Condemn Lawyer for Victim Blaming in Rape Trial

11-22-13 NZ Rape Case

Target: New Zealand Attorney Keith Jeffries

Goal: Broadcast the message to Keith Jeffries that rape is never the victim’s fault

Recently, New Zealand Attorney Keith Jeffries defended a male client accused of rape. His closing argument? If the 20-year-old woman didn’t really want it, she could have “closed her legs.” It is this type of misinformation and blatant victim blaming that continues to perpetuate a rape culture across the world. Tell Keith Jeffries that rape is never the victim’s fault, and that by blaming them he is putting even more power into the hands of disgusting rapists.

Jeffries was defending a club bouncer who has been accused of sexually assaulting a female in the alleyway next to the club for which he works. His argument included horrendously insulting statements to the victim, including the following: “All she would have to do is 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.”

Let’s review a few facts here. First, for sex to be consensual, both parties are interested and desirous of the act; not saying “no” does not automatically mean “yes.” Permission is always necessary, especially the first time. The victim was a 20-year-old female who was lured into an alleyway by a club bouncer, who was no doubt hired for that position because of his large muscles and stature. Simply because she was too terrified to utter a single word as he forced himself upon her definitely does not mean she was a consensual partner in this act.

Consumption of alcohol or any other substance that can inhibit judgment automatically makes it impossible for any individual to give consent. Additionally, if fending off rape was as simple as “closing your legs,” then rape wouldn’t even be in existences. However it is, because rape isn’t about sex: it is about power, dominance, and fear.

Tell Keith Jeffries that his demeaning remarks in court are unacceptable. His statements imply that rape is the victim’s fault, and is thereby perpetuating the immense problem that is rape culture. We need to protect those that never had a chance to say no, and help prevent this horrific act from happening to anyone else. End rape and rape culture now.


Dear Mr. Jeffries,

You recently defended a club bouncer accused of sexual assault. While in court, you made statements that if the victim didn’t want the encounter, she could have simply “closed her legs.” Please understand how damaging these statements are, as they blame the victim and help perpetuate rape culture.

Rape is never okay and it is never the victim’s fault. The only case in which sex is consensual is when all parties agree to the act. But not saying “no” does not mean “yes,” especially in this case, when your defendant pulled his victim into a dark alleyway. While she may have never made a sound, it is easy to imagine the terror that stopped her from saying anything as a large club bouncer forced himself upon her. Additionally, rape is not even  about sex: it is about dominance, power, and fear.

Please apologize for your insulting words. Help us stop rape culture and end rape.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Chase Carter via Flickr

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