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Gendering violence, remorse, and the role of restorative justice: deconstructing public perceptions of Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski

Kilty, Jennifer
June 4, 2015

Source: (2010) Contemporary Justice Review. 13(2):155-172.

Fourteen year old Reena Virk was beaten by a group of teenagers and then drowned by two members of the group (Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski) on 14 November 1997, in Saanich British Columbia, Canada. While there has been much public, media and academic commentary on Kelly Ellard, no gendered analysis of the role Warren Glowatski played in this murder exists. Reflecting on the social and media constructions of boy and girl violence more broadly, as well as the specifics in the Reena Virk case, I offer a feminist analysis of the roles and presentations of masculinity and femininity within the perpetration of violence. A gendered examination of the role remorse plays within the criminal justice system and in our interpretations of ‘inherent’ boy vs girl violence is presented. Public and media constructions of Glowatski shifted, becoming more sympathetic, after he admitted guilt and became a witness for the Crown in the case against Kelly Ellard. Such a finding questions whether similar shifts would have occurred for Ellard, who continues to deny responsibility for Virk’s death and who continues to be actively demonized in the media. Similarly, how public forgiveness of Glowatski by the victim’s family operated as a technology of discursive power in the public ‘acceptance’ or forgiveness of Warren Glowatski is examined. Finally, the role of healing and forgiveness, as it is typified within the philosophical paradigm of ‘restorative justice’, is presented as a more positive way forward – for victims and criminalized persons, as well as for the criminal justice system – and in cases involving violence, particularly youth violence. (author’s abstract)


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