(Britain) Erin Pizzey: Radical feminist plans to let women get away with murder are an affront to morality
Under Ms Harman's scheme cold-blooded murder could be tolerated under British law for the first time, as long as the killer can convince a court SHE felt in long-term danger from HER partner.
29 July 2008
Erin Pizzey, champion of women's rights, says radical feminist plans to let victims of domestic abuse get away with murder are an affront to morality
By Erin Pizzey
Harriet Harman (British Govt Deputy Leader and Secretary of State for Equalities) recently made a leaden attempt at self-deprecating humour. In response to a House of Commons question about her leadership ambitions, she said that she could not possibly become Prime Minister because, if she did, then the nation's airports would be filled with men trying to flee the country.
The joke caused bewildered looks rather than laughs, partly because of her lack of comic timing, but more importantly because there is nothing funny about her aggressively feminist agenda, which treats men as either second-class citizens or a menace to society.
Harman may try to raise a titter by playing on her reputation as a hardline women's rights campaigner. But, in reality, men would be right to shudder if she were to seize the reins of power.
Throughout her political career, Ms Harman has promoted the extreme feminist cause.
She recently introduced an outrageously misnamed 'Equality Bill', which actually proposed to give legal sanction to overt discrimination against men in job recruitment.
The scheme was dressed up as an attempt to combat prejudice against women in the workplace, but in reality made anti-male bias acceptable.
Now comes an even more sinister move. Yesterday, Ms Harman - who, worryingly, is acting Prime Minister during Gordon Brown's summer holiday - set out new proposals that may lead to a change in the law in cases of murder involving domestic violence.
As she revealed, she has embarked on a consultation process to decide whether victims of domestic violence who kill their partners should be allowed to plead provocation where they claim to be living in fear of future attacks.
At present, the defence of provocation can be used only when an individual kills during a sudden loss of self-control - during a fight, for example.
Under Ms Harman's scheme, however, cold-blooded murder could be tolerated under British law for the first time, as long as the killer can convince a court she felt in long-term danger from her partner.
Now, I have been a supporter of women's rights all my life. In 1971, I founded the first women's refuge in the country, which led to the creation of a nationwide network offering shelter for victims of domestic violence.
And through that experience, as well as my own upbringing at the hands of abusive parents, I know what a terrifying problem domestic violence can be.
But it is precisely because of my desire to protect the vulnerable that I am so opposed to Ms Harman's absurd new plan, which is not only an affront to the basic morality of our society, but also a ridiculously one-sided, misogynistic, simplistic and dangerous response to the issue.
Indeed, as with so many of her other forays into policy-making, it is driven more by feminist ideology than compassion.
Effectively, what Harman and the ultra-feminist lobby want is a licence for women to kill.
For thousands of years, one of the pillars of Judaeo-Christian civilisation has been the ethical injunction, 'Thou shalt not kill'.
But now, radical female modernisers think that this moral edifice can be pulled down and replaced with a perverse new moral code which holds that women can murder as long as their sense of victimhood is sufficiently powerful.
If this plan is enacted, we will no longer have absolute justice in this country. Instead, our courts will have to use a carefully calibrated measure of female grievance against which to judge the darkest of all crimes.
Only in the warped mindset of feminist radicals should we protect the vulnerable by downgrading our moral abhorrence of murder.
Rather than reducing violence, Harriet Harman's proposals could become a charter for domestic chaos, as vengeful women believe they can butcher partners they come to loathe, inventing incidents of abuse or exaggerating fears of assault.
That this grotesque proposal is even being considered by the Government only shows how far the once honourable women's liberation movement has been hijacked by extreme feminists, who are interested in oppressing men rather than real equality.
It is telling that one of the driving forces behind these proposals is Julie Bindel, of the Left-wing pressure group Justice for Women.
Ms Bindel displayed her lack of balance in a recent article in the Guardian newspaper, entitled 'Why I hate men'.
One of her sentences read: 'I will say loud and proud, yes, today I hate men, and will tomorrow and the day after.'
No doubt in her misogynistic world, killing men is a form of justifiable homicide. But it is an outrage that thanks to Ms Harman, feminists such as Bindel can influence public policy.
