Extreme torture of woman with disability - trigger alert

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Extreme torture of woman with disability - trigger alert





Balogh invited Cousineau, who was incapable of living alone, to live with her and her three children, four dogs, 20 cats and four rabbits.

Balogh managed Cousineau's finances, cashing her disability cheque and giving her an allowance.

Two men moved into the home and animosity toward Cousineau started to grow and reached a point were she was treated "worse than the animals," and she was forced to sleep in an unfinished basement, Harris said during sentencing.

On Nov. 12, 2005, the two men took Cousineau to the basement and began burning her naked body with a blowtorch in a prolonged attack that Harris described as "sadistic torture."

Balogh looked on as the two men burned Cousineau and threw rubbing alcohol onto her, but didn't lift a finger to intervene although Cousineau begged for help, Harris said.

The attack took place while Balogh's sons, then aged 13, 12 and 11, were upstairs.

After the attack, Cousineau was left to die in the cold basement without any aid or medical treatment with what Harris described as a "callousness and inhumanity" that left him shaken.

The next day, the two men and Balogh discussed various ways of disposing of the body, the court heard, and settled on burning the house down with Cousineau's body inside.

This is clearly a feminist issue - but there's also the issue of people taking advantage of, and abusing, a person with a disability.


Does anyone think that these cases are a symptom of larger goings on in society?


But Harris described Balogh's behaviour as "morally repugnant" and the attack on Cousineau as one of "stark horror." The judge did agree to a joint submission for an eight-year prison sentence for Balogh, less time served, leaving her with a 64-month sentence to serve.

And yet, the deputy director of CSIS, as we learned last week, knew that Arar was being tortured in Syria, but informed no one.

And he has yet to be charged with anything, I and very much doubt he ever will be. But he did the very same thing as Balogh. And I bet the "shaken" Justice Roland Harris would love to have such an esteemed and powerful man as the deputy director of CSIS as a dinner guest some day.

While I do not believe the men who tortured and murdered Cousineau, (who we only know by her last name-- only reporters, lawyers, and judges merit full name respect, I guess) sat back and thought that since our institutions and aristocracy gets away with murder, torture and abuse of the powerless and less powerful, that they had carte blanch to do as they wished also, I think it does, through some kind of social osmosis, inform.

We inhabit a society that thinks the abuse of the powerless is a virtue. We see it in our courts, in our legislatures, in our media, it is an evil plasma that has engulfed us all.

As mind numbing this example is, I wonder it doesn't happen more often.

Sometimes I think the focus of feminism is too narrow, that the power issues that effect women effect everyone, and that piece meal efforts in defense of women and their rights, without tackling the larger issue means that feminists will always be stamping out fires around the inferno.

But I remind myself that it's women, more often that not, that are the few who do lead the charge against what should be seen as the great inflagration of our time.


Your last paragraph is dead on. If there's one thing I learned in women's studies, it's that feminism isn't just about oppression of women. It's about all sorts of other related oppressions, too.