Criminal justice studies professor Scharie Tavcer says the key to ending the marginalization and harassment of women, who are caught up in the justice system, lies in the early education of men.
“I really see the value in educating young people, particularly focusing on boys — creating a culture where men can talk about their feelings,” says Tavcer, who recently co-wrote and edited a new edition of the textbook, Women in the Criminal Justice System: A Canadian Perspective.
Tavcer says she believes that actions need to be taken to bust societal myths and stereotypes. She says social reform will benefit men, and help end the marginalization and harassment of women from every pillar of the justice system.
“We need to create a culture where men and boys are allowed to be human,” says Tavcer, adding, “Young guys are not being able to talk about their feelings, not being able to deal with their mental health.”
The former corrections officer says it’s critical to be able to cry and not be vilified or stigmatized.
Tavcer’s new textbook reflects on the unfair and abusive treatment of women interacting with the Canadian criminal justice system in the past 20 years. Tavcer explains the many different roles of women in the system.
“Some are offenders, some are victims and others are workers like police, courts, lawyers and corrections,” says Tavcer. “It’s important to include all types of roles in the justice system and also separate them because they have different issues that cause problems for each of those categories.”
The new edition of the textbook includes several updates:
- Updated crime statistics
- New case studies
- A new chapter on prostitution
- Content on missing and murdered Indigenous women
The previous edition, written in 2009, did not accurately reflect new problems women are facing almost a decade later. Tavcer explains these new features will help paint a better picture.
“If we’re talking about women in criminal justice, we have to talk about the inquiry into the missing and murdered women. Across Canada, there is a huge number of women who are marginalized, who are Indigenous, young, addicted, prostituting or not. They are all being victimized, missing or murdered.”
Tavcer says she hopes that her revised textbook will help students understand a different side of the justice system and help create an open environment for men and women to express themselves without fear of harassment or abuse.
- By Antoine Fecteau