Do reasons exist to deprive a child of his right to feel welcomed by she who gave him life. Does a stronger law exist than the law of nature?
– – – La Repubblica‘s editorial, expressing anger at the decision to take away convicted murder plotter Martina Levato’s son
Italian woman Martina Levato, serving serious jail time for plotting the murder of eight ex-boyfriends, gave birth to a son only weeks ago. In an act of mercy for a child who should probably never know his origins, the infant was taken away from Levato. Instead of a response that emphasized the common sense (and best) interests of the baby, large and powerful sections of the Italian media reacted with unrestrained outrage.
These outlets minimized the real impact on one of the ex-boyfriends, who has been horribly disfigured for life by acid, and pushed aside incontrovertible evidence that Levato and her lover, Alexander Boattcher, tried to castrate at least one other ex-boyfriend.
Although most women do not indulge in the depravity of this cretin, the support immediately rushed to her is indicative of how family courts and interest groups around the world will defend the pseudo-right of motherhood ad nauseam and to the death.
As tens of millions of fathers around the world find their visitation rights either non-existent or reduced to sperm donor-style intervals of every two to four weeks, even felons like Levato can count on people defending their purported sacred bond with their progeny. Despite having a thankfully more family-oriented culture than the United States, large numbers of Italian children are deprived of a father, not by his choice but by the family court system.
The downplaying of female responsibility at all costs
Worse still in the Levato debacle have been the constant attempts to shift the sole moral responsibility for the murder plots and acid attack onto Alexander Boattcher. Justifiably serving 14 years in prison like Levato (though I’d argue for 100), the ex-millionaire property broker has been characterized as forcing his lover to undertake the deeds to “purify” her. Supposedly by calling her fat, telling her to lose weight, and keeping her as one of many flames, Boattcher also psychologically knocked out all her personal agency. Bummer.
The circumstances may be different, but the outcome of many child abduction cases is the same: the fleeing woman had to take the child. Defenders of Levato are taking a more indirect route to reflect how her crimes occurred before the child was born, implying that she was an automaton at the time of the acts and that somehow this means she should have regular contact with her son in prison.
The idea is to trivialize serious female crime, especially in a context that feminists and others would describe as domestic violence-oriented and misogynistic if a male ex-partner were the perpetrator. Similarly, references to the trashy sex trilogy 50 Shades of Grey are designed to make wholly macabre, sick, and sadistic behavior appear like a B-grade black comedy on cable after midnight.
What does it take for a mother to be deprived of her child compared to a father?
The unequivocal answer we can give to this question is that the threshold is invariably much, much higher for mothers than fathers. A man need only have the audacity to leave his wife or anger her during the divorce, to the point where she demands sole or primary custody. Cases of severe addiction may mean the father exercises the main responsibility for his children’s care, in lieu of the drug-abusing or alcoholic mother. Yet this is the default option rarely taken up by the courts.
Levato may indeed become a sacrificial lamb for the system when the adoption proceedings for her son go to court. It is inherently bad publicity to have a mother convicted over a web of crime, involving plans to murder eight ex-boyfriends, to get any sort of access to her child. The defense of her by others has nonetheless occurred and demonstrates the polar opposite of what so many parentally responsible and distinctly law-abiding fathers can expect to garner when they contest custody of their offspring.
Do women actually ever commit crimes or do they just get punished for being forced to behave in a certain way by a man?
After being released from prison for perverting the course of justice, Vicky Pryce, the ex-wife of Chris Huhne, a former British politician, claimed that most imprisoned women are there because of the men in their lives. Pryce had consciously and calculatedly taken the fall for Huhne’s driving offenses and both were put behind bars for their lies. Her pretend argument, however pathetic, is of wide applicability across the world. It has a lot more in common with Martina Levato’s story than you might think.
Due to the men they are with, female offenders are viewed with less animosity, held to lower standards of responsibility and regarded with certain high levels of sympathy. Just as Vicky Pryce was purportedly badgered by her then husband to take the fall for his acts behind the wheel, Levato was coaxed into what she did. Boattcher had lowered her self-esteem and directed her like a remote-controlled cockroach (yes, they exist). So, of course, a white knight would think that there’s no reason to break the inviolable bond of motherhood.
A woman who planned to kill eight ex-boyfriends, disfigured one permanently with acid, and attempted to cleave off the genitals of another can be an equally competent mother as anyone else, right?