06
Jan
10

On Air: Should psychological violence in a relationship be a crime?

If you insult your partner repeatedly, and live in France, you could face a jail sentence in the near future. France may become the first country to ban psychological violence in relationships where couples are married or living together.

Here’s what French PM Francois Fillon said: ‘It’s an important step forward as the creation of this offence will allow us to deal with the most insidious situations – situations that leave no visible scars, but which leave victims torn up inside.’

Blogger chicksontheright disagrees and asks ‘what’s next? banning the silent treatment?’

The ban does raise so many questions.

How do you define psychological violence and how do you prosecute it?

Should angry outbursts between partners lead to a jail sentence?

Do you want your government to get this involved in your relationship?

And where does free speech come into this debate?


137 Responses to “On Air: Should psychological violence in a relationship be a crime?”


  1. January 6, 2010 at 15:09

    In Principle,Yes.Problem is defining Psychological violence.Asking the partner to do some thing( not related to sex), which they are not accustomed to,say some chore,may be construed as Psychological violence.Even inflection/tone may be intimidating at times.It depends on the mood of the.individual.Relationship is based on trust, mutual accommodation.If you allow law to interfere in matters of heart, instead harmony, it shall result in break up of relationships,which the individuals may regret later.

  2. 2 evets
    January 6, 2010 at 15:20

    I think this is a REALLY bad idea. Wouldn’t virtually every woman be thrown in jail for playing mind games?

    • 3 Mike in Seattle
      January 6, 2010 at 16:51

      Why would that be the case, Steve? Your post seems to assume that all women play mind games – that’s certainly not the case.

      • 4 Josiah Soap
        January 6, 2010 at 19:54

        Its certainly been the case in my experience, and I am sure if these rules come to pass people (of both sexes) will claim some sort of pyschological violence for whatever and whenever anything irks them or people play mind games.

    • 5 Qudratullah...Kabul
      January 7, 2010 at 06:13

      I scare that some day we feel ourselves in jail….everything is getting hyper-sensitivity…..where should we go then?!

  3. 6 Lucy
    January 6, 2010 at 15:21

    Perhaps relationships and unerstanding should be something that needs to be taught in schools, It would certainly put sex education into perspective. For example one suppoorts the other and creates a culture of developing understanding relationships especially before and during a sexual relationship. What is one without the other?

    It should not be illegal but there are perhaps areas in particular that explain reasons for abuse such as previous family abuse , Mental disorders, Mental health issues and syndromes that give rise to complex behavioral problems, which in turn also lead to frustration and unhappiness if not diagnosed or acknowledged by the family or friends.
    Awareness to these areas could be highlighted in these lessons and support groups.
    For example the awareness to autism and asberger’s syndrome has greatly improved in the last few years and is uncovering all sorts of family behvioral issues and family problems. Also meditation as therapy rather than prescribing drugs.
    So the law is adapting to the new developments and by understanding the cause and effect should be paramount.

  4. 7 Roberto
    January 6, 2010 at 15:22

    RE “” How do you define psychological violence and how do you prosecute it? “”
    —————————————————————————

    ———– Get the ball rolling with a lawsuit overr French treatment of escargot.

  5. 8 Chintan in Houston
    January 6, 2010 at 15:24

    This is great, now we can prosecute the following people:

    1. My boss for being vocal about being disappointed with my work.
    2. My teacher for having my parents come to school when I got bad grades and giving me an earful.
    3. My high school coach for putting me down in front of other players on the team after I had a bad game.
    4. My mom for being mad at me for not eating my vegetables.
    5. My girlfriend for complaining I do not spend enough time with her.

    These people are breaking my spirit, this is physiological torture.
    What a joke!

    • 9 Nengak
      January 6, 2010 at 15:56

      @Chintan
      How funny and yet true.
      Bet we could add
      6. The media for forcing me to buy what I dont need
      7. Hollywood for making films that made me angry
      8. The government for not doing what we wanted.
      9. Me (ask my neighbour why!).

  6. 10 Roy, Washington DC
    January 6, 2010 at 15:33

    All relationships have rough spots every now and then. If we’re going to ban fighting, we may as well throw everyone in jail. Make it a crime to be in a relationship! The effect would be the same.

  7. 11 Nengak
    January 6, 2010 at 15:48

    Although I agree that human beings should not be abusive or employ psychological violence in relationships. But I am less convinced that the French example is actually the best way round it. I think we need to de-emphasize the place of the state in defining and regulating human relationships. Can’t we just be friends without the state telling us how to go about it?
    If France succeeds in banning ‘psychological violence’ they will then set about defining what constitute it- which may include banging the table, refusing to talk (sulking?). For the next legislation, they may consider new ways of restricting our lives even further (rock and roll might risk being banned next!).

  8. January 6, 2010 at 15:54

    No relationship should be compulsory. If partners can’t live in peace, simply they should part company.

    For partners whose relationship is marred by psychological violence and need to repair it, they should first have counselling to help them live harmoniously. Using prison as a means to stop psychological violence is a step too far. This means one shouldn’t resort to any form of anger whatever happens.

    The link on the blog about the ban http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8440199.stm singles out just women as victims. Actually there are men who are the victims of the nagging of their female partners and their mothers-in-laws. As in the west, a gay relationships is acceptable , the proposal doesn’t say anything about psychological violence that can occur in it.

    For those interested in the case, there is no mention of the possible prison terms.

    Whatever, in countries where prisons are already overcrowded, no government will think it wise to imprison people for this kind of abuse as long as there is no physical evidence.

  9. 13 John in Salem
    January 6, 2010 at 15:56

    If they want to make it recognizable grounds for divorce or a primary factor in child abuse cases I’m fine with that.
    But so long as no one is being held behind a locked door the state has no business trying to legislate relationships. It may be extremely difficult for someone to leave an abusive marriage and that’s not a bad thing – once you’ve had to do it you’re less likely to make the same mistake again.
    And if you DO make the same choices again it’s a shrink you should be calling, not the police.

  10. January 6, 2010 at 15:56

    Yeah sure.

    How do you define it? Well that’s up to the French judges, and/or legislators, but I would require (1) evidence of an established a power differential between the two parties and (2) evidence of a pattern of behaviour from the dominant party which has the effect of devaluing the weaker party.

    How do you prove it? It won’t be easy. But that’s no reason to not make it illegal. Laws exist as a written statement of the common values of a society. This law would clearly make the statement that French society does not accept psychological abuse as a norm. It won’t be the first hard-to-prove law. Rape is often a he-said-she-said affair with no witnesses, but nevertheless rape is wrong and as such is a crime, even if it isn’t accompanied by physical assault.

    Good on the French, and I wish them luck – I expect there’ll be a difficult ‘teething’ period in the courts if the law does pass.

    • 15 Julia
      January 8, 2010 at 03:11

      i am somewhere between T from new zealand and John from Salem. Having grown up with a psychologically abusive father who then molested me, I am for some kind of real recognition of the resulting issues survivors of this kind of torment have to overcome. Counseling for both parties to be paid for by the abuser maybe? I don’t know what would be best. Probably not jail. I do agree with a stronger public recognition of this sort of abuse.

  11. January 6, 2010 at 16:04

    …as for jail, only in the most extreme cases might that be warranted. I doubt it would ever be needed. Monetary reparations, mandatory counselling, some sort of mandatory corrective course or at the most a restraining order might be more appropriate.

