One way of changing the disrespectful attitude towards women is educating the youngsters of this country, says a High Court Judge.
Justice Stephen Pallaras said this when asked if longer sentences imposed on crimes committed against women helped reduce the rate of crime against them and that if there are other ways to address the issue.
“I don’t know whether longer sentences have the effect to reduce crime.
“Sentencing theory suggests it does, that if you sentenced too lightly it does not deter people.
“Therefore the opposite of that is if you sentence more heavily, it may deter some.”
Justice Pallaras said whether that in fact works, he does not know.
“All I know is what we have been doing up until three years ago did not seem to work to me.
“And the reason I ascribe to that was because serious offences were being lightly punished.
“I think that is a wrong principle anyway.
He said serious offences should be seriously punished.
“I am not a person who thinks that prison is the solution to crime.
“People come out of prison probably knowing more about crime than they knew when they went in,” he said.
“But on the other hand, the Court has a responsibility partly to make sure that dangerous men are not abroad in the community.
He said there is a responsibly to protect women and children from people who are rapists.
He added that one way of doing that is removing them from the community by putting them in jail.
“Question of how long depend on which judge you get.”
When asked if there are other ways to address the issue, he said educating the children. Justice Pallaras then shared an experience he had when he visited three high schools recently.
He said he asked all the boys to put up their hands and if they think they are better than the girls.
“All the boys raised their hands.
He then asked all the girls to leave their hands up if they think the boys are better than them, to which he said he was shocked to see more than half of the girls keep their hands up.
“So what you got in other words is an attitude in childhood, where the boys thought they are better than the girls, and the girls say yes the boys are better than us.
“That is not surprising if that is the attitude in children, that you going to get the attitude in grow ups, that men can treat women like animals, that they possessed women, that they own women, that they can buy women with bride price.
“That is a development of the attitude that kids were given that men are better than women.
He said the target market therefore is the youngsters.
Justice Pallaras said; “we got to educate our youngsters that there is only one set of human rights, there is no set for men and a set for women, but only one set.
“You can’t give me mine because they are not yours to give and I can’t take yours because they are not mine to take.
“And boys have to understand that whatever rights they have got, the girls have that right too and the girls have to understand that it is no good in helping out if they are not prepared to exercise to say no.
First method of encountering this problem is education and the second is more knowledge of consequence of what happen if you commit this offence now, you are not going to get 18 months in prison, but you going to get 10 years.”
“So I think these steps should be taken before it gets to court, because once it gets to court it is finished.
“I think women can do it. I think women of this country can stand up for them.”
He said women have done all the work at home and also gained income for the family by selling food and produces.
“Without women, this country will sink. So I think men are not silly, they are fear of losing their position of
leadership. Part of solution has to lie with women. Women have to find their leaders and leaders have to be vocal and prepared to take criticism from men.
“If you don’t start it today, you going to wait until you daughter gets that treatment.”
Justice Pallaras said that is the reason why he kept telling women to act, to do something.
“Somebody just had to stand up, to take criticism as they would come and expose people who do this things.
“Once they are exposed they tend to run away and hide under the trees.”
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN