Victims of rape or sexual assault. They rarely come forward. They rarely seek justice. They rarely identify the person responsible. They would rather keep their incident to themselves b/c they are usually blamed for it or not believed at all.

Why? B/c they find it difficult to cope with, and sometimes, believe that they will get past it one day. Sometimes, they are in denial. Sometimes, they believe that it will just go away if they act like it didn’t happen.

The truth is that victims, or survivors, don’t realize that something you don’t or can’t face will pop up and manifest itself in other ways and in other parts of their lives at a later time.

So, imagine my surprise when a judge boldly and outwardly blamed a victim in court for her own sexual assault. As if she could have done anything differently than what she did. Article here.

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Story Recap:

A New Jersey judge has been “recommended” for a 3-month suspension without pay when he asked a woman if she could have closed her legs to stop her sexual assault.

The state’s Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct for suspension after a 45-page report, read it here, details the judge’s conduct towards the woman.

Judge John Russo Jr.’s behavior was said to be described by the panel as “an emotional immaturity wholly unbefitting the judicial office and incompatible with the decorum expected of every jurist” according to The Hill. 

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The panel couldn’t decide if the suspension should be three or six months, but they will make a final ruling on July 9th. 

Back in 2016, a woman was seeking a restraining order when the judge so heinously questioned her ability to close her legs to prevent the sexual assault from happening. 

According to The Hill, a Buzzfeed article reported, “The victim claimed during the hearing that a man physically and verbally abused her, threatened to burn her house down, stole from her, threatened to take her daughter away and forced her to have sex with him against her will.”

💥TRIGGER WARNING!!! TRIGGER WARNING!!!💥

Russo is quoted in the court transcript as asking the woman if she knew how to “stop somebody from having intercourse with you.”

The woman said she would try to physically harm her attacker, tell them no or try to flee.

Anything else?” Russo asked in her the transcript obtained by NJ.com

“I — that’s all I know,” the woman said.

Block your body parts?” Russo said. “Close your legs? Call the police? Did you do any of those things?” according to The Hill.

💥TRIGGER WARNING!!! TRIGGER WARNING!!!💥

Russo, who is a family court judge, stated that the document didn’t contain facts, but instead contained inaccuracies because the document didn’t reflect how he actually handled the matter while in court. 

According to the Hill, “Russo has been on paid administrative leave since May 2017 before returning to work at a different court earlier this year, Ashbury Park Press reported. His salary at the time of his removal was $165,000 a year, but was increased to $173,000 when all judges were granted raises on July 1, the outlet reported.”

The Hill reports, “Three other incidents of alleged misconduct were recorded in the complaint against the judge. 

  • Russo is accused of trying to use his judicial office to influence [the] scheduling of a personal legal matter, the Asbury Park Press reported in 2018. 
  • Russo additionally is accused of failing to rescue himself from a spousal support case between a couple he knew.
  • The complaint also claims that Russo maintained improper communications with only one of two parties in a paternity matter.
  • Russo also faces a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed in March from a former law clerk, NJ.com reported.”

A Rant in my Spirit:

downloadListen, Judge Jerk…

I don’t know who taught you compassion, empathy, or how to be unbiased and non-judgmental, but they FAILED!! 😠😠

Where do you get off asking a victim of rape if she closed her legs as if that would stop a rapist? Who do you think you are to question what she did to prevent the incident? 

If someone is attacking her, especially if that person is bigger than her, she could do everything she can think of to stop it, and it will still happen. 

The point here is that you don’t get to question what she did b/c that rape wasn’t her fault. Nothing she did or ever will do can place that blame on her. 

That rape incident was the fault of the RAPIST! Period! That’s where the onus lies, not on the victim. PERIOD! 

  • I don’t care if she was walking down the street stark naked, not a piece of clothing in sight. She didn’t deserve to be raped! 
  • I don’t care if she consented to sex, then in the middle of the act, changed her mind and said 🗣NO! She didn’t deserve to be raped! 
  • I don’t care if she went out on a date and ordered the most expensive thing on the menu. She didn’t owe him sex nor did she deserve to be raped! 
  • I don’t care if they were fooling around or making out and he got turned on, then she said 🗣NO! She didn’t deserve to be raped! 

See a pattern here?! I don’t care what she did, this will never EVER be her fault!

It’s not about the clothes she wore or didn’t wear. It’s not about the way she was acting. It’s not about the way, she flirted with him. It’s not about the way she danced to the music. It’s not about the lie she told about her age. It’s not about how much she drank at the party. 

The point here is that she’s not responsible for stopping another person’s actions nor should she be responsible for the actions of RAPIST. 

With that said and b/c you’ve been accused of misconduct before, you should have been fired! 

I really wonder if the victim was a black or brown woman b/c I highly doubt that he would have asked that question of someone that was of European descent. I mean, I don’t want to go here, but we know how certain people are when it comes to women, but especially when it comes to women of color. 

In closing, I hope this never happens again! You are the very reason that women don’t come forward and cowards get away with rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, which means you’re part of the problem. 

I don’t have a single, solitary word of advice for you except… next time, keep your big mouth shut and do your job! 

😠😠