Monday, October 10, 2011

With this manacle, I thee wed

Over at the Commentator, Hannah Stuart has lauded Dave Cameron's plans to make forced marriage illegal.
In a speech on immigration today, Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to criminalise forced marriage, a move that is likely to have a strong impact on tackling the wider issue of honour-based violence in this country.

Forced marriage should not be conflated with arranged marriage: individuals enter into arranged marriages voluntarily; whereas people forced into marriage are usually tricked into going abroad, physically threatened and/or emotionally blackmailed to do so.

No, Hannah—no, no, no!

One of the tendencies that we all used to excoriate NuLabour for was their mania for making law after law after law.

"Don't make more laws," we cried. "Just bloody well enforce the ones that we already have!"

The same is precisely true for this case. Much as I deplore forced marriages, the laws to tackle such things are already on the statute books: both kidnapping and slavery are illegal already (as defined in a number of different offences)—simply enforce the laws that we already have!

And I don't care whether this will help tackle the "wider issue of honour-based violence in this country": assault, rape and murder are already illegal—once again, simply enforce the laws that we already have!

Further, it will more shame the perpetrators of these, frankly, fucking horrible crimes to be tried as common criminals—seen to be no different from any other rapist or killer—rather than as martyrs to their own special law.

If you want to send a strong message to certain people that their barbaric cultures are not special, that their actions are not somehow exempt because it is part of their "traditions", then prosecute them to the full extent of the criminal law as it currently exists.

Prosecute them as rapists; prosecute them as women beaters; prosecute them as murders. But, for fuck's sake, don't introduce yet more special laws: charge and convict these scum under the existing laws, so that they understand that they are not exempt from the law of this land.

And, in the name of all that's unholy, Cameron, fulfil your own promises and start cutting some laws—not imposing more!

13 comments:

Old Holborn said...

Oh no you don't.

http://bastardoldholborn.blogspot.com/2011/10/for-better-for-worse.html

john in cheshire said...

DK, I agree with you. I hope that people with influence are reading your blog.

JuliaM said...

"Further, it will more shame the perpetrators of these, frankly, fucking horrible crimes to be tried as common criminals—seen to be no different from any other rapist or killer—rather than as martyrs to their own special law."

Spot on!

Woman on a Raft said...

There is the source pdf from the University of Rohampton (U.L) which was published over the summer.

It's probably best to skip straight to the conclusion. The report is not all that keen on criminal legal action. They just don't think it will work.

http://www.roehampton.ac.uk/staff/AishaGill/pdf/Forced-Marriage-Legislation Survey_Report%20of%20Findings_Gill_14July11_printversion_FIN.pdf

Woman on a Raft said...

At 3.11 the respondents mainly agree with DK

"...respondents suggested that gaps in the criminal law were not the main problem but rather that failures to implement the current provisions and impose sanctions on perpetrators created a de facto climate of impunity..."

The danger of a new criminal law is that a) the victims won't dare appeal to it and b) it won't be as useful as implementing what the 2007 act already allows and which the police and social services don't seem able to make proper use of.

There is also an inherent conflict of approaches. Social services have to emphasize reconcilliation even if that means letting some highly suspect behaviour go. The police want to deter families from future behaviour and that means using the law robustly. But that of itself can make things worse for particular victims.

Most difficult is the underlying disagreement: they think forced marriage is alright, we don't. I don't see how these two attitudes can exist in the same place.

Devil's Kitchen said...

WoaR,

"Most difficult is the underlying disagreement: they think forced marriage is alright, we don't. I don't see how these two attitudes can exist in the same place."

If they want to live in this country, they will have to learn.

You shall not initiate force or fraud against someone's life, liberty or property.

DK

TheFatBigot said...

You raise an excellent point Mr Kitchen. Special laws aimed at particular groups provide ammunition for those who wish to create divisions.

Those of us who like to treat everyone the same regardless of gender, bedroom preference, original nationality or pigmentation are rather keen to avoid laws that do that.

Roger Thornhill said...

Spot on, DK.

The laws exist. No martyrs.

Also, one cannot pander to extraterritorality - UK courts should only consider crimes perpetrated here.

FlipC said...

It has to be remembered that the current legislator either has little to no idea what laws are already in place or are interested only in manipulating the public into thinking there aren't such laws already.

Expect an SI that tweaks or consolidates the existing legislation rather than anything actually new.

Suboptimal Planet said...

Very well said, DK!

Joseph Takagi said...

It's law as political signal. "look, we've passed a law against that".

It reminds me of various laws that have been passed in the US. Anyone worth reading points out that they're unconstitutional, the ACLU point out that they're unconstitutional, and within a few days of the law being passed the ACLU go to the Supreme Court who rule that it's unconstitutional. But the point of the law was always about the signal it sent to either the religious right, frightened parents or whoever else.

Rob said...

Creating a new law, or talking about creating a new law, gives the impression of taking action, while the state continues to avoid persuing criminals from, ah, sensitive communities.

The new law will be ignored just like tbe old ones.

Cmack3000 said...

Amen!!