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Making sense of a senseless horror

Local newspaper reports in London this week recounted bare details of a horrific court case relating to the manslaughter of a four-month old baby. The 19-year old mother pleaded guilty to starving the baby to death as well as separate charges of child cruelty to two other children. She was given an 18 month suspended sentence and various restrictions that included a ban on looking after any children for the next two years.

I picked up the story from a tweet linking to the Men’s Rights sub on Reddit. The OP invited comparison to another case where a man was sentenced to eight years in prison for shaking his baby to death in a rage because she was crying while he wanted to play a video game.

On the face of it, the suspended sentence on this woman was remarkable. The posters on Reddit/MensRights claim that this is a typical case of ‘pussy pass’ where women can literally kill and walk away from court with not so much as a slap on the wrist. Several comments were along the lines of “anyone who does this should be strung up by their toes and flayed alive.” Others attributed the verdict to the fact that there are, apparently, ‘many rad fems in the British government.’

Anyone who follows British law and child protection issues would realise that this sentence is far from typical. It’s generally true that mothers tend to receive slightly shorter sentences than fathers in cases like this but the difference is not that profound. This is so far off the scale of normal that I wondered if it might be some bizarre reporting mistake. This was underlined by the strange absence of outrage or even raised eyebrows in national and regional media.

I dug deeper. I have to tread carefully from this point, because I found a court report which I am pretty sure flouts the reporting restrictions in this case (the mother’s name and some other relevant details should have been withheld to protect the identities of her two surviving children, and it was not) I’m not going to link to it or reproduce it for my own legal protection, however the key details are reproduced below.

MILE END, TOWER HAMLETS A teenage mum who was forced to marry an older man in [COUNTRY REDACTED] when she was 13 is facing jail today for killing her four-month-old daughter.  [NAME REDACTED] has admitted the manslaughter and cruelty to two other children [NAMES REDACTED] under the age of 16.

 

Suddenly the case takes on a very different aspect.

What appears to have happened here is that the victim of forced marriage and child sex abuse, who by the age of 18 had already given birth to three children, perhaps allegedly as a consequence of repeated rape, proving incompetent and incapable of properly feeding and caring for those children. It’s by no means unlikely that she found herself incapable of caring about or loving those children.

With just this smidgen of background information, suddenly this sentence appears less a calumny of justice and more a proportionate and compassionate response to an utterly horrendous and complex case.

The tight-lipped silence of most media might well be explained by the possibility of ongoing criminal charges against anyone involved involved in the forced marriage (including the husband, perhaps.) This is one of those multi-layered cases where reporting the details of one trial and verdict could risk prejudicing the outcome of another (hence my own ultra-cautious approach here).

I don’t blame the Reddit denizens for accepting the initial reports at face value. It took a wee bit of journalistic nous and experience on my part to track down additional details and start to make sense of it.

However this sorry saga does illustrate the dangers of rushing to squeeze every news story into such a shape as to match one’s prejudices. It may also show that when it comes to media reporting of difficult and complex cases, sometimes telling a small part of the story does more damage than telling none of it. Sometimes the only responsible way to tell a story may be not to tell it at all.

Comments

  1. says

    Yes, context counts for so much. I have to say that my initial reaction to this story was wtf?! Thanks for not leaving it there.

    I’m reminded of the newspaper advertisement (for The Guardian maybe?) in which you get to see a young white skinhead man running at someone from various angles… irate shopkeeper, fearful someone… Uh oh, what’s this about? It turns out that what he’s doing is rushing to save someone from a shedload of bricks falling on them from overhead work.

    Context, context.

  2. Danny Gibbs says

    I appreciate you digging this up AllyF but I still wonder:

    The tight-lipped silence of most media might well be explained by the possibility of ongoing criminal charges against anyone involved involved in the forced marriage (including the husband, perhaps.) This is one of those multi-layered cases where reporting the details of one trial and verdict could risk prejudicing the outcome of another (hence my own ultra-cautious approach here).
    I’m going to assume what you dug up is true for a moment. Regardless of how or if its reported I’m not seeing how giving her such a sentence is necessary for the sake of any other ongoing charges. Don’t get me wrong I hope anyone and everyone involved in this forced marriage is held responsible for their role in it but I’m just not seeing the logic of “Give her a this sentence because of what she has been through.”

  3. Ally Fogg says

    No, the sentence she receives would be nothing to do with another trial – that might however explain why there has been minimal media coverage.

    As to the sentencing… what I’m suggesting as the most likely scenario here is that you have a child subject to about five years of enforced marriage with everything that entails, carrying three pregnancies as a result and then being physically, emotionally and practically incapable of looking after the children.

    That would be a horrible, tragic case, and it is legally correct that she be found guilty of manslaughter, but the idea of jailing that girl after what she has been through would be abhorrent, don’t you think?

  4. marduk says

    This is difficult. I have two opposed thoughts on things like this.

    First, when we look at female offending and dig in, it seems there are very few offenders who don’t have sorry tales of abuse, mental health issues and addiction behind them. Its pretty bloody obvious that the rhetorical bete noire of the right: “society” has fucked up in a way that personal responsibility is pretty weak against.

    The only thing about this is that for reasons discussed in prior threads, we seem to want to find things out about female offenders, for good reasons or ill, we want to know why. Official recommendations come quite close to saying that we should shut the majority of women’s prisons and always make the assumption of non-custodial sentencing. Not everyone is going to agree with this argument but I can see the sense in the case that is constructed.

    But then we look at the apparently bestial male prison population and find they have all the same problems in at least as high a proportion. For some reason this is no mitigation for them and there is little interest in it. As regards this case, the sentencing begins to make more sense but that in itself doesn’t actually answer the comparative question. Would a guy with similar mitigations have walked away as well?

    Second, the thing that neither the left or the right will ever understand (because they’ve never seen it) is how disordered people’s lives are and what that looks like. How helpless people are in living their lives, their inability to do simple things and their confused relationships with institutions (i.e., the police visit poor areas more often than the crime rate would warrant because they use the police for settling arguments in a way middle class people would find unimaginable). They just cannot get their shit together to be blunt. Dinner is chips, inoculations are not kept up with, school attendance is haphazard. If you asked them they’d tell that they love their kids and they do, they just can’t keep to anything approaching a stable lifestyle. This isn’t usually a learning disability thing, its a complete failure of socialisation. In theory you’d imagine social services would be taking children away from unfit parents but the truth is that there would 10 times as many children in care if the bar were lower than it currently is. If they aren’t being actively abused, if their faces are washed before the “social” come round, if the cops go for a caution or the beak is giving third and fourth chances, nowt happens.

    So when I read about neglect cases, I don’t think its OK, I think it should be at least as criminal as it is now, but sadly I find it very easy to see how it happens.

  5. Archy says

    One question to ask yourself is, do you think a male would get such leniency for a horrific crime after severe abuse against him? It’d be interesting to see if men were afforded the same level of compassion but in what I’ve seen of the world…I doubt it. Keep in mind that jail has plenty of men who’ve gone through hell but still cop major sentences.

  6. Danny Gibbs says

    No, the sentence she receives would be nothing to do with another trial – that might however explain why there has been minimal media coverage.
    Perhaps. Maybe I’m just cynical (and also I’m in the US and you’re talking about a UK case) about the media but I just don’t see them being too concerned with this. Maybe there is some legal reason as to why it hasn’t been widely reported (as in something explicit like some sort of gag order?).

    As to the sentencing… what I’m suggesting as the most likely scenario here is that you have a child subject to about five years of enforced marriage with everything that entails, carrying three pregnancies as a result and then being physically, emotionally and practically incapable of looking after the children.

    That would be a horrible, tragic case, and it is legally correct that she be found guilty of manslaughter, but the idea of jailing that girl after what she has been through would be abhorrent, don’t you think?
    Yes it is a horrible situation but this sentence seems so empty that I’m wondering if they had just been off just coming out and saying, “Because of what you’ve been through we won’t hold you responsible.”. It just feels like this sentence was given for the purpose of saying, “Oh come on its not like we let her walk away from this without being held responsible.”

    And ditto what Archy said.

  7. Paul says

    With just this smidgen of background information, suddenly this sentence appears less a calumny of justice and more a proportionate and compassionate response to an utterly horrendous and complex case.

    Exactly right .And related to this very sad case is the contentious issue of whether enough is being done to protect young people in this country who’re being either forced or heavily pressured into marriage.-obviously when a child’s involved then there’s no questioned they’ve been forced.Also there’s the issue of the mental health of victims and potential victims who are often subjected to serious levels of abuse if they try and assert themselves and refuse to get married.Additionally the suicide rate for young women in this country who come from communities where forced marriage is a problem is significantly higher than the suicide rates for young women from other communities.

    One of the criticisms that is made against the largely white middle-class women who dominate the feminist movement in this country is that they use cultural relativism as their excuse for not doing enough to support women from ethnic and religious minority communities.And i’m inclined to agree with that.

  8. D506 says

    @ Danny Gibbs 6

    For all intents and purposes, this is a woman who was effectively imprisoned and repeatedly raped from the age of 13. To expect her to be responsible for the children brought on by her situation because she happened to tick over into the age of adulthood during that period is simply absurd. This is not a case of a person abused as a child going on to abuse others years later in adulthood or something similar. This is a case of a person who entirely lacked any autonomy or self determination during the time the crimes she committed took place; I can’t possibly see how she could be held responsible.

    That’s not to suggest you’re wrong, however, that a man would be treated much more harshly. But the answer isn’t to throw women like this in jail – it’s to show equal compassion and understanding towards men.

