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mercredi 6 juillet 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
For months we have read horrific details of the killings of the Turcotte children by their father, Guy. Since Turcotte admitted to stabbing his two children, Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie 3, the trial was about why he did it. On Tuesday, a jury found him not criminally responsible by virtue of his mental state at the time of the killings.
The jury has given us a terrible verdict. Turcotte should have been found guilty of murder.
This was a case that highlighted issues related to depression, family violence and social values. The defence argued that Turcotte killed his children because he was depressed. I want to refute that assertion. My perspective is not from a legal viewpoint but as a social worker with 30 years of experience counselling severely depressed people, often following a separation or divorce, and working in the fields of family, workplace and personal-relationship violence.
I understand the debilitating effects of depression and I know that it is not unusual for severely depressed people to think about killing themselves. They are focused on ending their own suffering and they are not preoccupied with the impact of their suicide on their family members. Nor, I should add, are they preoccupied about killing others, unless bipolar illness is involved. In this case, that was not alleged to have been a factor.
Physical symptoms of depression include a loss of energy and extreme fatigue. It is therefore hard to understand how someone with severe depression could have found the energy to stab his son 27 times and his daughter 19 times.
It is far more likely that Turcotte’s energy was fuelled by rage and the desire for revenge.
His activities leading up to and after the murders were puzzling. He was consumed with the need to put his affairs in order, and to ensure his ex-wife did not have access to money. He even refused to pay for his children’s funerals. These actions do not point to someone who was in a deep depression alone. Rather, they point to an extreme disconnect with feelings of love for his children. They also point to a self-absorbed individual who also acted in spite.
Turcotte was portrayed by his defence lawyer as a loving, devoted father who could not bear to lose his family and who was so overwhelmed by the infidelity of his ex-wife that he “lost it.”
In a moment of desperation, we were led to believe, he killed his children and tried to kill himself.
This argument is not valid. Turcotte would have had ongoing access to his children. More of an issue than the children no longer being in his life, I believe, was his having lost control of his wife. How egocentric it was of him to think that the children would be better off dead than being shared with their mother.
Killing the children indicated a desire to punish his ex-wife for her ending their relationship. This is what conjugal violence is all about. Family-violence experts with whom I have talked about this case view the killing of young children by their fathers at a time of separation and divorce as an act of rage and revenge. Often the perpetrator, as with Turcotte, does not exhibit previous violent behaviour.
This case also brings into question society’s values. It highlights a gradual erosion of personal responsibility for one’s behaviour and the ease with which arguments can be introduced into a murder trial to remove that responsibility. As reported in The Gazette’s July 2 story headlined “Judge tells jury they must agree on motive,” the defence claimed “it was an act of twisted compassion, an extended suicide to spare his children from a fatherless life.” This perversion of language attempts to reduce Turcotte’s personal responsibility for his children’s murders.
“Extended suicide” is an oxymoron. To kill yourself is suicide. To kill others is murder. To try to put the killing of other people under the umbrella of suicide is shocking ; the children in this case did not have a choice of living or dying. This choice of words is dangerous ; it leads us down a path that would destroy society’s core values, and attacks a key part of our moral code : Thou shalt not kill.
“Twisted compassion” was another phrase used to justify the killings. There was nothing compassionate about causing the deaths of these two young, healthy children, nor in the extremely violent way it was carried out. They would have suffered excruciating pain in their final moments.
Turcotte, in my view, and in the view of colleagues with whom I have spoken, became so enraged and bent on revenge that he gave himself permission to kill. In doing so, he jumped the barrier of permissible behaviour.
The basis of law in our civilized society is that everyone is responsible for and will be judged by their actions. Killing in vengeance or to punish is inexcusable. If a person is not psychotic, then he is answerable for his actions. To say the contrary opens the door for impunity for murder.
As a society we need to be clear about how much we are responsible for our
Our legal system reflects our social values and provides a glimpse into our
Frema Engel is a Montreal social worker who specializes in workplace-conflict resolution, bullying and violence prevention. She is a contributor to the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness’s online magazine abusehurts.com
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette, July 6, 2011.
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Frema Engel, travailleuse sociale et auteure
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