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France to Make Insulting Your Spouse a Crime

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the take-my-wife-please dept.

Idle 26

Under a new law, France will become the first country in the world to ban "psychological violence" between married or cohabiting couples. The law applies to both men and women and covers such things as: repeated rude remarks about a partner's looks, false allegations of cheating, and threats of violence. French premier Francois Fillon said, "The creation of this offense will allow us to deal with the most insidious situations — situations that leave no visible scars, but which leave victims torn up inside."

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Useless (3, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30672004)

Completely unenforceable, and every failed relationship is going to be seen as "psychological abuse".

Re:Useless (1)

querist (97166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30673904)

Not only unenforceable, but difficult to prove. It is often hard enough to prove physical abuse. How to they intend to prove these charges? While I'm sure there are plenty of cases where reliable witnesses can be brought forth, I suspect this will become a "he said / she said" situation where it will ultimately depend on which side (plaintiff and attorney vs defendant and attorney) can convince the judge that their story is what really happened. I'm sure there are legitimate situations where this will truly help someone, but I suspect those will be few and far between. And, not only that, but what if the plaintiff loses? I would strongly suspect that the relationship would be shot at that point anyway. If your spouse asks for a divorce, don't try to fight it because she or he has already decided to give up, and usually decided a long time ago and was just waiting for a less inconvenient time to tell you. Seriously... how can you save a marriage when one spouse really wants out? Once one spouse accuses the other of cheating, it seems like all trust is gone in the relationship anyway and it's only a matter of time before the relationship ends one way or the other (divorce, abandonment, or violence). Just like this law in France... how can you repair a relationship like this? Also, what does this do to the defendant's ability to carry on with life? I've only been to France once in my life (late in 2009), so I am not that familiar with their culture and I'm not sure how this would impact someone's ability to get a job, etc. I am sure that those who authored and approved this law were well-intentioned, but at least from a surface examination it seems to be far too easy to abuse if it is enforced, but it also seems far too difficult to enforce fairly.

Re:Useless (2, Informative)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30674180)

What proof? The allegation is enough. If someone claims to have been "insulted" who is to say they don't feel that way? Crimes based on how someone "feels" are absurd, but increasingly common.

Because of the false belief that men are inherently violent (why does the image bolster this stereotype?), allegations of abuse often result in fathers denied access to their own children, and having to fight for years to prove the allegations false, with no consequences for the accuser. In the U.S. such cases are heard in "family courts", courts of equity and not law, where the accused has no right to council if they can't afford one, and the bar of evidence is "preponderance" and not "beyond a reasonable doubt". This is supposedly "fair" since courts of law are only used when one is at risk of one's life or liberty: death or jail. Losing one's kids, money, home, does not qualify. Furthermore, the allegation is often believed on it's face since if it were true and NOT removing the accused, harm could result: better to deprive an innocent man of his home, retirement, and kids, than risk him being guilty. Bullshit I say. All this is an increasing attempt to "invent" violent men where there are none.

Re:Useless (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30674556)

Further more, in 30% of cases it is the woman, not the man committing violence, and women do more damage because they are far more likely to enlist the use of a weapon (in African-Americans closer to 50% of the time it is the woman). As a man who has never been violent, of course I am offended by this notion that violence is something committed by men against women and children. Violence is something that people do to people -- it is never acceptable. Your first and best defense is the get the hell out of that relationship at the first sign of abuse. Law enforcement simply cannot be depended upon to defend you -- they would rather not deal with domestic violence at all.

Re:Useless (2, Informative)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30675458)

Studies I've read suggest most domestic violence is mutual, followed by about equal numbers of unilateral violence against women by men, and men by women. The relationships MOST prone to violence are lesbian ones.

This goes against everything stemming from Steinem-era feminists who's mantra was that men must resort to violence to prop up a societal patriarchy. That's driven family legislation for decades: family courts are courts of equity where preponderance of evidence is the standard, and if a woman claims to suffer abuse, the "presumption" based on this patriarchy/violence lie is that she did: the man is guilty until proven innocent, and can't seek damages for the false accusation.

Another feminist of Steinem's era was Erin Pizzey. She opened the first shelter for battered women and observed that most violence was, indeed, mutual, without a great preponderance of men using it to maintain a patriarchal hold on the family unit. However, Steinem's propaganda won out over Pizzey's facts.

Now that the lie is in place, it must be "propped up". And, to this effect, we see increasing legislation including non-abusive things as "abuse". In WA, a woman is abused if she "fears" her domestic partner. How can you control what frightens someone? Traffic makes you late to arrive home, so she fears you went out drinking and will come home violent? Guess what? Under the law, you abused her, and a restraining order can be taken against you, and be removed from your own home.

This is nothing new: the popular lie carries the day while the contrary evidence is suppressed.

My fear is that when the tables turn, as they invariably will, and Steinem's lie is exposed, it will be twisted to argue that women have a propensity to lie and their testimony should never be believed without corroborating proof from a man. While such turnabout generalization might be fair play, it would not be justice.

