Rationalizing: Crime or Excuse

This post was started back in 2016...it’s getting done in 2020.

I tend to get carried away with my emotions but as an adult I’ve begun to feel the need for things to be more systematic, logical and basically possessing soundness of thought.

This morning one of the news apps I refer to had a story trending and more than the actual article it was the comments posted below it that really gave me a jolt. More and more men AND women are expressing their belief that an act of bad judgement justifies whatever negative fall-out that ensues.

I saw this happen to some extent when the Stanford grad got off light for rape.¬†But in that scenario the brouhaha about the light sentencing overshadowed the girl’s behavior and whatever part she played in the whole wrangle. In the situation playing out in Thailand, I see more and more people stridently expressing their views that if a young girl or any female for that matter takes it upon herself to go to a Third World country or even goes off on her own to a place which maybe considered dodgy by some people; she should be prepared to be attacked, molested and basically have her life ruined.

Now as a woman who was once single and who lived and worked in one of the busiest metros in the world (Mumbai), I know how it can take just a few seconds for a situation to turn ugly. But I also know that restricting the movement of the people who are at risk rather than have stringent and almost harsh laws to combat the situation is just making things worse.

When I was a post-grad student and living in the university dorm, the girls had to be back inside the dorm premises by 10 pm sharp. The rule apparently was the same for the boys/men who lived just down the road but there was no one to enforce it. When I questioned the fairness of it, I was told it was for my own safety more than anything else. So riddle me this- if I’m at risk from the male of the species, why give them the freedom to roam about all night, doing God knows what when my freedom is curtailed for merely having ovaries?

Bad judgement can be made at any age. Younger people tend to make them more often due to lack of experiences in life. Older people make them because they think the fallout can either be contained or they can dodge it. People usually commit crimes because they either want to or they have to. The latter part is trickier since it involves some organic reasons of neurological impairments or other biological factors, but barring that it’s usually because they want to or believe they can get away with it.

But whether it outcome results in hurt feelings or broken bones; shouldn’t the severity of the situation be the underlying standard for taking a call about any punishment or recompense? Intent is hard to prove. And intent can get clouded by stressors, hormones, impairment caused by chemicals- but the act remains crystal clear and so does the impact on the victim.

I’m not advocating and eye for an eye- it usually escalates into mayhem that’s hard to contain but how about good old fashioned justice?

P.S: As per Google, going back to articles published in 2019, Brock Turner was working in a factory and was legally required to register as a sex offender. Former Judge Aaron Persky was recalled from the position of a sitting judge back in 2018- the first instance ever of this sort in the state of California. Whereas Hannah Gavios is running marathons on her crutches and her attacker is all set to finish his prison term in 2021. Just something to think on.

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