Tuesday, January 05, 2010

France to Outlaw "Psychological" Domestic Violence?

Is this Daily Mail story for real?

Married couples in France could end up with criminal records for insulting each other during arguments. Under a new law, France is to become the first country in the world to ban ' psychological violence' within marriage. The law would apply to cohabiting couples and to both men and women.

It would cover men who shout at their wives and women who hurl abuse at their husbands - although it was not clear last night if nagging would be viewed as breaking the law.

The law is expected to cover every kind of insult including repeated rude remarks about a partner's appearance, false allegations of infidelity and threats of physical violence.

One commenter at the article offers this personal insight:
Once a month my wife screams and yells for no good reason... would her natural cycle be used as a temporary insanity defense? The last thing I want to have to do is call on the police to help me with her moods but the law is the law I guess and maybe she does belong in jail.

Bizarre. More on the proposed psychological violence law is here from BBC.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

National Post's Barbara Kay opines that the proposed law is bound to be enforced against men only:

I pity the poor men of France if this bill passes. As it is, women for any number of reasons - custody battles, revenge for perceived or real insults, or just because it's an easy end to a difficult moment - falsely allege physical violence, which the police and courts routinely indulge without proof. Conversely physical violence against men for which there is proof is routinely ignored. If this bill passes, French women will have licence to assault men psychologically - "you're no man, you let your boss walk all over you;" "you call that lovemaking?" - with impunity, not that any real man, ironically enough, would dream of complaining to the police about such insults, however diminishing and painful they were. But women will hold the power to invoke the state's enormous punitive powers when they feel slighted. Or even when they don't, but have an axe to grind.

This is a Pandora's Box France will be very sorry she opened.

Her views are genenerally solid, but it appears that in her tangential commentary on the applicability of this law to emotional cruelty by parents, she has not fully considered the already sharp teeth of Canada's existing child welfare laws, which address emotional abuse of children.


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