This week the Internet was visited by a particularly disturbing image of the blackened eye and bruised face of a little eight-month old baby girl.
Her name is Evie and she was assaulted by her mother with a kitchen utensil.
Lorien Norman, 26, from Adelaide, Australia, pleaded guilty to causing harm with intent, but was nonetheless let go by the judge.
Although the offence carries a maximum sentence of 13 years, Norman did not spend a day behind bars. She was instead given a two-year good behaviour bond and ordered to pay $500, reports Hannah Moore for Daily Mail Australia.
The lenient sentence and the reasons given for it has caused outrage online. The Daily Mail story has had 32K shares.
Mothers hurting or harming their children, especially a defenseless baby, is a uniquely disturbing offense because it goes against the very essence of what a mother represents.
For most people, it is impossible to imagine that a biological mother could inflict such harm on her offspring. Most people would be willing to die for their children let alone treat them in an unloving, uncaring and cruel manner.
What I find particularly galling is her light sentence.
A paediatrician found the toddler had “at least eight separate blows to the face and body”, with bruising on her forehead, cheeks, ears, neck and arm — caused by a slotted spoon and a hand, reports Moore.
“Judge Costello told the Adelaide District Court last week: ‘Whilst any assault of a child, particularly one of such a tender age and vulnerability, by a parent stands as a gross breach of trust, your offending is nevertheless far from the most serious of offending of this type in terms of the degree of force involved and the duration of the offending.”
The degree of force was not so severe? Good Lord, and that makes it okay? Look at that convoluted justification for his excuse of a sentence. What about, there shouldn’t have been any force whatsoever light or otherwise.
It gets worse:
“In this respect I particularly note the opinion of the treating paediatrician to the effect that there was no evidence of bony or intracranial injury and that your daughter’s physical injuries were likely to completely resolve,” he continued.
I simply cannot believe this. Both the paediatrician and the judge are of the opinion that being bashed with a spoon eight times in your face, is not so bad because no bones were broken?
No lasting damage was inflicted, the bruises will heal soon so the offender, the one who should nurture her can walk free?
What does this state of affairs say about our society? Do we really live in a world where even the justice system is so lost that it can’t ‘judge’ when some terrible wrong has been done to a defenseless being?