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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Domestic

Here's a story that made me think a bit. Regarding the religious angle I need only say that it makes me even less inclined than I was before to watch the Gibson film.

But consider this: a couple argue. It gets heated. She retreats to the bedroom. He follows her and tries to tear off her wedding ring and her watch. She reacts by grabbing his neck but lets go before it gets dangerous, leaving him with nothing more than red marks on his neck and a graze on his forehead.

Who, if anyone, would be facing an assault charge? Isn't his attempt to pull off her ring and watch the point at which it tips over into violence (I'd certainly feel assaulted if someone did that to me)? Wouldn't she therefore have little difficulty representing her reaction as an understandable one in the face of threatening behaviour (which according to the Home Office constitutes domestic violence in itself)?

And wouldn't sending both of them on an anger management course be a more constructive, cost-effective and compassionate approach than prosecuting either?

I don't know the answers to my questions. But I do know now that that's not how it works when the roles are reversed. Melanie Phillips has often cited evidence that domestic violence incidents are about equally likely to be started by a man or a woman. So there must be an awful lot of cases like this one. And in every one the domestic violence industry wants its pound of (male) flesh.

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