A lawyer defending a bouncer accused of raping a woman in an alleyway told the victim that she wouldn’t have been raped if she would have just “closed her legs.”
The lawyer, Keith Jefferies, made the remarks during the summing up of the trial in the Wellington District Court in New Zealand. Apparently, the victim was drunk at the time of the rape, which took place in the central business district of the city.
The bouncer, George Pule, allegedly approached the victim and told her that he could get her into the busy nightclub where her friends were partying. As he lead her towards the club entrance, he veered off and ended up taking her down a nearby alley and raping her.
The lawyer alleged in court that the victim of the rape did not struggle nor shout out at the time of the incident. The lawyer said to the court:
“All she would have had to do was to close her legs? it’s as simple as that. Why didn’t she do that? The reason she didn’t do that was because the sex was consensual, as easy as that.”
Jefferies’ comments have caused outrage in some circles. Natalie Gousmett from the Wellington Rape Crisis Center said the comments were a “horrific” attempt to shift the blame fro the rape onto the victim.
She also referred to the famous “Roadbuster” case in Auckland, which saw a group of youths bragging online about having group sex with minors. “It is an example of victim-blaming comments and rape culture, which we’ve seen all too much in the last week and a half. It’s very offensive obviously, and harmful for the victim and her family,” she said.
Jefferies, meanwhile, defended his comments, saying that they shouldn’t be taken out of context: “If there had been anything unduly wrong with what I said I would’ve been reprimanded by the judge and also the crown lawyer would have complained. It was relative to the facts of this particular case.”
Prosecutor Geraldine Kelly told the court that the victim did not fight back at the time of the rape because she was frightened: “No, she didn’t fight back, she didn’t scream her head off, she didn’t go running into the street screaming? Rape!”
The perpetrator of the rape is awaiting sentencing for the charges against him.
[Image via Brian Stansberry, Creative Commons licensed]