Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Boyfriend Did It - Not

Recently I have been wondering if society here in Toronto views couples differently if they are married. With recent passing of gay marriage laws in Canada, and many predicting the institution of marriage is dead and discarded with, I think many here feel differently.

Remember Laci Peterson?

She was a wife and an expecting mother who unexpectedly went missing. Her husband and family appealed to the police and public for help. At first, no one suspected the husband, Scott Peterson. Laci's body was later found floating on the river.

Then, few months later, Scott Peterson was charged, tried and convicted for the murder of his wife.

Cut to Toronto.

Missing: Alicia Ross. Reported By: Her boyfriend of a few months, who called the police the next morning of her disappearance.

And then, Sean Hine, the boyfriend, then went through double hell.

The Toronto Sun immediately pinned the maximum suspicion on him. They published the fact that he was arrested once for drunk driving. They interviewed neighbours and friends of Ross who did not 'like' him. The Sun's journalistic standards were low to begin with, but they managed to plough even deeper. The police labelled him a 'person of interest'. He was reported by his father to be under major stress. Even the Star wasn't above to exploring their relationship's status.

Then came the clincher. Yesterday, five week's after her disappearance, Alicia Ross's next door neighbour Daniel Sylvester, turned himself in and told the police where he had dumped the body. He was charged with second degree murder.

It seems now the boyfriend had nothing to do with it at all.

What struck me was how quickly a boyfriend was placed under suspicion, yet a husband was offered the greatest sympathy. One of female friends from university, when I was telling her about the case when it first broke, had immediately placed her suspicion on the boyfriend.

"You will see he has something to do with it." She was confident.

"Why?" I had asked.

"Well.... " She didn't know, but she was sure. That attitude was very common.

I think society still views a couple differently if they are married. In my opinion, inspite of all the liberal attitudes Canadians have, a husband is still expected to be there for his wife, while a boyfriend is expected to be a sleaze. If he is not, then great. That seems to be the attitude.

It will be interesting to hear what other people think of this.

1 comment:

katy said...

Again I can't comment towards "Canadian" views on the whole thing, but south of the border isn't much different. When I was living with then-boyfriend-now-husband as the girlfriend I was definitely a third-class citizen amoungst the Navy wives AND the Neighborhood women. Everytime I was referred to as the "girlfriend" they might as well have said the "slut". Likewise when we made our recent sojourn to Montreal I kept getting strange looks and sneers from the propieter of our B&B. That is until I explained that I was in fact a Mrs. not some tart who was holidaying with my flavor of the week.

Marriage is so common now that it's easy to forget what it's like BEFORE you take those vows. We're reminded everyday how heavy and important promising ourselves is, by rings, by anniversaries, by other couples, that it's easy to loose sight of what we felt like when we were just boyfriends and girlfriends. It was the same love and the same devotion, but you didn't have all these stamps calling it official. Marriage becomes the important part rather than love. Those who haven't gone through the ritual aren't as devoted as those who have.

Of course that's silliness...but it's an easy idea to slip into.