  12. 17 VultureTX
    January 6, 2010 at 16:19

    While psych torture is a horrible thing to occur in a relationship, quantifying using a “soft science” is impossible. Psychiatry may be a medical science but in court it is only an expert opinion routinely lacking material evidence. Psychologists and councilors are truly soft in that they have nothing besides third hand testimony to give.
    A life partner undergoing a first time psychotic breakdown in their life , may blame their partner, but the reality is more likely genetics , environment (chemicals not social), and stress to the immune system. (many genetic based mental illnesses have a trigger that is not just someone arguing/harrassing them over dinner)

  13. 18 patti in cape coral
    January 6, 2010 at 16:31

    This sounds like a very difficult law to get right. I’ve seen how incredibly verbally abusive people can be to their spouses in public, and it would be nice not to have to witness that, but I’m not sure this is the way. It is sad that common human decency seems to be in such poor supply that it needs to be mandated by law.

  14. 19 Mohammed haruna
    January 6, 2010 at 16:44

    Well, it will depend on the environment to which it is applicable. If the govt of such countries feel it is a step towards a normal and non violent society for its citizens, then it’s ok.

  15. 20 T
    January 6, 2010 at 16:48

    Yes for several reasons:

    Abuse is physical, mental, emotional and sexual. But too many people still think it’s only physical.
    In many countries it’s ok for men to abuse their partners. Why? Because they have the power in that society.
    If a women then tries to fight back or get help, many times she’s told to just shut up. Go home and then maybe he’ll stop?

    If women had most of the power in society, guys would have a totally different view on this.

  16. 21 Mike in Seattle
    January 6, 2010 at 16:49

    This makes perfect sense to me. If I were to break my girlfriend’s arm, I would be in jail. Why shouldn’t psychological abuse be treated the same way? What is it about the nature of mental (rather than physical) issues that causes us to treat them as if they are meaningless or ignore them all together?

    It’s the 21st century, it’s about time we started giving mental health the same respect as physical health.

  17. 22 Dun
    January 6, 2010 at 16:49

    Government shouldn’t get involved in my matters of my relationship simply. They’ll find a person in a low mood who thinks their partner is the cause. And that isn’t necessarily true. This is a misplaced effort.

  18. 23 chip johns
    January 6, 2010 at 17:00

    Have governments not yet learned that you cannot legislate successfully when it is applicable to human conduct. It would be about as effective as legislating a mid east peace plan.

    • 24 Tom K in Mpls
      January 6, 2010 at 19:13

      You put the blame in the wrong place. It is the people that either let or encourage the governments to do these things. It is our fault.

  19. 25 Sandi
    January 6, 2010 at 17:00

    Years ago i entered into a relationship with a man that, unknown to me at the time, had a track record of abusing women. I can tell you that verbal abuse can be much more insidius than physical abuse by it’s very nature of being repetitious. It took me a long time after to stop the verbiage in my head.. thus the expression ‘drumming it into your head’..i suppose. I can also be ‘the’ precurser of violence attacks. Tough to document for litigation..

  20. January 6, 2010 at 17:11

    Yes, Yes, Yes! If it becomes chronic – that means more than a couple of weeks and the person doing it will NOT agree to get counseling, YES! This insidious behavior kills the spirit and can be more debilitating than physical abuse…..and especially since the bruising, over time severe, cannot be seen! The victim also needs to seek counseling if they cannot get resolution! France is a LEADER and this recognition is LONG overdue!

    • 27 Dana
      January 6, 2010 at 20:32

      I want to understand more about your view. I have been in abusive relationships and have heard women say that they would rather be hit than suffer psychological abuse because they say that bruses heal but the psychological abuse doesn’t, but if I was hit by a bullet then I would probably die, I would rather be called a “Bitch” anyday than hit by my 6’7 husband when I’m only 5’3. I’m pretty sure if he hit me I could be disfigured forever and besides that if I were hit then I think that would affect me psychologically as well. If he threatens to kill me or my children then that is psychological abuse that I understand is real bad, but that is already covered by the law I think.

  21. 28 James
    January 6, 2010 at 17:14

    Nuala, a very good question….. My answer is no! For all the reason reported in this article, adults should be able to remove themselves from situations like these. That’s why we’re called adults! I’m really suprised that any well developed country would even consider such a law. It will be next to impossible to enforce! Maybe the French have lawyers they need to put to work?

  22. 29 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    January 6, 2010 at 17:18

    I was the victim of long-term psychological abuse that eventually became physical . I do not, however, think that the law can remedy psychological abuse. I was fortunate in that free counseling–backed up with safe-houses and resettlement options–is available where I live. I believe this is a better remedy than attempting to criminalize abusive behaviour.

    During the long years of psychological abuse, my soon-to-be-ex-husband was unaware that his behaviour constituted abuse. I got out of the marriage and it took many long months of counseling with a specialist in psychological abuse before I fully understood the insidious nature of such abuse, and the difficulty of freeing oneself from it.

    The only real help for victims of such abuse is for the victim to seek help, and to end the abusive relationship.

  23. January 6, 2010 at 17:18

    Most definitely. Psychological violence is demeaning and destroys the victim in so many ways. Done repeatedly it could lead to the victim becoming a physical, and being reduced to a nervous, wreck. So when a certified psychiatrist certifies that this has happened repeatedly, social authorities should take this matter to the courts. The perpetrator should be charged with a crime. There are are no two ways about it!

  24. 31 rob z.
    January 6, 2010 at 17:20

    If you find yourself in a abusive relationship,get out of it.Married with children or just living with another person,seperate yourself from the abuser.

  25. 32 duckpocket
    January 6, 2010 at 17:23

    There are already provisions for this in Domestic Violence policies in the UK. It is really a question of degree and of the effect upon the recipient. Interestingly, in Domestic Violence cases where there is also a physical element, it is most often the psychological effect that the victims find the most harmful.

    If such a law will encourage victims to come forward, it would be all to the good, for many find it either too risky or too complicated even to contemplate. They are trapped.

    But then this new ‘law’ could itself be abused – a sort of reverse-abuse tactic – by false accusations. And what do you do if the abuser is, for example, bipolar, and has bouts of aggressive behaviour for which he/she/it is not, perhaps, responsible? I don’t think such a law would be successful in discouraging this, any more than the death penalty discouraged domestic murder.

  26. 33 TREVORSON
    January 6, 2010 at 17:27

    I do not think that this topic refers to the occasional outburst during arguments or disagreements, but the systematic verbal and psychological abuse and degradation, accompanied by roughness that does not leave any physical marks. Personal belongings are vandalize. It is a form of terrorizing and dominance.

    This leads to a loss of self confidence and belief in one’s self., leaving the person in constant fear of the partners presence.

    I know of a case where this continues in the presence of children who end up using the same verbal language and insults to their mother.

    In these cases there should be some form of legal constraints. However a prison sentence seems rather extreme.

    • 34 Tom K in Mpls
      January 6, 2010 at 19:17

      Constant subtle acts are more effective in changing behavior that strong ones. Strong acts can promote rebellion. Subtle one will work in almost unnoticed. This is what yesterdays CIA guy was talking about in turning assets.

  27. 35 Alan in Arizona
    January 6, 2010 at 17:32

    Teasing or complaining is one thing. Constructive criticism can’t be faulted! I have seen relationships that should have had one or both people jailed for a few days at the least! Verbal abuse is wrong!

    You have to define it to be sure.

    My wife said I was mean last night, because I’m planning next years vacation without her. Am I abusive for not including her on my museum vacation in Europe, ( something she doesn’t enjoy) or is she abusive if I bring her and all she does is complain and belittle me for wanting to go to museums and not shopping.