  9. Ally Fogg says

    One question to ask yourself is, do you think a male would get such leniency for a horrific crime after severe abuse against him?

    Well obviously this particular case is hard to gender-flip, since the pregancies and motherhood are not just factors of psychological mitigation, but are direct consequences of her own victimisation.

    So it is hard to say, but as a general rule I agree with you that it is too rare for male abuse victims to be given the mitigation they probably need. We have a cultural tendency to assume that girls are damaged victims and boys are evil criminals, and we probably err too far in both those directions.

    That doesn’t change the fact that, knowing what we now do, the sentence in this case does not look unreasonable.

  10. Ally Fogg says

    Danny (6)

    Perhaps. Maybe I’m just cynical (and also I’m in the US and you’re talking about a UK case) about the media but I just don’t see them being too concerned with this.

    It’s very much a UK legal thing.

    We have very very tight laws on court reporting, including prejudicing juries and contempt of court, which are completely alien to anyone accustomed to North American legal systems.

    In layman’s terms you cannot print anything which, if a jury member saw it, would be likely to cause him or her to form a judgement about the case based on information he or she did not hear presented in court.

    So for example, any kind of speculation as to the innocence or guilt or a celebrity on trial, which is a staple of US media, is illegal in the UK. Journalists (or bloggers) can actually go to prison for this stuff.

    So (and I stress, I don’t know whether this is the case or not) if there is a trial for forced marriage currently running or pending, which relates to this trial, the fact that the judge in this case appears to have accepted that the victim here was a victim of forced marriage could seriously prejudice a trial if a jury is being asked to rule as to whether or not a forced marriage had taken place.

    That’s just one possibility, there are loads of others.

  11. Carnation says

    What a distressing case. Almost unimaginable horror.

    Leaving that to one side and concentrating on the higher levels of compassion and empathy shown to female offenders, two things become clear. One us that it is of course morally correct to take into account all of the circumstances and background of a convict prior to judgement and include rehabilitation with sentencing.

    Secondly, every person objecting to the supposed leniency shown to female convicts should interrogate themselves – do they want more or less humanity in the world? Do they want more or less social justice? This is where punitive, shortsighted reactionaries go one way and liberals another.

    For many young males, a night or two in the cells is both a perverse rite of passage and an effective deterrent. For repeat offenders, it’s very rare that economic gain or sadism motivates their actions. The state has a duty to these offenders, and their future potential victims, to be committed to rehabilitation, regardless of what the odious Daily Mail has to say about it.

  12. Gerard O says

    The problem is, even in these extenuating circumstances there should at least be some time served as at least a token for a life lost in such excruciating agony. It is standard in Britain for inmates to be released upon serving 50% of their sentence, yes? So an 18 month jail term would have seen her released after 9, which would have been a more appropriate penalty.
    It’s also worth remembering that the presiding judge would have had access to the intimate details of the horrors this woman may have been through, and would no doubt have influenced this decision. If so I can see the logic in the decision, even if it seems intuitively wrong.
    A question: Has the Crown appealed the leniency of this sentence? Also, was there some sort of plea bargain?

  13. Ally Fogg says

    A question: Has the Crown appealed the leniency of this sentence?

    Not to my knowledge, and given the circumstances I can see no reason why they should.

    Also, was there some sort of plea bargain?

    There are no plea bargains in UK law although sentences are usually reduced for a guilty plea under pretty much any circumstances..

  14. D506 says

    @Gerard O 12

    I still don’t understand, frankly, why this woman should be held responsible for a child’s death at all. Yes, it died from neglect – but why was it her responsibility to care for it? Sure, it came out of her body – but do you think she had any say in that?

    If someone were to imprison a man and then use a medical procedure to impregnate him (assume this is possible) and then tried to force him to care for the child that was born while still imprisoned, would we hold him responsible for failure to do so? Of course not. But that is effectively what happened here.

    You’re right there should be time served “as a token for a life lost”. But why should it be her serving it? I see no compelling reason that she is responsible for the child’s death, Let that fall on the man that forced it into her or the family that forced her to him.

  15. Carnation says

    I think asking for the mother to be imprisoned is not dissimilar to demanding the jailing of Fritzel’s victims.

  16. marduk says

    Carnation and D506

    I think you are assuming a lot that isn’t given here. Also a certain degree of “othering” perhaps.

    My neighbours came together through an arranged marriage in their country of origin.
    They seem to be very nice people and I’m not aware of anything unpleasant going on there, they are our local pharmacists actually.

    Without going too far with this I suspect eldest son was born when mother was relatively young.

    Maybe this is cultural relativism, but if she is a victim she is a victim with a Merc who owns a shop, holds a degree or two and is active in her local Tory party and small business owner charity events etc.

    I don’t approve of people marrying young through arranged marriages but at the same time, we’re talking about ordinary people who if anything seem to aspire to being pillars of the local community (good luck with that Tory stuff though). Is my neighbour the same as a Fritzel victim also? Is it understandable if she murders her son?

    Maybe awful things were happening in this case, it seems very likely in fact, but we don’t know that.

  17. Ally Fogg says

    marduk

    There is an enormous difference between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage.

  18. maudell says

    There’s an important piece of information missing: was she the sole guardian of the kids? If the husband was also responsible for the children, it would be interesting to know his sentence as well.

  19. Adiabat says

    Ally, well done. I’m assuming this post is intended to demonstrate the ‘pussy pass’ tendency among your commenters. You present a fact that may or may not be related to the sentence, because as bad as her situation may be there are lots of girls and women in the exact same situation who don’t kill their babies (and frankly, not killing babies under almost any circumstances is pretty much Morality 101 no matter how much of a victim you are), and within a few posts we have commenters saying that she should never have been charged. It’s a travesty!!

    All on a snippet of a report you haven’t linked to (for good reasons) and can’t be verified by them, which may or may not be relevant anyway.

  20. marduk says

    @Ally Fogg

    I doubt that personally, mostly because the definition of forced marriage has less to do with what a hero saves a heroine from at the end of a B-movie (as we might imagine) and rather more to do with social/emotional pressure and meaningful consent. What they are really reaching for is obviously more to do with the ‘honour’ issues that lead to violence and clear coercion rather than an annual interrogation over a Christmas sherry but its hard to see how an arranged marriage would easily escape being construed in this way.

    Its moot anyway, point is it isn’t a good thing but it doesn’t necessary make you completely different from everyone else after the event. Maybe she was a prisoner, maybe she was beaten, but its just as possible this has more to do with a young woman not coping well and socially isolated through issues of language and poverty. If I had to guess, I think the prohibition order the court also awarded strongly hints at something else going on here which is less exceptional but no less sad, but I’m not going to speculate more specifically.

  21. D506 says

    @Adiabat 19

    “All on a snippet of a report you haven’t linked to (for good reasons) and can’t be verified by them, which may or may not be relevant anyway.”

    That this isn’t ‘verified’ is meaningless. We’ve established a version of events and are discussing where responsibility lies and what a just punishment should be, not protesting. Ally could simply have made a story up as a case study and it’d still be perfectly reasonable to use it as a basis for a discussion on morality.

    “and frankly, not killing babies under almost any circumstances is pretty much Morality 101 no matter how much of a victim you are”

    That’s obvious, but not exactly relevant. Neglecting a child is not the same as killing one. Neglecting a child one is responsible for may be as morally reprehensible as killing one and deserve the same punishment, sure, but the money most of us spent at the pub last weekend probably could have kept a half dozen children from dying in the hands of the right charity. Does not saving those children make us responsible for their deaths?

    Again I’ve yet to see anyone making compelling argument over why she should be responsible for a child just because someone else used her body to create it.

    @ Marduk 16
    As above, an arranged marriage is not necessarily a forced marriage and there is a difference between marrying young and marrying at 13.

  22. Ally Fogg says

    what are you saying, Adiabat?

    Given what we do now know about the case, for how many years would you like to lock up this girl?

  23. Paul says

    There is an enormous difference between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage

    .

    In theory you’re right Ally but in practice there’s a grey area.As i’m sure you know we have a problem of children being taken out of the country for the purposes of going to a family wedding.funeral etc and then finding themselves being either pressured or forced into marriage.

    A few years ago C4 did a programme about the work of Forced Marriage Unit and followed them as they sought to track down young british nationals who’d been taken to the sub-continent and were on the point of being married.Without exception those found were desperately unhappy but when push came to shove only one returned to the UK with the FMU .The others didn’t want to face the consequences of going against their parents wishes.And the one returnee was ostracized not only by her family in East London but also by her whole community so had to be relocated to another town where no-one knew her.

    It’s estimated that up to 10,000 forced marriages involving at least one british national take place every year.What we have no idea about are the number of arranged marriages which take place where one or both partners have agreed to the marriage but only after being put under one hell of a lot of pressure by their families.And where the british partner has been duped by his/her family into going abroad for reasons other than marriage.

  24. Ally Fogg says

    Paul (and marduk)

    I appreciate what you are saying about arranged marriages.

    The simple fact though is that while some arranged marriages may not be forced marriages (referencing marduk’s original point) a marriage to a 13 year old child who has been taken out of this country for the purpose cannot be consensual and is, by definition, forced.

  25. says

    Ally,

    Given what we do now know about the case, for how many years would you like to lock up this girl?

    given that the person in question in her current state is evidently a danger to others – at least one count of criminal neglect with deadly consequence – at least some action is appreciated, wouldn’t you say?
    Is not the whole point of prison to protect others in a way?

