A California judge has dissolved the emergency restraining order against Trevor Bauer and denied his accuser a permanent restraining order, following a three-day hearing.
This is truly a baffling line of reasoning from the judge, especially as the complainant was reportedly unconscious at the time Bauer inflicted the most severe injuries on her.
As reported in the L.A. Times:
Gould-Saltman ruled that Bauer, in his conduct with his accuser, “did not coerce her or threaten her into sexual activity.” She said testimony established that the accuser’s Instagram direct messages and text messages to Bauer indicated to him that she “wanted rough sex in the first encounter and rougher sex in the second.”
And this from the Times:
The judge ruled that the accuser “wanted more of a relationship” with Bauer, and that “being punched, having black eyes and being hospitalized” are consequences of the acts that she consented to, including choking. The judge said the “injuries as shown in the photographs are terrible” but added, “If she set limits and he exceeded them, this case would’ve been clear. But she set limits without considering all the consequences, and respondent did not exceed limits that the petitioner set.”
Under the judge’s logic, a woman would have to a) object to the violence a man is inflicting on her, leaving no recourse for someone who is not conscious or from whom rough sex play has crossed the line from consensual into abusive. Further, it presumes that engaging in rough sex play gives one party free rein to do whatever they want to the other party, putting the burden of stopping the interaction on the party being abused. Aside from leaving no recourse for a woman who has been beaten into unconsciousness, it puts the burden of stopping the interaction on the abused party, rather than the abuser. No one should have to object to being beaten unconscious ahead of time no matter what the parties may have agreed to ahead of time.
What, if anything, the judge’s ruling means for potential criminal charges is unclear, as a civil restraining order is a completely separate legal proceeding with entirely different requirements, one being that Bauer was an on-going threat to his victim. What’s clear, though, is that this ruling gives positive reinforcement to all the men on social media claiming that wanting to choke and punch women in the vagina until they are bruised is totally normal and the rest of us are just kink-shaming.
Much has also been made of the text messages the woman sent both to Bauer and to another party, where she seems unfazed by Bauer’s abuse, including what she says are “jokes” about making money off the pitcher and telling Bauer, “When it’s time to choke me out, you are the best……That was a game changer……Never been more turned on in my life……Give me all the pain……Do it harder.”
It’s clear that there was some level of consent to choking and what can generously be called “rough sex.” And that’s the problem with date rape cases, the lines are blurred, even for those involved. Add that to the fact that many sexual assault victims take years to come to terms with the fact that they lost control of the situation and were assaulted, because no one wants to identify as a “rape victim.” It’s in this window of denial and coming to terms with what happened to you that so many victims wind up sealing their own legal fate, sending out texts and making jokes to friends that will later come back to haunt them, because that’s not how we think a rape victim should respond to an assault. And then those messages come back later on and the judge or jury only sees someone who wasn’t all that upset by what happened.
But what legal proceedings never include is how much of that joking around or texting the rapist is akin to whistling in the dark. Telling yourself that you wanted it. After all, you asked for it. It can take a while to get to “OK I asked for some of it, but not what he went on to do,” and it’s going to take a long time before fact-finders in legal proceedings are able to operate in nuance. Anyone who has seen Law & Order: SVU has heard the “it’s OK to change your mind after you’ve consented to sex.” But that’s not the reality of our legal system, it’s not something judges and juries have grasped. So many women that seem enthusiastic about sex, but later have second thoughts, feel as though they can’t change their minds, especially once sex has started. And sometimes, it’s more dangerous to do so.
Do you know why I believe Bauer’s victim didn’t consent to all the vile things he did to her? Because she went out and got a temporary order of protection. She didn’t rush to file a civil suit, she didn’t blow him up on social media, she didn’t go to the Dodgers. She simply asked for protection from him. And so did a woman in Ohio last summer, for similar reasons.
Regardless of today’s ruling, we know that Trevor Bauer is a man who likes to choke women, punch women in the vagina, and have anal sex with unconscious women. He should never pitch in MLB again
If you have been sexually assaulted and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit their website for confidential help and advice.