Thursday, October 15, 2009

Domestic violence laws do violence to civil rights

From an op-ed on the abuse of domestic violence laws:
Have you, or a person you know, ever been falsely accused of domestic violence? Targeted with a restraining order? Put in jail?

Each year more than 1 million Americans are hit with a false or trivial accusation of partner abuse. It’s now reached the point that domestic violence laws represent the largest roll-back in Americans’ civil rights since the Jim Crow era!

Our nation’s domestic violence laws have gone too far, harming innocent citizens and diverting scarce resources away from the true victims.

Respect for civil rights is deeply embedded in our national conscience, and constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties form the foundation of our legal system. Unfortunately, these rights have been eroded in the past 15 years by an array of domestic violence laws. For years Americans accepted these civil-rights violations, assuming they were an unfortunate but necessary byproduct of the national effort to curb intimate partner abuse. But it has now become clear that the harmful effects of domestic violence laws far exceed any abuses that may occur.

As a result of our nation’s domestic violence laws, 2 million to 3 million restraining orders are issued each year, often without any allegation of physical violence. As a result, persons lose access to their children, homes and financial assets, often their jobs, frequently their friends, with devastating social and financial consequences. One million persons are arrested each year for allegations of domestic violence. But the allegations are often recanted and the evidence doubtful as evidenced by fewer than 5 percent of cases actually being prosecuted in Superior Court in Snohomish County, leaving 95 percent of the arrests unjustified. ...

More here. In addition to the civil rights abuses that the op-ed notes, even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction results in the loss of gun possession rights under current law. See my posts here and here for more examples on the abuse of domestic violence laws and restraining orders.


Anonymous said...

I was in a relationship once where my "partner" would attack me (usually under the influence) and basically dare me to hit her back...because if I had retaliated or even defended myself physically, she was going to call the police and report that I was abusing her.

Fortunately, she wasn't strong enough to really hurt me and I wasn't stupid enough to take up her challenge.

After the second time I had to call the police on her, it came to end poste-haste.

Once may be an aberration. Twice is a trend.

I have no doubt that had I struck her or even pushed her hard to defend against her attacks, she would have followed through with her threats and I would have ended up in jail.

Later, after sobering up, she would have been really, really sorry, but there are no guarantees that a DA would drop the charges either.

I sincerely believe that domestic violence is initiated at least as often by the woman in a relationship as the just don't report it, or they are assumed to be the aggressor if they defend themselves.

And vindictive women, knowing that it can ruin a man's life, absolutely will use it as a weapon to exact revenge.

David said...


I believe you're right. One of my earlier posts I linked to above had these stats from a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) study:

The most recent large-scale study of DV was conducted by Center for Disease Control and Prevention researchers and published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study, which surveyed 11,000 men and women, found that according to both men's and women's accounts, 50 percent of the violence in their relationships was reciprocal (involving both parties). In those cases, the women were more likely to have been the first to strike. Moreover, when the violence was one-sided, both women and men said that women were the perpetrators about 70 percent of the time. [emphasis added]