*CONTENT NOTICE: sexual assault and fat-shaming
A 17-year-old young woman in Canada was sexually assaulted by her taxi driver. The 49-year-old driver, Carlo Figaro, tried to kiss the victim, licked her face, and groped her according to her testimony. The trial was presided over by Quebec court Judge Jean-Paul Braun and, while he ultimately found Figaro guilty, he first took the opportunity to try to chip away at the idea of consent, engage in fat-shaming, and perpetuate the extremely disturbing idea that sexual assault can be viewed as a favor to fat women.
During the trial, the judge said “The consent to kiss someone is not the same as the consent to put, as they say, his hand in the basket.”
In fact, consent should be required for all sexual touching — including having your face licked by a taxi driver.
As for the victim, the judge felt the need to share with the entire courtroom “You could say she’s a little overweight, but she has a pretty face, huh?” He then suggested that the victim might have been “flattered” because “it is perhaps the first time that someone is interested in her.”
A world in which fatphobia suggests that fat women are undesirable, and then uses that as a defense of sexually assaulting fat women isn’t new. Quantisia Sharpton was one of the several women who accused R&B singer Usher of not disclosing his herpes diagnosis before having sex with them. No sooner did Ms. Sharpton appear in public, than the Internet attempted to build a “defense” for Usher based on nothing but fat shaming — insisting on his innocence based on the premise that Usher would never have sex with a fat woman. As BET pointed out, this was layered with elements of racism, including the view of Black women as less innocent than white women.
The #MeToo hashtag, initially started by Taranda Burke and recently re-ignited by Alyssa Milano, continues to encourage people to come forward with their stories. And this ugly relationship between fatphobia and sexual assault makes the situation far more difficult for fat victims who want to speak up. We can all see fat-shaming cyberbullies use sexual assault in their abuse, whether they say that nobody would even rape a fat woman, or suggest that a rapist would be doing a fat woman a favor. There are also some who suggest that fat women can’t be raped, which Beck Cooper addressed beautifully in her spoken word piece “Rape Prevention Potluck”
And, it’s not just internet trolls, but also people ranging from fans of Usher to Canadian court judges. The fear of not being believed looms over sexual assault victims of all size, but if you know that people believe it’s impossible for someone your size to be the victim of sexual assault, if you know that if you take your abuser to trial a judge might suggest that you were (or should have been) flattered by sexual attention of any kind, if you have seen a perpetrator of sexual assault be supported by people because they don’t want to believe that he would have sex with a fat person, it can take the fear of opening up about what happened to you to a whole other level.
It’s in this way that the #MeToo movement isn’t the same for, and isn’t necessarily inclusive of, fat people.
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6 thoughts on “Judge Fat-Shames Sexual Assault Victim”
Wow. Just awful. I like how you put “president” in quotes. Very appropriate!
So completely disgusting and inappropriate for a judge to make such comments.
Last night I watch the premiere of the tv sit com ‘MOM’ – I was shocked and appalled to see actress Jaime Presley in a FAT SUIT. I almost cried. I won’t be watching that show again. 😦
I’ m done with “Mom” too. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. That grotesque rubber face didn’t resemble anything human. But of course, this is how Hollywood views fat people, as subhuman monsters.
Not surprised, wish I could be, but somewhere in the sick, miss-informed sexist, size-est, collective semi-unconsciousness of the world is the view that fat in a woman is so offensive, disgusting, unholy, unwholesome, unwanted and reject-able that a rapist, a RAPIST would be demeaning HIMSELF to touch one.
Does it get worse? Something like the little girls are sexy and if you can’t avoid being raped lie back and enjoy it mode of non-thought?
I am sure that this all stems from the appallingly sexist societies we live in. The fact is if it had been a MAN being raped, or groped by another MAN, it would be viewed with far more alarm and disgust.
Our society is so geared toward male desire and female compliance/submission you can’t get from one end of your day to the other without being reminded just how little value women and girls have as opposed to men and how men feel and seek to encourage other men to feel that they are entitled to do what ever they want to women, and then not be held accountable for their actions.
I wonder if in some ways dehumanizing a person is actually de-Maning them. That the concept of mankind, human being and person is MAN, and usually white man, while every one who isn’t is “other”.
Men have been “othering” women for ages and I doubt it is going to stop anytime soon. I sincerely hope the recent exposure of high profile men and their abusive, demeaning actions against so many women they perceive as their property, to do with as they please, bring this subject into sharp relief and makes people, who have just sort of nodded at the disgusting way men treat people who are not men, take notice and decide all people, not just MEN, deserve Human Rights.
Way far more alarm and disgust would be a MAN being raped or groped by a FAT WOMAN. Add other intersections to get your preferred flavor of alarm and disgust. Disability? Trans? Immigrant? Soup it up.
For some reason, a man being groped, raped, or even merely hit on, by a woman he does not want seems to fill so many men with abject horror. On the other hand, a conventionally pretty woman molesting a teenage boy seems to be “Whoot! You da man! You player, you, seducing a grown-up woman, while still a child, yourself. Woot!” which is just disgusting.
I used to like the song, “Fat Bottomed Girls,” until I really listened to the lyrics in that first verse, and now, eeeeewwwwww. And not because she was fat, but because she was an adult and in a position of authority over a child.
Once upon a time, I read a fantasy novel, whose name I can’t even remember, nor the plot. But I do remember a scene where the hero and heroine are traveling, and for some reason, the heroine is dressed as a boy. She is almost raped by a man, and the hero is absolutely horrified. Is he absolutely horrified because he witnessed the heroine being almost raped? NOPE. He’s absolutely horrified because, “But, he thought you were a boy!” So, he had not problem with the man almost raping a WOMAN, but a male? NOPE! I did love the heroine pointing that out to him, and calling him on his sexism. He had the grace to be ashamed, when he realized that he would have been fine with seeing his partner be raped, if the man doing the raping had been aware she was female. Once he realized that it would have been wrong to do to a male, it was a short step for him to realize it would also be a wrong thing to do to a female, and once pointed out to him, he actually started to become a decent human being. BUT IT HAD TO BE POINTED OUT TO HIM, FIRST!!!
What we’re seeing here is just the same old Slut Defense given a fatphobic modern spin. She’s a Bad Girl so she was asking for it, but at the same time, she’s a Bad Girl so no Good Man could ever view her with anything but revulsion. The shape and consistency of the turd changes, but at its core, it’s just the same old shit.