24 punches? That’ll be £500.

It’s been a bad week for domestic violence prosecutions in the UK. First Colin Read gets off with a £2000 fine for branding and slashing his wife. Now an anesthesiologist is fined a whopping £500 for hitting his wife 24 times after dragging her out of bed. The defense from the Sentencing Guideline Secretariat:

“[You need to look at] what you are trying to achieve when you sentence someone,” says Kevin McCormack, head of the Sentencing Guideline Secretariat. “It can be punishment but you’re also trying to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. If the court reached the view that, in a particular case, there was little risk of it happening again because the relationship had ended, and if there were other things … in the defendant’s favour, then that could persuade the court to use financial penalty instead of a community or custodial sentence.”

When setting fines, he says, “it is a balance between the seriousness of the offence and the financial resources of the individual … £500 is quite a high fine in terms of the average level. It depends on the individual’s income.”

Apparently the goal of looking at the individual’s income is to make sure they don’t even notice the fine.

Here’s contact information for the Sentencing Guideline Secretariat, just in case you think they may not be getting it right.

Loving Wife Spanking?


Ok, so this is probably not what the folks advocating ‘Christian Domestic Discipline’ , as discussed over at feministing, have in mind…

Here’s what the CDD have to say about it:

  • ‘A Christian Domestic Discipline marriage is one that is set up according to Biblical standards; that is, the husband is the authority in the household. The wife is submissive to her husband as is fit in the Lord and her husband loves her as himself. He has the ultimate authority in his household, but it is tempered with the knowledge that he must answer to God for his actions and decisions. He has the authority to spank his wife for punishment, but in real CDD marriages this is taken very seriously and usually happens only rarely. CDD is so much more than just spanking. It is the husband loving the wife enough to guide and teach her, and the wife loving the husband enough to follow his leadership. A Christian marriage embodies true romance and a Christian man a true hero.’

For those interested, this publication will be informative, no doubt: chapters include ‘How much is Enough’, and ‘Uncooperative wife’.  

Perhaps you’d rather peruse this, an excerpt from which reminds us:

 ‘Just as a parent would never stop to ask permission to chastise his child, a husband should not have to obtain consent to discipline his wife; however, our legal system has put him in the position of having to do so… our culture is turned upside down in so many other things’

There is in fact a chapter on ‘the meaning of consent’, which I’d love to read. Interesting issues about autonomy raised: one might hold that women who choose this do so autonomously, and so all’s well. Indeed, there’s a blog where one woman writes of her being ‘disciplined’, on which she writes:

‘ My submission is quite voluntary.  I have had a few that said they don’t know why women need it.  Well I think I could have been single and led my life just fine but in order to be a couple someone has to be in charge and someone has to follow.’ 

Of course, voluntary does not mean autonomous. And if those involved – including these women – hold that women’s status is like that of children, then interesting issues about consent raised: there are (many) circumstances under which children’s consent is not valid.

It puts me in mind of Hill’s (1985) article, ‘Servility and self-respect’, in which he claims that certain deferential and servile behaviours involve a misunderstanding of one’s agential status, or a failure to care properly about it…