On the pulse: Was Judge Kushner’s warning to women about drinking and rape misguided or justified?

Judge Lindsey Kushner QC caused controversy yesterday saying women were entitled to ‘drink themselves into the ground’ but their ‘disinhibited behaviour’ could put them in danger.

The Senior Judge gravely warned her courtroom that very drunk women can be targeted by predatory men.

She said: “A woman can do with her body what she wants and a man will have to adjust his behaviour accordingly. But, as a woman judge, I think it would be remiss if of me if I didn’t mention one or two thing.

“They are entitled to do what they like put please be aware that there are men out there who gravitate towards a woman who might be more vulnerable then others. That’s my final line, in my final criminal trial, and my final sentence.”

Judge Kushner made the courtroom plea at Manchester Crown court as she jailed a man for six years who raped a woman he met in Burger King in Manchester city centre last year.

Some campaigners are outraged by Judge Kushner’s sentencing remarks and described them as being ‘the kind of thing that deters women from reporting assaults’.

We took to Wimbledon Broadway to find out what people had to say on the matter.

Results were mixed with 58% of the people we spoke to in favour of the judge’s legacy message.

Dawn Whittal, 32, an administrator, said: “It’s a disgrace that she can say something like that. Men never have to worry about things like that. As a woman you should be able to wear whatever you want, drink whatever you want and not have to worry that men can’t be trusted.”

June Brooke, who is retired, said: “Girls can get themselves in a state, lie on the ground and look terrible but they should be responsible and keep themselves safe. It’s just common sense – people don’t like common sense.”

But Brenda, 63,  felt like Judge Kushner was being penalised for voicing her opinion and believed that people are far too concerned with political correctness. She said: “I do see where she is coming from. It’s a completely different world out there and it’s really dangerous.”

“There’s a lot of woman shaming. There’s an attitude that they bring it on themselves. There shouldn’t be a common sense element for them to feel safe. Not every man is a rapist,” said Ross Lawson, 20, a journalist.

This was a feeling shared by Sasha Morrison, 25, a staff nurse who said: “We shouldn’t have to feel like we’re in a situation in which we have to behave a certain way. A male recently assaulted me and several people asked me what I did to provoke him.

“I shouldn’t have to feel like just because I’ve had a drink it’s my fault – it’s always us women that are made to back down.”

However Sally Osunkoya, 50, a child care manager said: “If you drink excessive amounts of alcohol then you are putting yourself in a position of vulnerability. If you drink 15 shots of vodka and can no longer stand up… regardless, no means no. The judge made those comments in the hope people will think twice about their actions.”

But Martin Cohel, 48, thought it could be seen as sensible advice to men and women. He said: “Kushner’s words were taken out of context. When anybody’s inebriated they are in danger. This affects anyone. Probably not a wise thing to say as a judge though.”

This sentiment was shared by student Nadia Soraj, 19, who said: “As a judge she should be more objective, I see where she’s coming from but it wasn’t an appropriate thing to say.”

While some were outraged, like engineer Omar Iqbal, 31, who said: “It’s absolutely ridiculously to make a statement like that.

“We are in the 21st century and people are free to live their life how they want. Everybody has a right to live and the victim shouldn’t be blamed.”

Photo courtesy of Blogtrepreneur via Flikr, with thanks.

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