Sunday, December 16, 2018

Evolving definition of domestic violence

Think you know what the term "domestic violence" means? Now it includes verbal coercion, which means talking somebody into something.

A parents group reports:
Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act will be considered by Congress in 2019. The reauthorization bill, H.B. 6545, is dangerously flawed and must be substantially amended. It contains a definition of domestic violence that is almost certainly unconstitutional, makes behavior actionable that non-violent couples routinely engage in and that can be part of healthy adult relationships. It likely would worsen domestic violence by overburdening police and courts with non-serious claims while increasing state intervention into family life.

Here is the definition proposed by H.B. 6545:
The term ‘domestic violence’ means a pattern of behavior involving the use or attempted use of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, economic, or technological abuse or any other coercive behavior committed, enabled, or solicited to gain or maintain power and control over a victim…
This definition does not include a one-time murder, because that is not a pattern of behavior. It does include nagging and a lot of completely normal behaviors.

If you hear some statistic like 10% or 50% or whatever of women or refugees or whatever have suffered domestic violence, remember this definition. I expect that nearly 100% of men and women have suffered years of domestic violence. Anything less than 100% means someone is amazingly conflict-free.

The actual US Constitution does mention the term:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence. [sect. IV.4]
That was back when citizens had the liberty of the state not intervening in marriage or family life. A woman could leave or get a divorce of course, but not litigate marital life.

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