
Change.org online Petition seeking Judge Hatch’s resignation (over 17,000 sign petition to date, approx. 2,000 more needed): http://www.change.org/petitions/arizona-supreme-court-judge-jacqueline-hatch-should-step-down-for-unjust-sex-abuse-case
Judge Hatch isn’t alone. Kansas Rep. Pete DeGraaf (really his name) also thinks women are victims and should “plan ahead” and buy insurance for their unwanted pregnancies and rapes. http://www.care2.com/causes/lawmaker-says-women-should-plan-ahead-in-case-of-rape-since-he-carries-a-spare-tire.html
And, the student run and funded TV station at University of Connecticut also apparently blames rape victims and trivializes violence against women. The UConn student TV station aired a comedy sketch of a woman running from a rapist who was subjected to verbal attacks and slurs as she called for help on the campus 911 system. Wow, that video will surely silence victims and promote a rape culture. http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Rape-Video-Causes-UConn-Outcry-138509504.html
Or, watch the 3 minute YouTube video for yourself, the language alone is shocking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4iNw7wVqr0