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.

Is it really getting worse (and other items from the blogosphere)?

In light of my difficulties with the CBC (to which no one has yet responded) I have been asking feminist women I know if things seem to be getting worse. By ‘things’ I mean racism, sexism, open misogyny, sizism, ableism etc. The general consensus seems to be yes, it is getting worse. Then I started asking why. Why are things getting worse? We have a good economy and relative prosperity – if you belong to one of the privileged groups. The answer that seemed to make the most sense to me was war. Our soldiers are dying in Afghanistan. American and the ‘coalition of the willing’ are losing soldiers in Iraq with no end in sight. The number civilian casualties in Iraq is huge. Oh, and there is genocide going on in Darfur.

It seems that being fat is one area where many people feel that it is ok to discriminate. A woman in Britain, who weighed 245 pounds died because the paramedics were too busy cracking fat jokes to actually get her to the hospital. I would bet that many professional athletes (think football players) might weigh 245 pounds. I fail to understand why they could not move her to the hospital.

Still on the issue of weight there was a study released that did not make the media. Why is this you ask? Well, because it did not confirm general beliefs about healthy eating. In a nutshell, there was an 8 year study done on post-menopausal which tried to determine the benefits of healthy eating. The split the women into 2 groups – one group followed a low fat, ‘healthy’ diet and the other group ate what they wanted. They found no statistical difference in rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer etc. Another surprising result was that there was no difference in weight. Yup, that’s right. While the healthy eating group initially lost some weight they had gained it back years before the end of the study. What does all this mean? I am not really sure. I would say that for most people weight is not a simple matter.

One more interesting thing about weight. One blogger has completed a BMI project. Basically, she took pictures of women and calculated their BMI. It really shows that the BMI is an inaccurate and arbitrary measurement. Fascinating.

From Shakespeare’s Sister: Did you know that “when sexual arousal reaches a certain point, the person goes insane?” This is quite the little gem of misogyny and homophobia from Oral Roberts. And we wonder why American Republicans are so screwed up they have no idea when they are engaging in homosexual behaviour.

One other update: Mr. Lube did send me a cheque to reimburse me for the cab ride home after they drained my transmission by mistake.

My Mr. Lube Experience

So, I take my car to Mr. Lube for the requisite oil change. I have been there a few times and things have generally gone well. Well, not this time. First of all they advise me that they have stopped ordering Subaru oil filters because only 1 out of 100 cars are Subarus and they assure me that their oil filters are just as good and that they provide a warranty. Seeing as I was already over on kilometres I decided to go ahead.

I feel the tech tug at the bottom of my car and assume all is going fine. I began to get a little suspicious that something was up when they did not do the normal things like check the tire pressure, lube the hinges etc. I am starting to notice two of the techs scurrying around and looking at books. I know something is up but I just sit there and wait. After about 10 minutes of sitting there one of the techs comes over to the window and advises me that the ‘downstairs’ tech accidentally drained my automatic transmission fluid instead of my oil. Now, I am not a tech – but you would think that one would know the difference between the transmission and the oil pan. Apparently, I was wrong. I guess in Subarus the transmission is exposed and the oil pan is behind a plate.

Then the tech tells me that Subarus take a special kind of automatic transmission fluid and that his ‘Area Manager’ has been on the internet and apparently they can use their fluid with an additive and it will be just like the Subaru fluid. He further explains that I can bring the car back tomorrow and his ‘Area Manager’ will go to Subaru and get the correct filter and fluid. I don’t believe them that their concoction would be good for my transmission. I asked him what would happen if there was damage done as a result of this that did not show up for a while would they take responsibility. The bottom line was that I would have to prove it. No go on the Mr. Lube fluid for my transmission!  I leave the car, which they assure me will stay in the bay it is in and opt to come back today to pick it up. I take a cab home – they state they will pay for it if I give them the receipt.

Now, all of this was a pain in the ass but I guess this kind of stuff can happen (not sure how but whatever). Next we get to move into the realm of insulting sexism where women are treated as stupid. They called at about 10:30 to tell me my car was ready to go. Deb and I go to pick it up at about 11:30. I get there and they tell me the invoice is in the car and that the oil change is free. I ask them if the invoice reflects what happened and I look at their copy. Nope, you guessed it, the invoice just shows a free oil change. I tell the manager that this is not acceptable and that the invoice must reflect what had happened. He says well go and get your copy out of the car and I will write it on there. I say, no that will not be acceptable as anyone can write anything on an invoice and it will not mean anything. I again insist that the invoice must reflect the accidental draining of my transmission. He says: “It is noted in the computer and I have already done the invoice.” I laugh and inform him that he will need to officially note it on the invoice. He gives in and goes and does it.

I do not normally rail about sexism. For the most partm  I am an  intelligent, well-educated woman who has lots of privilege in society. But there is something that happens with men, cars and women. Many men seem to think that women know nothing about cars and can be bamboozled with their crap. The same thing happens with computers. I have noticed a distinct difference in the way I am treated by a male sales person once he realizes that the woman standing in front of him likely knows more about computers that he does. I get a little tired of this but sometimes, I must confess, I do enjoy playing with them.

Back to Mr. Lube – He managed to correct the invoice so it now indicates that they accidentally drained my transmission. At least now if something goes wrong I have some hope of holding them accountable. Now, I won’t hold my breath for the cheque to reimburse me for the taxi fare.