A Judge In Mexico Said A Man Isn’t Guilty Of Rape Because He “Didn’t Enjoy It”
On Wednesday, Veracruz judicial authorities revealed that Anuar González Hemadi, a judge in Mexico who ruled a man wasn't guilty of rape because he didn't "enjoy it," was suspended. The ruling, which dismissed rape charges against 21-year-old Diego Cruz, stunned both Mexico and the United States alike. And the judge's comments are particularly disturbing given the misogyny underpinning them. Unfortunately, they help explain why so many women choose not to report sexual assault.
In the case, a 17-year-old girl testified that she had allegedly been sexually assaulted by Cruz and three other men after she was forced into a car with them in January 2015. Ultimately, Hemadi ruled that Cruz did not deserve punishment because "an incidental touching or fondling will not be considered sexual acts, if proof is not presented that it was done to satisfy a sexual desire." In other words, the judge viewed the victim's claims as baseless, because Cruz didn't "enjoy himself" during the alleged sexual assault. But whether Cruz enjoyed himself or not isn't the only horrendous thing Hemadi questioned.
Hemadi also exhibited doubts about the victim's condition of powerlessness when she claimed to have had her cellphone taken away from her after being pushed into the car. He claimed that she was not "defenseless" because she was able to move in the vehicle. Whether or not she was able to move, though, fails to consider the fact that she was outnumbered by men who were older than her and in an enclosed area. No one who has been sexually assaulted should ever have to explain why they couldn't overpower their assailants.
According to the New York Times, the victim condemned Hemadi's ruling on Facebook. She said she had nothing to regret. "I’ve gone drinking. I’ve gone to parties. I’ve worn short skirts like many girls my age […] and for that I’m going to be judged?" she wrote.
Misogyny is not limited to Mexico, and Hemadi is not the only man to have dismissed violence against women in favor of the perpetrator. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice released an astounding account of the Baltimore Police Department which, the report claimed, failed to handle sex crimes in the city with appropriate care and consideration.
The report showed how officers allegedly regularly asked sex crime victims questions that made them feel as though they were the ones who did something wrong. According to the report, for instance, one of the questions detectives would ask victims was, "Why are you messing up that guy's life?" The damning report also stated that officers made "minimal to no effort to locate, identify, interrogate, or investigate suspects."
The Baltimore police union responded to the DOJ report by suggesting its own reforms in training and hiring, as well as upgrades to the technology the police department used, according to the Baltimore Sun. Union president Lt. Gene Ryan even sent a letter to Vanita Gupta, who is the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, saying, "Our union as a whole welcomes the Department of Justice and the reforms that they can bring to the Baltimore Police Department to better the agency and Baltimore."
People often wonder why women do not report sexual assault and other forms of violence. When you look at how Hemadi dismissed a victim's claims because he was most concerned with whether Cruz enjoyed himself or not, it becomes clear why so many women never report the violence they go through. It is because the system they turn to for justice entirely and completely abandons them.