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30675582)

California is just as bad; you can get a restraining order against your partner just by saying "I was afraid", even if you have a history of mental illness and paranoid delusions! You can then have the police come in the the middle of the night and forcibly rouse your partner out of bed and remove them permanently from the residence, giving them only minutes to collect belongings (which gives you a good chance of keeping most possessions of theirs of any value). And if they object, claiming they've done nothing to harm you, well then, it's off to jail with them, without even giving them a chance to get dressed. How do I know this? It's been done to me.

Re:Useless (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30675774)

My fear is that when the tables turn, as they invariably will, and Steinem's lie is exposed, it will be twisted to argue that women have a propensity to lie and their testimony should never be believed without corroborating proof from a man. While such turnabout generalization might be fair play, it would not be justice. I think your fears are unwarranted. Our Sheriff's department appears to already be moving to a system where regardless of who calls them, they physically inspect both parties in a domestic violence dispute. If one of them shows visible signs of being beaten, and the other doesn't, they simply arrest the one that doesn't look beaten up -- even if they are the original complainant. If neither one shows visible signs of violence, they simply advise you to work it out. Not sure what they do if both appear equally beat up, but they do advise one or the other party to GET OUT and cool off.

Now, your fears of false rape reports doing a real disservice to all those that have truly been assaulted may be justified. In both situations, they need to drop any bias in evaluating the he said/she said pissing contests (hard to do when it's a good looking woman and you're a horny male cop) and just look at the objective physical evidence.

Re:Useless (2, Interesting)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30675914)

Well, yes, but the laws are based on the presumption that men have a propensity toward violence, where the evidence suggests such a propensity is about equal between the genders. to prop up this lie, things like "fear" count as much as a broken arm.

So: he asks if dinner is ready, she gets mad and stabs him, is afraid he will retaliate and so she calls 911.

Cop sees him stabbed, and her claiming fear. Under the law, BOTH are equally abusive. Often (and I've seen it happen, though it was a toolbox bruising his shoulder and not a knife), HE will be arrested because it stands to reason that if you stabbed someone, you should be afraid that they will retaliate. Further, her stabbing was "justified" out of fear: preemptive strike against a phsyically stronger opponent.

I've often thought that in case of doubt, arrest BOTH parties (this keeps false claims low), and let the courts sort it out, but the courts are so busy, that they prefer to be presented a "fait acompli" that props up justification for existing laws. It's nice to see that some police departments are acting with some sanity and less bias, but there's a lot more that is required.

Re:Useless (1)

The Yuckinator (898499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682166)

Reasons # 23,463 - 23,466 why I plan to never marry and never have kids.

Re:Useless (1)

querist (97166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694868)

Rene, that is my point. "What proof?" It is easy enough for one party to lie about something like that. It's one thing to lie and claim that your spouse beat you, but then there would be signs of injury to back up your claims. Self-inflicted injuries can often be distinguished from non-self-inflicted injuries, so unless you have someone ELSE beat you and then claim your spouse did it, you'd have a hard time making a false accusation like that.

However, where there is no physical evidence of this verbal abuse (and I fully believe that verbal abuse is real, happens, and can be true abuse), how can you distinguish a false accusation from a real accusation in the case where the accused seems to be a calm, self-controlled individual? How many times have you seen news reports about a violent crime being committed where neighbors or relatives all express total disbelief, saying "I never imagined that he / she would be capable of doing that" or something similar?

Some people are quite good at hiding their true personalities.

I also fully agree with your interpretation that this will have the effect of "inventing" violent men. I am not sure if it was intended to do that, but I agree with you that it will certainly be part of the result of this new law.

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30680154)

proof is deez nuts in YO mouth!

Merde (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691600)

Why not use existing laws? Verbal abuse, making a nuisance of yourself etc. should all be covered under existing laws that aren't specific to your partner. Just enforce them instead of dreaming up new ones to score stupid political brownie points.

totally worth it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30673408)

i think if you got to yell at them with a megaphone, it would be worth the arrest.

Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30676450)

You solved the problem! Now everyone can be happy!

Repeated false accusations of cheating? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30676460)

Wait, this is the French we're talking about? Am I missing something? Isn't cheating their national sport or pastime or something? I would have figured that you'd be pretty safe accusing any of them of cheating.

(I kid, I kid ...)

Only False Accusations (1)

andersh (229403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30683990)

You misunderstand the French, it's okay to cheat, but it's insulting to FALSELY accuse them of cheating! :) You don't accuse a man of being unable to cheat!

!liberty (1)

noz (253073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680008)

I thought the home was the last bastion of freedom from the government. Apparently not anymore!

Liberty? Wrong Culture (2, Insightful)

andersh (229403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30682868)

Did you notice that the article is about France? We Europeans have a different view of what liberty is and should be.

Your notions of "liberty" and "freedom from government" are *American* concepts, and they are certainly NOT universal!

