The first sentence on a front page article of The Union newspaper July 30, 2016 was, “[Joshua David Packard] The suspect in a year-long string of burglaries and vehicle thefts took a plea agreement in court Friday for a potential prison sentence of seven years and four months.”
This particular article, Accused burglar takes seven-year prison deal, caught my eye because of the recent outrage over the 3 month prison sentence in the Brock Turner rape case, which was closely followed by the no-time served John Enochs rape case AND the Austin Wilkerson rape case. I’ve written before about Compounding Discrimination and Gender Inequality, but this time I’d like to draw attention to the lack of legal justice, in regards to crimes against women.
In America, criminal sexual contact is classified as a misdemeanor, a lesser crime with a shorter sentence [unless the victim is a child]. Felonies [like murder, arson, burglary] get longer prison sentences, usually in State Jails. The sentencing varies from state to state. But in California, a convicted Rapist is expected to be sentenced to State prison for 3-8 Years. So what’s going on with the Justice system? How are the punishments so radically inconsistent?
At a glance, it looks like the government doesn’t take women’s health and safety seriously. Women have been fighting for equal legal rights in America for over 100 years. But still, the war on women continues. In 1919, it was voting rights, suffrage, then equal rights, education, limited society roles of housewives, subjugation, equal employment, equal pay, workplace harassment, pro-choice, paid maternity leave, and now with legal action against rapists. Many of the struggles were settled ONLY in name; laws were passed, but not upheld, and women are still not earning equal pay, and are still being denied health services. Even crimes against women are hardly taken seriously.
Failing to update laws-and-punishments to be in-step with the changing times is part of the problem, Attitudes towards women is another problem, And Corruption is the largest problem. In a perfect world, everyone would fully understand the severity of a sexual crime, there would be firm laws condemning it so that the public would be sympathetic to the victims, and the justice system would dole out fair and unbiased sentences. But in the real world, women aren’t treated fairly, victim blaming is popular in sexual assault cases, and the justice system allows for such extreme biases, that nonviolent crimes are somehow punished more severely than violent ones.
It’s time that women realize that in the eyes of the LAW, their bodily safety is valued less than the safety of an automobile. A car thief [carjacking] has committed a felony, and may be punished with 3-9 years in prison. A rapist has committed a misdemeanor or felony, and may not be punished at all.
Corruption in politics/business/government is notorious. Depending on how connected and influential the criminal is, the convict could walk away from a courtroom without any punishment. If the criminal is affluent enough, bribing or blackmailing the victim to drop the case becomes an option, or hiring a cutthroat lawyer.
Half the population is female, yet only 19% of Congress is. Women’s issues are so poorly represented in government that progressive thinkers are branded as liberal radicals and suppressed.
Crimes against women have been overlooked for way too long. This is ridiculous.