Today's class was on Violence Against Women. We talked about the role of human rights and the state, and the divide of public and private life. That that divide even exists says so much. How did home become "a man's castle" where he can be king and treat others as slaves? How is it that violence in the home can be 'protected'?
I keep trying to understand the role of the state, and the agency of women. If a woman doesn't want to press charges should the state still press them? Has not the abuser committed a crime against society as well? If the state/police have reasonable amounts of evidence that violence has taken place shouldn't they be required to press charges whether she wants to or not? and then the flip side...
will that mean that less women will go to the police to get temporary restraining orders that serve as a "cooling down" time but don't necessarily lead to court cases? Does it increase the lack of power and agency a victim already has to something "whether she wants it or not"?
i was in a bible study last night and we were talking about caring for people and it hit me that i think the one group i have the hardest time caring for are people who should be in jail but are not. I have never done prison ministry, but i think i could- the person is serving society's penalty for crimes committed and there is a space to come in with kindness and grace. But when i have been around murderers and rapists who have gotten away with it through bribery and power, i find nothing but contempt. Do i have too much faith in the justice system? Sometimes punitive recourse is a joke, but there is something that just philosophically seems right about society setting up its standards or rights and wrongs and due penalties for infractions. And when some people get to live outside those rules or consequences it kills me.
i am volunteering at a rape crisis centre and have been thinking about the agency of the victim/survivor to not prosecute. I am (currently) not ok with that. Obviously, i'll follow procedure and protocol, but the idea that in a state of victimhood (and i believe it is a process of moving from victimhood to survivorhood) one can decide to not prosecute and therefore let impunity reign, seems wrong and exactly what perpetrators are counting on.
Looking back on my own life, every major abuse i have cowed away from fighting, i have regretted. At the time it just seemed easier or not worth the emotion and strength it would take. Or i just didn't know what it would take and so chose the path of non-action. I regret them all. So it really doesn't sit well with me, this idea that prosecution is dependent on the victim not on society/the state/ the police.
More to look into...