The absurdity of the Harman position is the pretence that women in a violent relationship have no alternative but to kill their partners.
It might have been true half a century ago, when there were no refuges and neither the courts nor the police treated domestic violence seriously. But it is not the case today, not least thanks to the efforts of women's campaigners like myself who have fought to change things.
Domestic violence is now taken seriously by all state institutions, and every police force has its own domestic violence team. A woman fearing abuse does not have to suffer alone. She can pick up the phone, and the police and social services will respond.
The proposals have also been prompted by the feminist belief that men often escape justice for their violence simply by claiming they were bullied by their partners, or that they were provoked because their partner was having any affair.
This is a myth. Home Office research shows 5 per cent of men are acquitted in domestic violence cases. Meanwhile, 22 per cent of women get off.
Another myth is that domestic violence is almost exclusively perpetrated by men against women. Again, this is nonsense.
Certain crime studies show that while one in four women has suffered from abuse, one in six men has also done so.
I will never forget one woman, who was staying in my refuge, telling me, in chilling tones, 'knives are a great leveller'.
That is the reality of domestic violence. It is far less clear-cut than the ideologues like to pretend, with their neat division between female victims and male oppressors.
The truth is that much of the violence takes place in squalid, tortured relationships, often involving drink and drugs, where both partners are guilty of verbal and physical assault.
In the refuge I opened in 1971, for example, of the first 100 women through the door, 62 admitted that they had also perpetrated violence against their partners.
Harman's law, if enacted, will be a recipe for injustice, not a means of protecting women's rights. It is vital that we should uphold the law as it stands and never allow our legal system to be dragged down by amoral feminist dogma.
29 July 2008
Go soft on killer wives: Women who kill in cold blood could escape murder charge
By James Slack
Women who kill abusive partners in cold blood could escape a murder conviction if they prove they feared more violence.
Under a major government review, they will be punished for the lesser offence of manslaughter, sparing them a mandatory life sentence.
They must establish only that they were responding to a 'slow burn' of abuse.
The change sweeps aside the existing requirement in any defence of provocation that they killed on the spur of the moment after a 'sudden' loss of control.
In cases where a husband kills, the existing 'partial defence' of provocation if a wife was having an affair is scrapped altogether.
The Ministry of Justice said this was in response to long-standing concerns that the centuries- old measure impacts differently on men and women.
In the first major changes to homicide laws in 50 years, ministers have ruled that other categories of killer, as well as domestic violence victims, should be offered new partial defences of provocation.
They include those 'seriously wronged' by an insult.
Beneficiaries of this change may include those who strike out after long and bitter disputes with neighbours, or victims of a serious crime who are taunted at a later date by the attacker.
Instead of receiving a mandatory life sentence for murder, they too could escape with a manslaughter conviction.
Women's groups had long campaigned for changes to the law to protect victims of domestic violence who hit back in desperation.
But the proposed new partial defence for killers who feel 'seriously wronged' by 'words and conduct' took experts completely by surprise.
Robert Whelan of the Civitas think-tank accused Ministers of introducing 'gang law' into the legal system.
He said: 'To take someone's life because they say something that offends you is the law of gang culture.
'Are we really going to introduce into our criminal justice system that it is a defence to say "I was insulted"?'
He also voiced concern about the plan to give special protection to certain groups.
Mr Whelan said: 'By creating all these special categories, the Government are making some people more equal than others before the law.
'It seems some lives are worth more than others.'
Lyn Costello of Mothers Against Murder and Aggression described the changes as 'utter madness'.
She warned: 'We need clear laws, not more grey areas. This is not the sort of message to send out.
'You will have some very clever lawyers who will twist this around to suit their clients.
'Unless there are really exceptional circumstances, such as self defence or protecting yourself or family, then there is no excuse for killing someone and it should be murder.'
Officials, however, denied they were creating any loopholes.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Justice Minister Maria Eagle gave an example of where the new defence could apply as a 'serious neighbour dispute' in which the provocation of one person had reached a 'very high level'.
She also cited a person who had been subjected to repeated racist abuse.
Her officials stressed later that any neighbour dispute would have to go 'quite beyond what an ordinary person should be expected to deal with'.
