A Law Against Psychological Abuse in Marriage? “Oui” say the French

French lawmakers are now legally recognizing that domestic abuse presents itself in ways that are not necessarily physical.  They have decided to promote legislation to prevent repeated emotional and mental abuse in relationships, or as the bill itself states, “conjugal abuse of a psychological nature.”

As the article states:

According to government statistics, about 10% of all women in France are victims of domestic mistreatment of some kind, and 80% of women who make calls to state-funded help lines complain of severe verbal abuse, compared to 77% who report physical violence.

While convictions of this kind may prove tricky to implement, they’d be far from impossible.  Even if evidence of mental abuse is lacking, the law will promote awareness of this type of domestic violence and will encourage people to recognize and report it.

Some critics of the bill allege that police will raid domestic arguments over credit card bills, chores, or other issues.  French lawyer Yael Mellul responds:

Domestic disputes and conflicts aren’t just normal — they’re usually salutary in releasing pressure and finding compromise…There’s a clear difference between mental cruelty and having a row over where to go on vacation.

This attempt by France to increase legal protection to victims of violence and harassment is to be commended. it is also important that the United States take notice and recognize that psychological abuse can be just as harmful as domestic violence in a relationship.

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One Response to A Law Against Psychological Abuse in Marriage? “Oui” say the French

  1. Men who threaten to take away the kids are engaging in post separation violence. It is common for batterers to threaten to take children away from the battered woman by proving her to be an unfit mother. For this reason, some lawyers advise women not to tell courts or mediators about child abuse or domestic abuse because, by doing so, they risk losing custody to the alleged abuser!

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