Sunday, July 18, 2010

Don't Answer That!

See that man on the left? Your likely thinking:
'His woman probably crashed the new car he bought for her and ran up the credit card while out shoe shopping. Again. Of course he's upset.'
And she knows he's right. That's why she cowering in shame before him.

But not all is as it seems. That man is actually engaging in violently dangerous criminal activity. Maybe even worse than rape.
Worse than rape?
Huh?
How is that?

Because, it's The French, of course, who bring us this crazy gem of legal protection:
The French parliament has approved a groundbreaking law that makes psychological violence an offence as part of a broader range of measures aimed at boosting protection for victims of domestic abuse...

..."We have introduced an important measure here, which recognises psychological violence, because it isn't just blows (that hurt) but also words," Nadine Morano, the minister for family affairs, told the lower house of parliament...

So next time your woman/weaker-sex partner asks "Does this dress make me look fat?" tread ever more carefully than before if you are a Frenchman. She just might be trying to set you up because...
you ready for this????
Anyone found guilty of breaking the new law faces up to three years in jail and a 75,000 euro ($132,177) fine.

Three years in jail?!?!?!
For words?
Yeah. Words.

Seems a bit much, if you ask me, especially for a country like France... where a convicted child rapist can live luxuriously in the open as a member of the cultural elite.

29 comments:

Palm boy said...

"Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones,
But Words Will Never Hurt Me"

^ No French translation?

W.B. Picklesworth said...

It's not a French thing, it's a liberal statist thing. It's coming here unless we change the trajectory of this country.

Gino said...

palm boy: pay heed, you're next on the love train to marital bliss.

WBP: just wait til the newlywedness wears off...

my name is Amanda said...

Oh yeah, speaking as a representative for my lazy, irresponsible, stupid, overly body-conscious, manipulative gender, I just have to say that I CANNOT WAIT until this law comes to the United States, so I can sucker some a superior, more-intelligent, more-deserving-of-respect-due-to-possession-of-a-penis man into going to jail because I'm too stupid and sensitive about being "called names!" *Counting down the days.*

Although I am rather surprised that this would be the result of our country's move toward "liberal statism," as in France, it happens to be a product of the political right. As quoted in the article:

"The law was proposed by members of parliament from both the ruling majority and the leftist opposition and won the backing of the centre-right government."

K-Rod said...

*facepalm*

Brian said...

Well, "center-right" in the French context doesn't neatly map onto the American versions of "right" and "left". They'd probably be pretty close to the center of the Democratic party here, if not its left.

Interestingly, the far right in France (and much of the rest of Europe) also don't look much like American Republicans: Le Pen and his ilk are more like a combination of David Duke (nationalist to the point of being arguably racist) and typical Euro social democrats (basic, pro-welfare state...they just don't want to share it with brown people.)

But really they're all statists, and the "liberal" or "conservative" labels are almost incidental. Of course, I think that about 99.9% of politicians here, too.

My experience is that the French people have a healthy disregard for their manyfold dumb laws. In practice, (if not statute) French society is much more socially libertarian than the US.

K-Rod said...

If being more socially libertarian means harboring convicted child rapists... then no thanks...

But other than that, Brian, good points.

Brian said...

"...harboring convicted child rapists..."

On that, I assure you we are in agreement.

Bike Bubba said...

We'll be warning your boyfriend, Amanda! :^)

Seriously, well pointed out that evidently all parties in the French legislature are imbeciles. Smart enough to make 250 different kinds of cheese, but dumb enough for this? I do not get it.

Gino said...

i'm sure the french parliamnet was just responding to pressure from feminist groups.

you know, those groups of political active women who unite and mobilize to show that women are not really the weaker sex, and then pass laws to protect them from everything that men seem to handle just fine...
like insults from a spouse.

tully said...

Why, in expressing our obvious concerns that such a law can be abused, must we make the pig-headed insinuation that all cases of alleged psychological abuse are as trivial as arguments about wives overspending on shoes? While, like every sexist remark coming from Gino, it is amusing and good-humored, it is also unnecessary to making a straightforward argument, the conclusion of which we can all accept: A law is only as good as the diverse interpretations that can be made of it. When a law is this malleable, the good intentions behind it don't much matter

PeppyPilotGirl said...

I did note the law applies to both men and women. My dad could use its protection - 45 years of being married to my carping mother has had a significant deleterious effect on his psyche.

Gino said...

PPT: hey, where ya been? good to see again.

you make a fine point,indeed. i know guys just like that.

but the law was designed for women, and championed by feminists, though written to go both ways.

my name is Amanda said...

