Ah to be one of those poor, oppressed women who have fewer privileges than men.
A woman like Jazzmin Fry, who was so oppressed that when she stabbed a complete stranger – a man – with one of her stilettos for literally no reason, she only had to pay a $250 fine as punishment. Her conviction wasn’t even recorded outside of the press.
9News in Australia reported that the assault occurred after Fry, 21, had been out drinking with friends. She was in the China Town Mall in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, allegedly carrying her heels, according to her victim, when she just reached out and hit him on the top of his head with one.
The victim, Kyle Johns, 19, was taken to the hospital and needed two staples in his head to repair the wound.
“[She] comes to the middle of China Town with her heels in her hand and stabs me in the crown of my head,” Johns told 9News.
His mother, Susan Johns, received a phone call at 2:29 am the Sunday morning of the attack, she told the outlet.
“This voice I didn’t know said, ‘Are you Kyle’s mum?’, and I said, ‘Yes’, and he said, ‘We’ve been assaulted – Kyle is laying on the ground in a pool of his own blood,’” she told the outlet.
Fry pleaded guilty to the assault and was simply charged $250 as punishment. 9News confronted her outside the office where she worked before the assault (she had since been fired).
“It was a drunken act. It was my 21st birthday and it’s not me. I don’t know why I did that and I wasn’t in the right mind frame,” she told the outlet.
Her victim, Johns, and his mother responded to the news that Fry would only have to pay $250 for her unprovoked assault with anger.
“[I’m] devastated to be honest. If the roles were reversed would I be getting pretty much the same slap on the wrist?” Johns told 9News.
Johns is absolutely correct. Women in the justice system – whether in Australia, or the U.K., or the U.S. – get off much easier than men for the same crimes. One of the biggest disparities can be found in sexual assaults against minors. When women commit these crimes – whether against a young boy or girl, or teenager – they receive much lighter sentences than men do for the same crime.
As I have written previously, men who abuse children (rightly) receive harsh punishments. A 32-year-old man who sexually abused a young girl over the course of several years faced 366 years to life in prison. Yet a 25-year-old woman who pleaded guilty to raping young boys at a trailer park only received five years’ probation. Yes, one example comes from a person pleading guilty and the other taking their case to trial, but five years’ probation for an admitted child abuser? There’s no way a man would receive the same deal.
In 2012, University of Michigan professor Sonja Starr researched the gender disparities in federal criminal cases and found that “men receive 63% longer sentences on average than women do” and that “Women are … twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.”
During the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton lamented mothers who are sent to prison for their crimes.
“But women aren’t the only ones affected when they are sent to prison. The high number of women in prison — and the long lengths of their sentences – destabilizes families and communities, especially their children,” Clinton wrote in an op-ed. “Since 1991, the number of children with a mother in prison has more than doubled. Mothers in prison are five times more likely than fathers in prison to have to put their children in foster care while they serve their sentences.”
This kind of thinking leads to stereotypes that allow women like Fry and others to receive light sentences that wouldn’t have been afforded to men in similar situations.