Harriet Harman, the U.K. Labour Party’s Deputy Leader, representing a vacationing Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the House of Commons recently, was asked if she had designs on the party leadership. Harman joked that if she became prime minister, the nation’s airports would be thronged with men attempting to flee the country.
Ms. Harman is not only Deputy Leader, she is also Minister for Women and a hard-line feminist by anyone’s standards. (She is best known for her introduction of an ironically titled “Equality Bill” that would sanction legal discrimination against men in employment opportunities.)
Under Ms. Harman’s aegis, proposed major changes to the U.K.’s homicide laws are expected to pass through Parliament by early 2009.
The most ominous — and most likely to fulfill Ms. Harman’s misguidedly jocular prediction of mass male flight from Britain — is the automatic reduction of a charge of murder to manslaughter for women claiming past, or fear of future, abuse from male partners.
Under the prospective law then, no woman pleading abuse — and who wouldn’t under such circumstances? — could receive a life sentence — even if the abuse was only verbal.
Manslaughter sentences are notoriously variable, and judges notoriously chivalrous in sentencing women. With this legislation, women killers could henceforth confidently anticipate what up to now has been a matter of luck and soft-heartedness: legally getting away virtually scot-free with what we have traditionally understood as premeditated murder. The dramatic shift lies in a single word. The current “partial defence” in reducing murder to manslaughter is a “sudden loss of control.” Proposed is a simple “loss of control.”
Thus a man who kills his woman partner in sexual flagrante, traditionally a partial defence, would lose that legal gambit, while a woman could now offer a legal “slow burn” to justify her “loss of control.”
The modification would supposedly apply “in exceptional circumstances only, killing in response to words and conduct which caused the defendant to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged.”
“Words and conduct”? “Justifiable”? “Seriously wronged”? Under such vague parameters, taking the law into one’s own hands — until now considered revenge, the hallmark of honour-driven tribes and gangs — would become the new justice. Ms. Harman sees the legislation as a levelling of the playing field: “Changing the law will end this injustice of women being killed by their husbands and the injustice of them then being blamed.”
No, the real “injustice” would be to sanction what is anathema for race or religion, the assignation of innocence or guilt according to sex rather than evidence.
Even practically speaking, far from reducing domestic friction, such an entrenched two-tier standard would serve to inflame the imagination of every woman with a grudge, however trivial, and sow fear, resentment and anger amongst men in volatile relationships.
This outrageous proposed law rests on two feminist myths. The first is that in partner violence men are inherently responsible for domestic violence: They start it or provoke it. Consequently, women who suffer abuse, and women who initiate abuse, must both be considered victims. The second is that abused women who kill have no other self-protective recourse.
In fact about one-quarter of partner violence is initiated by men, one-quarter by women and about 50% is started bilaterally. All credible research confirms this. In fact, women may have felt trapped in abusive relationships 50 years ago, but today they have recourse to a wide array of social services that are not available to abused men.
Moreover, as a precautionary principle that ignores justice, women’s security and interests — including judicial indulgence of false allegations of abuse — systematically outweigh men’s rights in policing, divorce and custody disputes.
The legal war against men may seem to be more advanced in the U.K., but the legal culture of every Western nation is permeated by the spirit of radical feminism. In a continuing dumbing-down of female moral agency, abuse — real, but also reciprocal and merely alleged — has become a catch-all strategy for exculpating women who batter or kill their partners. What was once unthinkable — inequality before the law — is fast becoming not only thinkable, but also commonplace where sex is involved.
National Post firstname.lastname@example.org
|Comments (2)||Send to a friend||Permalink|
| by Rectificatif
Aug 13 2008 1:35 PM
Once again Kay hits the bullseye.
We needn't go very far to understand what has primed our culture to accept these murderous ideas.
Here's a sidebar some of you may find interesting.
Literature studies on many campuses in Canada include the Sharon Pollack play "Blood Relations," a 1980 text that still gets many productions at universities.
It's all about Lizzy Borden, who, as we all know, was the 1882 killer of her father and step-mother. Ms Borden, a lesbian who felt oppressed in her family home, was charged with the crime of chopping her mom and pop to bits, and "acquitted" of the charges, said to be "based on circumstantial evidence." There is no doubt any more that she committed the crime.
Canadian feminists tout the play as reprenting a heroine of our own times, one who committed a noble act of liberation. Not a few feminists not only praise Lizzie for chopping up her parents, but celebrate the fact that she got away with it. In fact, there is no moment in the play when any antipathy to Lizzie or her actions is present.
The online E-notes for this play read as follows:
"In contemporary times, the figure of Lizzie Borden has achieved iconic status. Many perceive her as an early feminist who did not shy from acting and thinking as an individual. It has often been theorized that, if Lizzie did in fact commit the murders, her actions were based on self-preservation, an attempt to escape from an abusive family situation."
Young students are directed to such interpretations [ www.enotes.com/blood-relations], and are not encouraged to challenge them.
| by pumpkineater
Aug 13 2008 10:05 PM
Harriet Harman: Did her name destine her to a life of "Harm to Men"?
"1990 Harriet Harman [was part of a group who] expressed their beliefs in a social policy paper called The Family Way."
"[The paper] said: 'It cannot be assumed that men are bound to be an asset to family life, or that the presence of fathers in families is necessarily a means to social harmony and cohesion.'"
Mail Online: "How feminists tried to destroy the family" (07.01.22)