House arrest not enough in case of woman’s abuser – February 17, 2009

In a war that our society has been losing for some time, Alisha Collicutte is just one more casualty.

Her wounds were inflicted, literally, on the homefront, in a war we should all be waging on violence against women.

This ongoing battle never receives the same media attention as the other wars that society is engaged in such as the war on terrorism, the war on crime, the war in Afghanistan and, in the U.S., the war in Iraq.

But as author Brian Vallee points out in his book, The War on Women, the casualty rate is actually much higher. His research shows that from 2000 to 2006, 2,697 American soldiers were killed by hostile action, mostly in Afghanistan and Iraq. During that time, 611 U.S. law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty. The combined total for Canadian military and law enforcement deaths was 101.

During that same period, in the US alone, more than 8,000 women were shot, stabbed, strangled or beaten to death by the men in their lives. Another 5.3 million were victims of non-lethal abuse.

What must not be forgotten is that one of the main battlefields, if not the most important one, is the courtroom.

That's is why I found it unacceptable that Collicutte's abuser, Matthew Smith, who, it was reported, punched, cut, and burned her with cigarettes over a three year period, received only a one-year term of house arrest for his crimes.

I understand Ontario Court Justice Lloyd Dean is a good judge and well-respected. However, I feel he erred on the side of leniency in this case.The Crown should appeal the decision and ask for a period of incarceration. If he is in fact, mentally ill, he should be sent to a facility where he can be kept and get the treatment he needs.

FRANK CHAUVIN

Windsor Star

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