Carey Roberts
Latest threat to the Constitution: the domestic violence industry
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By Carey Roberts
March 26, 2010

The principles and precepts of the American Constitution are once again under attack, this time at the hand of groups that operate under the laudable façade of curbing partner abuse. Aptly taking the name from its signature legislation — the Violence Against Women Act — the self-proclaimed VAWA Mafia is relentlessly working to take us back to an era when persons could be accused, charged, and even convicted of a heinous act without evidence or proof.

These determined women have not only succeeded in passing a gaggle of federal and state domestic violence laws, they have erected a nearly unassailable moral authority that makes it difficult to pose even the most basic questions, like are these programs working? (The answer to that question is an unequivocal "no," but that's not the focus of this article.)

It's well-known that federal domestic violence laws dole out $1 billion a year for programs that often escalate partner conflict and weaken families. But what does that have to do with ignoring the Constitution?

The VAWA Mafia members are compulsive worry-warts when it comes to the boogeyman of "power and control." Believe it not, they are now pushing to make "coercion" part of the federal definition of domestic violence.

This has already happened in Rhode Island, where the state Judiciary published this handy-dandy checklist: "Are you concerned about your relationship?" and "Does your partner tell you what to do?" http://www.courts.state.ri.us/domesticnew/

Think about it, ladies: The next time you order your better half to pick up around the house or take out the trash, you are tempting the criminal justice system to swoop in and brand your forehead with the scarlet "Abuser" label.

Not only is this an unwanted fashion accessory, it also erodes one of the central pillars of a free society, the right to speak openly, even if such speech provokes embarrassment or ire. (First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech.")

That's just for starters.

Because once you've been accused of "coercion" (no proof of said offense necessary), Johnny Law will probably come by and slap you with a restraining order. (The Third Amendment was designed to protect homes and families from unwarranted governmental intrusion.)

The order will serve to banish you from hearth and home, and even bar you from seeing your kids. Stigmatized as a "batterer," you may find yourself on the losing side of a custody dispute and ordered to pay child support. (Fourth Amendment: Citizens must be "secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects.")

Don't imagine that you can call little Sally just because it happens to be her birthday — the law is quite strict about such things. In fact in many states, violating the terms of the restraining order will subject you to arrest. (More from the Fourth Amendment: There must exist "probable cause" before a person can be "seized.")

At some point in the process you'll get a 10-minute hearing before a judge. Except the jurist may have just come back from a VAWA-funded training seminar in which he was hectored to "hold abusers accountable" and "err on the side of safety." So you may not receive the fair hearing you once thought you were entitled to. (Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments: No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property "without due process of law.")

Since you have been arrested, your case will now be processed under criminal law. By this point, you may have exhausted all your resources, so the judge will appoint an over-worked public defender. He or she will try to induce you to accept a plea bargain rather than face the vagaries and expense of a criminal trial. (Sixth Amendment was designed to frustrate "any attempt to employ our courts as instruments of persecution," explained the the Supreme Court In re Oliver.)

By now you are fuming over being treated so shoddily and you're wondering whatever happened to Lady Justice's blindfold? But you don't give up easily, so you return to court to demand justice.

But were you aware that the Violence Against Women Act funds a multi-million dollar program called Legal Assistance for Victims? The "victim" (the person who accused you of abuse) is entitled to receive free legal help.

But as the suspect of partner abuse, you will have to dig deeply to fund your defense. Knowing that fact, your accuser's crafty lawyer may engage in a succession of delaying tactics until your money runs out. (Fourteenth Amendment: No state shall "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.")

Each year, 2-3 million Americans are served with restraining orders, and one million are arrested on charges of domestic violence. More often than not they are men, but many women have been caught up in the domestic violence dragnet as well.

And more often than not these men and women have never committed any act that could remotely be construed as domestic "violence."

© Carey Roberts

 

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Carey Roberts

Carey Roberts is an analyst and commentator on political correctness. His best-known work was an exposé on Marxism and radical feminism... (more)

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