A Quebec judge has received several complaints after he made some very inappropriate remarks during a sexual assault trial. A cab driver, Carlo Fiagro, was accused of forcefully kissing and licking the face of a 17-year-old girl. The victim was a passenger in his cab when he began touching her breasts and genitals over her clothes. Figaro was found guilty back in May of 2018 but has not yet been sentenced. Although this entire case represents a horrible and traumatizing incident, what comes next is no better.
According to Le Journal de Montreal, Judge Jean-Paul Braun made several remarks during the court trial stating, “It can be said that she is a little overweight, but she has a pretty face huh?” He also suggested the victim may have been “flattered” because “it is perhaps the first time that he is interested in her,” and later describing the incident as an “acceptable gesture.”
No judge should ever make a remark like Judge Braun did. This teenage girl was simply seeking a cab ride from one destination to another and was definitely not looking for someone to grope and assault her. It is sickening that one cannot simply take a ride across town without feeling safe and it just as sickening that a Judge would condone this type of behavior and justify the defendant’s actions.
Federal Court Justice, Robin Camp, resigned earlier this year after making an inappropriate remark to a rape complainant. He told the rape victim, “she should have kept her knees together.” After his comment the Canadian Judicial Council ruled that Robin Camp was unfit to sit on the bench.
Many cases like this are seen all over the United States yet we still have the same ignorant judges leading these trials. Men are also vulnerable to sexual assault, yet they rarely speak of it due to the perceived portrayed as “weak” or being too “ashamed” to tell someone. Yet when it happens to women, many times they are instantly at fault. We have all heard the “well you should have worn more clothing,” “you should have kept your knees shut,” and the infamous, “you were provocative.” Whether a woman is dressed from head to toe or simply in a bathing suit, it gives no right to another human being to inappropriately touch her without consent.
The CBC reports that Braun had also debated the “degrees of consent” with the Crown prosecutor saying that getting consent for a kiss is different than getting consent to touch another’s backside. He continued to defend Figaro by complimenting his “good looks” and explaining how he doesn’t look his age and “likes to wear cologne,” saying the victim probably liked all the attention.
Quebec Solidaire, Manon Masse, was in disgust over the remarks made by Judge Braun and told the Canadian Press, that this is another example of rape culture and another “person in a position of authority making inappropriate remarks toward women.”
The body image of any female is in no way an automatic consent to sexual conduct, and there is not a single person who ‘wants’ to be sexually assaulted. No means an absolute no in all circumstances; when a person is telling you to stop and/or no, do not force yourself on them. Sexual assual is any unwanted sexual contact. Other politicians have condemned Judge Braun’s remarks and Quebec Justice Minster, Stephanie Vallee, has said she will be filing a complaint against Braun with Quebec’s judicial council.