Via Feminist Philosophers:
Well, this is just awesome. Really.
Colin Read, a management consultant over in the UK, branded his wife, Elizabeth, with a hot iron and slashed her foot with a knife while she slept. Why did he do these violent things? Because she didn't press his shirt, and didn't make him a sandwich. When she complained about the knife attack, he beat her with his fists. When she tried to talk to him about it a few days later, he hit her again. The branding attack happened a week later.
At the trial, his (soon to be former) wife was so terrified of him, that she had to be compelled by a summons to testify. I can't say I blame her. I mean, he branded her and slashed her with a knife, because she didn't make him a sandwich. How do you think he's going to react if you testify against him in court, right?
And even after being found guilty of all three of the assault charges levied against him, and the judge noting that the attacks were "appalling" and Colin's denials about the attacks concerned him, what happens? The violent asshole walks free with less than a $4,000 fine. No community service. No jail time. Nothing.
Why? Because, according to the judge, it was the marriage that led to the abuse, and since they're getting a divorce, it won't matter now. Oh, and Colin is so very busy working at his 180k a year job that he wouldn't have time to do community service. The judge noted that jail time would "help no one."
What. The. Fuck?
First of all, it wasn't the marriage that led to Colin abusing Elizabeth. His working 17 hour days might have soured his mood. Elizabeth not pressing a shirt he wanted might have annoyed him. He decided on his course of action, though. He was the one who decided to cut her with a fucking knife while she slept. He was the one who decided to brand her with an iron.
Second of all, punishing him does help people. It sends a message that this kind of abuse isn't acceptable. It teaches him a lesson, and sends a message to other people. It could also be an opportunity to get him some bloody counciling, since he clearly has some fucked up ideas about what is an acceptable way to let anger out. Last, but not least, it would send a message to the victims of abuse, that the courts take these kinds of cases seriously, and respect how difficult it is to report domestic violence. When the courts essentially do nothing to assholes like this guy, they send a very loud message to the victims of violent crimes like this that their suffering doesn't count.
If I walked up to a man on the street and slashed him with a knife, beat him with my fists, and branded him twice with an iron, does anyone doubt I'd face jail time?
Elizabeth is quoted in the article: "I didn't really want to go to court. Now with the sentence the way it was, it doesn't really seem there was much point."
That's the message that victims of domestic violence are going to carry away from this. And can you blame them?