Unjust

LETTER: Court ruling in sexual assault case upsets Vernon resident

Regarding the front page article “Offender avoids jail,” March 28, 2018.

It is not clear what “one particular interest,” Justice Weatherill is referring to in his sentencing of the person charged with having sex with persons under the legal age of consent. Justice Weatherill admits that the two victims were “both damaged,” “one has had to go into therapy and not been able to attend school.” They have “pain and other effects.” The perpetrator has caused “harm to the victims, their families,” friends and community. The list of harm this offender has caused goes on, yet Justice Weatherill has compassion for the offender…not the victims who will, for the rest of their lives live with the torment that they are damaged goods. They will be talked about, their self esteem, possibly already not so good, will plummet. Their friends and family may blame them, perhaps not outwardly but it will show. This is not the first instance in the Vernon Courts of a sexual offender laughing his way out of jail. I realize that so much onus on one person’s shoulders to make the right decisions is a lot, but maybe in making these decisions, a Justice needs to step back for a day, consult with his or her imaginary victim, step into their “rest of their life” shoes. It is clear that the Justice does see the harm that has been done, but does not address the long term effect in his sentencing.

Demands on the Justice System, the Government of Canada and the Supreme Court to do their “due dilligence” as Elinor Turrill has stated in her letter, March 28, will fall on deaf ears. We (women) worked very hard in the ’70s and ’80s for rights for battered and sexually abused women and children starting at the grass roots level and making some very promising changes. We thought our work would prevail. It has not. Women’s Centres have not. Luckily the Vernon Women’s Transition House is still thriving.

Perhaps a small step in opening up a window for persons making legal decisions would be a forum for the legal community and victims, titled “Where are they now, 10 or 20 years after being sexually assaulted.” And another one, “Where is the Perpetrator.” As in the Van Diest case, the perpetrator apparently is a many time offender, yet the courts have “compassion” for him. Really?

Iris Youngberg


@VernonNews
letters@vernonmorningstar.com

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