Our Justice System – Redux

I have a lengthy comment from Mike which you can go and read in the original post. I was going to answer him in the comments section but I think it would be better served as a post of its own. So here goes.

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.

Mike says:
“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.”

Yes, some women might hit some men sometimes. Boo fucking hoo. Look at the stats – men kill and beat women at much higher rates then the reverse. Really, this is just a straw man argument to take us off course. Many men are conditioned to believe that they can treat women anyway they want. Furthermore, they have seen that the consequences are a slap on the wrist – conditional sentence with an 8 pm curfew? What the hell is that about? If this is what our justice system is doing to women when we are watching what is it doing when we are not?

Mike says:
“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.”

Sorry Mike another straw man argument. Who starts the wars? Who keeps them going? Certainly not women. Yes men die in war. But so do women, civilian women. Rape is an instrument of war and I am pretty damn sure that most of the people being raped are not men. Civilian women and children suffer the most in war. The soldiers have a choice. At least in the case of the US – they signed up for it this time. (This of course would be different if concription were in place as it was in other wars). However, the men are still paid to go to war. Even the women working for the international companies in Iraq are not safe from rape. So, tell me again how it is that men suffer? Oh ya, they get to carry big guns, shoot people, and get paid. Sounds like the wet dream of many a teenage boy.

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Shame on our Justice System

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.