I’m sure that you all remember the case of Tory Bowen, the rape victim who was barred by her trial judge from using any language that might imply that her assault was anything other than a consensual act of lovemaking. She fought back, and filed a lawsuit against the judge. Quite rightly. Hopes were high that justice would be served in this case. But, once again, the system has let us down.
A Nebraska federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against a state judge who barred anyone from saying “rape” or “victim” during a criminal trial, ruling Tuesday that the accuser failed to prove that he should intervene.
U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf also determined Tory Bowen didn’t provide enough evidence to show her lawsuit against Lancaster County District Judge Jeffre Cheuvront wasn’t frivolous.
Bowen, 24, filed a complaint earlier this month against Cheuvront, saying he violated her free speech rights by barring the words, along with the phrase “sexual assault,” from the trial of Pamir Safi last November. Cheuvront said he banned the language because he was concerned about Safi’s right to a fair trial.
Kopf said he could not imagine a jury being swayed because a woman uses the word “raped” instead of “some tortured equivalent for the word,” but he said that wasn’t his decision to make.
This is infuriating. Are they planning on applying this sort of censorship to trials relating to other crimes? Rather than “he robbed me”, should we be saying “my wallet entered his hands”? Instead of “and then he hit me in the face”, we can state “my cheekbone made brief contact with his fist”.
This is utterly ridiculous and incredibly frightening. I can’t imagine how many women will decline to press charges against their rapists if they are forced to submit to this sort of censorship during what is already an overwhelmingly difficult and emotional time.
Thanks for nothing, Nebraska.