    Or am I abusive for calling her an airhead after she spends 30 minutes looking for the key that are hanging around her neck?

    You really have to define every aspect of the issue!

  28. 36 Anthony
    January 6, 2010 at 17:32

    Sure, as long as you can jail women for not having sex with their significant other.

    This is moronic… there is a thing as TOO liberal.

    If a woman is feeling depressed and horrible because someone continually calls her names and she DOESN’T LEAVE, then it’s her fault.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  29. 37 Uzondu Esionye
    January 6, 2010 at 17:33

    In my view and from whence I come, this is quite a difficult law to implement. I witness psychological violence on a daily basis. from our own nature as humans, we tend to offend others every time.

  30. 38 Jen
    January 6, 2010 at 17:34

    I have been in this type of relationship (on the receiving end of verbally aggressive behaviour as a direct result of drinking, the person concerned was not abusive when sober) and we have now split (I threw him out), and I do live in France, but I think it’s ridiculous to put someone in jail for this, for several reasons. How on earth do you prove it for a start, what 1 person calls “insulting” or “abusive” might be perceive as just “teasing” by someone else, this smacks to me of the nanny state, jail costs a fortune as it is – better to spend more money for example on good nursery care and education teaching kids about genuine respect and consideration for other people. Also if you’re in a “normal” ie non-abusive relationship but you have a huge row and either of you says something nasty to your partner in the heat of anger does this qualify for jail, or does it have to be every day or every week or once a month? Support for partners should be readily available but this is ridiculous and unenforceable, being in such a relationship is horrible and demeaning and erodes your confidence and self-esteem but this is not the answer – give me some of the money to be used for the prosecutions and I will go and talk to women (or men!) about how to deal with such behaviour and how to get out of a relationship like this which is what I did!!

  31. 39 Francisco from Spain
    January 6, 2010 at 17:39

    If any person finds itself in an abusive relationship either psychological or physical, they best way is get out of it as soon as possible like rob said, and not stick with it for a long period of time.
    I think it would be extremely difficult to demonstrate any psychological abuse within the relationship before a judge, since that occurs inside closed doors. As well as women could cheat justice in their favours if they want the custody of a child in case of divorce if this law is passed

  32. 40 Archibald in Oregon
    January 6, 2010 at 17:43

    I have seen the effects of psychological abuse in friends and family. Though it is subtle and hard, at times, to define, psychological abuse can leave long lasting emotion scars which inform all aspects of a persons life. I think we should bring back the stockade, (durations not to exceed one week), public humiliation seems to balance the injustice quite well and would serve as a strong deterrent, especially when it is amongst your community and peers.

    • 41 Jen
      January 6, 2010 at 18:06

      Archibald in Oregon interesting comment but I’m not sure the stocks is the way to go about it though!

      I do feel that programmes such as Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity encourage nastiness and humiliation, I’m not a fan of these programmes obviously! Perhaps that could be a future WHYS debate, do reality TV programmes humiliate and exploit the people in them or are the people who like watching these shows contributing to a “bullying” culture by watching them. Continual psychological abuse is horrific for the soul and it’s very hard to leave the relationship because of fear and low or non-existent self-confidence (a lot of people don’t understand this, they say, just leave, don’t put up with it). In fact it is as hard if not worse than physical abuse as it is invisible.

      Someone commented about bipolar disorder;, mental illnesses and addictions can cause abusive behaviour but these do not excuse it. We need to look at how we treat our fellow humans and take a hard look at ourselves which is a lot tougher than putting people in jail. Perhaps if bullying was properly dealt with in all schools and workplaces for a start perhaps domestic abuse would be less common?

  33. 42 viola
    January 6, 2010 at 17:52

    It’s likely one of those laws that nobody has any intention of even trying to enforce and was passed to please a group of voters. It’s an interesting idea, though, because as we all know, physical violence is preceded by emotional bullying.

    Even if there is never a prosecution, it may put bullies on notice that everybody knows exactly what they are up to and nobody admires them.

    Canada

  34. 43 Andrew in Australia
    January 6, 2010 at 17:55

    How on Earth will anyone seriously be able to define what is and is not psychological violence. What might appear to be for some people a problem may not be for others. And how can any external authority police this? If this is done in the home, unlike physical injuries, what proof is there or will spouses be walking about with recording equipment 24 hours a day? But what of someone who continually criticises the cup of tea you make.. repeatedly.. that can be construed as psychological violence or can it, maybe you just make a lousy cup of tea? As a psychologist myself sometimes I think to myself that maybe we are just becoming too precious. There are genuine causes for concern as in domestic violence but what this is opening up is the case where to say anything negative can be construed as damaging. I am sure there are more cases of psychological abuse occurring in most people workplace than does occur in the home.

  35. 44 chinaski in LA
    January 6, 2010 at 17:57

    This could work as long as you could identify the ‘psycological violence’ that occurred, and define an absolute meaning of ‘insult’ It would also have to be permissible in a courtroom.

  36. 45 chinaski in LA
    January 6, 2010 at 17:59

    The partner/person who is the victim of the ‘psychological violence’ needs to be strong and LEAVE the person inflicting it.

  37. 46 Tom K in Mpls
    January 6, 2010 at 17:59

    The general concept is great, but this is clearly the wrong approach. There are so many ways people can be wronged, real and perceived, that is impossible to write a law that will not get abused. Also, people are trying to legislate human nature to perfection. We are too far from it to force perfection. If we evolve to the point that the spirit of the law means more than the letter, this could work. But then, maybe at that point we wouldn’t need it.

  38. 47 Ibrahim in UK
    January 6, 2010 at 18:07

    I think it’s a hard one to define. Is it the same as physical violence?

    With physical abuse, one strike is all that is needed to conclude the existence of physical violence. Is the same true for psychological violence? Is one single act of psychological violence enough or must it be repeated? From the description, it appears that it must be repeated. Where is the boundary between the number of repetitions which are acceptable and the number which make it psychological abuse.

  39. 49 audre
    January 6, 2010 at 18:12

    I agree with those who say defining psychological violence would be a difficult task. I have seen people terrified at the way a person looks at them, even when that person doesn’t even know they are alive.

  40. 50 steve/oregon
    January 6, 2010 at 18:15

    this is rediculous there are many other ways to handle this. my ex wife and i got into an arguement while i was in Ft. Irwin CA. The neighbors called the police I was not allowed into the home for 72hrs and my ex was barraged with numerous victims advocates during that time. wouldn’t a law like this be better than making me go to jail because she didn’t like the fact i got drunk and passed out at a friends house

  41. 51 stephen/portland
    January 6, 2010 at 18:17

    Regards France.

    That’s nuts! Who will Police that? The crime rate in Paris alone is horrible. I watched a bunch of guy’s race three stolen cars to destruction in a main street for two hours before any law enforcement even drove by. Good luck getting the cops to deal with a Domestic dispute.

    Did Nicolas Sarkozy appoint his 5-year-old cousin to come up with that idea?

  42. 52 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    January 6, 2010 at 18:31

    Outbursts are natural though their causes need to be investigated if they become habitual. If I did it I would try to do enough soul searching and be open about it to my partner. If it involves her, I would want to findout how rational it is. Is it an offence involving my conduct or hers? There should not be any room for hypocrisy.
    In the long run partnership should never be enforced by outsiders; including the courts because marriage is an affair between two consenting adults. Your spouse should should meet the criteria of a good and reliable friend. Irrational outbursts may leave one partner feeling insecure or end up feeling that they are in a relationship constantly haunted by immaturity . In such situations it better to call it quits. However that step should only be taken when all esle has failed.
    The ancient people approached family life through an iformal though rigorous training on these things and in case of problems within a given family, the community was welcome to give a hand and guidance. Where do people in these liberated days nowadays learn to be spouses, parents etc? Wish the French people good luck.

