The Value of Woman

I’ve just listened to the news.

I have just heard that the government is set  to introduce legislation that will make certain products – currently sold in ‘Head Shops’ in Ireland – illegal. If you’re caught in possession of these products – like Mephedrone – you face a fine and up to seven years in prison. If you are found to be a supplier of these mind-altering drugs, you could get a life sentence.

I also heard about a woman in this country who, not quite three years ago, was six months pregnant and lying asleep in her own bed in her own home. At 4.30am, she woke up to see her ex-boyfriend (and the father of her unborn child) in her room, totally uninvited.

He was wielding a shotgun. After breaking her teeth, he told her to look down the barrel of the gun so she could see the bullet as it was coming to kill her.

Afterwards, he raped her – anally and vaginally. He held her hostage for a number of hours before the Gardaí eventually convinced him to release this woman without doing her or her baby any further harm. I don’t know this woman but I am willing to bet my house that there were days when she wished to God that he had killed her. Such is the absolute devastation that an attack  like this wreaks on the life of the violated.

This savage, vicious attack could easily have caused this woman to have lost her baby. There was no report of her having lost her child, so we can assume that she carried her baby to term and delivered him/her. If she chose to keep her baby, she has a reminder – every time she looks at the child – of that child’s father. The man who brutalized her, violated her, and scarred her – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Let me be clear – this woman will never recover from her ordeal. She will learn to cope, she will learn to live with the aftermath, she will learn to function. She will have bad days and good days. The best she can hope for is that, one year, the good days will outnumber the bad days.

Today, the man who brutalised her was sentenced. He received a sentence of 10 years, with 3 years suspended. So he will serve 7 years.

That’s right, folks, you can break into the home of a pregnant woman, you can break her teeth, threaten to kill her with a shotgun, hold her hostage for several hours, force your penis into her anus, force your penis into her vagina, ‘to pass the time’ (as this man told this woman) and leave her scarred for life. Or you can buy a little bag of mind-altering chemicals for your own consumption. You’ll serve the same amount of time.

Now, I understand that, sometimes, judges have their hands tied by the laws of this country. If the maximum sentence a judge can pass is 2 years, a judge can’t send someone away for life just because he feels like it. But a 10 year sentence – with three years suspended – for a series of crimes this heinous seems shabby.

Could the judge not have handed down a sentence for each crime and ordered them to run consecutively?  Could this man not have been sentenced for illegal possession of a shotgun; breaking and entering; false imprisonment; each count of rape; threatening to kill and assault and battery?

If not, why not?

Or is the simple, bald truth that we value women less than a bag of ‘Spice’ in this country?

Listening to the news frequently annoys and upsets me. But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop.


10 thoughts on “The Value of Woman

    • Lady Scribbles says:

      I know. And this is supposed to be a ‘Developed’ ‘First World Country’ with ‘Equal Rights’ and all that other guff. I am trying to figure out how to speed up the change!

      Thanks for dropping by and posting a comment.


  1. Hello- I just this morning posted on Facebook the disparity in sentencing I noticed in the two articles in this morning’s Herald- then my friend Jan directed me to your link. Glad to see other people incredulous at such a horribly transparent critique of priorities in this country. thanks for posting this blog.

    • Lady Scribbles says:

      Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I was driving when I heard the news yesterday and started fuming. Women and children matter so very little in this country. Change is happening, but it’s happening too slowly. I’m going to put some serious thought into what I can do to speed things up a little. As the mother of two girls, I am not at all happy at the prospect of continuing to bring them up here.

      Thanks again for stopping by.


  2. Maya Hanley says:

    I have often thought the same thing, Hazel. One big difference here is that I think the campaign to make Head Shops and their products illegal has got a LOT of media attention in the last few months, with Facebook pages, radio interviews, people talking all over the place. It’s new, it’s hot, etc etc. The government have to be seen to do something.

    In the case of rape and violence against women and the incredibly short sentences men seem to get for perpetrating these heinous crimes, not much gets said. I think it will take a concerted effort by all people who abhor the sentencing laws to change the system. We need Facebook pages, radio and TV coverage, campaigns, a lot of shouting and yelling. On top of that, rape is a contentious issue because so many women don’t even report it. It’s time to change the sentencing laws. For a start, I plan to post your blog on my Facebook page and on Twitter. Well done. Well written. Let’s try to change this.

    • Lady Scribbles says:

      Thanks for your comments, Maya, and for spreading the link around. You’re right – we need to talk about this. We need to allow our outrage to motivate us to create change. The judges’ hands are tied – the can only sentence within the law. We need to have the laws changed.

      We also need to have attitudes changed. Remember the 50 men – including the local priest – who shook the hand of the rapist in court a few months ago? There was shock and outrage – but not enough.

      I’ve been in touch with The Wide Angle highlighting this issue – hopefully they will pick up on it and run a feature over the weekend.


  3. Pingback: Back to the Subject of Sentencing | Abigail Rieley

  4. Niamh O'Connor says:

    I found that a deep, heartfelt and moving read, Hazel. Couldn’t agree more. Hope you’re well. Niamh O’C

    • Lady Scribbles says:

      Hi Niamh!

      Thanks for your kind comments. All well here – getting busier, which is good. 🙂 Dying to read your book (though, given the subject matter, that might be a poor word-choice! LOL) Hope all is well with you, too.


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