Judge: Man Not a "Classic Rapist," Totally Doesn't Deserve Punishment
There are all sorts of things you can describe as classic: classic rock, classic cars, classic novels...and classic rapists? This week, a judge in the UK, upon sentencing a man to five years in prison for raping a sleeping woman, lamented that he had to impose such a harsh sentence on someone who isn't "a classic rapist." That sound you hear is me wailing my frustration into the abyss.
After Lee Setford was found guilty of having sex without consent with a woman sleeping on his couch, Judge Michael Mettyear said to Setford at his sentencing,
It's sad to see a man of generally good character on the dock for such a serious offense. I do not regard you as a classic rapist. I do not think you are a general danger to strangers. You are not the type who goes searching for a woman to rape. This was a case where you just lost control of normal restraint. She was a pretty girl who you fancied. You simply could not resist. You had sex with her.
If anyone ever asks me for a primer on rape culture, from now I am going to point them to this statement right here. Because really, it's all in there. The idea that rapists could never be nice-seeming people? Check. The idea that rapists aren't people you know but strangers prowling dark alleys for victims? Check. Acting like rapists aren't making a conscious decision to hurt someone but rather just "losing control"? Check. Excusing a man's behavior because obviously if he wanted to have sex, why should anyone care what she wanted? Check. Normalizing rape by making it sound like something any reasonable man would do at some point? Check.
Like I said, rape culture in a nutshell. And the fact that this was said by a judge makes it even worse. It's almost as bad as that time a judge here in the US let a man who raped a minor off because the girl was "older than her chronological age."
Far be it from me to insert some actual facts into all these assumptions, but for the record: Most rape victims know their attacker; they didn't bump into him in a dark alley. In fact, women are much more likely to be raped by a friend or intimate partner than by a stranger. Also, men are not mindless beings incapable of controlling their desires. Men who choose to pursue their desires without caring about or respecting other people are just as culpable for their actions as the rest of us.
And lastly, it doesn't fucking matter if a girl is pretty or if a guy likes her, the only time two people should be having sex is if they both want to be having sex. If they both want to. Sex is not a thing guys go out an attain by any means possible. When a girl is unconscious, it isn't some sort of awesome cheat code to get around having to convince her to sleep with you.
And yet, so many freaking guys seem to think along these lines, and our culture just excuses it as normal "boys will be boys" type stuff. Which, of course, just makes them more likely to continue to think that way and act accordingly.
So actually, Judge Mettyear, if you want to know what a "classic rapist" looks like, it probably looks exactly like Lee Setford.