  43. 53 jamily5
    January 6, 2010 at 18:36

    How to judge it?How to prove it?
    And, during a court case, couldn’t both parties claim psychological abuse?
    and… … it is easier to walk away from Psychological abuse.
    I am not saying that the effects are not sustaining, but, it is a fact that if your partner is psychologically abusing you, other things may just follow.
    Wouldn’t it be better to educate on how not to get into these relationships?
    Can someone be fined for self depricating talk and actions that lead to their low opinions of themselves?
    In theory, it would be “harm to self,” and warrant mental health intervention.
    but Pancha, The psychologist usually only gets one side of the story and is acting on this side of the story.
    Those of us who allow partners to treat us this way also need to change our ideas about self respect. I am not blaming the victim, here. I am just saying that it would be better to empower the victim, not fine the perpetrator. Will we fine those who continue to choose mates who disrespect their partners, afterall, indirectly, the victim is hurting him/herself.

  44. 54 Dennis Junior
    January 6, 2010 at 18:41

    Yes, Psychological Violence in a relationship (of any kind) should be a crime…….

    -Dennis Junior

  45. 55 jamily5
    January 6, 2010 at 18:41

    Wait, employment boost! The lawyers will prosecute offenders, there will be branches of the justice and law enforcement system just to handle “psychological violence,” cases. Investigators will go around questioning your neighbors, the waitress at the restaurant, your children’s teachers about your relationship with your partner, etc. I am not sure who will pay for it, but it does sound like I might have a job in the near future. (if only I lived in France). I am not trying to be flippant, but we can’t legislate every part of relationships. It would be better to educate on what is and is not a healthy relationship and help ppl raise their expectations.

  46. 56 Mirwaise
    January 6, 2010 at 18:45

    The essence of any law is to bring order in a society. Now, my question is that does this law serves the pupose of bringing order in the society or it will break furthermore the social relationship among people, or let’s say couples?

  47. 57 jamily5
    January 6, 2010 at 18:46

    As I sit here:
    Can’t we already prosecute someone for threatening another person or defimation of character, etc?
    and, look at how many ppl don’t actually prosecute their partner when they are physically abusive. And, there are many times when a person goes from one physically abusive situation to another because they don’t realize that they find the same type of man attractive in the beginning. We should focus more on self awareness and prevention.

  48. 58 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    January 6, 2010 at 18:59

    Marriage to me is meaningless if the couple does not have a common purpose or a cause that they want to pursue together. Fun has never manageged to keep marriage working for long. It is worse when it is made up of man and woman instead of wife/mother and husband/father. People should seek to know and understand their partners to the best of their ability before committing themselves to it; there is always something to pay for it and there instances of joyful payoffs which can give both partners a true touch of a good life though patience should always be the common currency especially during teething period.
    This is what I would expect in a marriage. Now I am single and I am not here to tell the married that being single is fun either. PEACE! PEACE!

  49. 59 Tom D Ford
    January 6, 2010 at 19:04

    “Should psychological violence within a relationship be a crime? “

    I would like to see a law banning Physical and Psychological Violence against children also because that is the basic relationship role model that children learn and then take into their adult relationships.

    People teach the use of physical and psychological domestic violence to their children by the way they parent, and the kids pass it on for generations.

    Let’s change that!

  50. 60 Jean
    January 6, 2010 at 19:06

    We do need to do a better job of holding people who are violent accountable. Every person can have moments when they are unreasonable or upset but if it is a pattern in a relationship then it needs to be addressed. I believe that emotional violence is the result of shame in the person doing it so being punitive with those people doesn’t work. We need to say “talking to a person that way is not okay and here are some other acceptable ways of expressing yourself”; but also we need to understand that people who treat others badly lack compassion for themselves, so they get caught and stuck in a cycle that is destructive and we need to address that.

    So, I don’t think that it should be a crime but I do think we need to work harder at identifying it and at treating it and not accepting it. To me it’s a form of bullying and it is common and often disregarded as being too hard to change, so why bother?

  51. January 6, 2010 at 19:08

    You don’t need to define psychological abuse in any great detail.

    Assault in New Zealand is defined simply as an application of force. Technically that would include a tap on the shoulder. But in practice it doesn’t. Judges aren’t stupid, and if they aren’t sure of something, our esteemed friend the ‘reasonable person’ is always called in to give his/her expert opinion. The ‘reasonable person’ has an intuitive understanding of what assault is and isn’t. This is why we don’t have to fathom and list every possible action that might construe assault in the actual wording of the law.

    Similarly I’m sure the ‘reasonable person’ has an intuitive understanding of what is and isn’t psychological abuse. There will be a few test cases initially, and judges will do what judges do, and a common understanding of what ‘psychological abuse/assault’ means will be established.

    Subjective, certainly. But it’s the system most of us in the secular world have been using all this time. And it should, I think, be subjective, because as was said in the fictional “Star Trek” series, “There can be no justice so long as laws are absolute”.

  52. 62 Tom D Ford
    January 6, 2010 at 19:09

    “Should angry outbursts between partners lead to a jail sentence?”

    Maybe after “three strikes”, but I would really like to see people made to take classes and practice in class, how to be effective in relationships and without physical or psychological violence.

  53. 63 evets
    January 6, 2010 at 19:09

    In France, isn’t there spousal communications privileges like we have in the US and UK? If so, how would there be evidence to admit in a court?

  54. 64 CJ McAuley
    January 6, 2010 at 19:09

    Possibly, just possibly, just about the dumbest thing the French have thought up. I mean, just walk away from any kind of abuse! I get “psychologically” abused every time I watch most commercials on TV. Never mind the generally daft French superiority complex

  55. 65 Anthony
    January 6, 2010 at 19:12

    Verbal abuse can lead to physical abuse? Yeah, booze can lead to it a lot more that words, so should that be outlawed too? This is stupid.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  56. 66 evets
    January 6, 2010 at 19:13

    This is insane. How subjective would this be? Imagine it’s a husband confronting his wife about spending too much money shopping, is that abuse? Say she spent an extraordinary amount of money, and wants to continue, and believes him telling her not to is abuse?

    Or if a man is cheating, and his wife threatens to hurt him, and yells at him, is that absuse?

    This will result in insanity.

  57. 67 Tom D Ford
    January 6, 2010 at 19:14

    Sadly, many people practice what they call their religion, and by that I mean they follow the King Solomon instruction “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. Some people just use a small pat on the butt with a bare hand and some take the King Solomon instruction to it’s ultimate end, beating the child to death. Some people just do it psychologically.

    I would argue that we should outlaw that and that it is not protected under the US Constitutional restrictions against laws about “religion” because it was an instruction from a “King” and not from some “God”.

    I would like to see a massive campaign to teach parents and children about modern scientifically researched and developed parenting methods that use positive reinforcement of desired behaviors and no punishment, physical or mental. I would enlist the churches, the schools, Public Service Announcements in all media, and TV and shows about these problems and the solutions.

    It is long past time to rid ourselves of all forms of the King Solomon instruction, “Spare the rod”, put the fear in them early”, etc.

    Children learn these physical and psychological ways to abuse their “loved ones”, from their parents as role models.

    Education, education, education.

  58. 68 Jozef Nemtin
    January 6, 2010 at 19:15

    Vancouver, Canada

    Is this law only for domestic relationships or does this law extend to the work place?

