Violence Against Women Requires Tougher Penalties


Domestic Violence

I grew up skiing in one of the most beautiful and idyllic Vermont towns complete with a white steepled church and quaint main street.  It’s the kind of place you read about in story books.  Although Stowe Vermont has grown significantly since I first remember it in the late 1960’s, it is still a beautiful albeit crowded town, on-season.  So as I sat down to read the current issue of the Stowe Reporter, I was upset by a story concerning domestic violence.  The article written by Lisa McCormack, recalls the frightening story of a woman from Morristown, the next town over, who is “racing to the Morristown Police Department just after midnight April 14, 2012, with her frightened children in the backseat”.  Continuing, “her husband of ten years had attempted to strangle her”.  He through her on to the sofa breaking it, and the unnamed woman hit her head on the wooden stairs.  At that point, “bruised and terrified”, she called 911 and got in the car with her children and headed to the police department, her husband “in hot pursuit”.  When she arrived, with him right behind, he was arrested.  What was so troubling about the story is that despite being charged with “felony aggravated first-degree domestic assault and a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence”, he only received a “deferred jail sentence” and placed on probation for two years.  If that doesn’t raise people’s ire, I don’t know what will.  But herein lies one of the greatest problems with domestic abuse in this country, men getting away with it, with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.  Of course it’s a certain kind of coward that would strike a woman but when he does, he needs to face serious jail time.  If the laws on the books allow a man to walk the streets who attempted serious bodily harm on his wife or girlfriend, then the laws need to be changed.  As a civilized nation, the penalty must fit the crime.  If there was a mandatory punishment of five or ten years in prison, without the possibility of parole, even one potentially violent offender might think twice before striking his significant other.  While it’s true domestic abuse is a crime of passion and therefore without thought, at least the victim would have the piece of mind, if she survives the attack, of knowing that her attacker will be unable to hurt her again.  It would also put an end to this pattern of repeated abuse.  So many women are caught in that cycle because they are trapped financially, or emotionally and simply unable to get out.  We owe it to all of those women who are in similar situations to change the laws.  While most of the uncivilized world places very little value on the lives of women, the greatest country on earth, the USA, should lead the way in demonstrating that violence against women will not be tolerated.

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