So, Scott Young, Mayor of Port Coquitlam was convicted for harrasing and stalking his former girlfriend. He pled guilty to two charges of assault and one charge of breaching an undertaking. He was arrested after assaulting his former girlfriend and her new partner at her home over the Easter weekend in 2007. He also breached an undertaking he had signed to stay away from her. And what did he get for his crimes? A 12 month conditional sentence and an 8 pm curfew which he does not have to obey if he has a council meeting!

It is no wonder that we, as a society, cannot curtail violence against women. Here is a public figure, a mayor of a reasonably sized city in the Lower Mainland who is guilty of assault and all he gets is his hand slapped. There is no deterrent factor. He also has not really lost anything besides a bit of pride (and one could argue that this situation did not really seem to affect him at all) at having to spend the long weekend in jail. He has continued to preside over city council despite many, many attempts to get him to resign. He has refused. I get the sense that he does not think he has done anything wrong. He cops to having a drinking problem (boo hoo), has been in rehab and has stopped drinking. He doesn’t think his ‘personal problems’ should have anything to do with his day job. He is a narcissitic asshole who should be in jail not running a city.

There are much bigger implications here. What does this say to young men in BC who may follow in his footsteps? It says that women are less important and that you can do whatever you want and nothing bad will really happen to you. This kind of behaviour has its roots in misogyny and the out-dated belief that women are chattel. Unfortunately, our justice system has not caught up. There is still mostly a ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge” attitude towards violence against women. Male privilege at its ‘finest.’

Until we get serious about punishing men who commit crimes against women the problem will only continue to escalate. There must be a zero tolerance policy with regard to this kind of violence. We need to communicate this expectation to our politicians. We need to have had enough of putting up with this kind of whitewashing violence against women.

13 thoughts on “Shame on our Justice System

  1. A zero tolerance policy towards intra-relational violence would put slightly more women in jail than men, since under zero tolerance a slap or a shove is enough to trigger the penalty, and women have been shown to engage in “mild” violence against their partners at levels at least those of men. (It’s the serious bone-braking, jaw-dislocating stuff where men are the majority of offenders.)

  2. What proof do you have to back this statement up? It seems rather ludicrous to me. I don’t know any women who have been involved in ‘mild’ violence.

  3. Why is there a debate about the level of violence being perpetrated in relationships? This post is about one loser with drug problems, anger-management problems, self control problems, little desire to take responsibility for his deviant behaviour, and way too much power. This post is about the fact that the judicial system had a perfect opportunity to make an example out of someone who deserved to be punished for terrorizing his ex-partner, Colleen Preston, and Ms Preston’s partner, Glen Shaw. Justice has failed Colleen Preston, just as justice so often fails women. Scott Young’s own Psychiatrist called the man a “rejected stalker”. He had faced similar charges just two months prior to this incident. What has to happen to put this violent man behind bars? I think we all know the answer to that question.

    Meanwhile, back in Port Coquitlam, the “City that Can’t Dump its Criminal Mayor”, Scott Taylor is basically a free man, while Colleen Preston and Glen Shaw get to wonder whether they are safe from the rejected stalker today.

    Women who shoplift food for their children get jail time. People whose “crime” is homelessness or serious addiction go to jail with frightening regularity. Scott Taylor assaults a woman twice, and he has an 8:00 P.M. cerfew, except when he needs to do his fucking Mayoral duties.

    It is to weep.

  4. Here’s a partial bibliography of the fairly vast literature on the subject.

    My point is not “what about the poor menz”, it is to note that a call for zero tolerance and a call for greater punishment of men who abuse women aren’t identical. I agree that from what I’ve read, this case seems an egregious instance of someone who’s done something very bad and getting essentially no punishment for it. But there are women in that category as well as men.

  5. You are simply muddying the waters, Robert. Yes, some women abuse some men, but how often do you hear about serious attacks on men by their female partners? When a situation does occur, it’s front page news everywhere.
    Women rarely take out entire families, like men do at what seems like an alarming rate. We are talking serious violence against women by men…..the same issue that has been a non-issue since the dawn of civilization.

