Monday, October 17, 2011

Of Jail & Wails; Sorry, No Puppy Dog Tails

At Hexletive, Hex worries about "Choosing Sides" when domestic violence hits your friends -- and you are friends with both parties.

There's so much to comment on in this post...

Before I begin, it should be said that Hex or Hexy is a survivor herself. Not wishing to squash or second-guess a fellow survivor, I do have to take issue with a few things. And also, to help you follow along, "M" is the woman who was abused; "B" is the male abuser. Number one:
M has also expressed a desire for mediation, however, due to the police misinforming her about whether or not she needed to be present at his first court date, she may have missed her opportunity for court-mandated mediation, and it is doubtful that B will agree to enter voluntary mediation, where his attendance is not mandatory and there are no consequences if he does not go along with the process.
I don't know any of the parties involved, but I can tell you from my experience with forced mediation (despite restraining orders involved!), that the best you can hope for is not to be hurt. Physically hurt, I mean. For no matter how much he swore, yelled, and concerned office staff outside our counselor's room, nothing stopped the verbal onslaught. To make matters worse, none of what happened there could be used in court as proof of my ex's behaviors and anger issues.

Plus, there's this:
As for community response, I'd like to see his friends, family and community unite to tell him that his behaviour is unacceptable and that he needs to take responsibility for it, and that his community will not support him if he does not take steps to ensure that this never happens again. Unfortunately, this is not an option that is supported by our legal system or by our society, and with B having convinced at least part of his community that he is innocent and being victimised through the courts by an evil, manipulative crazy-lady, a united, victim-centric response by a whole and effective community seems sadly out of reach.
This is precisely what this blog is about. But in terms of B himself, if he's willing to continue his angry delusional charade, what the hell good is mediation? I say M is best off having avoided that whole scene.

Even though Hex states she has cut ties with B, and does believe he was/is abusive, she writes this:
The problem is, our “justice” system has no reasonable alternative to prison. Our society sees gaol as the only punitive measure: you do something wrong, you go to prison. Prison isn't designed to rehabilitate, it's designed to punish, and to remove you from society. The fact that it makes people into worse criminals, mentally scars them, and puts them at increased risk of physical and sexual assault isn't seen as a bug, it's seen as a feature. So no, I don't want this man to go to gaol.
I don't want to sound bitter, but hell! Gaol, prison, jail, that's the only punishment there is! Take that away, and there is no consequence for an abuser. In fact, that was the only consequence the courts both assigned to my abusive ex and monitored to see that was carried out.

The "letter of apology" still has not arrived, lo near a decade later. Not that it would mean anything if it was spat out like a petulant child at a sandbox fight -- but it was assigned, sentenced, and yet did not have to be done.

The anger management counseling, the parenting classes, the other things designed to "treat" not "punish" never came to pass either. And the court doesn't care.

Apparently, sentencing is merely a hypothetical set of consequences outside of time to serve.

Yes, I concede that our jails and prison system are not designed to rehabilitate. But that's a related issue to the matter of domestic violence, about crime and peace in general. One battle at a time, please. I'd like one to succeed!

Taking that punishment away leaves us with no justice at all -- in fact, look at Topeka, who has stopped prosecuting domestic violence cases to "save the budget" allowing abusers to repeat offenses at will.

Is that the option?

No, "no jail" is not the option for government budgets, who at least owe us basic safety.  No, "no jail" is not the option for abusers who "deserve help." No, "no jail" is not the solution for victims of violence.

I get caring about a friend; I get caring about humanity, society, people as a general swarming mass.  But in cases of abuse, rape and assault, victims and prevention must be the first priority. Neither is assisted by wishing the jail time away.

Enough of the consequences go away as it is.

At least for the abuser. Victims, survivors, especially those with children, carry the negative consequences forever. For. Ever.

Fundamentally, what's a few weeks in jail to what we live with the rest of our lives?

I also have to say that it sounds like neither Hex nor M have any children... This means both women have been, or will be, spared the further abuse by court systems.  Perhaps this is why Hex's view point is as it is.

1 comment:

Rick said...

When domestic violence hits your friends there are no sides! Any person who uses violence on their partner be they male or female is no longer my friend. If they were truly my friends and not just acquaintences then there is no hiding the violence. Regardless of what the instigator says, domestic violence leaves its ugly mark to anyone who is paying attention. The excuse, he said this or she said that or he cheated or she cheated is still no excuse for violence. I don't care if he slept with your sister, I don't care if she took on the whole seventh fleet, violence is NOT an acceptable response. If you cannot tolerate your partners behavior (and they may truly be guilty of some terrible betrayal) you have the right to leave. You do not have the right to hit!