  26. lanir says

    This reminds me of the McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit in the US and all the years I only heard the trumped up nonsense of the corporations about it. It’s often difficult to see what justifies an outcome in the courts without actually doing a fair amount of reading (at least for the lawsuits we all seem to hear about – they’re slanted towards the ones that have unusual enough sounding endings to be worth noticing).

    Something I think a lot of commenters have missed is the purpose of a legal system. There seems to be some gut reaction along the lines of “the sentence should have been longer or harsher somehow”. It seems implied by the details of the trial that she was under extreme mental stress due to several years of being the target of child abuse herself. So knowing that the response is… jail her longer?

    A simple question: How does that help society? Especially if one takes into account that it appears from the extra trial details Ally pointed out that the young woman needs psychiatric help? Are we still stuck on the conservative fantasy that harsh penalties somehow prevent crime from happening? Isn’t that demonstrably false in most peoples personal experience by looking at how poorly the threat of speeding tickets keeps them from driving faster than the speed limit? If legal threats can’t even significantly alter the calculus of trivial decisions how can they be expected to alter life and death decisions?

  27. Carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    Oh, Adiabat. You just can’t help yourself can you?!

    Pay attention to what I wrote earlier:

    ” … every person objecting to the supposed leniency shown to female convicts should interrogate themselves – do they want more or less humanity in the world? Do they want more or less social justice? This is where punitive, shortsighted reactionaries go one way and liberals another.”

    It’s clear which way you go, with your troglodyte fellow travellers, down the road to internet bitterness and irrelevance. Approach life with love, not hate, and you’ll blossom. Or continue down your present, miserable path.

  28. says

    Ally,

    Given what we do now know about the case, for how many years would you like to lock up this girl?

    under the assumption that prison sentences are for protection against dangerous behavior, I would say that there should probably be such a sentence. The person acted wth deadly consequence strongly suggestng her to be dangerous to some degree. The exact amount is probably better decided by persons more qualified than me.

  29. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Here’s a thought that occurred to me:

    In addition to what others have said about how she shouldn’t have been EXPECTED to be a caregiver, given her circumstances, I wonder if it is a coincidence that the dead child was a girl.

    We aren’t told where, specifically, she was from, but many of the cultures that practice forced marriage of children devalue women in general and daughters. Women who bear daughters may be punished/shamed for this “crime” and many times girls mysteriously “fail” to thrive and live to adulthood.

    Also, well, how do we know that this woman’s motivations WEREN’T “I love my daughter and believe that a young death is better than growing to live the life I have”?

  30. Paul says

    a marriage to a 13 year old child who has been taken out of this country for the purpose cannot be consensual and is, by definition, forced.

    Ally i agree with the above and i said as much in my first post (No7).The point i was making ,and without meaning to be pedantic, was that in general terms there’s a grey area between arranged marriages and forced marriages.Some people assume there’s a clear distinction to be made between the two and in theory there is.However in practice the distinction isn’t always so clear for some of the reasons i outlined in my second post. (No 23)..

  31. Danny Gibbs says

    @D506 (comment 8).

    That’s not to suggest you’re wrong, however, that a man would be treated much more harshly. But the answer isn’t to throw women like this in jail – it’s to show equal compassion and understanding towards men.
    If you’ll notice I didn’t say that she should be punished more harshly. What I am trying to get down to is the why behind giving her the sentence they gave. Like I said above they may as well have just said, “Because of what you went through there will be no charges.” (And honestly I’d be okay with that given this situation.)

    What I find odd in a lot of discussions like this is that people like to skip from treating a female more leniently straight to equal compassion for everyone without taking the time to get in the whys and hows behind such treatment.

  32. Ally Fogg says

    sheaf

    under the assumption that prison sentences are for protection against dangerous behavior, I would say that there should probably be such a sentence. The person acted wth deadly consequence strongly suggestng her to be dangerous to some degree. The exact amount is probably better decided by persons more qualified than me.

    Given that her crime was failing to feed a newborn baby (and we might presume behaved similarly to her two others) I’d be pretty sure the only danger she poses is to any babies left in her care.

    It’s not like she attacked random strangers with a knife or suchlike.

    It’s a job for social services, not prison warders..

  33. says

    Given that her crime was failing to feed a newborn baby (and we might presume behaved similarly to her two others) I’d be pretty sure the only danger she poses is to any babies left in her care.

    Why are you so sure about this? Failing to feed newborns s a pretty major transgression and it is not clear to me why there is a strong qualitative difference to other transgression with similar severity of outcome.

    t’s a job for social services, not prison warders..

    As it stands, this is simply an assertion.

  34. Ally Fogg says

    it is not clear to me why there is a strong qualitative difference to other transgression with similar severity of outcome.

    You don’t get why a teenage girl who has been subjected to five years of forced marriage and rape might not be a very capable or devoted mother to the babies she’s been forced to carry as a consequence?

    Really?

    But look, the bottom line is I don’t know much for sure about this girl and this case. Fair enough, I cannot state confidently that she is not a danger to others, for all I know she turned up in court with a hockey mask, a meat cleaver and a sign saying “I’m here to murder your children.” However the judge was at the case, unlike me or you, and made the decision he made, presumably confident in the belief that the defendant posed no risk.

    So I can ask myself whether, knowing what I now know:

    Might it be reasonable for a judge to have come to a decision not to give her a custodial sentence?

    Am I prepared to believe that had I been privy to all the evidence, I would have agreed with the judge?

    Do I have any reason to believe that the judge did not make a competent and reasonable judgement on sentence?

    Answers yes, yes and no.

    Would you disagree?

  35. carnation says

    @ Danny #32

    One word answer – patriarchy.

    I think the 8 year sentence for the man who killed his daughter took into account a range of factors. I wouldn’t be too quick to think men are treated wildly and consistently differently. It’s almost impossible to qualitatively measure.

  36. 123454321 says

    “We have a cultural tendency to assume that girls are damaged victims and boys are evil criminals, and we probably err too far in both those directions.”

    Yes, you’re right of course, and this current, ridiculous perception presents a fundamental barrier to social improvement going forward. Needless to say, changing cultural behaviour is extremely difficult as culture, just like a massive conglomeration of smaller entities, has a habit of meandering slowly and aimlessly while it gets nudged in slightly different directions. People (the small entity composite) live in their comfort zone and many find it difficult to comprehend operating outside of current social norms (I’m thinking feminists in particular here who apparently don’t care too much for men and boys, as their campaigns clearly demonstrate). This is where leadership and influence comes into its own and where an opportunity for changing and improving cultural values begins. We desperately need a nudge in a different direction at the moment and we have people out there challenging the norm and proposing improvements, but….

    …problem is (for example): most of the men’s rights blogs and websites out there who are trying to raise awareness of men’s issues (thus hopefully nudging our culture into a better place) are blocked by many major organisations. Sky has just entered J4MB into the hate category! Yeah, I’m sure that action (there are many examples similar to this) will drive through the cultural changes required to address Ally’s statement and build a better future – NOT!

  37. mildlymagnificent says

    The person acted wth deadly consequence strongly suggestng her to be dangerous to some degree. The exact amount is probably better decided by persons more qualified than me.

    I’d agree with Ally here. This is a matter for social services not for prison. The decision by persons more qualified than any of us is the judge who does know all the details – probably more than anyone would ever want to know.

    Where was her husband during all this time? He apparently failed to notice that the baby was not thriving and didn’t do anything about the other children either. She might have been incompetent or incapable, but where was he during these months? There are plenty of husbands who automatically pick up the slack when a mother of an infant is too sick, or depressed, or otherwise unable to care for a baby without any help. He was probably more able than her to pick up one or more kids and take them to a hospital or doctor (or a cafe or a playground) if they appeared unhealthy or unhappy. Even if cooking a meal was beneath him, he could surely make up/ warm up some formula for a baby or serve a sandwich or a bowl of cereal for the other kids.

    If he was a truckdriver or worked in another occupation that kept him out of the house for long periods, he should surely have observed the children’s condition when he was there. Ally’s suspicion that there might be charges pending against the husband strikes me as very likely. When children suffer neglect or cruelty, especially to the point of dying, it’s common in the courts here for both the parents to be charged, and they are often tried together. If memory serves me aright, they’re usually drug or religion-addled and often fairly young. The fact that he’s not yet been charged with anything at all suggests to me that the police are trying to put together a different kind of case against him.

    As for her serving a sentence. I’d say a total of 2 years and some months of pregnancy, three bouts of childbirth, and more years of caring for the resulting children, is sentence enough – when sharing the house and the bed of the man who rapes you – to get you pregnant and any other time he feels like it.

  38. says

    Ally,

    You don’t get why a teenage girl who has been subjected to five years of forced marriage and rape might not be a very capable or devoted mother to the babies she’s been forced to carry as a consequence?

    Really?

    Neither devotion nor exceptional care are required to NOT STARVE SOMEONE TO DEATH.

    But look, the bottom line is I don’t know much for sure about this girl and this case. Fair enough, I cannot state confidently that she is not a danger to others, for all I know she turned up in court with a hockey mask, a meat cleaver and a sign saying “I’m here to murder your children.” However the judge was at the case, unlike me or you, and made the decision he made, presumably confident in the belief that the defendant posed no risk.

    So what? All empirical evidence suggests that human gut level decisions about such things are just terrible, even those of judges. A moderately incompetent factor model would presumably outperform him at prediction because of the flat maximum principle. We can argue all day wheter inside or outside prediction will outperform each other (I favor a weak form of outside prediction stance), but the factors you describe do not particularly change my gut level assessment of risk.

