i find that i often disagree with rosemary mcleod's op-ed pieces, but she has written a couple lately that i completely agree with.
the first can be found here, and while i don't completely agree with the first half (ie that groping is mostly harmless and seeking justice for it is "revenge" rather than empowerment), the main point she makes about unfairness in sentencing is a very good one:
But it's another comment by the judge that I find troubling: that publicity was not required in his case because none of the offensive images were of New Zealanders.
Setting aside how he could possibly know that for sure, isn't it enough that vile images were spread of any women and young children, whatever their ethnicity, and wherever they might be? They were images of real people; that is their charm for people who enjoy such cruelty.
I don't buy any argument that looking is so different from acting, or that geography waters down a crime. It's in our minds that we first become evil, before we act, and in our minds that we give ourselves permission to be brutal by proxy, as both these men have been.
the second piece doesn't appear to be online yet, but covers some appalling behaviour by ACC towards a sexual abuse victim. the concluding paragraphs of rosemary's piece are as follows:
According to Labour's victims rights spokesperson, Lynne Pillay, just 32 people were approved nationally for sexual abuse counselling in the first two months of this year, compared to 472 in the same time last year.
What's that supposed to suggest?
That the other 440 were lying or that, although they were traumatised enough to seek help, they were not "mentally injured"?
If this is economising, it's short-sighted.
Victims won't go away because bureaucracy wants them to; harm doesn't evaporate spontaneously, though we wish it did; and one way or another we're bound to pay for our lack of belief in "rehabilitation and all that other babble".