Sunday, November 16, 2003

in a valiant attempt to avoid doing any work and thereby attempting to fail out of school this quarter, i have been wandering around various blogs and am reminded of something i thought about in this week's episode of CSI, which i watched while having dinner, having cooked dinner through Survivor.

anyways, what this all boils down to is (a) a letter written by Jolene re: the recent oral sex case in the newspapers -which, to bring non-STOnline readers up to speed on, is this: a guy was recently jailed for two years, losing both 'his livelihood and liberty' to quote jol, because a girl performed oral sex on him. consensually, mind you, and she above the age of legal consent. because oral sex is illegal in our little island home.- and (b) a rape-murder case on CSI where the victim was murdered because she could identify her rapist. that triggered the memory that rape carries a maximum sentence of life, just like second-degree murder.

while i agree viscerally with the notion that rape is at least as bad as murder, as a crime, i have to bow to common sense [and reasoning provided by the discipline of economics] that argues that if the rapist were to get as heavy a sentence for rape as murder he might as well murder his victim, because he might then get away with the whole affair. most rapes are, after all, committed by someone the victim already knows, however casually -date rape, raped by 'that guy at the gym', the neighbour. so while i would LIKE to see the rapist get twenty-to-life for his crime, i -don't- want that to happen if it means that he is going to get life-death-penalty instead for rape AND murder.

which brings me to the issue of what a legal system DOES. i think we often forget that the legal system isn't just about laws, it's an encoding of what a society's morals and social mores are, to a certain extent. at least a portion of society anyway. the portion that writes the legal code. and the enforcement of such a code is subjective -some things we turn a blind eye to, because we recognise that they exist as a kind of signal as to what we perceive to be our moral code, but are unrealistic reflections of normal life. it's a rude shock to me to see enforcement of what i have always considered a kind of archaic, poker-up-the-ass victorian-priggish law. yes technically oral sex and carnal -read anal- sex is illegal in our little island state - come on, you mean to tell me it doesn't happen? does this then technically give the state the right to barge into our homes and conduct spot checks if they suspect such a horrendous crime is ongoing?

i don't even know what to say in response to the whole case. i think i'm still stunned that the guy was jailed - i think i'm even more stunned that the girl made a police report about what she freely admitted was a consensual act. dear god, what is the world -what are PEOPLE- coming to?


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