    Might it be reasonable for a judge to have come to a decision not to give her a custodial sentence?

    You can ask yourself ths question for any given example of jurisdiction. Little insight will be gained from this question. What I object to is claimig the factors you describe to be particularly alleviating.

    Am I prepared to believe that had I been privy to all the evidence, I would have agreed with the judge?

    Sure it is a possibility. What is your point estimate of probability for this statement?

    Do I have any reason to believe that the judge did not make a competent and reasonable judgement on sentence?

    You have. All the research I know about human decision making s that humans are not rational decision makers and judges are no exception. Balancing the probabilities of irrationality with the probability of actual compelling evidence for genuinely little risk n my mind tips in favor of irrationality on part of the judge, given my intuitive priors. You can plug into Bayes yourself, using your gut feeling to construct priors yourself. Unless your intuitions about these probabilities wildly disagree you will get a smilar or at least a very ambigous result.

  39. Gerard O says

    Thanks to Ally for answering my questions. I didn’t think the UK had plea bargaining but the Blair government made a number of changes to the justice system if I remember correctly, but this apparently wasn’t one of them.
    I would say however that this sentence is so far below the norm that if it were handed down in many jurisdictions it would trigger an automatic appeal.
    There was a case here in Australia where an elderly couple killed their handicapped son (who was an adult in his late 20s) and received a five-year suspended sentence. This case became a bigger tragedy when the couple were found dead in their home earlier this year, an apparent murder-suicide.

  40. Adiabat says

    Ally: You have no idea what her reaction to her forced marriage may be. She may be devoted to her culture. She may be operating under what some would call “false consciousness”. You’ve given absolutely no justification to factor it into the decision. All you’ve done is dug around for the first thing that enables you to fill in the blanks and make up a story as to why she shouldn’t get the same sentence as a man who kills his child. But it doesn’t come anywhere near justifying starving a baby to death.

    That is the definition of the ‘pussy pass’. It’s that psychological need for people to grasp at anything to excuse the horrible crimes that women commit. And that’s what you and your commenters are doing.

    D506 (21):

    Again I’ve yet to see anyone making compelling argument over why she should be responsible for a child just because someone else used her body to create it.

    That’s because it’s a stupid argument. If someone kidnapped me, raped me, subjected me to humiliation and abuse for years, and then kept me in the same room as a malnourished 4 month old baby on the verge of death and a bottle y’now what I would do? I would feed the bloody baby!

    No amount of abuse justifies allowing a baby in your vicinity to starve to death, whether it’s your child or not!

    I’m absolutely disgusted with some of the commenters here.

  41. Maureen Brian says

    sheaf @ 39,

    Just one small speculation. Suppose she was expected to breastfeed and – through stress or malnutrition, whatever – her milk did not come in. Or the infant had tongue-tie and couldn’t latch on?

    This mother was clearly not in touch with sources of help with either problem or she’d have been in care long-since and her “husband” was either absent or entirely useless.

    Mothers do not become confident and technically proficient by magic. We learn from each other. A woman in her twenties, getting the best of care and with access to advice, who actually wanted to be pregnant and had a choice, can still run into problems, still be glad of someone else’s experience.

    It would be the easiest thing in the world to be present at the death of a newborn if you had not the faintest idea what you were supposed to do and no-one you could ask for help. It’s why we live in groups and why we tend to discourage child-bearing among the barely pubescent, especially if they live in dysfunctional families.

  42. mildlymagnificent says

    Seems like a good way to prevent future offenses would be to forbid any control of children for a number of years..

    Which is exactly what the judge thought. If you look back to Ally’s first paragraph, he links to a report which includes the details.

    She was also given two-year supervision and residence orders, a prohibition order preventing her entering the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Brent and Westminster, and an order for two years preventing her from supervising children under the age of 11.

    http://www.eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk/news/court-crime/mum_19_gets_2_years_suspended_for_killing_4_month_old_baby_in_mile_end_1_3693677

    Indicating that the judge thought a lot more about a whole heap of other things we know nothing about, and probably don’t want to know. And I did a bit of arithmetic.

    She was 19 years old when she was before the court and 18 at the time of the death of this child who was 4 months old. There’d already been time for her to have been before the courts separately on the charges of neglect and cruelty relating to the other children. So she conceived this child when she was, at the most, 17 years and 11 months old, I suspect that she was younger than that given the months that must have elapsed for these two cases to have been prepared. Meaning that she was more likely to have been several months younger If she’d married then conceived the first child when she was, say, 13 years and a few months, the first child would have been born when she was 14.

    So she was stuck with 3 children under 4 when the third one was born. Quite apart from the failures of her husband as both husband and father, where was this “family” whose “values” led to her being in this position? I don’t know about other people, but when I think of communities with strong family values, I think of mothers, grandmothers, in-laws, aunties, uncles and cousins being involved in anything and everything to do with new children in the family. They might nag about breast feeding, but they also turn up at all hours of the day and night to feed up the mother with whatever ghastly concoction is regarded as the magical guarantee for copious milk flow. All the while stuffing the toddlers full of whatever foods are regarded as healthy or treats or “grandma’s special”.

    I don’t know what prompted the movement restriction keeping her out of those districts. Personally I hope it means that she’s kept away from the awful people who married their child off and abandoned her to her horrid fate.

  43. mildlymagnificent says

    Whoops. Punctuation failure.

    Re-do with words.
    Meaning that she was more likely to have been several months younger [than that when the third child was born]. If she’d married then conceived the first child when …

  44. Ally Fogg says

    Adiabat

    I’m absolutely disgusted with some of the commenters here.

    Funnily enough, I’ve been thinking the precise same thing.

  45. says

    Just one small speculation. Suppose she was expected to breastfeed and – through stress or malnutrition, whatever – her milk did not come in. Or the infant had tongue-tie and couldn’t latch on?

    This mother was clearly not in touch with sources of help with either problem or she’d have been in care long-since and her “husband” was either absent or entirely useless.

    I won’t deny the possibility of some conceivable combination of circumstances to be alleviating. It is just not really relevant.

    ally

    Funnily enough, I’ve been thinking the precise same thing.

    So dark, so edgy.

  46. Danny Gibbs says

    @carnation 36:

    @ Danny #32

    One word answer – patriarchy.

    I think the 8 year sentence for the man who killed his daughter took into account a range of factors. I wouldn’t be too quick to think men are treated wildly and consistently differently. It’s almost impossible to qualitatively measure.
    When it comes to sentencing there actually is a gap where men are sentenced more harshly than women even when accounting for other factors. At least in the US (Im not sure if you’re in the US or not). But oddly enough bringing this disparity up is considered in and of itself hatred of women (but I’m sure I know why that is).

  47. Danny Gibbs says

    That’s why made sure to mention that I’m in the US, just in case the outlook is different and it appears that it is. In the US if you’re staring down the barrel of criminal charges the best thing you can have going for you is to be female (even better than being white).

  48. Ally Fogg says

    Maureen

    Don’t want to get sucked too deeply into this because it is a bit off topic, but

    Note that 26% of women were imprisoned on a first conviction, as against 12% for men.

    That statistic may not mean what you seem to be suggesting.

    You would get that result if we assume that pretty much all women and men who commit a very serious, one-off offence go to prison, but of people who commit a succession of small offences, the men are more likely to be sent to prison while the women are much more likely to be given non-custodial sentences.

    In other words, the reason why women in prison are twice as likely to be first time offenders is not because more first time offenders are sent to prison, but because fewer repeat offenders are sent to jail.

  49. thetalkingstove says

    Adiabat

    That’s because it’s a stupid argument. If someone kidnapped me, raped me, subjected me to humiliation and abuse for years, and then kept me in the same room as a malnourished 4 month old baby on the verge of death and a bottle y’now what I would do? I would feed the bloody baby!

    You have no idea what you would do in her place. No idea what your mental state might be reduced to.
    The world is full of awful situations, and just to assume ‘hey, I’d survive that and do the right thing!’ is painfully naive.

  50. D506 says

    “That’s because it’s a stupid argument. If someone kidnapped me, raped me, subjected me to humiliation and abuse for years, and then kept me in the same room as a malnourished 4 month old baby on the verge of death and a bottle y’now what I would do? I would feed the bloody baby!

    No amount of abuse justifies allowing a baby in your vicinity to starve to death, whether it’s your child or not!”

    While I’m certain you believe that, I’m not convinced it’s true. On top of that, there is a difference from abusing an adult that way and abusing a 13 year old child. Are you really as confident that your 13 year-old self, after 5 years of abuse, would be certain to do the same thing?

    Besides that, no one is saying letting the baby die was “justified”. We’re saying the mother wasn’t responsible for it; couldn’t be responsible for it. Children are literally starving every day and for the cost of your internet subscription every month you could save many of them – but no one is trying to throw you in jail for failing to do so.

  51. freja says

    @42, Adiabat

    If someone kidnapped me, raped me, subjected me to humiliation and abuse for years, and then kept me in the same room as a malnourished 4 month old baby on the verge of death and a bottle y’now what I would do? I would feed the bloody baby!

    I think we’d all like to believe that about ourselves, but there’s always a vast gulf between what people think they’d do in a situation they haven’t been in and what we can observe they actually do. I think in these cases we should leave the judgement to people who actually have the qualifications for judging what that kind of treatment does to a person, rather than relying on our own hypothetical moral superiority.