Other examples of where the defence may apply included a victim of a serious crime, such as a rape, being taunted by their attacker at a later date, or a mother who came home to find a man trying to rape her daughter, chased him down the street and stabbed him in the back.
The new defence reads: 'In exceptional circumstances only, killing in response to words and conduct which caused the defendant to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged'.
The defences of both fear of serious violence and being 'seriously wronged' apply only in cases where a person is deemed to have 'lost control', rather than acted in a premeditated manner.
This is itself a weakening of the current law, which specifies that a person using such a defence must have have suffered a 'sudden' loss of control.
The 'seriously wronged' clause also makes a special exemption for infidelity.
Ministers said sexual jealousy could no longer be used as a defence under any circumstances.
Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader and Minister for Women, said: 'After a man has intentionally killed his wife, bereaved relatives have said to me "Why is he allowed to try and get away with murder?
'"He planned to kill her, he intended to kill her, he did kill her. How is this not murder?"
'At the moment the law allows him to try to get off a murder charge by claiming she provoked him, for example by being unfaithful.
'It's unacceptable if you've lost a sister, or a mother, to then be told it's her fault because she provoked him.
'Changing the law will end this injustice of women being killed by their husbands and the injustice of them then being blamed.
'And it will end the injustice of the perpetrators making excuses saying it's not their fault.'
The proposals will be part of a Bill to be included in the Queen's Speech in November.
They will then go through Parliament over the following months.
Justice Department officials said that, overall, they expected the number of murder convictions to increase by 20 each year as a result of the whole package of changes.
Ministers have, however, decided not to adopt two proposals suggested by the Law Commission, the Government's law reform advisers.
They are for a U.S.-style system of first and second degree murders, and a recommendation for a defence of 'developmental immaturity'.
This would have seen children who kill being convicted of lesser charges if their lawyers could prove that they were young for their age.
It should be both men and women.
- Pamela, Weymouth, Great Britain, 29/7/2008 07:51
Both women and men should be allowed to come under this law. Some women are abusers, some men are abusers, and nether party should be forced to live in those conditions.
There are also times when the abused partner feels that divorce is not an option - 'kill or be killed' if you like.
Murder is murder, but this law does not state that murder will be allowed, it states what has always been stated - self defence is not murder.
Perhaps all of those people who feel that they should still be called murderer's should go into abusive relationships and then see how they feel, were not talking about an occasional slap ether - it should be continual and unavoidable violence, something that the woman - or man feels they cannot get away from.
Yes, this is the same as finding your daughter, son, husband, wife, mother, father, best friend etc being raped - in the heat of the moment what would you do?
- Catherine, Brisbane, Australia, 29/7/2008 07:48
Yet more persecution of men by the man-hating feminists in charge of the NuLab experiment.
Just take a look at the feminist perception of abuse: as they define it, it can mean anything, only women can claim abuse (in spite of Government statistics which show that just as many men are victims), and no evidence is required. Oh and dead men can't defend themselves in court.
According to Harman equality means discriminating against white men in employment, and against men in respect of the law on murder. The longer NuLab remain in power, the greater the persecution of men.
So don't vote NuLab at the next election.
- Chris, Wokingham, England, 29/7/2008 07:46
29 July 2008
Feminism gone mad
Most will be utterly baffled by the Government's proposed changes to the laws on manslaughter and murder.
First there's the extraordinary new defence of 'killing in response to words and conduct which caused the defendant to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged'.
What's all that about? Are gangsters really to be allowed to escape a murder charge if they kill people who insult them?
Then there are the deeply confusing rules on provocation in cases involving the killing of a member of one sex by the other.
On one hand, a husband who kills an unfaithful wife in a fit of jealousy will no longer be allowed to plead he was provoked.
On the other, a wife who kills her husband because he has subjected her to a 'slow burn' of abuse may be charged only with manslaughter.
Attempting to explain the rules, Minister for Women Harriet Harman says a wife's infidelity can never be an excuse for killing her. 'It's unacceptable if you've lost a sister, or a mother, to then be told it's her fault because she provoked him'.
Why, then, does she think it acceptable for those who have lost a brother or a father to be told it was his fault because he taunted his wife?
Can it be safe to let this deranged feminist loose on the law of the land?