Daily Israel Report

Academician: Justice System Favors Abusive Mothers

Experts at conference on female criminals say justice system is pro-female, making it lenient toward child abusers.
By INN Staff
First Publish: 5/30/2011, 11:05 PM / Last Update: 6/1/2011, 6:29 PM

A groundbreaking academic conference entitled “Pink Crime: Women, Crime & Punishment” has presented hitherto unknown research alleging anti-male bias in the justice system.


The international multidisciplinary conference was held Monday and Tuesday by the criminology departments at the Ariel University Center and the Netanya Academic College.

Dr. Yoav Mazeh, an expert on family law, described his research comparing punishment meted out in Israeli courts against men and women for similar cases of child abuse. He enumerated a list of cases involving both abusive fathers and mothers, showing that in comparable cases, fathers were sentenced to significant prison time while mothers received no more than a suspended sentence.
 
Especially worrying, said Mazeh, was a pattern of behavior by the Prosecution, showing a bias toward lenience for female child abusers. While the Prosecution usually appeals soft sentences, in the case of abusive -- even sadistic -- mothers it tends to do the opposite, he said. Mazeh pointed to several cases in which the Prosecution revised its own charge sheets against abusive mothers, deleting their more serious offenses from the charge sheets.
 
Mazeh said that his research leads him to believe that this is a recurring pattern of behavior on the part of the Prosecution. He noted that in the case of Marie Pizem, who has been convicted of soliciting the murder of her 4-year-old daughter Rose, the Prosecution had intended to amend the charge sheet so that she would receive a maximum of five years in jail. It was only the angry public reaction to news of this intent that caused the Prosecution to change its mind, he said.
 
Mazeh quoted an email he received from a senior member of the Prosecution who openly admitted that the organization has a pro-female bias and said that this was justified by “social and historic” reasons, among others.
 
Pendulum in swing
Dr. Gabriel Cavaglion of the Ashkelon Academic College described Israeli press attitudes toward female abusers. He noted a pattern of reporting that portrayed mothers who abuse or even murder their children as victims worthy of sympathy, rather than as perpetrators of heinous crimes. 
 
Avi Chimi, a well-known criminal attorney, said that while police attitude toward female complainants used to be scornful, “the pendulum has now swung to the opposite extreme.” In the current atmosphere, he said, it is virtually impossible to successfully represent men accused of crimes against women in the Israeli courts. Chimi said, only half-jokingly, that his wife, who is a criminologist, had also pressured him not to “overdo it” in his lecture.  
 
Another speaker was MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich (Kadima), who called for a return to family values and a “sane feminism” that is not anti-men. 
 
Arutz Sheva journalist Gil Ronen, an activist for traditional family values, participated in the conference and spoke on what he said was “an ongoing rebellion” among leading researchers on domestic violence in the United States, against gender feminist pressure requiring them to juggle statistics and make their research fit an anti-patriarchal mold. He quoted at length from lectures by Prof. Murray Straus of Hew Hampshire University, the world’s leading researcher on domestic violence, and Dr. Donald Dutton, another top researcher in the field, who detailed the ways in which research is stymied by political pressure and scare tactics – including false complaints of violence and sexual harassment filed against professors who refuse to cooperate.
 
The conference itself was subject to some harrassment. Organizers said that they invited feminist speakers to the conference but that these refused to participate when they heard MK Shamalov was invited, and even threatened to disrupt the conference.
 
International participants in the conference received letters from leftist organization Gush Shalom, calling on them to boycott the event because it was held partly in Ariel, in Samaria. Conferences held at Ariel in the past did not receive similar leftist pressure.

The international lecturers who were invited to speak – from the US and England - ignored the pressure and attended the event. The organizers, among them several female academics, also decided to press on with their plans. They include Prof. Sarah Ben-David, Head of Criminology Department at Ariel University Center, Dr. Hagit Bonny-Noach of Ariel University Center & Netanya Academic College, Dr. Yael Wilchek-Aviad of the Ariel University Center and Dr. Sharon Aharony-Goldenberg, of Netanya Academic College.