Dear Former Federal Court Judge Robin Camp,
Your story made headlines back in 2014 when you asked a 19-year-old rape victim one question that sparked international outrage:
“Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?”
Three years later, you finally resigned after hearing the Canadian Judicial Council made the official decision to remove you from office. And three years later, those eight words still continue to make my skin crawl.
So why write this now?
Because THREE YEARS is way too long for any woman to wait for justice, for any rapist to walk free, and for a corrupt judge to serve on a court that is supposed to protect the innocent. In the meantime, you were promoted from a provincial to a federal judge, thus increasing your capacity to cultivate a rape culture that nonchalantly proclaims “she was asking for it.”
I think what disturbs me even more is knowing that this is not an isolated incident or perspective. The question you posed publicly is the one that way too many pose in private. They just dare not vocalize it.
But you dared.
And in response, we ROARED.
Judge to woman in rape case: “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” http://cnn.it/2cVf51O
Posted by CNN on Tuesday, September 13, 2016
As is always the circumstance when a rape case like this comes to light, the public lashed back in anger, shock and disgust that you dare ask why she didn’t just close her knees, “skew her pelvis” or push her butt into the sink to avoid being penetrated.
As with Brock Turner, the overwhelming support from strangers is pretty astonishing when something like this is exposed.
And we’re also teaching men to “protect themselves” rather than encouraging them to protect women. Allow me to do a quick recap of a few of your choice phrases during the trial.
“Young wom[e]n want to have sex, particularly if they’re drunk,” you said.
“I want you to tell your friends, your male friends, that they have to be far more gentle with women. They have to be far more patient. And they have to be very careful. To protect themselves, they have to be very careful.”
But that wasn’t all…
Then for your finishing touch:
“Sex and pain sometimes go together…that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
Ohhhh NOW I’m fuming.
And lastly, “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?”
Well Former Justice Camp, now I have a few questions for you.
So the drunk girl who was being dragged through a parking lot in Calgary screaming to get away while the man claimed he was going to call her dad—she wanted it? Was her tiny frame supposed to evade the forceful grip of a full-grown man?
When he ripped off her skirt, bent her over against the stairs and started raping her plain sight, was she supposed to just “skew her pelvis” to avoid penetration?
Or should we be charging men of twice her size and strength to “keep it their pants” and protect instead of violate the vulnerable?
Should we be teaching girls not to be raped or raising men like the four skateboarders who saw that she could do nothing against this man’s power and took matters into their own hands by pummeling him to the ground until police came?
Or men like Florida Gators linebacker Cristian Garcia who stopped a man from raping a drunk, unconscious girl behind a dumpster by prying him off with his own hands?
Or men like the Swedes on bikes who are the reason Brock Turner was stopped, caught and convicted?
Why aren’t we teaching men to use their hands to protect instead of teaching women to use their knees to defend?
We need to thwart this progressing rape culture that says “she wanted it” and that a man shouldn’t have to pay for “20 minutes of action.”
You said your knowledge of Canadian criminal law was “non-existent” and that you “didn’t know what you didn’t know”—but does it really take a law expert to know that violating and disposing of a woman like a Raggedy Ann is a crime, or that rape is an act of a few minutes that scars for a lifetime?
In a society that continues to downplay the horrifying reality of rape, I hope that these are the questions that you start to ask yourself instead.
Instead of reasoning away the actions of rapists and questioning the defenses of victims, we need to raise a generation of men who keep “their pelvis” where it belongs—men who are protectors, defenders and, most of all, the voice that says “NO” when hers is not loud enough.