    The courts dropped the ball on this case. How many years of non-violence training for men, and support for female victims of crime have been made moot by the act of allowing a male public figure (albeit a minor one) to commit several assaults against a woman (and her male partner) and basically walk away free. Where is this scenario is justice for the victim? Where in this do we find any deterrence for Scott Taylor or any other criminal who feels he has a right to abuse women?

    This is not about a woman and a man getting into a shoving match, Robert, although that is also violent, and should not be tolerated. This is about an unstable man, a stalker and a mayor no less, and the fact that he should be in jail today, but is more likely out on a golf course somewhere. I hope there are no women there who bruise his huge ego….golf clubs are deadly. Just like giving a known violent stalker a suspended sentence.

  6. This has me thinking about the Ryczack case in which he got one day for killing Stephine Beck. Despite the false MRA claims that they face injustice in terms of stalking laws men are the reason that they exist in the first place. Violence against women is still not taken seriously. Daily women die at the hands of men and they have the nerve to throw the taunt ugly feminist.
    This man needs to be forced to resign at the very least and the fact that he still is in a government position reifies the lack of value that women have socially.

  7. I don’t think Robert is “muddying the waters” Deb.

    The blog reads “It says that women are less important and that you can do whatever you want and nothing bad will really happen to you. This kind of behaviour has its roots in misogyny and the out-dated belief that women are chattel. Unfortunately, our justice system has not caught up. There is still mostly a ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge” attitude towards violence against women. Male privilege at its ‘finest.’ ”

    My understanding of Robert is that he is disagreeing with the feminist conclusions, namely the paragraph quoted above. He is not saying at all that he agrees with the legal outcome of this situation. I would agree with him. I thinks Scott Young should have gone to jail.

    I don’t think justice was served here, but I disagree with feminists who use such allegorical “evidence” as proof that western political legal system treats women like chattel. Thats quite a stretch. By in large western legal systems take domestic violence seriously.

    People, especially people in power, get away with doing bad and illegal things all the time. Maybe Scott Young knew the right people, had a good lawyer, or just was lucky. By your line of reasoning I could look to OJ Simpson and argue that black people in the US can get away with murdering white people. I strongly disagree with feminists who use incidences like this to push their narrow self-serving agenda.

    No society has ever tolerated violence against women. This is feminist historical revisionism. Rapists in medieval Europe were flayed alive (had their skin removed). The ‘rule of thumb’ myth was taken from a misquotation of statement made by a US judge in the 19th century who actually sentenced the male abuser to jail.

    Women are abusers in relationships as well as men. Domestic abuse has less to do with ‘Patriarchy’ and more to do with disfunctional partners and drug and alchohol abuse. Women stalk, kill their husbands and kill their children too. There are bad people of both sexes the same way there are bad people of all races. Just because in general men are capable of inflicting greater injury on women does not mean that men are the only sex capable of commiting evil, or even that society is run by men.

    Society does not treat women worse than men. Men have always been the greatest victims of violence in war, genocide, and crime. The vast majority of victims of violent crime (murder and assault) are men.

    Seriously if you want to make the world a better place, why not fight on behalf of all of humanity than just half of it.

  8. Mike says:
    “I don’t think justice was served here, but I disagree with feminists who use such allegorical “evidence” as proof that western political legal system treats women like chattel. Thats quite a stretch. By in large western legal systems take domestic violence seriously.”

    It is in no way allegorical. Our laws our based on English commonlaw which viewed women and children as chattel.There is nothing allegorical about that. Altough laws may be updated, here and there, they are still largely written by men for men. The old boys network is alive and well and protects men like Scott Young.

    Mike Says:
    “People, especially people in power, get away with doing bad and illegal things all the time. Maybe Scott Young knew the right people, had a good lawyer, or just was lucky. By your line of reasoning I could look to OJ Simpson and argue that black people in the US can get away with murdering white people. I strongly disagree with feminists who use incidences like this to push their narrow self-serving agenda.”

