What if dad left baby in toilet?
May 30, 2007
Ask yourself this question. What would happen, do you think, to a man who admitted to leaving a newborn infant head down in a toilet?
Is there really any doubt? Such a monster -- and that's what he'd be called -- would be charged immediately with attempted murder.
If he were an adult, his name would be released and he would more than likely be paraded in front of the media so we could all get a really good look at "the kind of person who could do such a thing."
Contrast that reality with what has happened to the woman who gave birth to a baby boy in a Wal-Mart washroom in Prince Albert, Sask., on May 21 and it's clear that when it comes to equality before the law, women tend to get off easy in comparison to men.
The baby boy was found, not breathing head down in a bloody toilet bowl by the store manager, who managed to resuscitate the boy by performing CPR until paramedics arrived.
Because of moronic privacy laws in Saskatchewan, the communications people at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, to where Baby John Doe was transferred, can't even release the medical condition of the newborn, though police said yesterday the baby was released to children's services.
It wouldn't be surprising if the baby has suffered some brain and lung damage, thanks to his first breaths being toilet water rather than air.
On Friday, the woman who allegedly treated her child this way came forward to Prince Albert city police, accompanied by family members.
The woman, say police, is over 18 years old.
In other words, this is no frightened child.
Last week, police released video surveillance tapes showing a woman with a large, dark coat walking into the store. Some 14 minutes later, she walked out.
She looked calm.
This woman could have left the baby on the floor, even unwrapped, and most Canadians would agree she should not be charged. But to leave a helpless infant to drown in a toilet bowl is an entirely different matter.
Prior to the woman coming forward, news stories have expressed that officials were "concerned" for the woman's health. That may have been a tactic to have her identify herself. But it appears to be a common sentiment, nonetheless.
On blogs and news websites, while the vast majority of comments express disgust, the predictable mushy pap we so often hear about women who commit crimes emerged.
One states: "There are so many plausible circumstances that could have lead this woman to do this ... walk a mile in her shoes.... We can't judge until we know all the details."
Criminologist Dr. Mahfooz Kanwar, a sociology professor at Mount Royal College in Calgary, says the very same people who argue that women should be treated equally with men with regard to opportunities, demand softer treatment with regard to consequences for criminal acts -- making excuses for women based on them being "emotionally fragile".
"If a man had done what she has allegedly done," says Kanwar, "he'd be charged with attempted murder.
"It's not for the Crown prosecutor to determine a person's mental fitness. Charges should be laid first then the courts can order psychiatric assessments afterward."
Kanwar says because men are much more likely to commit violent crimes and women have natural nurturing tendencies, society tries to explain aberrant behaviour by attributing victimhood to women who commit crimes.
Consider the 12-year sentence handed down to school-girl abductor, torturer and murderer Karla Homolka?
Gender equality in Canada? Not yet.