Should women be punished for their bad acts? A surprising number of people appear to think not.
Not so surprising is that nearly all of them are women, in particular women of a certain political persuasion.
On Easter Monday 2003, Sheila Clifford opened her front door to the woman who had been her lesbian lover. Amanda Corcoran, who was some ten years her junior accused her of having a relationship with another woman, then with no hint of provocation, slashed her face with a broken tumbler in what was clearly a calculated and planned assault intended to scar her for life.
Although she was lucky not to lose her left eye, Sheila needed seventy stitches in her face. On February 4 the following year, Corcoran received a mere two year sentence at Bournemouth Crown Court, furthermore, it was suspended on condition she address her psychiatric and alcohol problems. Corcoran had not spent a day in prison, having been granted bail on condition she reside outside the county.
A more recent case saw a female student given a suspended sentence for a shocking and totally unprovoked attack on a man that saw her throw a laptop computer at him and stab him in the leg with a bread knife. Lavinia Woodward received such lenient treatment not (ostensibly) because she was a woman but because she was highly intelligent, and a custodial sentence would damage her hopes of becoming a surgeon. Part of her mitigation was that she had become addicted to drugs while in an abusive relationship with a previous boyfriend. This begs the question, who was abusing whom? And more to the point, if you were to undergo surgery, how comfortable would you be if you knew the person wielding the scalpel had used a bread knife on someone’s leg, and that she had a problem with drugs?
It remains to be seen if Miss Woodward will be permitted to take up her chosen career, probably not in the UK due to the extremely high standards expected of doctors and all medical professionals, but ask yourself what kind of sentence a man would have received for the same offence under similar circumstances. This is not to say that men don’t at times literally get away with murder. Arguably the worst such case on record was the sentence handed down to John Lambert in November 1984. He strangled his three daughters to get back at his wife for having an affair. He was cleared of murder, and for this unspeakable crime he received a mere six year sentence.
Sentencing anomalies aside though, there can be little doubt that in the UK at least, women receive far more lenient sentences than men, especially for violent crimes, and most especially when the victim of such a crime is male. The sentencing remarks in the Lavinia Woodward case almost conjure up images of violins playing in the background. At the time:
“you were still suffering from the effects of a very damaging previous relationship with another who had introduced you to class a drugs.”
Read, it wasn’t your fault you stabbed this guy, it was the fault of a man who was not involved in these proceedings.
“ You clearly had both drug and alcohol addictions.”
Read, even though you were in the dock, you are in fact the victim.
“When the emergency services arrived it was abundantly clear that you were intoxicated, deeply distraught and mentally disturbed. You were taken to a police station in a very distressed state.”
You were drunk, but that wasn’t your fault, ditto your “distressed” state.
Then comes the coup de grâce:
“as the reports from the experts make clear, you suffer from an emotionally unstable personality disorder, a severe eating disorder and alcohol drug dependence.”
The chimera of mental illness is invoked! A personality disorder is a description of a behaviour, not a disease. Remember double killer Rurik Jutting? One of the so-called expert witnesses at his trial claimed he suffered from sexual-sadism disorder, the poor man. Ah, so that’s why you tortured and murdered those two women. Yes Your Honour, can I go home now?
So our current subject “suffers from” emotionally unstable personality disorder - careful with that scalpel, Lavinia. And severe eating disorder. So she was really trying to cut a loaf with that bread knife? Seriously.
Everything Lavinia Woodward did to land her in court was either a) the fault of a man or b) not her fault, period, but she’s a woman and a young one at that, not to mention blonde. Lest we forget, no one ever called Karla Homolka unattractive.
While it is possible to kill someone with a knife wound to the leg - severing an artery - it is unlikely, and fortunately did not happen in this case, but the courts in especially England have in the past two or three decades seen a veritable parade of women walking free after murdering men, not infrequently to cheering crowds of feminists.
In May 1989, Kiranjit Ahluwalia set her husband on fire in a clearly premeditated act. He was assisted by neighbours and taken to hospital, but died six days later, a horrible, painful death. It is often claimed that in a rape case, it is the victim who is put on trial. Likewise, whenever a woman is tried for the murder of her husband or lover, it is very likely the same thing will happen. There are three fairly recent cases from the United States in which the jury didn’t buy it. Jodi Arias murdered her lover; Marissa DeVault and Julie Harper murdered their husbands. Harper was sentenced to forty years; DeVault and Arias - who were tried in the same courthouse - are both serving life without parole.
In Ahluwalia’s case, there was clear evidence that her husband had indeed abused her. Unbelievably, she had not one but two restraining orders against him, which begs the question, why didn’t she divorce him or simply throw him out? In Canada and Florida especially, feminist activism has resulted in laws that deem men guilty by virtue of a mere allegation of domestic violence, and trashes their lives. In the UK, things aren’t quite that bad, but few judges would have had any sympathy with Deepak Ahluwalia had she gone down that route. In spite of her raising a plethora of allegations against him at her trial, allegations which he could not of course answer, she was convicted of murder, albeit by a majority verdict, and given the mandatory life sentence, but feminist activists took up her case, and in 1992 she walked free after a successful appeal and a mistrial.
It was the Ahlulawalia case that led to the freeing of teenage prostitute and false rape accuser Emma Humphreys. Her case was discussed here at length earlier this year, and as can be seen from that article, she had far less justification/mitigation for her crime. Her stabbing Trevor Armitage through the heart was nothing less than cold-blooded murder, yet on her contrived but successful appeal she was cheered by a crowd of feminist activists, and her death three years later at only thirty was blamed squarely on men rather than her own weakness and venality.
One more example of a woman getting away with murder, albeit in a figurative sense, will suffice. Fashion model Marta Bugalska was in an Edinburgh nightclub when she was the victim of mistaken identity. The poor girl was lucky not to lose an eye when she was hit on the head with a glass by Ashley Katsande, who thought she had kissed her boyfriend; she was given a 12 month supervision order and ordered to pay £800 compensation, and that in spite of her having two previous convictions for violence.
So why are women treated so leniently by the criminal justice system in comparison with men? Although second and third wave feminism have played a large part, there has always been a belief that with rare exceptions, women are incapable of evil, that any evil act or series of evil acts perpetrated by a woman is the result of either male-dominated society - the mythical patriarchy - or of some more personal male influence. In the UK, for many years that rare exception was Myra Hindley, lover and partner-in-crime of the recently deceased Ian Brady. From the time of their arrest until her death in prison fifteen years ago, Hindley earned the lion’s share of the public’s hatred, mostly from women due to the nature of their crimes.
The new paradigm appears to be that women are incapable of evil per se, even when the victim is a woman. Doubtless at some point in the not-too-distant future some feminist airhead will find a way to blame the attack on Marta Bugalska on Ashley Katsande’s absent boyfriend. More immediately though, the criminal justice system does neither society nor these women any favours by soft pedalling on their crimes. Retribution and deterrance are every bit as important as rehabilitation. Who knows what Lavinia Woodward will do next time she wields a bread knife, or Ashley Katsande next time she loses it in a crowded bar?
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