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.