#1 Threat to Women: Men, Amplify the droning murmur, Criminal Justice, Denmark and New Zealand Restorative Justice, International day for the elimination of violence against women, Louis CK, November 25, Restorative Justice, Russian Tradition of Spousal Violence, Sex Crimes, Stop violence against women, The Irish Example, The place of violence in our times, The prevailing dogma, Violence against Women
This is No Joke:
Comedian Louis C.K. once said men are the No. 1 threat to women. Globally and historically, we’re the No. 1 cause of injury and mayhem to women. We’re the worst thing that ever happens to them.”
You don’t have to convince a domestic violence survivor of that, but we still want to be loved. So like a lot of women who listened to their father beat and berate their mom, I entered the dating world with a couple of eating disorders and a short, pathetic list of parameters: My boyfriend would never hit me, call me names, or embarrass me in public.
From CLEvangelism’s article, “How Domestic Violence Affected Me“.
The Present Irony
In these times when powerful men are being humbled by the very women they once abused, there’s something ironic about Louis C.K.’s quote in light of the women who are now accusing him of sexual misconduct. Unlike other powerful men who quickly hide behind lawyers and defame their accusers, C.K. at least acknowledged the fact that he himself was the worst thing that happened to these women (his confession does not exonerate him or make him a hero; it just might create enough space to allow some healing for the people he abused):
These stories are true…
I took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried…
I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.
Full quote found in “Louis C.K. breaks silence.“
All this and more amplifies the droning murmur of violence against women.
Violence against Woman: A Public Health Pandemic
As the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women approaches (November 25), consider the words of Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General:
Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, public health pandemic and serious obstacle to sustainable development. It imposes large-scale costs on families, communities and economies. The world cannot afford to pay this price.
Nevertheless, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, the world pays the price on the backs of women. Despite the UN weighing in on this, cultures appear to have an unquestioned investment toward spousal violence.
Nadieszda Kizenko reports,
“On February 7 (2017), Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law decriminalizing domestic violence. Now, the first instance of poboi—“actions which cause physical pain but do not lead to grave injury or loss of ability to work’’—will be treated as a misdemeanour rather than a criminal act. This means that the offender will incur a fine of 30,000 rubles (about $500), community service, or a fifteen-day detention. If the offender repeats the offense within a year, the second offense will be treated as a criminal act. If more than a year goes by, the slate is clean, and the repeat offense is once again a misdemeanor with no jail time…
Before one thinks this is unique to Russia, we should remember the United States, too, distinguishes between domestic violence misdemeanors and felonies (please excuse my ignorance about its status in Canada; I suspect it would be very similar).
I am not entirely sure that the legal system gets us what we want.
Though not specific to spousal violence, sex crimes usually inflict damage on relationships with women. It takes courage (and creativity?) to look to solutions other than the woefully mis-designed court system – as was found in the egregious case of the Nova Scotia “justice” who acquitted a taxi driver who sexually assaulted his impaired rider. With justice (sic) like this, whoever need go to court?
The Irish Call for Restorative Justice services
Noel Baker with the Irish Examiner reported that,
“Sex crime victims should have the chance to face their attackers through restorative justice, rather than relying solely on the “heartbreaking” adversarial system for closure, a report claims.”
The report, entitled ‘Sexual Trauma and Abuse: Restorative and Transformative Possibilities’, outlines how victims who feature in it and who had never experienced restorative justice and knew little about it until they received explanatory documents in advance of the interview, had been thinking, imagining and fantasising about questions they wanted answers to from the offender.
According to the report, the victims expressed a deep need to understand the motivation behind the crime and to confront the offender.
One judge interviewed said: “The victim first gets acceptance, validation, the story is true, and that’s important. And it’s unequivocally accepted around here is the perpetrator accepting it. That’s a big thing.”…
Victims of abuse in the family, in particular, who feature in the report are keen on RJ, as under the current system the only way to bring the abuser to account was through the courts. RJ, as operated in Belgium and New Zealand, could be another avenue.
As things stand, this exchange from the report sums up some of the current problems:
-Victim: “We wouldn’t have gone to court, we were forced.”
-Interviewer: “There was no other option?”
-Victim: “There was no other option. We had no other option and everyone said ‘you are really brave’, we weren’t.”
(For the full article go to “Irish call for restorative justice in sex crime cases“).
Against the Prevailing Dogma
This is going to take a strong current against the prevailing dogma of legal solutions to relational problems in order to create profound change of perspective and problem solving.