Wednesday, August 8, 2012

UK: Racist couple attack teenage daughter

Racism is a daily reality and its victims and perpetrators are uncountable. Everyday, human beings experience various forms of racial abuse of varied proportions. Racism shows its ugly face on the streets, in homes, workplaces, classrooms, offices and other public and private places. Surf the internet and you will find a variety of racist content and shocking stories of blatant racism. One of such stories is the disturbing tale of a couple identified as David Champion and Frances Champion - white parents jailed for attacking their teenage daughter for having a black boyfriend.

In Swansea, a coastal city in Wales, David Champion and his wife Frances Champion brutally attacked their 17-year-old daughter and racially abused her black boyfriend. The parents reportedly attacked their daughter for bringing "shame" on the family.

David Champion, 50, also verbally and physically assaulted his daughter's boyfriend. Frances Champion, 47, on her part reportedly used threatening, abusive and offensive language against her daughter's black boyfriend.

The racist parents confronted and abused their daughter's boyfriend in a restaurant in Swansea. They admitted the assault and a charge of racially aggravated assault.

Swansea Crown Court sentenced David Champion to 12 months in prison and slapped Frances Champion with nine months in prison.

The couple was jailed on 5 August 2012. [Source]

The racist attack perpetrated by David and Frances Champion could be aptly termed an "honour crime" - with a racist dimension.

"Honour crime" is defined as violence committed by those who aim to protect the reputation of their family or community. [Source] The crime committed by David and Frances Champion is in line with this definition. The "western" parents attacked their daughter for "bringing shame" on the family - a common argument used to justify violence, intimidation and killing of women and girls in some Asian and Middle Eastern families.

In Europe, the UK included, "honour"-related crimes are commonly linked to communities with immigrant and Muslim populations. David Champion and Frances Champion are not immigrants but the racist crime they committed was "honor"-related and must be equally condemned in the strongest terms. They stopped short of killing their daughter but their actions go to show that people from all backgrounds are capable of committing unspeakable crimes against family members accused of bringing "dishonor" upon the family. "Honour" crimes are not exclusive to a particular religion or culture.

The decision of Swansea Crown Court to imprison David and Frances Champion for their racist and "disgraceful" conduct should be welcomed. Racial abuse and crimes of "honor" are unacceptable. Perpetrators should bear the full weight of the law.

*Photo source: Washington Peace Centre.

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