Shocking Failure of the Domestic Assault Policy

I find it laughable how the major media fails to highlight, or even report shocking incidents of crime that occur in our residential neighbourhoods.

Case in point,last weekend those usually annoying email CKNW breaking news reports issued a warning to Surrey residents about a violent offender who was armed and dangerous and on the loose. No real details other than he had violently attacked a woman.

Great, I live in Surrey, and take appropriate cautions when I am home alone. Good thing too, because when he was finally apprehended, it occurred only a short distance from my home.  I have yet to see any sizeable stories, other than a line or two, in any other media other than my local paper, The Leader. Aparently we are so used to repeat violent offenders attacking women that this is not considered majoy

Shahzad Sardar-Ali , 31, has a lengthy criminal record of violent criminal acts, including assault and robbery. He is no stranger to the courts.

On this last weekend,Surrey RCMP responded to a report of domestic assault. On arriving at the north Surrey home, they discovered a 19 year old woman with extensive stab wounds to her face, head and arms. Her attacker also hit her over the head with a 75lb dumb-bell. Thankfully, she is alive, and remains in hospital for her injuries. Shazad was her boyfriend, and RCMP immediately began looking for his whereabouts – he was finally arrested Tuesday night outside a Newton hotel.

Shahzad Sardar-Ali is now charged with attempted murder, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and breach of recognizance.

Yes that’s right, breach of recognizance . In attacking this young woman, he had broken his bail terms.

This violent man was out on bail, stemming from assault charges that occurred July 1st  involving his ex-girlfriend. He had been released on the condition he have no contact with her, unfortunately for this new victim, no one thought of her or any other woman he may come in contact with.

I spoke to the courthouse clerk today , and Sardar-Ali is being held until his next court date on September 3, at 9: 30 am.  I sincerely hope the judge does not see fit to release him again. God help the next woman he comes into contact with.

Why the judges, lawyers and courts in general don’t seem to understand, is that men who are violent in nature, and have exhibited violence against one woman, are more often than not, inclined to express that violence against other women. This was the case in the highly publicized Scott Young saga, the psychologist findings stating clearly that he has a good chance of violent behavior against future partners. Great, maybe the courts should be tattooing that information on these mens foreheads so women at least know whats coming. No guy is going to be open about having beaten a woman in his past.

I’ll be watching this case with great interest to see how its handled. Just once, I would like to see a judge stand up and protect not only the woman who was attacked, but other potential victims in the future.

Oh, and in related vein, the headline in the paper this story ran was ” Crime Rate down in Surrey”. Although the headline makes it all sound hunky-dory, even their stats show violent crimes are up 27 %. However,the paper did run the disclaimer at the end of the article that the numbers were based on police reported crime data,  and only pertain to those crimes that come to the attention of police and are reported by the police. 

Once again, open to interpretation and not indicative of whats really occurring in the city.

Understanding Sikh Gender Inequality

Looking at the local Sikh internet forums, at least the ones that can be accessed publicly, there is marked lack of conversation regarding the tragedy of little Rajvinder Kahlon, who was allegedly murdered by her fathers own hands. Lakhvinder Kahlon, the accused, made his first court appearance yesterday, but was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to see if he is fit to stand trial. We can expect to see him back in court around the middle of February.

The Indian community is a divided one. Within the Sikh religion itself, there is much disagreement internally regarding some of the enduring archaic attitudes and treatment of women, although it is not often shared with the general public. The very prominent Indo Canadian wife killings last year  publicly exposed a growing discontent within the community, however there are still repercussions to some who actively speak out against the poor treatment of Sikh and Indian women. It comes in the form of  abuse from their own families, slander and lies from others within the community and social ostracizing.

To qualify the statement that all Sikhs treat women badly would be a tragedy. It is simply not true. However, as in other patriarchal cultures and societies around the world, there are those within the community that still believe and practice the “old” ways and attitudes- dowry, gender preference and arranged marriages. One must look at the difficulty in changing practices and beliefs that have been practiced  culturally for centuries.

The dowry is still the main reason for so many abortions of female fetuses in India as well as Canada, and in areas of India where ultrasound is not routinely accessible , the practice of female infanticide still occurs. In Canada , most births take place within a hospital rather than with a midwife at home, so it is that much more important for the sex to be determined before birth -again – for those who chose to bear only a son or sons. To the man’s family who still subscribes to the practice of providing a huge monetary/material “gift” to the prospective grooms family, having multiple daughters may bankrupt him, or he mean that he may not be able to marry them off -making it clear why girl babies are liabilities .

However, if he has sons, he will be on the receiving end of such gifts and wealth, as well as obviously receiving another female within the home, who would traditionally be made to do the lions share of chores within her in-laws home. One can see the obvious dilemma for a man like Lakhvinder Kahlon, who had three daughters , no sons, and was obviously not a rich man. I could go on, but the post written on this man’s blog , sums it up very well.   The discussion that follows in the comments below his post are revealing and I urge you to find understanding within them. Kudo’s to him for talking so frankly and openly about his beliefs and those of others.

To most Canadians who have no experience with this within their own religion or culture, it is clearly not an acceptable practice, and while it may be easy to vilify all Sikhs, it is ignorant to do so.

Hate never achieves greatness, and support for those who do stand up within the community is what is needed, not religious bashing. It is easy to sit on the side and criticise, but it is only those who are fearless and noble who put themselves out there for the good of others.  Remember, there are many within the Sikh community that feel as we do, but are afraid to speak out, and the best thing we can do is back up those people who are advocating change. Hopefully , it will pressure those who are at the root of this ongoing and outdated practice to realise that women are not possessions or liabilities, but wonderful and essential  components of any successful civilization. With time, the practice may be completely eliminated.

This is Canada, and regardless of your religion, or culture or beliefs, a women here is born free. Free. And with that birthright comes the ability to grow and learn and choose her own way in life. Taking away that child’s birthright is as much of a crime as killing her. Reach out and do something constructive. Small changes can lead to great movements.

I welcome all input, especially from the Sikh community, in the interest of change and understanding.