Saturday, June 19, 2010

Denise Mina: Garnethill

Garnethill: A Novel of Crime
Last week, Aaron Vargas from Fort Bragg, California, got sentenced to 9 years in prison, for killing his childhood abuser. His friends and family are outraged at this high sentence. The judge argued, that not having him go to prison would encourage others to take the law into their own hands, instead of going through the justice system.

Is this also a feminist issue? Would there have been an outcry like this, if the killer would have been a woman, and would this woman have been sentenced to life in prison instead? It seems like violating a man/boy is perceived as more serious, because women/girls are violated all the time, anyway.

Denise Mina's book Garnethill is a crime novel with a protagonist (Maureen), who is still living through the nightmares of having been abused by her father as a child. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the family doesn't believe that it ever happened, an all to common occurrence, so additionally to having these crippling memories, Maureen also gets ostracized by her sisters and verbally attached by her mother. A great situation to be in, when discovering the dead body of her boyfriend, and further discovering that he probably got killed by a skilled an shrewd rapist, who targets women that are already so damage by previous abuse that they won't ever talk about it, to avoid reliving the whole thing over and over again. Maureen now has the choice of unveiling this to the police and causing more suffering to the abused women, or trying to bring the man to justice in different ways. I was happy that she didn't choose Aaron Vargas' solution.

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