    As people have pointed out before, just because anti-choice and fathers’ rights advocates have been pressing the narrative that parenting (or really, mothering) is a piece of cake, there are a lot of possible complications involved and the whole process can be extremely stressful. We’re also talking about a 19 year old who’s been physically and socially isolated her whole life, who was seemingly thrown into motherhood at the age of 13-14 with little to no support. Should she really be sent to jail just because she reached the magical age of majority during her time in captivity, despite having had little chance to develop the kind of competence we take for granted in these cases?

    And there’s no evidence she poses a danger to others. She failed to help someone, she didn’t attack anyone. She didn’t commit premeditated violence, and she didn’t react disproportionately to an everyday occurrence which could happen to her again, she reacted to a set of circumstances which are extreme by any definition of word. And the judge imposed a ban on her for any situation even remotely similar for the next 2 years, which can give her the same time to get her priorities in order as a similar prison sentence would.

    I’m with Carnation here. If there really is a discrepancy in the way male and female criminals are treated which isn’t due to differences in their circumstances, I’d think people advocating for men’s rights would be more focussed on getting better treatment for male criminals than on punishing women. But as usual, no. Just more of the same vindictiveness against everyone suspected to having a vagina, and not a ounce of consideration for what the cost is. And despite no indication that she’s a single mother, not a single one of her attackers have mentioned the father’s responsibility. As usual.

  52. Holms says

    @34

    Given that her crime was failing to feed a newborn baby (and we might presume behaved similarly to her two others) I’d be pretty sure the only danger she poses is to any babies left in her care.

    Why are you so sure about this? Failing to feed newborns s a pretty major transgression and it is not clear to me why there is a strong qualitative difference to other transgression with similar severity of outcome.

    It is easy to see why she is not considered a threat to anyone but a small child. The manner in which the baby died appears to be a failure to be fed. This is because babies are entirely dependant on parental care just to stay alive. However, this cause of death is not going to harm an adult, or even an adolescent; such people are not vulnerable to death in this manner by virtue of the fact that we can feed ourselves.

    It might be useful to consider this by way of analogy: the carer of a child is a life support machine, and the baby is a patient in need of critical care. If the machine fails, the patient will die, but a healthy person will not, because they don’t need the life support in the first place.

    Hence, while we do not have complete information about this case, the little we do know gives us reason to believe that Ally is correct: she is not likely to be a threat to anyone aside from dependant children.

    @37

    …problem is (for example): most of the men’s rights blogs and websites out there who are trying to raise awareness of men’s issues (thus hopefully nudging our culture into a better place) are blocked by many major organisations. Sky has just entered J4MB into the hate category!

    That would be worrying, if not for the fact that men’s rights sites and organisations have a tendency to become a rallying point for a large number of quite bitter men. If left unchecked, an organisation with an otherwise-worthy message / goal can gradually turn into a platform for a lot of grudges and anti-female vileness (although I am not familiar with the organisation you bring up and hence don’t know if this applies to them).

    As an example of a man that appears to have a grudge against women: Adiabat.

  53. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Ally and Maureen 49 and 51

    Actually, and correct me if I’m wrong, but the statistic on that website appears to be:

    “26% of women in prison had no previous convictions – more than double the figure for men (12%).”

    This doesn’t mean that the remaining 88% of men who had previous convictions weren’t sent to prison for those previous convictions.

    Seems to be exactly the sort of website that gets people wound up about “pussy passes” although I’d probably agree with a lot of the rhetoric on there if they replaced “women” with “people”.

  54. Adiabat says

    Ally (46): Very witty.

    Meanwhile D506 says

    “ “No amount of abuse justifies allowing a baby in your vicinity to starve to death, whether it’s your child or not!”

    While I’m certain you believe that, I’m not convinced it’s true.”

    And you don’t bat an eyelid. You have commenters that are actually trying to argue that it is okay for a woman to allow her baby to starve to death, and somehow I’m the bad guy.

    D506 (53):

    Besides that, no one is saying letting the baby die was “justified”. We’re saying the mother wasn’t responsible for it; couldn’t be responsible for it.

    Only because you created a situation in your head where that is so (and if she wasn’t responsible for sitting by and letting the baby starve because of abuse, then you are justifying her lack of action). There’s nothing that we actually know that justifies that conclusion, we have a few ‘maybe’s’ and a bit of extrapolation. The facts we actually know is that she was in a forced marriage, and had 3 children at a young age, most of Ally’s “details” are filled with “perhaps” and “appears”.

    We know next to nothing about this case, yet you are all too quickly jumping on the fact that she was married to someone at 13, adding your own little bits to the story, to excuse the extreme neglect of her 4 month baby, and the admitted child cruelty to her two older children. You’ve quickly formed a narrative that fits into your worldview and are now at the point where someone going “hold on a bit” is getting ad hominim accusations: see Holm’s post. Groupthink, and the Other, is emerging (as a side note, it’s fascinating to see it emerge in real time even if I am the Other).

    There are plenty of people who suffer abuse, even situations like the one you’re imagining, who don’t kill their children, or commit any crimes. And even if she suffered sufficient abuse to perhaps kill her husband, or family, these are innocent children she’s killed and hurt. Children who, due to circumstances beyond their control, were dependant on her for their survival. Maybe the circumstances were beyond her control as well, yet as the older victim ‘stuck in a room’ with a starving baby, she had a responsibility to feed that child and not to allow it to die. And as much of a victim she may have been, she had power in that situation, the power to keep that baby alive, yet she failed to use that power and allowed the child to die.

  55. Adiabat says

    Thetalkingstove (52) and Freja (54): You are both right about the difficulty of judging what we would do in a given situation. Yet that doesn’t change the fact that allowing a baby to starve when you have the power to save it is wrong. In my opinion not killing babies is such a fundamental moral that it would take an incredible amount of abuse to excuse someone from doing what the defendant did, much more than what I described and much more than what has been established in the OP.

    As for the father, which you touch upon: We actually have people above talking about how bad the father is when we know absolutely nothing about him. We have people saying we should trust the court, yet in the next line going on about the ‘neglectful father’, despite the fact that there as far as we know, no charges have been brought against the father. For all we know he’s barely out of childhood himself and he’s just as much a victim as she is. For all we know the reason the woman is banned from certain areas is because the father is living there with the children she admitted child cruelty towards. We know nothing.

    But since the main thrust of my argument is against people unjustifiably creating situations in their head to support their preferred narrative, speculating on the father either way would be rather hypocritical of me. Doing so would feed into the MRA claim that when a woman commits a crime, people’s instinct is to find a man to blame.

  56. gjenganger says

    @Adiabat (and the others)

    I could agree with you, depending on the circumstances, On the face of it this sounds like a ridiculous verdict; given Ally’s additional information it might make sense – or it still might not. We do not know, do we?

    One of Churchill’s scientific advisers coined the maxim:
    Never think what you want to think, before you know what you need to know
    I think it applies here.

  57. D506 says


    And you don’t bat an eyelid. You have commenters that are actually trying to argue that it is okay for a woman to allow her baby to starve to death, and somehow I’m the bad guy.

    I would have thought it clear that my suggestion that I didn’t think it was true was referring to your own assumed infallibility in the face of abuse.


    Yet that doesn’t change the fact that allowing a baby to starve when you have the power to save it is wrong.

    There are literally thousands of babies who starve daily around the world. You have the power to save some of them. You do not, or certainly not as many as you could. Are you guilty of their murder?

    You keep suggesting this was ‘her’ baby. Despite the fact that it came from her body, I’m not convinced it was ‘her’ baby or that she should have been any more responsible for it than you are responsible for the starving children around the world who you could be saving with the time you spend arguing on the internet or the money you spend for the internet connection.

    You’ve yet to show me a compelling argument on why she should be responsible for a child just because someone else forced her to have it. Sure, she was ‘in proximity’, but so what? Are you guilty of murder if you don’t try to save a man who’s choking in the same restaurant with you?

    And frankly, if we’re going to start accusing people of groupthink then I’m going to accuse you. You’re parroting society which says women should be responsible for babies forced from them regardless of whether they had any say in creating it. I think that’s bullshit and totally inconsistent with how we treat responsibility in all other cases. The man who raped her should be responsible for the rape and for the child it created.

    I expect if we looked at the case of the underage boy who was raped and expected to pay child support, you’d be yelling about how wrong it was. Somehow when it’s an underage girl raped, you expect her to be responsible.

  58. Adiabat says

    Gjenganger (60):

    We do not know, do we?

    Then we agree completely. Like sheaf I can accept that there may be circumstances which absolve the mother. Given more details I might be in agreement along with D206 and the rest. But jumping to the conclusions that they have at this stage possibly indicates what the MRA’s call the *shudder* ‘pussy pass’.

    P.S They seriously need to come up with some new terms for their ideas. The basic claim is a decent claim, and many people may agree in theory (or at least agree that it’s a testable claim worth investigating), but no doubt the very terms they choose instantly turn a lot of people away from it.

    D506: Just refreshed and seen your post but don’t have time to answer now. Hopefully will have a chance tomorrow.

  59. mildlymagnificent says

    For all we know he’s barely out of childhood himself and he’s just as much a victim as she is.

    I take it that as we’re discussing it here, we’re prepared to rely on Ally’s journalistic skills. In the OP he quotes from a court report, A teenage mum who was forced to marry an older man in [COUNTRY REDACTED] when she was 13 is facing jail today for killing her four-month-old daughter. … without the details that might be in violation of court rules.

