Reading the court reports for last week one could be forgiven for thinking that one might have done a Rip Van Winkle, fallen asleep for 20 years and woken up to find a change in the legal system from Scottish to Sharia.
I thought the message from the Scottish justice department was that knife crime be taken seriously, but not it seems if the victim is a woman. Threatening someone with rape at knife point and actually drawing it down their body strikes me as pretty damn serious and worthy of more than a lecture, a supervision order and community service.
There appears to me to be a discernible pattern in the punishment of violent incidents perpetrated against women by their partners and ex-partners in Shetland, with some serious assaults being treated with a disturbing level of leniency. There are deeper scars than just the physical ones left by such threats and assaults which can often affect the victim for the rest of their lives.
Isn’t it time that an example was made of some of these violent men and a very firm message enforced by a custodial sentence and education, that violence against women will not be tolerated in a civilised society? Alongside zero tolerance of knife crime there needs to be an emphasis on greater respect by men towards women and women for themselves, encouraged at home, in school, in the media and throughout society generally, including our criminal justice system.