Sorry Gino, but I heartily disagree that this law was about responding from pressure from Feminist groups (since when do governments care what women have to say? our own politicians simply use women's issues for votes, but don't do shit for women when they get to office - yeah, even the "socialist" ones), and I didn't see any evidence of that at all in the article. To conjecture based on nothing would not make sense.

Bike Bubba - I'm sure he would appreciate your concern!

Yeah, I know you're being snarky.

For anyone wondering, my boyfriend *gets* to hear volumes more of my rants than anyone on the internet.

K-Rod said...

He is probably a misogynist and deserves to be punished with thoses rants. Ha ha j/k kinda.

Gino said...

amanda: i've read more than one article on this. three,actually. i thought i linked to one of the two that did report pressure from womens groups.

陳佑發 said...

你要保守你的心,勝過保守一切,因為一生的果效是由心發出................................................

tully said...

I have nothing to say at the moment, Gino, except that I am a fan.

Jade said...

I was wondering why the presumption is that women are the ones who are abused and need protection? Whether the law was originated by a feminist group or not, it is written to cover both sexes.
And I think it's a good law.

You're painting a picture that if a guy insults a girl, she can take that insult and run to the police and send him to jail. One insult is not going to send a guy off to maximum security, and the presumption of such is just plain stupid.

This law is talking about psychological battering. Which is an unfortunate reality for a great number of people.

Should someone get 3 years in jail for words? When those words break another human being down to the point where they feel less than human, verbally beat them into submission until they have no sense of their own self worth... fuck yes the asshole should go to jail for words.

Gino said...

jade: its called walking away.

tully said...

Looking at Gino's response to Jade, what I would take away is the sense that this law is taking upon itself a paternalistic position both assuming that a woman is too weak to "walk away" and that the long arm of the law is necessary to regulate discourse within the couple. Yes, the law may be designed for mutual protection, but it seems we are fooling ourselves 1) if we are self-convinced that the law did not come about for the needs of women (that is, the law has a historical origin and development, not one based in the transcendent "rights of (hu)Man" and 2) that a law can have an ahistorical application that protects women in the abstract without presuming their need for a very abstract form of protection, the likes of which a father is traditionally entrusted with.

But is "walking away" an option for those in positions of physical abuse or threats? Sure, we want to be liberals and grant that women have absolute freedom, but this law is supposed to address the reality that they do not. That is, there remains a need for a paternalistic state to step in...the limitations of feminist discourse. This is indeed just such a concession: it is not force meeting force, but force meeting discourse where discourse has become incorrigible. But at the same time, the division of the sexes is not as well-defined as it once was, and men are protected by this wall as well. The bitter truth is: None of us is free to leave relationships or fields of discourse unscathed. Freedom is not Hobbesian (a matter of escaping chains of iron). It is not even our ability to escape metaphorical chains. Freedom is what happens when we operate with critical effectiveness in a complex landscape of power-relations over which laws haven't a monolithic influence...but neither do individuals have such an influence. There is only the hope for an innovative, critical engagement of each to the other.

K-Rod said...

*yawn*

h盧aze文lhunt雅er said...

我們能互相給予的最佳禮物是「真心的關懷」。..................................................

Jade said...

Gino - people who are conditioned to believe they have no alternative are hard pressed to simply walk away... this law is written to give them the aid they need.

Gino said...

jade: you cant outlaw emotional weakness. and that is the real problem.

Bike Bubba said...

Amanda, if your boyfriend gets to hear volumes more.....don't ever let him take a position in France! :^)

OK, I'll be serious here; having seen some abusive situations, I know that it is difficult for people to leave them. However, the prospect of putting a verbal abuser in jail doesn't seem to help much; it would simply "clean up the aftermath" once the abuse drove someone to a "rash decision," so to speak.

Moreover, it also opens up the field for a host of silly prosecutions; just ask a lot of men and women who have been prosecuted for more or less having an argument with their spouse. (about as many women as men, really) This is a seriously bad law.

kr said...

Tully, no reason to assume an authoritarian gvt needs to be "paternalistic." Any overbearing parent, either gender, could apply in your statement, or simply use the more pertinent (and ungendered) "authoritarian."

tully said...

The essence of the metaphor "paternal" is not, as I understand it, that an actual male is imposing authority. It is the way in which authority is wielded. A woman can impose authority in a paternalistic manner, and a man in a maternalistic manner.

The point being: these metaphors do not change with the times. They are as old as human discourse, and they have more to do with the deep metahporical roots of the father and mother than with the actuality of either.

But I share your hesitation, and hardly consider my response to be a watertight objection. It is merely an attempt at clarity.

K-Rod said...

Misogynist!


Racist!!!