Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Territorial Markings of Shame

We have a show called “The Axis of Evil” [yes, the title makes fun of You-Know-Who, who has given us so much already mirth-wise]. It has a pannel of 4 journalists/political commentators moderated by one other. I really enjoy watching it even though I disagree with loads of things some of them say (straight out of Bl*co de Esqu*rda, a very lefty political party which, quite frankly, I CANNOT stand. *Shudder* I inserted asterisks bcs God forbid I should attract THEM to MY blog. *double shudder*)

One of them talked about something I didn’t know. Of course I know we have domestic violence, and very badly so. [I keep telling you we’ve slid into Morocco and are now the most powerful North-African nation, some of you keep telling me I exaggerate, well…] But in one year 47 women were killed by their husbands, and three children as well. FIFTY wife-bashing-related deaths.

[“I’m sorry,” say you “aren’t you in the EU?” “Dahling, don’t be naive,” say I “the EU is an intellectual concept, you see. And besides, remember Turkey? Remember Turkey and the Death Penalty? Yes, Turkey’s in too so why shouldn’t we? We’re half Muslimised as it is.”]

This is the story (in Port.) that made me YET AGAIN feel embarrassed to be Portuguese: one of these men had his sentence reduced from 14 to 11 years due to Mitigating Circumstances by the Supremo Tribunal de Justiça (STJ, Supreme Court of Justice, simply the highest in court hierarchy
). He strangled his wife to death.

Some of the mitigating circumstances are (this comes STRAIGHT from the sentence):
- “She burnt the food she was preparing a few times” (“esturricou a comida”, you don’t speak the language but it’s a very specific and rather silly verb, it means “to slightly charr/singe”.)
- “She even showed her belly one time to friends while they were discussing their physical condition.”
- “She even went out and came back after dark.”
- “She used to go out for a coffee and one time didn’t warn her husband she was going out.”

The judges admit that such behaviour (sic) stemmed from the victim’s psychological problems due to the death of their daughter the year before. They say, however, that this is typically a “occasional homicide” which will hardly be repeated, so there is no great need fro prevention. The defendant “dedicated his life to construction work” and always cared for the education of both his children and “is considered a good pater familia and cherished by all his friends.”

But mostly, “not at all extraneous to” the crime “is the victim’s prior behaviour, namely her having withdrawn all the money from their bank account which caused the defendant to be unable to pay for his lunch and may have been the rage detonator that led to the homicide.”

As for her having been insulted, punched, slapped and kicked by the husband twice before (to the extent that she was once for 6 days during one of those times), the STJ found that “Except for the marital squabbles (wherein, by default, one can't blame just one of the parties) that led to the criminal act we are hereby evaluating, the defendant is socially well-adjusted.”

It reminded me of something that is used in Law Schools as an example of - you’ll see. Years ago, two tourists were raped in Portugal, down in the Algarve. The rapist was given a very light sentence or acquitted (can’t remember exactly, it’s one of them for sure, probably the last one if I know My Country) because he was not to blame since they should have been exercising the caution demanded of women who decide to provocatively parade themselves [read "go by foot along a road"] in the middle of - and I will now quote the judge verbatim, I SWEAR he said it, it’s documented - “The Iberian Male Game Reserve”.

We are not alone. The Italian Supreme Court let a rapist go free because the victim was “wearing jeans” and we all know it’s impossible to remove them without the active cumplicity of the one wearing them.

I am so, so ashamed. Fuckortugal indeed.

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At 1/12/04 17:38, Blogger Noorster said...

Oh my. That "Iberian Male Game reserve" bit really got to me.
I once read about the results of a study on domestic violence in My Country That I Won't Name - apparently 1 in 5 women suffer some form of domestic abuse on a regular basis.

At 2/12/04 07:10, Blogger brooksba said...

Oh my goodness.

I am just stunned by this post. I'm so sorry that this is the news you have to hear. Granted, news rarely shouts the happy stories from rooftops, but this is sad.

I don't know if it's just cultural or what, but I could not imagine "she even went out and came back after dark" holding any weight in a criminal trial.

And the whole, "Iberian Male Game Reserve." Oh, I want to claw the eyes out of that judge! What a male, pompous ass! Sorry for the swear, I just felt it called for it.

That's like saying, "Hey, that human has breasts, they must be demanding I rape them." There is no logic here!

Okay, I'll stop now.

Thanks for sharing.


At 3/12/04 11:06, Blogger D said...

I hadn't read this entire post, so I missed the part where you thought it's bad a sentence gets commuted from 14 to 11 years (and it is).
In Holland there is just SO much more understanding for the perpetrator. I don't think a husband EVER got 11 years for killing his wife unless he also killed their children, his in-laws and and their neighbours. And even then I'm not sure.
Recently a former Marine (yes, a like me) murdered his wife, her parents and a brother (not sure about the last one). He received 20 years + TBS. TBS means the state will forcibly treat you in a hospital for the criminally insane. It also means you serve only 1/3 of the official sentence, but the duration of the treatment is theoretically indefinite. Usually people get out sooner after treatment than if they had refused it (which means a mandatory max sentence).
This man received such a (relatively) harsh sentence BECAUSE he is a former marine/member of the elite counterterrorism squad. In most comparable cases, 6-8 years is the max, often less.
It sucks, no matter what way you look at it. And it doesn't bring the victim back. But you don't wanna see maniacs like this back on the street.

At 4/12/04 22:42, Blogger CarpeDM said...

This makes me so sad. I watched a daytime tv show once, can't remember which one it was, but this woman had called in re her daughter who had been raped by the elderly neighbor. The judge basically slapped the man on the wrist because the girl had asked for it by dressing in a seductive manner.

The girl was 2. Apparently diapers are a turn-on.

I hate the blame the victim game. It's stupid.


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