Did You Know?

May 16, 2007 at 6:44 pm (frightening things, injustice, sexism, stupidity) ()

The average sentence in this country for men who kill their female partners is only 2-6 years in prison. Women who kill their male partners, on the other hand, get an average of 15 years- even though many times, their cases are rooted in self-defense.  

So. Fucked. Up. Need any more be said?



  1. ballgame said,

    Well, frankly a lot if you want an honest evaluation of the implied premise: namely, that we as a society are indifferent to acts of violence against women, as compared to men. The statistics that I’m familiar with all suggest that the opposite is true.

    I’m certainly aware that paleolithic elements of our society still take the view that a woman’s role is to marry and defer to her man, and that some of these folks wear black robes. However, I find it difficult to believe that the prevalence of such judges is so great that it would result in a systematic sentencing bias against women for the same acts.

    I suspect that the comparison being made is simply not ‘apples to apples’. To evaluate, we would need to know the actual circumstances of the partner killings, the percent that were brought to trial, and the percent that resulted in a conviction. It’s theoretically possible that the figures cited could even be consistent with a bias against men, if it turns out that male perpetrators tend to be convicted in ‘manslaughtery/self-defense’ type cases where female perpetrators are either not charged or not convicted.

    I’m not saying that this is what happens, BTW, I’m only saying that, without this other information, the evidence provided is insufficient to know whether the alleged judicial bias for men and against women actually exists, or whether the writer is possibly ‘lying with statistics’. (I’m also not denying that the state often provides only cursory protection against bullies, which can be particularly problematic for the disproporitionately female people who end up with these kinds of mates.)

    I did think it interesting to see that in the five instances the writer was using to demonstrate ‘indifference to violence against women,’ one of them involved a man killing another man.

  2. Emily said,

    Well…okay. You brought up some really valid points, namely that the article cited didn’t include enough information to definitively make the attempted point. Fair enough.

    But to this, “However, I find it difficult to believe that the prevalence of such judges is so great that it would result in a systematic sentencing bias against women for the same acts” -I respond in the opposite way. Systemic oppression is ever-present, for all sorts of groups. There’s no reason that the “justice” system should be thought to be free of it- or more free of it than any other sector of society.

    Of course there are myriad other ways in which gender discrimination has played into crime and conviction and in this case it’s confusing. I think you’re right to suggest that more men are convicted of violent crime than women (as women are generally thought to be too passive for such crimes, and men are generally encouraged or assumed to be aggressive) but I think this is because the act itself of committing a crime is highly gendered and socialized (like all else) and don’t know what effect that has on the number of such crimes that are committed, by who, and how that’s dealt with once the case goes to court.

    I undoubtedly have much more to learn about this specific area of the law, admittedly. But when encountering new information about it, I believe that looking at the information through the lenses of larger power dynamics which undeniably exist will make the statistics more telling, not less.

    Anyway, thanks for the comment. I’ll keep it in mind. And I hope my response wasn’t TOO confusing.

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