"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday 8 October 2015


A question links longer prison sentences,sexual abuse, particularly of boys and post traumatic stress. 

I am happy to respond. Except... I have more questions than answers. 

Numbers of men and to a lesser extent,women, come forward decades later to accuse of offences.I suspect just as many don't. Likely more women than men. 

Men arrested for possession of child pornography may be the tip of the same iceberg. 

It occurs to me to wonder, at what point do numbers indicate behaviourwe think abnormal is actually not ? 

Could this conduct be sufficiently commonplace to be more common than uncommon?

If sexually abused boys grow up to be abusers, how many generations does it take for the circle to widen and nothing done to reverse  direction for so many more abused children to become abusers?

At a not-so-distant point in history, families bunked in together. Privacy was not a possibility.

Prior to industrialization, children in cottage industry were fully contributing to family livelihood.

At the age of twelve and thirteen, girls were married off to old men or other children. 

I wonder about sexual norms of medeaval times? 

The bible has lessons to teach about everything including sex. Orthodox Jews have weird ideas about lovemaking. 

Adultery is forbidden. A man shall not spill his seed upon the ground. Children must honor father and mother. 

Does it have to anything at all to say about sex and children? Was the depravity that caused the Lord to destroy Sodom and Gomhorra confined to adult interaction. Did the  Lord chose to save only Lot and his wife because there were no other innocents? 

He even relented and turned Lot's wife into a pillar of stone because she turned to look back. 

 If pre- teen marriage was customary in our society and still prevalent in others, what else was considered normal? 

What are we hiding from ourselves. What is the Taboo? 

More questions pop into my head  as I write.

In recent Canadian history,women and children were described in law as non-persons.They were "Chattels" ...Baggage... Belongings ....Possessions...utility items. 

 In some world cultures,women are required to be invisible. 

A woman raped is guilty of adultery and stoned to death.  

Male members of a " dis-honored" family can legally murder a sister.  In the U.K. It is estimated an
"Honor killing" happens one a month. 

It has happened in Canada. 

In the States, television features little girls as young as toddlers, dressed in burlesque,false eyelashes, make up, feather boas, are taught to bump and grind in sexually suggestive gyrations, in competition for awards,entertainment and pride of their parents. 

Why is this parental exploitation of children not an offence and child victims removed from obviously unfit parenting. Why are TV stations not prosecuted for profiting from exploitation of children?

I suspect far more adults have survived and put behind bad childhood experience than choose to re-live the victim syndrome for the rest of their lives. 

Jails and sentencing bemuse me. It's not obvious that locking a man in a cage like an animal for years or in solitary confinement for safety because he is so young as to be at risk in a prison environment, contributes anything to society's well-being.  Particularly, considering the ever-present possibility of error in judgement. 

Society saddles itself with horrendous cost for custodial care at the expense of social housing and adequate social assistance. We have food banks for God's  Sake.

Jails are dehumanizing for custodians and prisoners alike.

Families become indigent and dependent on society. 

So what might be an alternative? Another unanswered question. Out of sight out of mind,why should anyone care ? 

Stephen Harper has obviously discovered the political imperative. More jails and longer sentences.

Every week,the media is full of shootings.stabbings, vehicle crashes and random arrests of men for possession of  child pornography on their computers.

Last winter a  small child in diaper and t-shirt named Emanuel left his grandmother's apartment while his family slept,..to search for his working mother. He died in an alley. His tears frozen on his cheeks. 

Last week-end ,a rich man returned  in a private jet from a bachelor party in Miami, climbed into his 
expensive car and plowed at high speed into another vehicle. He is alleged to have run a red light. Three small children and their grandfather are dead. 

Is any penalty sufficient to satisfy the enormity of such awful consequence? 

What could possibly compensate for such unendurable loss?

What comfort can society offer? 

I look forward to comments. 


Anonymous said...