  59. 69 Pirem
    January 6, 2010 at 19:15

    Now my parents will never be able to go to Paris…

    Pirem
    Portland, OR

  60. 70 chinaski in LA
    January 6, 2010 at 19:16

    Can you ask your callers why they didn’t leave the people that were abusing them?

  61. 71 Anthony
    January 6, 2010 at 19:19

    So I wonder if they should do this in the work place, should the boss not tell people that they are doing a horrible job because it will destroy them? Or how about parents? Should we jail parents for making their kids feel bad and cry? How about coaches, should coaches be extra nice and not yell because someones feelings will get hurt or be arrested?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  62. 72 evets
    January 6, 2010 at 19:21

    Your guests act like psychological or verbal abuse is only from men to women. Women constantly nag, complain, and demean their boyfriends and husbands, and often shame them too.

  63. 73 Will, British Columbia
    January 6, 2010 at 19:22

    Well I agree with most of the posts that it would be difficult to prosecute this as a crime, I’m suprised at the lack of sympathy for people in abusive relationships. Abuse of any kind really shouldn’t be tolerated and its easy for somebody to say that if your in that situation you should just leave but what is effectively happeneing is one partner is being controlled by the other through verbal and potentially physical intimidation. The longer your in a situation like that the worse you begin to feel about yourself and your self image and the more likely you are to fall prey to negative behaviors to cope with the abuse your facing; ie drugs, drinking, unhealthy weight loss or gain, self inflicted abuse and other suicidal tendancies. If you’ve ever met someone who’s been effected in a negative relationship like this and truly known them, then you know that the scars from the past rarely heal quickly and are perhaps worse in someways then a broken arm or a black eye.

  64. 74 evets
    January 6, 2010 at 19:24

    What would be the burden of proof on this? Is the criminal standard in France beyond a reasonable doubt? If it turns out to be a he said, she said, how can you find beyond a reasonable doubt one way or the other?

  65. 75 Lacey Cavitt (California)
    January 6, 2010 at 19:26

    I believe whole-heartedly that if Sexual Harassment and Workplace Harassment can be a crime, that psychological violence should be persecuted as well. Their would not be a question if we were talking about the psychological abuse of a child, so why is their a question about the psychological abuse of a woman or a man? It is wrong, no matter who is being abused.

  66. 76 MIGUEL
    January 6, 2010 at 19:27

    A clear definition of psychological abuse and its effects has to be clearly defined in order for the people to understand where is the line or when they are been abused, otherwise we are just going in circles.

  67. 77 kate
    January 6, 2010 at 19:27

    I am SO, SO pleased to hear this news….I lived in a relationship where I suffered what I have always classed as mental/ emotional violence, not abuse,, for years. To the point where I intentionally took an overdose, not enough to kill myself, but so that I could ask a doctor to tell me that I wasn’t mad. As he had told me I was, every day, since the birth of my baby, and then he wondered why I had post-natal depression!
    There was no-where for me to go, I couldn’t go to a women’s aid hostel, because I wasn’t being beaten. There were no visible injuries to see…even the doctor in the hospital didn’t follow it up.
    I was not spoken to for years in a normal way, only told I was worthless, mad, not fit to be a mother etc, etc.
    Invariably this behaviour led to physical violence at which point I was able to escape and take my children out of this dreadful enviroment. But it has left scars on them, and has taken years to re-build their self esteem.
    Thank you France!

  68. 78 Luz Ma from Mexico
    January 6, 2010 at 19:28

    Psychological violence is very common and many people underestimate the harm that makes in the lives of those who suffer it.

    I think is unacceptable to systematically insult another person, in any kind of relationship, but specially if the person is your partner or relative.

    Kudos for the French government is they pass this law.

  69. 79 evets
    January 6, 2010 at 19:28

    Also, you’d think if one party to the marriage wants to have the other charged, the marriage is obviously over, so if one was financially worse off than the other, and since the other spouse will be in jail, will the state be the one supporting the ex since the other is in jail and cannot pay spousal support/alimony/child support?

  70. 80 evets
    January 6, 2010 at 19:31

    @ Kate

    Why didn’t you just leave? How long were your relationships with guys who weren’t emotional absusive? Did those relationships last for years?

  71. 81 Mr. Kawakubo {PORTLAND}
    January 6, 2010 at 19:32

    You can call it a crime, but there is no way to enforce it, or quantify it. Hopefully this law is meant to be symbolic. Or the law will only be used in the most extreme cases.

    Physical abuse is also psychological abuse—it hurts, because it harms us psychologically. What separates physical abuse from the psychological is the occurrence of a physical literal event. With physical abuse you don’t need to determine intent because the physical action is a concrete crime that doesn’t need interpretation. The law will never have the capacity to read minds. It will never be accurate or effective. It is simply impossible!!!

  72. 82 Dan
    January 6, 2010 at 19:34

    Couldn’t marital infidelity be considered mental abuse? It would seem that a cheating spouse or partner could inflict far more pain and suffering than words ever could. Would this be included in these proposed laws?

  73. 83 evets
    January 6, 2010 at 19:34

    You often hear from the left, that the government should stay out of our bedrooms, yet this surely sounds like you are bringing the government into your bedrooms.

  74. 84 Muhammad Shuaibu
    January 6, 2010 at 19:36

    Much as I do not subscribe to violence in whatever form and manner, I am a bit sceptical about government’s involvement, legal wise. I think the best approach in my opinion is to have a way of sensitising the couple about the family values which include but not limited to peaceful co-existence.

  75. 85 Rory
    January 6, 2010 at 19:36

    I don’t understand why there is a proposal of law for psychological abuse before there is a sufficient public education program available concerning this issue. People, Men/Women, need to be aware of psychological abuse before they can take the proper action to stop the abuse or they won’t necessarily recognize it in their daily life. Also, how can a psychological evaluation determine the source of the psychological abuse and how does the evaluator know that one is not falsely attributing that abuse to their partner?

  76. 86 Abba
    January 6, 2010 at 19:37

    I’m very happy for this, though i think its a step too much. anyways, the reason i am happy is the fact that women will fall more prey to this law than men as they are more capable of this sort of violence than men!!

  77. 87 Abba
    January 6, 2010 at 19:40

    i just heard one of the panelists saying the woman having the right to leave the house with the children, now, does that in itself not amount to violence as she is using the kid as a pun? See how fuzzy this law can be………lets not give in the search of helping one, inflict on the other the same crime we are trying to protect one party from.

  78. 88 evets
    January 6, 2010 at 19:40

    Wow, I can so see this being so abused. An angry spouse only needs to allege psychological abuse and the other one gets arrested…

    Is the blackmail “if you don’t buy me this, I will go to the police and say you psychological abused me!” itself a form of abuse?

  79. 89 Ryan
    January 6, 2010 at 19:40

    Absolutely not. One..how would you prove it. 2- if we accept this, at least in the US, then isn’t our freedom of speech under strong attack. This will cause people to just bottle up their thoughts and feelings in a relationship because of fear of legal retaliation. This would cause more problems by silencing people instead of letting them solve their problems.

  80. 90 evets
    January 6, 2010 at 19:47

    Your French guest is not thinking this through. If you can regulate speech that happens behind closed doors, for the “Safety” of one of the parties, then you can also ban sexual practices behind closed doors, as MANY sexual practices are unhealthy and unsafe and dangerous.

