Yippee, we're all abusers now!
By Carey Roberts
Domestic violence has been plummeting in recent years. In 1976, the toll of men and women killed by their partners registered 2,944 deaths. Now it's half that number.
But what comes as good news to American families turns out to be a mixed blessing for the domestic violence industry. After all, the Abuse Mavens don't want to see their generous paychecks trimmed!
So a few years ago someone ginned up this grand scheme: Let's exponentially broaden the definition of domestic violence.
And sure enough, the 2005 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act featured this open-ended definition: "The term 'domestic violence' includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence." The law's artful use of the word "includes" sent a clarion signal to lawmakers throughout the country – an expansive range of conduct could now be considered to constitute abuse.
According to a recent report, "Expanding Definitions of Domestic Violence", 63% of states include emotional distress in their statutory definition of domestic violence. That means any person who claims to be "fearful" – no evidence necessary -- is entitled to a protective order and the generous cornucopia of bennies that comes with it.
Do you live in California, Delaware, Michigan, Montana, or Virginia? In these states, the mere feeling of "apprehension" of harm qualifies you as an abuse victim. In New Jersey, if your partner interferes with your "well-being," that counts, as well.
In Illinois, "interference with personal liberty" -- whatever that means -- makes you a domestic abuser. And the Delaware statute throws in the catch-all "any other conduct" for good measure.
But domestic violence runs rampant and proto-abusers need to be held accountable – or so the domestic violence industry claims -- so why not swell our definitions even more?
Now, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, partner violence also includes "Getting annoyed if the victim disagrees" and "Withholding information from the victim." If that doesn't suffice, "Disregarding what the victim wants" also counts as a punishable offense.
In an article recently published in Social Science and Medicine, the elastic band of abuse is stretched to even more preposterous lengths. According to "Male Reproductive Control of Women who Have Experienced Intimate Partner Violence," a man who attempts to sway his wife's reproductive status is guilty of "reproductive control."
So wise up, guys. If you ever told a woman you didn't want her to get an abortion or refused to pay for contraception, you are guilty of "reproductive control." According to the feminist catechism, that's a mortal sin, which of course constitutes violence against women.
But these definitions have a built-in limitation: They all require the alleged abuser to commit a specific unlawful act. This can make it difficult to prove your case in a court of law. The solution? Balloon the definition even more!
Go to the website of the federal Office of Violence Against Women. The OVW informs us domestic violence is a "pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control."
Maintain power and control?
Ladies, if you nag your husband to mow the lawn, that's power and control. Men, quit telling your wife to not overdraw the ATM – same thing. If you get into a disagreement over the TV remote control, you guessed it, that's proof of an obsessive need for power and control. That's a heinous offense, according to Big Sister.
In the former Soviet Union, criminal laws were crafted to ensnare the daily activities of innocent citizens. As former KGB director Lavrenti Beria famously warned, "Show me the man, and I'll find you the crime."
Once possessed of the mission of curbing partner abuse, the domestic violence industry now foreshadows the recrudescence of the horrific memories of a dystopian past.
© Carey Roberts, 2010