    Perhaps rich black men do. But this is not about race – this is about domestic violence. There is no ‘narrow self-serving agenda’ here. Unfortunately, the problem of violence against women, in all its forms, is so pervasive that dismantling it would shake our society to its very core. It is seen in the discourse of advertising, our jokes, our culture, our religions, the way we raise male and female children differently. We are not even aware at times when violence is being perpetuated against women. Open your eyes and look around. It is on tv, on the radio, in the locker room and in our homes.

    Mike says:
    “No society has ever tolerated violence against women. This is feminist historical revisionism. Rapists in medieval Europe were flayed alive (had their skin removed). The ‘rule of thumb’ myth was taken from a misquotation of statement made by a US judge in the 19th century who actually sentenced the male abuser to jail.”

    This society sure as hell does!!! It goes on all the time. Many women don’t report rape as they will just be assaulted again when they come up against the male dominated justice system. Forget history, look at the situation today. Look at the murder suicides where men kill their entire families and then themselves. And before you trot Andrea Yates – she was mentally ill and had had so many children and sufferred such horrific untreated post partum depression that she went crazy. What is the excuse of the men?? Look at the honour killings in the South Asian community in BC. I could go on and on. These are not feminist revisionist events. These are real women dying every single day.

  9. Where to start??

    “No society has ever tolerated violence against women. This is feminist historical revisionism.”
    Are you from this planet, Mike? Society not only tolerates violence against women, it encourages it. All races, many creeds, some religions give the male of the species an unfair power balance. Soldiers see raping the women of a defeated area as one of the “spoils of war”. Groups of men still think wolf-whistles and cat-calls are appropriate. Women are told to take self defense classes and walk in groups to stay safe. Our girls and young women are objectified, and then, when sexual assaults take place, they are blamed for “asking for it”. Sometimes some men are punished for committing violence against women, that’s a very far cry from no society tolerating violence against women. Have you conveniently missed news reports of women being stoned for adultery, or women dying in “honour killings”, what about female genital mutilation? Head in the sand much, Mike?

    “Women stalk, kill their husbands and kill their children too.”

    Of course they do. Nobody will disagree with you here. It’s a matter of percentages, though, Mike. How many prisoners in Canada are women? How many are men? How many women are jailed for violent crimes? How many men? Is it 10:1, 20:1, 100:1, 1000:1?

    “Men have always been the greatest victims of violence in war, genocide, and crime. The vast majority of victims of violent crime (murder and assault) are men”

    This would be funny if it were not so damn pathetic. Of course men are the greatest victims of war, men start wars, men fight wars, men cause wars. I do not believe that men are the greatest victims of genocide. Nobody is spared in the brutality of senseless murder. As for violent crime, again, Mike, the victims are men more often because they are engaged in violence more often. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  10. One thing I have learned from arguing with ideologues of various stripes (especially radicals) over the years is that many are incapable of engaging in any sincere dialogue and exchange of ideas with people of other points of view. They insist in seeing the world in black and white terms and believing that they have a monopoly on truth. They will never engage or address a conflicting argument; rather they ignore all specific opposing points, and “retort” with more clichéd rhetoric and unsubstantiated assumptions. I am not interested in pushing my world view or changing people’s opinions. However, it bothers me when people make very radical claims and extremely broad generalizations and are incapable of backing them up.
    “Our laws our based on English commonlaw which viewed women and children as chattel.There is nothing allegorical about that. Altough laws may be updated, here and there, they are still largely written by men for men.” – Shihtzustaff, this is an opinion. Please support this with legal evidence such as case and statuatory law. There is plenty of old law that illustrate the existance of black chattel slavery. Please provide examples of law that treat women as chattel.

    “Perhaps rich black men do. But this is not about race – this is about domestic violence… Unfortunately, the problem of violence against women, in all its forms, is so pervasive that dismantling it would shake our society to its very core.” You completely miss the point and fail to address, let alone rebut my arguement. I was making the point that you can not make a point about an entire political economic system or society in general based off of one incidence/miscarriage of justice. When examining any phenomenon, not only do you have to document multiple occurances and find patterns, but you have to link them together and provide a feasible explanation/theory. Then you test that theory. That is the scientific method. Instead you simply inject more rhetoric.