    We at least know from this that her husband wasn’t a kid in her age group. I’d advance the view that all adults who are in the vicinity of a helpless infant and a couple of toddlers have some responsibility for their welfare. We’d all of us, every single one, leap into action with no thought at all if one of them looked to be falling from a fence or a chair or putting their little hand into a fire even if we were merely guests or happened to be passing by. None of us would sit back and let a child be injured just because there’s someone else nearby. (I remember being at a party when my younger one was still a babe in arms and I was inside the house with her. The toddler fell into the host’s swimming pool – and never hit the bottom, there must have been six or seven blokes who dived into the pool without thinking to fetch her out. She didn’t like being wet very much, but she didn’t even realise anything much had happened. We all do things like that.)

    In less excitingly traumatic circumstances, we’d usually leave the mother, father or other carer to just get on with it. When it’s obvious, as it must have been for quite some time, that all is not well I’d say the father/husband and any relative or neighbour with eyes in their head had some responsibility to perhaps look after the toddlers while mum attends to baby, or feed the whole family/bath the kids to give her a break, or bundle all of them into your car and take them to a hospital or clinic if you’re really worried. Maybe a hospital would have treated the girl with the thousand yard stare and the uncombed hair before any of the littlies if someone – like, for instance, a halfway decent husband – had taken action a couple of months earlier.

  60. freja says

    @62, Adiabat

    Then we agree completely. Like sheaf I can accept that there may be circumstances which absolve the mother. Given more details I might be in agreement along with D206 and the rest. But jumping to the conclusions that they have at this stage possibly indicates what the MRA’s call the *shudder* ‘pussy pass’.

    If what you’re objecting to here is the jumping to conclusions, why no objection to people here saying she should definitely go to jail or that she’s a danger to others? I also think your previous statement is pretty much jumping to conclusions:

    as bad as her situation may be there are lots of girls and women in the exact same situation who don’t kill their babies (and frankly, not killing babies under almost any circumstances is pretty much Morality 101 no matter how much of a victim you are)

    You don’t know what her exact situation is, and as mildlymagnificent pointed out, being so isolated (or surrounded by indifference) that no one notices or cares that your baby is starving to death is not normal in a community so family-oriented and authoritative that they’ll forcefully marry away a 13 year old and let the marriage be consummated. Even among adult, independent, single, western women, having no one noticing and taking action when a baby is starving is unusual enough, I can’t imagine what it took for it to go that far in a community where women’s option for privacy tends to be almost nonexistent.

  61. says

    Freja,

    If what you’re objecting to here is the jumping to conclusions, why no objection to people here saying she should definitely go to jail or that she’s a danger to others?

    I hope you mean nether me nor Adiabat in this because we had the decency to hedge formulations…

  62. Anton Mates says

    To help narrow down speculation, here are some more details about the case. Ally, feel free to redact anything you think is too specific–but note that everything I found here can be pulled straight off Google, if you know the mother’s name. No legal hackery required!

    The mother was taken abroad at twelve and forced to marry a twenty-year-old man. She fled back to the UK while pregnant with this baby (along with her older children, I assume), then raised the children alone while on benefits. Shortly before killing the baby, she moved, lost contact with her social worker for some reason, and stopped receiving benefits.

    So it’s unlikely that the husband’s going to be up on criminal charges; I don’t think he’s ever coming to the UK at all. Perhaps her parents will be charged–her dad is native-born white British and her mom is an immigrant–but I couldn’t find any info on their current location or whether they’re still in contact with her. They don’t seem to have accompanied her to the trial or anything. Maybe they’re still abroad.

    Now, here are some reasons why she might receive a different sentence than Mark Sandland, the guy that killed his baby over a video game. I don’t claim that these necessarily justify their respective sentences; they’re just factors that might have influenced the judges’ decisions. (Incidentally, Sandland only has to spend four years in prison; then he’s out on parole.)

    •Sandland was 28. This girl was 18.

    •The girl was a single parent of three, who according to the judge received ongoing threats from her husband’s family after she fled from him. (To paraphrase the judge’s comments at sentencing, “Your life’s been so horrible that it outclasses any punishment we could possibly give you.”) Sandland was co-parenting with his girlfriend.

    •The girl was diagnosed by government psychiatrists with PTSD and post-natal depression. Sandland wasn’t diagnosed with anything, AFAIK.

    •The girl killed her infant through neglect; Sandland killed his through sudden violence. Presumably that makes Sandland the greater threat to adults and/or children in the future; he might attack someone else who pisses him off, whereas the girl can’t neglect anybody if she’s not permitted to function as a caretaker. (Maternal infanticide of unwanted children has been common almost everywhere throughout history, and the perpetrators usually aren’t particularly violent or antisocial in other contexts AFAIK.)

    •Sandland lied and said he fell on his baby during an epileptic seizure; he also turned off the TV before emergency services got there and did not mention his game-playing. (Not that playing games is illegal, of course, it just happened to be relevant to his motive in this case.) The judge commented on his dishonesty, and on the fact that he appeared not to show any remorse. I don’t know whether the girl showed remorse, but she certainly did not attempt to mislead the authorities as Sandland did.

    All that said, I don’t think it’s in question that the law generally treats infanticidal women and infanticidal men differently. For one thing, in the UK and many other jurisdictions, infanticide is by definition a crime that only mothers can commit, with different sentencing guidelines than ordinary manslaughter or murder. And the default assumption of the law–explicitly–is that maternal infanticide is due to temporary insanity.

    Whether the law should treat the sexes differently, I dunno. I lean toward no, just on principle; men and women do tend to commit infanticide in distinctly different ways and for different reasons, but it seems to me that you could write a gender-blind law which simply acknowledged those factors on a case-by-case basis.

  63. mildlymagnificent says

    To paraphrase the judge’s comments at sentencing, “Your life’s been so horrible that it outclasses any punishment we could possibly give you.”

    Right. So we’re back to professionals who have more information than any of us could possibly have, let alone want to know, using that information to balance up all the various matters that must be taken into account in sentencing. (It hadn’t even occurred to me that the extended family might be threatening her, despite knowing that this isn’t uncommon in dysfunctional, especially authoritarian, families.)

  64. lelapaletute says

    I think it basically goes without saying that if we are not in possession of all the facts that went into the decision that was made, our ability to judge that decision is fundamentally flawed. We now have a little more light on this from Ally and Anton. We still don’t know as much as the judge did, but certainly the judgment starts to make more sense. The picture that begins to emerge is of an abused traumatised, mentally ill young girl who somehow lost her support network when she moved and (surprise!) failed to look after her children properly, with tragic consequences. This is very different to maliciously starving and harming your children.

    The point as far as Ally’s original issue with the MRM treatment of this case is that, right or wrong as it may have been, the judgment was not made on the basis of a ‘pussy pass’ (and oh my God, for once I agree with Adiabat, the MRM is its own worst enemy with the rhetoric it employs – who is that NOT designed to offend?). The decision was made because the person in question was judged to have been unable to have acted otherwise than she did, given what she had been through and her resulting mental state. Yes, lots of people could (arguably) have gone through the same or worse and still coped enough to have been able to look after their children; this person couldn’t. Whatever moral judgments Sheaf and others feel entitled to pass on her because of that, in the eyes of the law clearly her responsibility was diminished by that fact, and the appropriate sentence accordingly applied.

    That has nothing to do with her being a woman (although the specifics of the crimes she suffered before she committed her own crimes (forced marriage, marital rape, forced pregnancy, forced labour) are all highly contingent on her having been a woman. Finding a man who had been through the same or anything like it would be difficult indeed. Certainly comparing the case to that of a man who battered a baby to death because she interrupted his video game is, to say the very least, reaching (and I would go so far as to say disingenuous).

  65. marduk says

    @Anton

    The operative issue is really that the judge said in his verdict, terrible things have happened to you so I’m going to accept mental health as an extenuating circumstance. That is the mechanism through which this happened.

    In lots of similar cases mothers have received light or suspended sentences.

  66. marduk says

    Is this a ‘pussy pass’?

    Empirically it probably is actually. But this has more to do with the fact that courts in the UK pretty much roll the dice on mental health; some judges are sympathetic, some are proud to say it is ‘no excuse’.

    Given the circumstances though I think this was a dead cert from the start really.

    Generally though men do a lot worse here than women for reasons that your average feminist theorist would happily accept as being a form of sexism (the stereotype that women are emotionally weak and have a tendency towards mental frailty), albeit it is appearing in ‘benevolent’ form here.

  67. Carnation says

    @ Danny Gibbs

    I’m from the UK. I’m aware that some studies suggest less severe sentancing for female offenders, and I have no problem with accepting this as fact. It entirely fits with my thoughts on the concept of patriarchal attitudes that belittle women and restrict men.

    “But oddly enough bringing this disparity up is considered in and of itself hatred of women (but I’m sure I know why that is).”

    Considered by whom? Across the board? With what influence behind it?

    MRAs constantly claim there is a “pussy pass” (they can’t help being puerile). Most MRAs use extremely misogynistic imagery, terminology and pseudo-sexual fantasy in their “activism”. Nobody in the right frame of mind would consider discussing any disparity in the treatment of offenders “in and of itself misogyny”, and I posit that only the paranoid, reactionary and stunted mindset of the MRA would believe such and outlandish thing.

    I will ask again, and direct this at you (a self identified MRA, and not one who is typcial of such a name, for positive reasons): what do you want? Men to be treated with the same care and consideration as women (seem to be), or women to be treated as thoughtless and harshly as men (seem to be)? In a nutshell, do you want progressive social justice, or regressive punative measures? Think the USA and Norway, for live examples.