  81. 91 Anthony
    January 6, 2010 at 19:48

    If this passes in France, whats the point of getting a girl friend or married? You’re better off being single forever.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 92 Julia
      January 8, 2010 at 03:22

      Anthony, if this is how you view relationships…….then please stay single forever. Your ignorance of what psychological abuse is, is frightening. Perhaps you are either susceptible to being abused or an abuser yourself. Again, until you figure out the reasoning behind my response, please stay out of romantic relationships.

    • 93 zulu127
      January 8, 2010 at 16:56

      Anthony…it was a good idea BEFORE France came up with this law. I encourage you to stay out of romantic relationships unless you enjoy being used as a sperm donor and then a wallet.

  82. 94 Shane
    January 6, 2010 at 19:50

    From what I usually see, the one on the receiving end of the physical abuse is usually the one who initiated the verbal abuse

  83. 95 evets
    January 6, 2010 at 19:51

    The psychologist from Tennessee brought up some excellent points, as women are not the only ones being abused, and the word abuse is so subjective, that you couldn’t really prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the criminal standard burden of proof here in the US.

  84. 96 Veronica
    January 6, 2010 at 19:51

    I am a licensed clinical social worker. I used to facilitate support groups for battered women in a women’s shelter. Repeatedly, women would say that the words from their attackers hurt them far more than the physical blows. The women would comment that the bruises healed, but the verbal attacks did not. I think enforcing this law will be very complicated but my experience with women who have been abused leads me to think we need to find ways to manage psychological abuse.

  85. 97 Mary
    January 6, 2010 at 19:52

    I sympathise with the idea but would like to point out that some the most damaging psychological violence can be covert, not overt, and the perpetrators impossible to be brought to account. There are many very subtle, but very damaging, ways of undermining another person’s self-esteem, especially if that self-esteem is fragile. Such treatment (which I’ve experienced, but had the good fortune to be able to walk away from) can be as abusive as more overt types of bullying, and the victims will have no recourse. I don’t know what the solution is, but it’s a point that has to be made.

  86. 98 len
    January 6, 2010 at 19:52

    Are all women in France stupid? If you are in an abusive relationship, take the initiative and leave it! If you have a thorn in your foot you pull it out. You don’t pass a law saying that someone else has to pull it for you while you wait around in pain!

  87. 99 Josiah Soap
    January 6, 2010 at 19:52

    Oh dear. I wonder how long until such pyschological “violence” laws spread to the rest of the world, into work, schools, everywhere. There is no way of defining this. What may be demeaning to one person, may not be to another, what may be playful joking, may hurt another. This appears to be an extension of the hate speech rules where it is against the law to offend.

    In the end we will become just like the futuristic world in H.G. Well’s, Time Machine. Totally detached from people, uncaring and unfeeling because of all these “rules”

    I think Western society is going to pot, maybe (with any luck) it will self destruct.

    My apologies for unwittingly pyschologically violating any of you out there.

    J.

  88. 100 moeka
    January 6, 2010 at 19:52

    The case is different in africa. Men in africa are expected to be the main bread winner in society so as aresult we are always pressued to catter for everyone in the family and the extended family. In most cases africa men are always tence so it is the responsiblities of our wives to play the balance and keep the relationship even in crisis.
    Mohamed Kallon
    Freetown

  89. 101 d
    January 6, 2010 at 19:55

    Marriage is not a business contract. Psychological violence in marriage is not a breech of contract, it’s a breech of the alleged culprit’s own moral boundaries. It should be exposed and the options of divorce, counselling and reparation should be sought. The reparation is not necessarily jail or money.

    Thank-you for the woman who has been honest enough to disclose a widely held but little mentioned fact women are in some cultures bigger culprits than men.

    It is a social contract let’s not forget. It’s not a crime but there may be harm which should at most lead to it being regarded as a delict. You can’t put someone in jail for hurting my felings. Let’s be serious. Find a solution.

    The law and society can’t dictate how everything should be. What next regulating how many times a couple should have sex?

  90. 102 Tom D Ford
    January 6, 2010 at 19:56

    I would not just leave it to “divorce” because the abuser is a damaged person and i would like to see the abuser get help so that they can learn to be a good and decent person.

    Education for both parties!

  91. 103 Anthony
    January 6, 2010 at 19:57

    I like how these women keep saying “She/Her” when it comes to the victim, not “they/them” or “He/His”. This shows where this “fair” law stands.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  92. 104 StGermain (Silicon Valley)
    January 6, 2010 at 19:57

    FINALLY! Someone brings men into the conversation and
    it’s good to see that the guest from the US (sorry, missed
    her name) references the abuse that men can suffer at the
    words of women.

    For example: With the current economic downturn, a man
    who is having difficulty finding work can suffer from his woman
    abusing him with his inability to obtain work with assaults on
    his ability as a man as well as sexual aspects, etc. This is a
    true story related to me by a close friend suffering in this
    situation.

  93. 105 Eric
    January 6, 2010 at 19:58

    Thank you Dr. Smith

    I has been my experience that women have gotten away with psychological abuse for years. It is okay for women to psychologically torment, suppress, ridicule and manipulate their significant others but when a man retaliates with the physical or louder vocal nature of their gender they are vilified as “the abuser”. Men are not prone to admitting to being abused by their wives as much as it is seemingly “en vogue” for women to feel free to admit abuse. It seems clear that women are many times over more prone to use psychological abuse.
    Thank you,

  94. 106 Alan in Arizona
    January 6, 2010 at 20:00

    Maybe we need to make Psychological evaluation mandatory for everyone wanting to get married or have children. If a person shows signs of being abusive, we brand them with a big X on their forehead. OK!, maybe a microchip under the skin, that will signal a meter that beeps when you scan them with your Dating/Marriage Meter!

  95. 107 amit in Indianapolis
    January 6, 2010 at 20:03

    This is a very dangerous law and will leave domestic and private relationships being more insidiously controlled by the state. Are their some individuals more abusive than others? Of course, but there are other remedies that can be used. Secondly, it seems to me that one aspect of the law is to prevent individuals from having psychological pain. Really now, that will never happen. And what is psychological pain to one person is an annoyance to others. Thirdly, what about passive aggression that leads to physical and psychological violence in relationships? How can such a thing be measured? Finally, I live in a country that cannot even recognize when abuse is torture. What citizens of the world need is less intervention by the state in their private lives, not more.

  96. January 6, 2010 at 20:13

    Psycholocical violence is something with a very wide meaning. I started experiencing in my younger sister’s marital problem. As time goes, I eventually realise myself in it too. It should take people to jail as I support.

  97. 109 Nick
    January 6, 2010 at 20:18

    This “LAW” is ridiculous. It is the beginning of a ‘thought police’ and it is a time wasting diversion from the real issues of violence. a persons higher regard for their own ‘rights, needs, desires, pride, ego,’ than others. for example, someone who cannot control the impulse to hit, slap, beat, murder, steal, demonstrates a lack of regard for the victims rights. Unequal.
    There must be a world society desire for equality for everyone on this planet. If there is to be a ‘global village’ the dogma must change.
    It is every womans right to hold her partners to a higher standard of equality within the relationship. Please allow women of the world the power that is due them as equal people on this planet. Men deserve no their companionship until an man has proved himself worthy. If he is becomes abusive and is not willing to change his method of ‘dealing’ with his stress, the woman should LEAVE> and be accepted and aided by her family, start anew, raise her self esteem. Why do we attach stigma to divorce in such cases of abuse? is such stigma as bad as the abuse? Until Men of all colors, races, creeds, religion, Men of the World hold women with equal regard and recognize that women are equal to men in every aspect and should be treated with respect and kindness, there will be physical/psychological abuse on both sides of a relationship. Why are not women empowered enough through society to leave such a relationship? Why are women not held as equal throughout the world? Cultural bias is an excuse to avoid the real issue. All PEOPLE should hold everyone equal.
    A woman slaps a man in the heat of a argument? Should not the man be ashamed that he wasnt smart enough to find more reasonable means of agreement before anger becomes so great?

