Violence: “The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.”
The World Health Organization’s World Report on Violence and Health estimates that over a million people lose their lives to violence and millions more are injured and maimed every year. The report states that violence is “among the leading causes of death among people aged 15-44 years worldwide, accounting for 14% of deaths among males and 7% of deaths among females.”
What is infinitely disturbing is the myriad forms this violence takes and how pervasive and borderless it is. Across the globe and across the centuries, humans have committed the most barbaric acts, limited only by their imaginations, and the march of civilization has done little to change the grim reality that on any given day, in every corner of our planet, gruesome and ungodly things are done to women, children and men.
It’s easy to focus on the heinous treatment of girls and women in places like Somalia, Afghanistan and Congo, but we should never forget that women are brutalized by men in every corner of the world, across every social and economic group.
This story out of Canada is hideous beyond words:
A Canadian colonel who admitted to 86 lurid sex crimes videotaped the brutal rape and murder of a corporal under his command, a court heard on Tuesday.
Colonel Russell Williams, 47, a married pilot who once flew the jet used to ferry Canada’s prime minister as well as the British royal family on a visit, photographed and videotaped his repeated sexual assault over 4½ hours of Corporal Marie-France Comeau, the Crown said.
Bruised, bloodied and limp, Corporal Comeau used her last breath to beg for her life, according to an audio tape played in court: “Have a heart. I’ve been good all my life. I don’t want to die.” “Shut up,” Williams responded before he taped her nostrils and her mouth closed and watched her suffocate.
Days before he killed her, he broke into her home and snapped 18 photographs of himself in her underwear and standing next to her pressed air force uniform. On the night of November 23, 2009, he left his office at the Trenton military base, parked his car outside her home, and listened in the dark to her telephone conversation using a sensitive sound-detecting device.
Williams then broke in through a basement window and attacked her. They struggled. He beat her nearly unconscious with a flashlight, tied her up and covered all of the windows in the house. She pleaded with him: “I don’t want to die. Leave me alone. I don’t want to die.” Afterwards, Williams washed her bed sheets and drove directly to Ottawa for a meeting with military brass.
He would later send a signed letter of condolence on behalf of the Canadian Forces to Corporal Comeau’s father – a 45-year veteran of the military.
Williams commanded Canada’s busiest air force base, the 437 Squadron in Trenton, east of Toronto, for more than a year before his arrest. Previously he was in charge of Canada’s secretive Camp Mirage in Dubai. He faces life in prison, with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years.
I could think of worse punishments for what he did.