You list some pretty horrific tragedies and crimes in your post Evelyn. Tragedies and crimes that will forever continue. We are so much more aware and educated than our past ancestors yet we continue to see the same crimes and tragedies over and over again. We have spent billions in our justice, health and social services and we continue to hear these circumstaces every single day. There is one thing that we can all do that nobody talks about. The new Pope talks and asks for it all the time. And that is to pray.

Anonymous said...

More jails solve nothing. That has been proven, It does get votes though.

Anonymous said...

As our population is growning, so will our need for jails. Just like our needs for more of everything else like health care, infrastructire and all those social services. Our justice system does need an overhaul but that doesn't change the need for penitentiaries.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reply.

Anonymous said...

"The bible has lessons to teach about everything, including sex"

This of course is the number one best seller in the Fiction category at the book store. Nice little stories in there. But if you stack this book beside Dienetics, they are both out of this world hokey fiction.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm let's see. Putin, is now in Syria, after signing a war ally deal with China and India, who ar enow also on the ground helping to fight ISIS ......... and here in Canada we have two idiots saying affordable day care is the answer to all of our problems, and that we need to sit down and "talk" with ISIS. I don't know about anyone else, but we are on the verge of a third WW and the Liberals and NDP are not even close to being capable of handling that!

Anonymous said...

Check out the percentage of native Canadians in our jails on petty offences. Then compare that
to the percentage of white-collar criminals not in our jails. Our justice system needs a shake-up
from top to bottom, The last thing we need is the belief that another prison is the answer.

Anonymous said...

When Jim Flaherty died, the Conservatives lost their conscience or maybe "soul " is a better word.
The handling of the thalidimide victims was shameful - they were literally forced to beg. No senior I know
approves of how the veterans file has been handled. But those remaining on the front benches are very vocal when dealing with issues that involve punishment. Talk about having snitch lines to allow us to turn on our neighbours is scary.
Have a good weekend

Anonymous said...

It was/is interesting that monsters like Paul Bernardo are kept safely away from most other inmates. I do not know what his
situation is now but at Kingston there was a group of murderers who were able to talk to each other but not see the others.
[ although I doubt if that was strictly true as there must have been times when they moved from those cells. ]

Anonymous said...

9:44 - I said that our justice system needs an overhaul. The money that is being spent in our justice system is in the billions. When you factor in court fees, police, judges, lawyers, and the cost of penitentiaries it’s disgusting. Our courts and jails are packed. The people that are working in this system are making a hell of a lot of money. Do you think any of them want to change that? I don’t think so. And even for some miracle they do, it’s not going to happen tomorrow and will be freeing up jails anytime soon. We have people with mental health issues that are in this system. Our health system is bursting at the seams. These people are going to have to be housed somewhere. So jail it must be. Our growing numbers in this country is not helping at all.

Anonymous said...

We created the situation when it was no longer comfortable to ware-house people not convicted of any crime other than being
deemed over-the-top. Sometimes they were and sometimes they were not. It was the same with capital punishment - if you
wrongly convict some, the danger is that others might also be treated that way. And we got quite a few " wrong ".
Why are we talking about such morbid stuff ? It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.

Anonymous said...

De-criminalizing pot would ease the bottom rung of those jailed. I see no reason why it isn't treated exactly the same
as tobacco or alcohol. Put it into stores and tax the heck out of it. Some states have been trying that and there has not been any deluge of horror stories...so far. I admit it is still early days.

Anybody But Harper! said...

09:16 - Typical neo-con scaremongering. I'm thankful this Thanksgiving weekend that there is an opportunity for change on the 19th.

Anonymous said...

17:06- Yeah, just like we got change provincially right?

Anonymous said...

Thank you. We have heard that stuff before about a looming world war and it later turns out the information was incorrect.
We can never forget that there actually are individuals and companies who profit from wartime. Because the ordinary Canadian sure does not.

Anonymous said...

It's not only ordinary Canadians. People in power all over the world have and still do use ordinary people for money. Using "religion" or "democracy" as their smoke screens for war.

Anonymous said...

Check out what the American candidates have raised. And that does not include their super-pacs.