    MRAs are by definition reactionary, regressive and illiberal. You cannot be a liberal and an MRA – it’s simply impossible.

  68. says

    Whatever moral judgments Sheaf and others feel entitled to pass on her because of that, in the eyes of the law clearly her responsibility was diminished by that fact, and the appropriate sentence accordingly applied.

    Moral judgement? Where am I casting moral judgement? This seems to be one of the most deliberate misreadings of me that I have ever encoutnered. And feeling entitled to moral judgements? Yes people are entitled to that that is not just feeling. Sometimes my head just reels from reading such nonsense.

  69. Carnation says

    @ Ally

    Hello – are comments being moderated at the moment? It’s probably my issues with technology… but I posted and nothing has appeared. Cheers

  70. lelapaletute says

    God what an awful case. I remember when this little boy was reported missing, and half the country was out looking for him – I know it’s awful, but whenever something like that happens now, my first thought is always “The parent/caregiver/relative has killed them.” And I’m right more often than not.

    Can only explain the sentencing there if there are significant mental health issues not disclosed in this report. Although it’s hard to imagine how they could have significant bearing, given the evidence of repeated assault and then the calculated attempt to hide the boy’s body and escape prosecution. The internet searches found on her computer are particularly chilling – if she knew she had problems, and knew her actions and aggression toward her son were disproportionate before the attack that finally killed him, why did she not seek help?

    So sad.

  71. Carnation says

    @ Ally

    I actually think that the case you’re referring to is entirely consistent with the application of Scottish law. What often appear to be clear cut cases of murder are prosecuted as culpable homocides, or even lesser offences. I’m speculating, but one reason could be the existence of the “not proven” verdict leading to a propensity to “plea bargain”. I tested this theory by searching for culpable homocide convictions in the town that killing took place and have concluded that gender politics are irrelevant:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-19397334

    http://news.stv.tv/scotland/202528-five-years-for-killing-delivery-man/

    In my opinion, in all three cases, murder trails should have happened.

  72. marduk says

    @lelapaletute

    Its not awful to think that, its a known fact. It does demonstrate how difficult these cases are for the police and they seem get damned for it whatever they do.

    @Carnation

    So feminism is allowed consciousness raising but other groups are not? I don’t think you are being very fair. And of course you can be a liberal and an MRA. They tend not to be in the vast majority of cases but that is by the by. Hedging this around “progressive social justice” is bullshit, there are plenty illiberal laws that feminist groups have advocated (e.g., ending the presumption of innocence, widespread surveillance, censorship under threat of imprisonment etc.)

  73. mildlymagnificent says

    We’ve had an absolutely horrible case here. I’d suggest the sentences imposed are along the right lines. Both the mother of the child and her partner were equally involved in the actions and omissions that resulted in the child’s death. They’ve both been convicted of manslaughter. The mother’s 8 year sentence is a year longer than her ex-partner’s sentence.

    If you follow any links in the article – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-24/chloe-valentine-dpp-sentence-appeal-manslaughter/5620326?WT.ac=localnews_adelaide – you might find out why there was public outrage as well as the immediate family objecting to the sentences.

    It would be impossible to succeed with a charge of murder in this case so longer sentences were more or less ruled out up front. They were taking phone clips – presumably thinking of something like “Funniest Home Videos” – of the poor little mite repeatedly crashing and falling off her little motorbike. And forcing her to do it over and over again. Some of the clips were shown repeatedly on local TV. Add in the extended hours they left her unconscious while they smoked a bit of weed and mucked around on computers and they’ve finished up with a dead child with multiple broken bones and internal injuries. Not much sympathy or support anywhere for these two morons.

  74. Danny Gibbs says

    @carnation:
    MRAs constantly claim there is a “pussy pass” (they can’t help being puerile). Most MRAs use extremely misogynistic imagery, terminology and pseudo-sexual fantasy in their “activism”. Nobody in the right frame of mind would consider discussing any disparity in the treatment of offenders “in and of itself misogyny”, and I posit that only the paranoid, reactionary and stunted mindset of the MRA would believe such and outlandish thing.
    So basically you’re saying my conversations with feminists where I’ve told this didn’t happen and was all in my head? I hope you don’t wonder why I go on breaks between talking to you. Look there are nasty MRAs out there and I can tell it bothers you a lot but fact of the matter is the existence of those nasty ones is still not enough to somehow disprove actual experiences.

    I will ask again, and direct this at you (a self identified MRA, and not one who is typcial of such a name, for positive reasons):
    Probably as close to a compliment that I’ll ever get from you isn’t it? Oh well sometimes I’m pretty easy to satisfy so I’ll go with it.

    what do you want? Men to be treated with the same care and consideration as women (seem to be), or women to be treated as thoughtless and harshly as men (seem to be)? In a nutshell, do you want progressive social justice, or regressive punative measures? Think the USA and Norway, for live examples.
    I don’t want men to be treated with the same care and consideration as women (and there is no seem, its real). That consideration and care, much like the harshness that men are treated with, is all gender based. I personally would rather have us all treated with care and consideration not because of gender because because we’re all living, thinking, feeling people.

    MRAs are by definition reactionary, regressive and illiberal. You cannot be a liberal and an MRA – it’s simply impossible.
    Oh I’m curious now. Do you think I’m liberal? How would you figure that out? Would you consider my viewpoints and then determine if I am liberal or not based on those viewpoints or have you simply decided that since I have MRA leanings I cannot be liberal?

  75. Anton Mates says

    marduk,

    The operative issue is really that the judge said in his verdict, terrible things have happened to you so I’m going to accept mental health as an extenuating circumstance. That is the mechanism through which this happened.

    Well, the judge also mentioned her youth, her being a single parent of three, and her lack of benefits. Her mental health and her awful personal history were clearly major factors in his decision, but not the only ones.

    Empirically it probably is actually. But this has more to do with the fact that courts in the UK pretty much roll the dice on mental health; some judges are sympathetic, some are proud to say it is ‘no excuse’.

    Seems quite probable. However, in the Sandland case, it doesn’t appear that anyone (other than Sandland himself) was arguing that it should be an excuse. Sandland’s been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré and “psychological” seizures (that is, there’s no known neurological explanation for them), but neither of those conditions would predispose him shake a baby to death, accidentally or deliberately. By contrast, the girl in the original post was diagnosed with depression and PTSD, which certainly could make her more likely to neglect her children.

    I’m not going to pretend that the law doesn’t take a fairly arbitrary approach to mental health in general, though. For instance, the prosecution accepted that Sandland had a poor ability to “cope with stress.” This did not rise to the level of a diagnosed disorder, but does that mean it can’t reduce his responsibility for the crime? And don’t most violent criminals have a poor ability to cope with something, almost by definition?

    Meh, I’m a physicalist and “free will” seems fairly nonsensical to me, so I rarely understand how courts decide “diminished responsibility.” We all behave in whatever way our brains make us behave, IMO.

    Ally,

    In related news, I’d be really interested to know on what grounds this mother was permitted to accept a culpable homicide (Scots version of manslaughter) in this case
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/25/mikaeel-kulars-mother-guilty-killing-son-rosdeep-adekoya-edinburgh
    I’d presume it is mental heath, but I think this is the kind of case where there is a really pronounced difference in how courts treat mothers and fathers.

    In fairness, Sandland received almost identical treatment in an English court–initially charged with murder, but pled guilty to manslaughter, which was accepted. (Perhaps they will be sentenced differently, but the mother here hasn’t been sentenced yet.)

    This particular point is not decided by mental health, I don’t think. It’s just that you won’t get convicted of murder unless the court is confident that you actually intended for the child to die as a result of your violence. Given the fragility of young children, it’s very easy to claim that you deliberately beat the hell out of a kid but did not mean to kill them, especially if they survived for some time afterwards.

    For instance, I believe the UK has had at least two cases in recent years where infants or young children died from incredibly violent abuse–suffering broken backs after being hurled to the floor, among other things–and in both the cases I know about, the perpetrators (male and female) were charged with murder but convicted of lesser crimes.

  76. mildlymagnificent says

    Meh, I’m a physicalist and “free will” seems fairly nonsensical to me, so I rarely understand how courts decide “diminished responsibility.” We all behave in whatever way our brains make us behave, IMO.

    When it comes to murder, there are two extreme ends that are fairly uncommon. The deranged, delusional lunatic who fits squarely into the very restrictive M’Naghten’s rule not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or, if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong because they thought they were killing a demon or an alien is one end. The other extreme is the careful, calculating killer for hire who kills only when and because they’re paid for it and they take a lot of care to try to be sure they can’t be caught for it.

    Everybody else is somewhere between. There are those who aren’t even brought before the court because of their mental or psychiatric incapacity. There are those who are found not guilty because of the extremity of the circumstances – justifiable homicide and other rarities. Many are tried on a lesser offence than premeditated murder. When they’re found guilty – of any charge – the sentence often reflects the mitigating circumstances that can’t affect the initial finding. So people who kill their much-loved dying, dementing or desperate family member or spouse may be found guilty then sentenced to “time served”, or they may get a wholly suspended sentence.

    When it comes to killing or injuring babies and children, there are special considerations about their physical fragility and helplessness, and also about possible hormonal psychosis and/or depression of the mother of an infant, but that only makes those cases a bit more complex in some instances. Most of the time, the number of factors the judge must weigh up is much the same. They’re just different factors from those where all the parties are adults.

  77. gjenganger says

    @Anton 81

    Meh, I’m a physicalist and “free will” seems fairly nonsensical to me

    Remind me never to move in with you, then. From an argument on free will:”Imagine sharing a flat with someone who claims it is not in his power to decide whether to do the dishes or not“.

