Full and Open Disclosure: The way domestic violence and sexual assault are handled in the Irish justice system does not please my heart.
The figures back it up: Figures released in January this year show that the number of domestic violence charges brought before Irish district courts almost doubled between 2019 and 2020.
And yet, attorney Emer Ní Chúagáin found that 82 per cent of cases brought before Dublin Metropolitan District Court in 2019 and 2020 resulted in no conviction.
Last year, Noeline Blackwell, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said only about 14 per cent of rape cases reported to gardaí go to trial.
So excuse me while I maintain my belief that the victims of these crimes are often abandoned if they are brave enough to overcome a significant psychological barrier to even report them.
And yet this week in Northern Ireland, during a trial at Dungannon Crown Court, a judge addressed a prolific offender who had sexually assaulted a woman: “You are still a young man. There is nothing stopping you from making your life more productive, from finding work or finding a wife or partner, from having a family and a home.”
The defendant, Cathal Patrick Feeney, accepted a lesser charge of sexual assault in that case, but not before the court heard he had 67 previous offences, some of which were “domestic in nature”. He was branded in court as a “belligerent, drunken thug, thug and nuisance”.
Now let’s pause the action here and step out of the picture. matrix-Style. The goal of the judiciary is usually to rehabilitate offenders and bring violent offenders onto a different, more positive path. Presumably this is the place where the judge’s words were spoken.
And he had some sterner words too, telling Feeney: “Your relationship with alcohol is extremely problematic. You find it difficult to see the significance of what happened and you run a high risk of recidivism.”
The fact that women suffer untold violence in the home seems to have been overlooked or misunderstood. This tale of a woman holding and sorting a “wayward” man is deeply patriarchal.
It’s anchored in the lofty notion that nuclear family is a great solution, at least for men. I’m not sure who needs to hear this within the court system, but it’s not one person’s job to fix or be responsible for another. Reform is ultimately the goal of the judiciary.
This recent communication from the Irish courts can be added to a series of cases in which victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault have been abandoned.
Victims are often forced to listen to glowing character references from their rapist as “caring friend/faithful companion/good father.”
I can’t imagine being the woman at the center of Feeney’s trial and hearing a judge mention that he found a wife and started a home. Galling doesn’t quite cover it.
In any case, the next time you hear a report that the vast majority of rapes and sexual assaults go unreported (97.6 percent, according to a recent estimate), you probably need look no further than the amazingly anachronistic system where sex offenders live can apparently be rehabilitated from any romantic perspective to the job.
chain no longer at the top of stores
Arguably, this is news every self-respecting fashionista loves to hear: Topshop is about to have a makeover thanks to online retail giant Asos.
Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia is no longer affiliated and the brand looks forward to a new chapter. Expect a standalone digital storefront, whatever that is, and a wider plus-size range and the twentysomething vim that made Topshop famous in the first place.
Except… well, will it be the dawn of the new era that Asos awaits?
Where once Topshop had plenty of fresh snow around it, a slew of fast-fashion successors have now sprung up. Allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and bullying against Green likely contaminated the brand, particularly among socially conscious shoppers.
According to a report in Bloomberg In February 2019, these allegations tangibly hurt consumer perceptions of Topshop as jesters and fearless fashionistas.
Additionally, the women for whom Topshop has always been a prime destination have moved on, filled in, and grown up. Last time I checked the hems weren’t right for work; the sleeves fit only the bingo wingless youths; The pants rarely considered the possibility of having a real butt.
And while the fashion was decidedly young, the price points were much more “comfortable mid-career.” Good luck Asos – you’ll probably need it.
Liz Truss puts herself in our shoes
Elsewhere in the fashion industry, Liz Truss has been spotted turning up for official appointments and interviews looking every inch the polished politician — from the ankles up.
Her decision to pair trainers with power suits seems decidedly post-Covid, when many sensible women have abandoned “oppressive”, uncomfortable heels for shoes you could well be running for a bus in.
In the last two years we’ve given up heels and are now far too comfortable to go back to the old ways.
In that way, Liz is just like any of us. At least from the ankles down.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/why-it-is-never-any-womans-job-to-rehabilitate-or-fix-a-man-42062512.html Why it’s never a woman’s job to rehabilitate or “fix” a man.