    • 110 zulu127
      January 8, 2010 at 17:05

      @ Nick–Shouldn’t the man be smart enough to charge her with assault? Here you are showing your true colours…a woman hits a man, it’s because he made her unduly angry. If a man hits a woman in the same manner it’s off to jail with him!

  98. 111 John K.
    January 6, 2010 at 20:35

    I am not convinced governement should be involved in the pshycoligical aspects of a relationship. Certainly,
    there is a strong arguement for a law protecting victems particulary women against abuse. There is a disturbing pattern with men as the instigators of viloence both physical and pshycoligical. In this realm it is important to bring up the subject for dialougue and to look for solutions to the problem. A law may or may not be the solution. France seems to have come to the conclusion that a law is necessary. Where however do you draw the line? This has not really been answered on World Have Your Say. Couples have their issues and at the core of those issues there is some sort of violence or unfair behavior toward each other. This is something we love to call a disfinctional here in the states. To back up the phsycoligist that voiced her opinion today: Women can be perpetrators of violence too. The conversation was really focused on violent men and female victems. Women can be violent as well. Like any human being they can be manipulative, intrusive, controlling, selfish and insulting to their partners. I am not in a relationship now however I watch two of my close friends suffer in relationships where their wives are often destructive in these ways. These men have put put up with this for years and for many reasons including keeping the marriage and a family together for their kids. These men are unhappy and in my opinion victem’s of abuse. Do we prosicute these women? Seems to me these guys have to step up and solve the problem somehow or just be miserable in the relationship. They don’t have to put up with it. I’m not sure government has a role in these cases.
    On a broader note: government involvement or not. I think it is important to address violence in relationships. Talking about this subject I think opens up a very important diologue. Violence in relationships may be the most common form of abuse there is and is tearin us up. We see it accross the board in relationships. Some of it is subtle and some of it outright torture. If we can start addressing this we might find ourselves looking to have healthier realtionships as a society and we may very well have healthier society. Imagine that!

  99. 112 Patrick
    January 6, 2010 at 21:19

    Some people don’t understand what psychological violence is and that is why some people are against this law. There are some people in the world who will keep on verbally abusing people in a consistent manner that results in the abused persons sanity gradually disintegrating and this is a real phenomena and it is hard for some people to understand this if they were not members of a family where this occurred. Psychological violence is the systematic destruction of another persons mind. Victims of psychological violence often end up dead due to drug use.

  100. 113 Reverend LMF McCormack
    January 6, 2010 at 23:09

    I am listening online in New Hampshire, United States of America

    YES, absolutely!!!!!
    It is also my opinion it should be an identical offense to verbally abuse anyone at all, not just your spouse or partner.
    broken bones heal, broken spirits and hearts rarely do.

  101. 114 Josiah Soap
    January 6, 2010 at 23:17

    Unless we have 24h video and audio for weeks or months on end there is no other way to successfully prosecute this. It is all hearsay and even professional input, will at best be subjective. Are women going to be put in jail for constant nagging, men for asking thier wives to slim down? Different people take name calling or harrassment differently, there will be no way to set firm rules other than the other person was “upset” and hence you wil always pander to the most sensitive person. Stupid laws like this make my blood boil. We are fast becoming pathetic wimps, where everything upsets us. How long will it be after these laws where certain disapproving looks, will be listed as an imprisonable offence or kids are sent to shrinks for calling others names.
    These are just more money making schemes for pyschologists and lawyers. Get a thicker skin people.

  102. 115 Thomas Murray
    January 6, 2010 at 23:28

    Even with our commitment to a broadly interpreted first admendment here in the states, I don’t think psychological abuse would be protected by a free speech component.

    According to a couple of law students studying for the bar I met at a local coffee shop about two years ago, there are three forms of speech not protected by the first amendment — incitement (shouting fire in a crowded theatre), obscenity, and I forgot the other one.

    (Though stateside cable even shows X-rated porn (for a hefty subscription), the FCC would slam our broadcast (free) networks with a substantial fine (up to half-a million $$$) for words commonly heard on British television (and which used to air unexpurgated on PBS until Janet Jackson’s little constume malfunction during a football half-time show half a decade ago.)

    In this country I think we have a cruel and unusual conduct clause that could be basis for divorce. So it’s pretty much the same thing. The people I see who are targets of it suffer profound imparement of their quality of life. So the French courts got a point.

    –Just My Two Cents, Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  103. 116 JanB
    January 7, 2010 at 00:09

    It should be, but in reality it’s too often one word against the other and the law would be prone to abuse, so it’s just not applicable.

  104. 117 Tan Boon Tee
    January 7, 2010 at 03:55

    While continual insult or endless curse by a spouse may constitute a psychological offence, it needs not be seen as a criminal activity. A tangible solution would be temporary separation or straight divorce.

    Don’t forget that such thing has been going on ever since families began. And as long as one party is prepared to be more tolerant, the question of crime would not arise. But then of course, this is a modern society.

  105. 118 T
    January 7, 2010 at 05:08

    When pyshcological violence happens, how often have we heard these? He/she seemed so “normal.” I had no idea things were that bad. And so on.

    Yet, we continue to put up with this. Why? Because we still have stupid taboos about mental illness. Guy rape survivors. PTSD. And many therapists with God complexes who just say shut up and take your meds.

    Nobody asks to have PTSD. Yet, in the States you can be denied health care if you have it. Yes this should be a crime.

  106. 119 Ken
    January 7, 2010 at 09:06

    Well reading some posts I agree that maybe men are sometimes guilty of physical violence but women much more of this so called psychological violence that is often behind mens physical. So on one side it would make things more fair on the other it is easy to show scars not so easy to prove what was going on before that happened.

  107. 120 frost-fire
    January 7, 2010 at 10:25

    Psychological violence should rightly be regarded as a criminal offence.

    No human has the right to degrade, bully or threaten physical violence to another, regardless of gender. Psychological violence, particularly when this happens over a period of years may irreparably damage an individual’s mental health.

    We don’t accept violence as normal behaviour in any relationship especially when we can see broken bones and bruises. Because mental scars can not be seen doesn’t mean they are not real or that they should be ignored.

    I imagine the proposed French legislation is trying to deal with serious cases of substantial abuse rather than everyday bickering. It is a sensible proposal and worthy of discussion. Just because such a law may be hard to implement does not mean the issue should be disregarded. Well done France.

  108. 121 Ibrahim in UK
    January 7, 2010 at 10:36

    Can we apply this law to the relationship between a government and the electorate? If we consider the government’s policies or speaches to be psychologically abusive, we can put them all in jail? Or the Media? Or advertising companies constantly “abusing” me by saying I need deoderant or a weight loss cereal bar. Why only apply the law to cohabiting individuals when psychological violence extends much further than that?

  109. 122 Ronald Almeida
    January 7, 2010 at 13:25

    If the violence can be proved, I don’t think it matters if it’s within a relationship or not. Unless there are clauses allowing it in the contract. But then life can’t be pigeon holed into clauses in a contract either. In the end it is one individual versus the other. If one wants to be free one should avoid all attachments. Whether a marriage or an open relationship it can only function from moment to moment. Without the courage to go it alone and self sufficiently one must accept the negative aspects.

