Sunday, November 7, 2010

One Would Think...

A friend told me about a blog by a feminist named Jill. Jill recently wrote about a law in UAE condoning domestic violence as a means of protecting the family and keeping a wife under control if abstaining from sex with her didn't straighten her out. No, seriously.

In America, some jurisdictions do not charge batterers if the victim of domestic violence refuses to press charges. Within the past few years, my own city changed that law. Police who are called out for DV can now press the charges and arrest the perp.

Why, you might ask, would any victim refuse to press charges against the person on whom they just had to call out the cops? Fear. They do need [usually] him to quit and calm down and can not make that happen alone. But if [usually] she were to have him arrested, we all know what he would do when his buddies or his boss or his mama bails him out. So, the only recourse many victims have legally is to run.

Battering is a sickness. They mean it every time they apologize. Still no excuse. Does it make sense that a victim and her children should be forced into fear and hiding because there is not enough legal protection available for them? In the United States of America, doesn't physical safety count as an inalienable right? Even if you did sign up to live with the person? Here is my solemn promise-- no person lives with a violent batterer because they enjoy receiving beatings. There is NO place for blaming the victim in a domestic violence situation.

While I can't exactly call this solution a compromise, because I don't know of any reasonable person who wants to protect someone's right to murder the heart and soul of his family, it is a pretty fair and reasonable solution.

On second thought, perhaps this is a compromise between those who would condone capital punishment for batterers and those whose hearts bleed all over the batterer's dysfunctional childhood. (Admittedly, that very conflict exists within my own self.) Or possibly a compromise between the human-protective and the budget-conscious...

If a DV call is made, and the responding officers see an obvious victim, and are given a verbal statement, they should be required to remove the perp. Let him cool his heels in the drunk tank, because the odds are good he will be chemically altered in some way. The state or county will bring charges of battery.

So, to keep people safe, the one delivering the abuse must be compelled to vacate the premises. He may pack his clothes and toys, but no furnishings. Upon a guilty verdict, he relinquishes his legal right to any community property.

Where does he go while waiting for trial? To a therapeutic facility. He probably can't help being an asshole. Schedule his trial for 1 year after his arrest, giving him a full year to learn techniques for keeping his hands to himself and possibly address an addiction. He should also keep his job and send 75% of his pay back to the family. This way, even if he is acquitted, he still received the therapy and did not have to lose his livelihood. The victims will have a safe year to get it together and relocate should they choose.

What if she makes it up you ask? Remember I said obvious victim. Blood, bruises, defensive wounds, fear, distress from her...addiction, anger, cut up knuckles, etc from him.

So now the Republicans want to know who is to pay for the protection of citizens? Why tax payers, that's who. That is precisely what tax money is for. Cut the prison budget, reallocate that money to rehabilitation. Many batterers had the example set for them, and it is imperative that the same example NOT be set for his children. Removing the abusive person from the home will eventually reduce the violent prison population when the next generation does not follow in certain footsteps.

Now to address the issue of drug-related abuse. Apparently the fact that drug use is illegal is not sufficient to protect people. So, every drug-affected baby should be immediately and permanently removed from the addicted mother. Of course there will be exceptions made for mothers using prescribed drugs which her doctor said would be OK; I am talking about crack, heroin, alcohol, etc.

Those babies should be eligible for adoption without delay, to enable healthy emotional bonding, by sober, responsible people, and should be eligible for medical and psychiatric assistance as well as case worker monitoring. Pay social workers like we pay disrict attorneys. Don't cry for the rights of the biological mother. Once she chose to keep the baby and continue the pregnancy, that construes her promise to take care of the fetus and child. Using harmful drugs, hurting the child makes her unfit.

How will taking away a crack baby solve domestic violence? The child will not be raised in an addictive dangerous environment where his mother is possibly trading favors for drugs, associating with bad people, and abandoning the child emotionally and quite possibly physically. If she can't stop using while pregnant, she will use after the birth. This attracts bad men, and bad men do bad things to children.

So to wrap up- remove the perp, give him therapy, allow him to work (with an ankle monitor), have him send money home (if he really is as sorry as he always claims to be he won't mind helping support his family). If the family moves, the money is sent through the court and the perp does not get to know where they are. Advise them to use fake names online and avoid posting pictures! He gets charged by the state regardless of whether the victim is too afraid. If convicted, he does time in minimum security (because he is not likely to pick fights with men his own size). If acquitted, he has received a year of therapy.

She would have to be really stupid to take him back. If she does, and he starts his crap again, he goes to jail for a LONG time, and works hard labor to repay the state. The state can sub out cheap labor to private contractors. Minimum wage. Every penny of his 90% net goes back into the system.

What do you think? Safety with compassion? Punishment when appropriate? Consideration for future generations? Protection of the innocent?

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