  78. Anton Mates says

    gjenganger,

    ”Imagine sharing a flat with someone who claims it is not in his power to decide whether to do the dishes or not“.

    Oh, everyone decides; it’s just that the outcomes of our decisions are determined by physical laws plus chance. As it happens, I’m a moderately compulsive dishes-doer–ask any of my roommates or exes–so you’re actually better off with me than with someone who periodically chooses to shirk his chores, just to demonstrate his free will.

    Elvis admitted that he Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, but most girls don’t seem to hold that against him.

  79. Lucy says

    So what was her husband’s sentence for letting his child starve to death? Let me guess: he got the no-pussy pass.

  80. mildlymagnificent says

    So what was her husband’s sentence for letting his child starve to death? Let me guess: he got the no-pussy pass.

    He wasn’t even there.

    See Anton Mates comment #66

  81. says

    Mates,

    Meh, I’m a physicalist and “free will” seems fairly nonsensical to me, so I rarely understand how courts decide “diminished responsibility.” We all behave in whatever way our brains make us behave, IMO.

    I am typically viewing court decisions under compatiblist assumptions of free will. You ca probably better interpret these decisions while making such assumptions. I think a reasonable heuristic is to approximate “moral responsibility” in terms more firmly grounded in reality is “knowingly rejecting good in favor of evil”.

  82. mildlymagnificent says

    No. She left him and came back to Britain when she was pregnant with the third child. As far as anyone knows, he’s still overseas. He may never have set foot in the UK at all for all we know.

    And as Anton Mates puts it @66 above.

    The girl was a single parent of three, who according to the judge received ongoing threats from her husband’s family after she fled from him. (To paraphrase the judge’s comments at sentencing, “Your life’s been so horrible that it outclasses any punishment we could possibly give you.”)

    So the in-laws were threatening her and nobody from her own family supported her when she was in court. Or at any other time according to those details.

    As far as his responsibility goes, I’d put almost equal responsibility/ blame/ finger-pointing to her parents account. Marrying her off and abandoning her to her miserable fate. I look at my adult daughters and I simply cannot imagine how anyone could do such a thing. It’s bad enough when friends or relatives see an independent woman marry someone that they predict is not much good. How anyone can inflict such a dreadful life on a kid who isn’t even eligible for the senior netball team is beyond my comprehension.

    But her husband bears the responsibility for being every bit as bad as her situation allowed him to be. He could have been a decent bloke unbeknownst to her parents. It’s clear they didn’t consider that as an issue, so she was literally at his mercy. And received none.

  83. Carnation says

    @ Danny Gibbs (apologies for the delay

    You wrote ““But oddly enough bringing this disparity up is considered in and of itself hatred of women (but I’m sure I know why that is).”

    You expanded this by indicating that it was “conversations with feminists” that led you to believe this. So a self-identified MRA, whilst talking (presumably online?) with unidentified “feminists” being described as a misogynist means that “bringing this disparity up is considered in and of itself hatred of women “. Danny, you’re better than to state such a frankly ridiculous statement. Maureen Brian (I’m assuming she’s a feminist) refuted your claim in a respectful manner.

    You write:
    “Oh I’m curious now. Do you think I’m liberal? How would you figure that out? Would you consider my viewpoints and then determine if I am liberal or not based on those viewpoints or have you simply decided that since I have MRA leanings I cannot be liberal?”

    I have read your blog. On this blog you criticise the obvious and crass misogyny of the mainstream MRM. We are getting into semantics, but when I use the term MRA, I do not use it to describe a Men’s Rights Activist/Advocate. I can think of no MRAs that actually advocate, or are active, in securing any meaningful change for men. So MRA is not an anacronym for me, it is a noun. For me, an MRA is someone who reads the most popular MRA blogs and believe the reactionary, hate-filled, juvenile nonsense contained within it. An MRA cannot be liberal because the cornerstone of their supposed belief system is a wilful or incompetent understanding of social justice and their solution is either non-existent or reactionary and regressive. This is obvious and basic stuff.

    Now, very unusually for an MRA on this blog, you identify as an MRA. Are you liberal? You have made liberal sounds in the past. They haven’t been contradicted by obvious, boiling detestation of humans as a class, so thus far, I have no reason to disbelieve you. You also directly answered my question about whether you wanted more or less compassion and humanity – the only MRA/pro-MRA I have asked who has done so.

    TL/DR – I don’t think you’re too far gone into the manosphere to have lost your humanity and I don’t think you buy much of what constitutes MRA theory. So I have no problem believing that you’re liberal/quasi-liberal. But then I don’t think your writing would be popular on Spearhead/AVfM.

  84. Danny Gibbs says

    Carnation:
    Maureen Brian (I’m assuming she’s a feminist) refuted your claim in a respectful manner.
    No. She didn’t did refute (I assume you mean disprove) it. All she did was prove there are feminists who don’t do it and that I should have quantified my experience rather than sounding like I was saying all feminists thought this way. Now if you want to say that they don’t all do that I’m all for it but please don’t call yourself breaking down and disproving my experiences with quote marks.

    For me, an MRA is someone who reads the most popular MRA blogs and believe the reactionary, hate-filled, juvenile nonsense contained within it. An MRA cannot be liberal because the cornerstone of their supposed belief system is a wilful or incompetent understanding of social justice and their solution is either non-existent or reactionary and regressive. This is obvious and basic stuff.
    So you’re defining it by the angry unfocused ones? Your contempt for the lot of them (even when misplaced) makes sense now at least. But to me that shows that they have to grow and learn and develop (in fact you say juvenile towards that point). And that growth does happen. I get into very civil and reasonable conversations with MRAs on a regular basis right at that mensrights reddit (and swing by femradebates if you can).

    Funny thing part of the reason I started going to that reddit because of feminists saying how horrible and there’s nothing useful there and its all (insert insult). Yes there is vile there no doubt but I noticed that there are decent conversations going on there too and that some of the depictions of that place are straight up dishonest.

    TL/DR – I don’t think you’re too far gone into the manosphere to have lost your humanity and I don’t think you buy much of what constitutes MRA theory. So I have no problem believing that you’re liberal/quasi-liberal. But then I don’t think your writing would be popular on Spearhead/AVfM.
    Now odd you say that last line. I don’t care much for Spearhead but I’ve actually had good conversation with Dean Esmay of AVfM. (And for the record I think Paul Elam has done some good in bringing attention to issues affecting men but I think in the long run MRAs of his type will have to eventually fall to the wayside to make room for future waves of the MRM.)

  85. Maureen Brian says

    Danny Gibbs @ 91,

    This is going to come as a terrible shock, I know, but not all feminists do the same things, think the same things, say the same things. We are not a monolith but, potentially, 3.5 billion separate individuals.

    You made a rather sweeping statement and perhaps inadvertently attributed it to half the world’s population. I knew that the UK picture differed from what you had said. I sought out a simple sheet from a credible source as something for you to compare with what you had said.

    But now you need to follow the nuances of this. Along comes Ally and says maybe it’s not quite as clearcut as that. Guess what? I deferred to him – not because it’s his blog, not because he’s a man, certainly not because I’m old enough to be his mother but because I grasped a while ago that his learning is more recent and his knowledge more current than mine.

    Real feminists do that sort of thing all the time.

    _______________

    While I’m here, there’s an aspect of this story we’ve not dealt with. A full trial for murder, manslaughter or culpable homicide, infanticide would be a jury trial. It is within the power of juries to decide that, though there is no doubt about who did what, a charge of murder with its mandatory life sentence was unnecessarily harsh to the physical or emotional wreck of a person they have just seen trying to give evidence in her own defence.

    Should they decide to bring in a not guilty verdict – well within the rules and they do it once in a while – then there is nothing the state can do. A person in trouble walks away and cannot be directed to accept psychiatric help, drugs rehab, specialist supervision, whatever.

    In such cases a willing guilty plea to a “lesser” charge may be the surest way of both providing help and ensuring that the same person is not back in the dock on a similar charge within a couple of years.

  86. Carnation says

    @ Danny Gibbs

    “I’ve actually had good conversation with Dean Esmay of AVfM. (And for the record I think Paul Elam has done some good in bringing attention to issues affecting men but I think in the long run MRAs of his type will have to eventually fall to the wayside to make room for future waves of the MRM.)”

    Esmay sometimes sounds like he’s reasonable, then retreats into repeating mundane MRA gibberish. With Elam at the helm, which he is, the MRM wil continue to attract the exceptionally low calibre of “activist” that it currently does. They have achieved nothing positive for vulnerable men. Nor will they.

    As I’ve said to you before, remove the misogynists and the MRM decreases from tiny to statistically insignificant. However, a statistically insignificant number of committed, realistic activists can make a difference. The MRM doesn’t seem concerned with making a positive difference – organising poorly attended get-togethers to blame femininists/women for the problems of men in front of the media achieves nothing, except to clarify what the MRM is.

    This has veered off-topic enough, if you want to continue, let’s do so on the open-thread.

  87. Adiabat says

    D506 (61): Seems a bit pointless to reply now we know more details, but I can reply to your argument in a more general sense, if you want to discuss the ethical arguments you brought up?

  88. Danny Gibbs says

    @Maureen:
    This is going to come as a terrible shock, I know, but not all feminists do the same things, think the same things, say the same things. We are not a monolith but, potentially, 3.5 billion separate individuals.
    I’ve already acknowledged that I should have quantified what I said and not generalized.

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