I watched the first episode of the new CBS series Close to Home. It was sick. First, a mom and 2 kids are rescued from a burning house, and it appears that the mom was trying to kill herself and the kids. Then a woman DA is chosen to prosecute the mom, so she can explain to the jury that mothers should not kill their kids (and only a woman and mother can do that, I guess). But the DA drops the charges when she discovers that the mom might have been psychologically coerced by her husband (the dad). The DA gets a restraining order against the dad to bust up the family and prevent him from seeing his wife or kids. The mom is allowed to keep custody of their kids, even tho the DA is convinced that the mom tried to murder the kids. The DA sticks with the mom even after she lies under oath at a deposition. When the husband reconciles with the wife, the DA has him arrested, even tho no one complained. In the end, the DA goes to bed gloating about sending the dad to prison for 25 years.
The dad does turn out to be a creep, and the viewer is supposed to think that the DA is a big hero. I think that the message of the show is really insidious. It tries to say that the family next door in the suburbs might really be murderous crazies, and no matter what evil things the wife does, it will all be the husband's fault somehow. Women are too stupid to act in their own interests, and police should go busting up marriages where the wife appears to submit to a husband who is too domineering.
For another account of the episode, see this.
This is the type of thinking that drives VAWA. It just expired, but Congress is expected to renew it.
I have never even heard of people like the characters in the TV show. They seem as if they might be the intended beneficiaries of VAWA, but such people just don't exist.
Update: The US Senate just approved VAWA on a voice vote. The House has already passed, and after conference committee resolves the differences, Bush will sign it.