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A Judge Said A 17-Year-Old Was 'Flattered' By Harassment Because She Was 'Overweight'

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During a recent sexual assault trial in Quebec, judge Jean-Paul Braun made comments suggesting that a 17-year-old complainant was ‘flattered’ by the attention of her accused sexual assailant, VICE News reports.

In May, Braun found 49-year-old taxi driver Carlo Figaro guilty of sexually assaulting a 17-year old passenger. According to the young woman, Figaro has stopped the car near her house, licked her face and, while she tried to get out and push him away, he touched her breasts and genitals and began to unbutton her shirt. Figaro denied any sexual contact and hasn't yet received a sentence, only an accusation of guilt in May.

Braun’s exact words? “[She’s] a bit overweight, but she has a pretty face.” He went as far as to call the non-consensual sexual contact as “acceptable.”

As for Figaro? "He looks good and doesn't seem his age,” the judge said. “He has nice manners and that he likes to wear cologne: with Versace when he goes out, and with other less-expensive colognes during the week."

Judges are supposed to be impartial, unbiased decision-makers who pursue justice. Braun’s comments did neither. Public officials agree. According to CBC News, Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée has called these comments "unacceptable." She's also filing a complaint —but that body, Quebec's magistrates council, has declined to comment.

The court is currently debating what qualifies as consent and whether Figaro received consent from the 17 year old. In Canada, the age of consent is 16 years old, raised from 14 in 2006. In the US, many states have an age of consent of 18. Consent culture is anything but simple, and that’s not okay.

With the recent unfolding of Harvey Weinstein’s scandals, sexual harassment has become terrifyingly common and prevalent in our society. It’s on us to end it. This begins with our words (such as #metoo).

...and continues with the language that we use to describe victims of sexual assault. Let’s work to heal, not to wound.


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