Thursday, March 01, 2007

New Mexican domestic violence law

Mexico news, via Dr. Helen:
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican men who display extreme jealousy or avoid sex with their wives could be tried in court and punished under a new law, the special prosecutor for crimes against women told a local newspaper on Friday.

Men who phone their wives every half hour to check up on them, constantly suspect them of infidelity or try to control the way they dress are committing the crime of jealousy, special prosecutor Alicia Elena Perez Duarte told Excelsior newspaper.

Those who stop talking to their wives, avoid sex or try to convince suspicious spouses they are "crazy" even if they are caught red-handed having an affair, are guilty of indifference, she said.

Men found guilty of jealousy or indifference could face up to five years in prison, the newspaper said. Mexico's individual states will determine the punishments, it said.

The progressive new law was passed this month to protect women from domestic violence. ...

Perez Duarte said indifference, jealousy or lack of love were crimes against women just as much as physical violence.

"Jealousy produces a particular type of stress in the person that comes up against it," she said. "It is exactly the same. They are wounds, psychological scars identical to physical scars."
I thought this was a joke, at first. I have ridiculed domestic violence law before, but this is beyond what I thought possible. She is saying that if a man avoids sex with his wife, then he has committed a crime of domestic violence just the same as if he had beaten her up. Amazing.

Here is another article:
President Felipe Calderon, sworn into office in December, backed the law despite fears among women's groups that he would not ratify it.

Some lawyers argue the law may bump up against constitutional guarantees in granting the Interior Ministry extra powers, for instance. And the definitions of gender-based violence are too broad, they say.

"To tell sexist jokes in a bar is misogynous conduct that often goes unpunished. Is that femicide?" said Luis de la Barreda, the former Mexico City rights ombudsman and now director of a citizen-based legal center.
Jokes are often unpunished? Just what is the usual punishment for telling a joke in a bar? Weird.

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