    “We are not even aware at times when violence is being perpetuated against women. Open your eyes and look around. It is on tv, on the radio, in the locker room and in our homes.” There is no social group except from perpetrating or being victims of violence. Just because women in general are smaller than men doesn’t make them special. Men are victims of violence at the hands of other men. Women are victims of violence at the hands of other women too. The media portrays violence perpetrated and committed against all groups; what is your point?

    “Many women don’t report rape as they will just be assaulted again when they come up against the male dominated justice system.” Again, this is an opinion, not a fact. You are assuming that you can get inside the head and speak on behalf of all rape victims. This opinion needs to be supported by facts. I do believe that many rape victims do not want to come forward because of fear and shame. That makes no point about the criminal justice system or society at large.

    “Forget history, look at the situation today. Look at the murder suicides where men kill their entire families and then themselves. And before you trot Andrea Yates – she was mentally ill and had had so many children and sufferred such horrific untreated post partum depression that she went crazy. What is the excuse of the men??” So basically you are saying that someone is excused for their acts by their mental instabilities, if they women. Men are not other hand are not excused because they have all the power/are agents of patriarchy. That really makes sense.

    “Look at the honour killings in the South Asian community in BC.” Men are victims of honor killings too, even in Islamic societies.

    “Society not only tolerates violence against women, it encourages it. All races, many creeds, some religions give the male of the species an unfair power balance.” Deb, this is an opinion, not a fact. You are making a very broad, general, and bold statement, which would require much eleboration in addition to supporting evidence.

    “Sometimes some men are punished for committing violence against women, that’s a very far cry from no society tolerating violence against women.” So Deb by your logic only a society that apprehends and punishes 100% of all male perpators of violence against women could could be called a just society that doesn not tolerate violence against women? By your logic, couldn’t we argue that society tolerates murder because not all murders are solved?
    “Have you conveniently missed news reports of women being stoned for adultery, or women dying in “honour killings”, what about female genital mutilation? Head in the sand much, Mike?” Men are also stoned to death for adultery in Islamic societies. Look it up. Have you ever heard of male genital mutilation?
    “It’s a matter of percentages, though, Mike. How many prisoners in Canada are women? How many are men? How many women are jailed for violent crimes? How many men?” Even when they get their facts straight, ideolgoes will come to erroneous but self-serving conclusions. Yes there are more men in prison in general. Men in general are greater perpetrators of violence. This does not mean the majority of men are violent, or that society “condones violence against women.”? Absolutely not. Keep in mind prison and jail populations are tiny percentages of the overall population. Many violent criminals do not get caught, nevertheless their percentage of the population is small.
    “Of course men are the greatest victims of war, men start wars, men fight wars, men cause wars.” Men do not start wars. Governments start wars. There is a difference. Men are not a social group or class, and neither are women. Throughout history there have been wealthy and poor men and women. Women have headed governments too: Hatshepsut of ancient Egypt, Cleopatra VII of Roman Egypt, Empress Wu Zetian of China, Elizabeth I of England, Catherine the Great of Russia, Maria Theresa of Austria-Hungary, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain(the list goes on). Women have never been a social class, and clearly there have been women amongst the haves as well as the have nots since the beginning of history. War is about power and wealth, not gender. When women are in power they are just as likely to lead expansionist and war faring empires.
    The problem I have with ideologues is that they think they can understand the motivations, intentions, and characters of other people. They look at the evidence selectively to suit their own agenda, and don’t even bother to examine any evidence that might point to the contrary. The thing I find the most frustrating is that it feels very difficult to engage in any sort of productive dialogue with ideologues. If you feel that I have made assertions that I have failed to back up, or that I am ducking your points, please let me know. I would be more than willing to elaborate. None of this is personal, but when I see people making such broad and bold claims I expect them to be able to back them up.

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