  110. 123 Rob C
    January 7, 2010 at 14:22

    Archie Bunker from the 70’s American tv show All in the Family would’ve been the poster-boy for this legislation for constantly belittled his wife Edith as a “dingbat” and his son-in-law as either a “meathead” or a “dumb Pollack” (racial overtones) How many men copied him and did the same to their wives?

  111. 124 scmehta
    January 7, 2010 at 14:41

    Firstly, there’s no such thing as psychological violence; yes, there may be cases of psychological blackmail/hurt between two or more persons. Secondly, in this kind of psychological or mental hurt, which is very difficult to prove as a crime in the legal terms, the best solution is to either walk-out on the other or throw-out the other, and then see who of the two or more affected persons, takes what kind of action or show reaction, in support of the leveled allegation.

  112. 125 A R Shams
    January 7, 2010 at 16:50

    Any nature of violance is a crime that should be tackled and controlled.

  113. 126 helen
    January 7, 2010 at 18:41

    prevention is better than cure. If at least some of the emphasis in education was about nurturing one’s self esteem, and learning about the myriad of differing relationships which engage humans,(not just romantic) and learning to define what each person is prepared to accept as reasonable behaviour, there would be fewer soituations where people can be subjected to this insidiuos and damaging type of behaviour. Many posters say the victim should just leave, but by the time they realise this their power to make decisions for themselves is often so eroded that they are truly trapped, and for many specially if they have children there is little option as they have nowhere else to go. I dont think it would be easy to legislate for or to prove but it is good that the French are at least considering the issue and are able to recognise the devastating effects this type of abuse can have on the victims. Jail is not the answer but both parties require serious and prolonged counselling to understand the behaviours and their consequences

  114. 127 Trish
    January 7, 2010 at 22:37

    Yes it should be classified as a crime, I am a victim of life time abuse, for most of my growing up years to now included physical and psychological abuse and or emotional blackmail was used…

    As for it not leaving any scars it couldn’t be further from the true, society now a days all help feed the irrational thinking that bruises, broken bones or death can only warrant someone being convicted of a crime…

    The lose of a child through parental alienation is a scare, children suffering with their schooling, and becoming juvenile delinquents is a scar, having to declair financial hardship after the downgrade has finished and cash in your superanuation is a scar, depriving a person the right to their very day needs to survive is a scar, socially isolating a person from the community, family and friends is a scar…there are a multitude of scars left when another inflicts psychological abuse, even more so when the patterns of abuse and cries for help are ignored.

    If pyscological and mental abuse has occured and it can be proven, I feel it is unfair for those who endure the devastation, by continuing to ignore it as being invisible, it is not invisible we just prefer to turn a blind eye.

    My family, ex partner, ex husband and friends all knew they could get away with their pyscological and emotional blackmail, manipulate others to believe I was mentally insane because there are no law protecting us.

  115. January 8, 2010 at 01:09

    When it comes to the individual (whether it be female or male) utterly degrading the other, that in my mind is considered a crime. I knew of someone that was once in an abusive relationship and it in some ways changed her way of how she viewed the opposite sex.

    That raises another question in my mind…Yes, it is considered a crime when a trusted companion, or whom you thought was, invades one ‘personal space’ so to speak, but as the individuals deem it best to go about their seperate ways and the other (in this instance, male) continues to degrad and insult other women, where is the line drawn there? How is the other person supposed to pick up the pieces of her damaged self and continue on? Would that be considered a crime to oneself to pretend as if everything is good and nothing bad happened…In a sense try to put on this type of facade for others…That in my mind is considered a type of pscychlogical crime there because while this abuse continued, you were not admiting to oneself that it indeed happened to you.

  116. January 8, 2010 at 18:00

    Hi, My view is that psychological violence is a crime. Can it be made a law? No never because it takes time to psychologically destroy people and that in its self says it all. The people who psychologically destroy others all ready have the upper hand otherwise they would not get away with it. Psychological destruction puts people in isolation and consumes them with fear. They get deeper and deeper into being a victim. It takes strentgh from within to combat the problem and that is not possible when they are being psychologically destroyed all the time.

  117. January 8, 2010 at 18:01

    please notify me of any follow ups as I forgot to tick the box.

  118. January 9, 2010 at 03:44

    When I first met my current partner which was also the same day we started seeing each other, she was a perfect model of insecurity after years of an ex husband constantly telling her she was ” lucky to have him as noone else would have her ” ” not clever enough to work and should be at home all day and night to have his house ready when he got in ” controling her friends and outlets so she was in her words ” A bird in a gilded cage. ”

    By constantly pulling her down and controling her outlets he succeeded almost in trapping her into an unhappy life by need. He made it so she needed him, he even dealt with all the bills to an extent where a perfectly capable 34 year old woman did not know how to pay an elctricity bill if a DD went wrong and he was not there to deal with it. If she got a job at all he made it so she had to leave either by altering his own shifts to clash or via keep phoneing her workplace and demanding she come home to deal with a flooded washer or some such. She could not have people round in the day time as he was asleep working night shifts. She could not go out at night haveing a young child an all. Again in her words ” she was not so much a wife as his personal cleaner. ”

    After 14 years of being idolised by myself she can and does proudly deal with the mortgage and banks she also holds a full time job working machinery in a factory which again she is proud of herself for that as when I first met her she did not believe her self she was capable of being anything like the person she is now.

    So yes in my opinion the kind of behaviour where someone subjects some else to such demeaning behaviour mentally that it affects then as humans to their detriment then those people should be accountable, the damage they do IS long lasting and very real and takes a long time and a lot of encouragement to unravel those years of constant snidey remarks and makeing her the butt of the joke all the time.

  119. January 10, 2010 at 01:08

    Psicological violence must be a crime because it will hurt a lot of the feelings of the couple.

  120. 133 james Ian
    January 10, 2010 at 04:19

    Ummm if your partner is insulting to you the point that you feel like you need to call the police and have them arrested then why don’t you just leave the malicious ingrate. Problem solved.

  121. 134 cyndy
    January 10, 2010 at 14:53

    I believe that it is a good idea for all of us to take psychological violence seriously in our countries. sometimes it can even kill faster than physical abuse. a woman just killed her five daughters and died later just because she was made to believe the worse of herself. this happened in Ghana recently. the case would have been different if she knew that she could count on the law to protect her psychological interest

  122. January 10, 2010 at 15:58

    There’s a lot of toffee talked about psychological violence. The reason for this is that the subject is placed out of context. What constitutes social behaviour has not been defined to an acceptable intellectual standard, consequently people think that anything goes. It is this lack of clarity that leads to things like psychological violence. When people are subjected to any unacceptable behaviour by a partner they should have the option of retreating to a panic room which in this case means another house, apartment etc. That means building more houses of various kinds. There is a chronic shortage of such housing and until there is, changes in the law, however worthy, are just window-dressing.

  123. January 11, 2010 at 00:04

    Absolutely; relationships are supposed to be about partnership, trust, friendship… NOT an on-demand ‘quickie’

    With a 50% divorce-rate here in the UK, abuse & murder, the norm’ why is there a problem with MANDATORY DNA… registration in-perpetuity?

    Rape, violence… are close to CERTAINTY; shame too-many ‘girls’, be they teen or 40-somethings, have-yet to find LOVE😦

  124. January 27, 2010 at 06:46

    Some very interesting information here, and a very interesting blog too.

    I will have to bookmark this and stop by more often.

    thanks.


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