Arizona Judge Jacqueline Hatch Apologizes For Chiding Sex Abuse Victim

judge jacqueline hatch apology

When a Toronto police officer told students last year that they "should avoid dressing like sluts" to stay safe, women took to the streets in protest, ultimately forcing him to apologize. A similar outcry has erupted in response to the comments of an Arizona judge, who when sentencing a man for groping a woman, also told the victim that if she hadn't been in the bar that night, she wouldn't have been groped at all.

And in this case, the judge offered up an apology too.

In July, a jury found Robb Gary Evans, a 43-year-old Department of Public Safety officer, guilty of felony sexual abuse for walking up behind a woman in a bar, putting his hand up her skirt, and fondling her. Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch sentenced him to two years' probation, community service and treatment, reports the Arizona Daily Sun. After his conviction, the DPS fired him.

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But Hatch also had some words for the victim. "If you wouldn't have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you," the Sun reported the judge as saying. Hatch went on to urge all women to be vigilant. Even going to the grocery store after 10 p.m., the judge said, could put a woman at risk.

Many thought Hatch's lecture inappropriately implied that the victim was responsible for the abuse that she suffered, and contributes to a culture of "victim-blaming" that discourages women from coming forward when they're sexually assaulted or raped. A petition on the social action platform, urging Hatch to resign, has garnered over 15,000 signatures. The victim in the groping incident told the Daily Sun that she simply wanted an apology.

And on Friday, she got it. Hatch wrote in a statement that her comments went against her belief that all victims and defendants be "treated fairly and in a respectful manner" and that "victims should not be blamed for coming forward to report crimes."

More: Man Interviewing For Police Job Admits To Abusing Child

"I apologize to the victim for any additional anguish my comments may have caused," she said. "It was never my intention to make a situation worse for any victim."

When it comes to sexual assault, victim-blaming has a particularly inglorious history in America's courtrooms. Until the late '70s and early '80s, it was common for lawyers to use the "loose woman" defense, and details of the victim's sexual history were permitted as evidence. In order to avoid being placed on trial themselves, many rape victims chose not to report their rapes.

The issue of victim-blaming reached the mainstream last year, when women around the world -- often in provocative outfits -- marched in "SlutWalks," protesting the idea that a woman's appearance or behavior should ever be used to explain or excuse violence done to her.

Constable Michael Sanguinetti, the Toronto police officer whose comments sparked the movement, also later apologized. "I am embarrassed by the comment I made and it shall not be repeated," he said. And when the niece of the Toronto mayor and former Lingerie Football League player Krista Ford tweeted last month that a woman should protect herself from sexual assault by not dressing "like a whore," the subsequent social media frenzy forced her to backtrack too.

"I didn't mean to cause such an alarm and I apologize if I did," she tweeted. "I just want women to be safe."

Slut March 2011

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I was raised to always be respectful of women and I would never tell anyone they can't go anywhere they want but they also have to take responsibility for their actions. The judge made a valid point that if you go somewhere where these incidents take place on a regular basis, you need to accept that you are more at risk there than in a church.
I would never wear a meat shirt in a lion's den.

June 19 2013 at 10:23 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

and now, perhaps, her honor would reconsider overriding the jury's sentencing recommendations.... after all, this is a felony sexual offense. jail time *is* in order.

December 12 2012 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No person, regardless of gender should ever have to be "careful" of where they chose to be, when it comes to a bar or other public place. A society that blames the victim of a crime, for just happening to be there, is a society that has it's safety priorities backwards. The criminal should never be able to defend their unlawful actions by implying that the victims presence was the sole reason they committed their crime.

September 13 2012 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to IVAN's comment

Interesting topic.
My wife and I hosted high school age exchange students, and got to know other families that did the same. One of the Brazillian girls wore her usual SHORT dance skirts to school, and at the two week group meeting, complained about all the attention she was getting from "the wrong kind of boys", (her words!) We (group) asked how she thought she was dressed compared to the other girls. She thought a few seconds, and realized she was dressed differently... She changed her outfits, and started attracting the "right kind". Is that too politically incorrect to say? FYI, those dance skirts became quite popular in the USA about 9 years later; Brazillian shoe styles only took about 6 years.

Our Spanish girl talked about her parents beach house on the Mediterranean, and how she and her friends all went topless, and yes, played beach volleyball. The locals kids were all quite surprised, and asked questions like "don't people look at you?" and she replied "Yes, so? When you are in your swimsuits, don't people look at you?" Ummm.

I guess when-in-Rome-do-as-the-Romans-do still applies?

September 13 2012 at 4:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to M's comment

At what point in this rubbish analogy does the person get assaulted? And if this is the cultural conversation that parents are hosting, then I feel bad for the exchange students. That is not healthy.

December 12 2012 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jill_mo's comment

Why exactly do you think these exchange students come here and we go there if not to have just these type of cultural discussions? The whole point of the exchange program is to expose cultures to one another. It's not a vacation for the students.

June 19 2013 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

Judicial review needs to look at this

September 13 2012 at 3:41 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MIKEY'S SCREEN's comment

Well, the "judge" is in Arizona.

September 13 2012 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

if the guy was rich and goodlooking - ie... celebrity!! --- - would it be a - grope - or a flirt?
just wondering
either way it ,is wrong!!
women want it both ways - as usuall
regular men - BAD

September 13 2012 at 1:38 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

If it looks like a duck, walk likes a duck..........

September 13 2012 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's AZ. People have lost their minds. Next this disgusting example of everything wrong in AZ (and a lot of other places) these days will be telling children it's their fault they were sexually abused. Why should women have to cower in their homes because some men evidently have less self control than animals? And yet, these same hypocrits bash Muslims for the way they treat women. How is this different?

September 12 2012 at 11:45 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sharisez's comment

This is a very biased opinion of AZ. Do you live here as well?

September 13 2012 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's nice to know that females in power can be just as idiotic as everybody else.

September 12 2012 at 10:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Kimberley Morse

I don't know what's more saddening and discouraging, that a female judge would feel it necessary to make these kinds of comments to the victim of a crime AT THE HANDS OF A COP, or that a posse of judgemental and not-very-bright women in this comments section would trip over themselves to agree with her. Incidentally, you morons, there was no discussion about "how she was dressed", this judge was actually positing that women shouldn't be in bars or apparently anywhere else after it's dark under the table. Clothes play a very small part in what puts a target on a woman's back for a rapist. Insecurity about her surroundings or being in an isolated place are the things rapists admit they look for in a victim. As for wagging your fingers at girls who dress like hoochies - really? We're supposed to observe hijab now? You not only disrespect your fellow women with this attitude, you disrespect men with this ignorant assumption that the average man is going to see a short skirt and lose control of himself.

September 12 2012 at 9:37 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kimberley Morse's comment

I happen to enjoy when a woman dresses "provocatively." But this doesn't mean that I am going to use this to justify an assault upon her. No one talks about men exposing their fine physiques and thus causing "women" to grope them. There is a definitive social boundary that no one should ever cross. If you happen to know the person, and you are on intimate terms thereof, perhaps you might do so. But most persons would consider the location where they are first. A public place is not an acceptable local to be doing many of those actions. What a woman or man choses to wear can never be an excuse for a criminal attack. In essence it all comes down to whether it is an appropriate action, or is it something that in good taste one would never do. Reaching up under a womans skirt to "fondle" her, would not even be acceptable to many a mans wife. Even in their own home, let alone a bar.

September 13 2012 at 3:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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