Europeans in general have a more positive view of government and regulations, this is not just my opinion but the results of research

You call us "socialists", which is a half-lie at best, yet you don't understand how different we are from you, do you?

Re:Liberty? Wrong Culture (0, Troll)

hellvis1977 (1714658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684264)

You know who did understand your "more positive view of government and regulations"? The Germans - twice. Guess our notion of liberty wasn't so off base in 1944...

Godot (2, Informative)

andersh (229403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30684730)

What is your problem?

I added a serious comment with relevant information about the cultural differences between the US and Europe, and you added an outrageously stupid reference to Nazis! You, sir, are an idiot.

Europeans in general don't view their government with hostility. That's a fact. So this law is viewed in a different light here, that might be news to some people in the USA, right?

While your own worthless post was neither factual or relevant. It says nothing about the sentiments that exist here in many European countries (not all).

The German people never had a say in WWI, the country was ruled by the Kaiser! And the second time you are referring to involved a coup and conspiracy! The Reichstag fire was not an accident in case you have forgotten.

And the German people didn't trust their government, it was in fact the Nazi Party organzation that was the new power structure. Just details, but you don't care as long as you can spout your anti-Government propaganda, right?

Just in case you haven't noticed, your country is filled with fanatical facists with strong nationalist sentiments. Go America, USA, USA, USA! Flags hanging from every building. Any opposition is "unamerican", haha.

Your notion of "liberty" didn't get you involved in the WWII until the Japanese attacked you! You stood by on the sidelines while Germany rolled over Europe! Cowards and credit stealers! The British resisted alone and PAID the US for every piece of equipment the following sixty years!

Your people are totally ignorant of the major and decisive contribution the Russians made. It was Russians that saved my Western European country.

The Russians did far, far more to save Europe from the Nazis than the Americans. And I don't care if they wanted Europe for themselves, both Empires wanted to control Europe for their own benefit.

And just in case you throw out that stupid comment about "saving" us from speaking German today; we all learn German in school anyway. And, yes, even Russian. So, no thanks, America, we actually believe in government of the people for the people. It works.

Re:Godot (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30685320)

No mod points when you need 'em, well said.

Re:Godot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30687298)

I would have said in every European country I've visisted that a greater showing of patriotism and nationalism was displayed than I've ever seen state side. If we were half as nationalistic as the French are we'd get bawled out and labeled as war mongering idiots.

Re:Godot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30690102)

Since when is socialism Nazism, Canada is quite a socialist country.

Re:Godot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30692494)

As an European from Eastern Europe I will disagree.

For one, Russia did not save anyone. That is Stalin and his gang of criminals saved their lives and livelihoods. Russia then oppressed Eastern Europe where the intelligentsia and anyone suspected of being reactionary was executed or sent to prison camps (ex Nazi death camps). Even now the United Kingdom does not consider any of the atrocities committed by Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union as crimes against humanity. Wow - talk about liberty.

Secondly, the Germans were supportive of Hitler. Even the most anti-Nazi of generals were happy to go along with Hitler and co while things were wrong. Speak to many Germans now, and they'll tell you - they hate Hitler because he lost the war (not started it).

Thirdly, speaking for many Eastern Europeans who were born before WW2 and many others - we don't trust our governments. They're all made up of liars and cheats. The ex-Communists are also still pretty much in control of many things in Eastern Europe and attempts to bring some of them to book cause huge levels of orchestrated outrage. The new guys are also bad. Only a fool loves his government and believes it to be perfect.

Finally, the USA provided the Soviet Union with the industrial knowledge. Who do you think taught the Russians how to make tractors, engines, factories and tanks? Read up about Stalin's 5 Year Plans and how the USA built up the Soviet Union. Don't forget the materiel aid the US/West gave to Russia. Who signed armistice with Japan? Oh and don't forget that Russia/USSR actually entered WW2 on the side of the Axis powers. Stalin wanted Hitler to destroy Europe and then he'd walk in as a liberator.

The Americans stood by and supported Western Europe. France and Germany became rich and developed again because the United States invested heavily in them. They also supported Western Europe militarily. Berlin Airlift? Heard of that - just one example how the US supported WE.
Don't forget that the US was willing to risk its own annihilation through nuclear war by standing by and deafening Western Europe.

Those flag waving Americans are more liberal than Western European fascists. I speak as an European.

Re:Liberty? Wrong Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30687150)

That's funny I could have swore the French national motto was: Liberté, égalité, fraternité with Liberty being the very first thing...

Re:Liberty? Wrong Culture (1)

Anne Honime (828246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30689222)

You're misunderstanding the motto. But it should be read backward: liberty is the goal, equality is a mean to that end, and brotherhood is the precondition to achieve it. You can't feel someone else is your equal without thinking of him as a kind of brother; and you can't have freedom among people who don't view you as an equal. The relationship between those words is hierarchical, but to reach the top, you have to climb from a sane and steady base.
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