Abuse of "abuse"

Subject: No protection from protection from abuse

Those of you old enough to remember will recall the days when a woman in the workplace could be subject to her co-workers sexual advances, pinch on the rear and even a boss who flat out said put out or get out. Her only recourse back then was to quit or tolerate the level of abuse.
Now companies give training sessions on 'sexual harassment' and even making a 'blond girl' joke can get you a sexual harassment complaint.

Years ago when a woman was raped she was the one on trial if she even was brave enough to report it and follow through with going to court against the perpetrator. From the police to the courts it was "look at how she was dressed", "what was she doing there in the first place" "she had been drinking" all with the implication that "she was asking for it".
Now if a girl goes to a party, dressed like a 'ho', drinks and ingests drugs all she has to say is "rape" and it's on the accused to prove they didn't moleste her or it was consensual sex.
Recall a few years ago the girl who accused a group of college boys with rape. Had they not been affluent enough for good criminal representation including investigators they would have been expelled and incarcerated and their futures virtually over. As it turned out they were exonerated and the Prosecutor ended up loosing his job; the charges were completely bogus and he knew it.

Years ago when a woman was smacked around by her husband she could leave him. Many didn't because they had no place to go or they were afraid he'd find them or they felt they couldn't afford to leave. Now, in Delaware, all you have to allege is 'he yelled at me' to allege "domestic violence" Worse than that an individual can allege they told someone not to call and the other party continued to call and a warrant issues for harassment. A criminal charge. No proof that the now defendant was told or notified not to call is necessary. At a later point I'll discuss an actual case that I have a copy of the file and listened to the CD of the adjudication of the criminal charge (in Kent County Family Court)

Delaware has one of the broadest definitions of domestic violence in the country. Using phrases "engaging in a course of alarming or distressing" and "likely to cause fear or emotional distress" the sponsors and legislators responsible flung open the door to broadly labeling numerous spouses, partners etc as "abusers" and "domestic violence offenders". Did you ever have a verbal disagreement with your partner or spouse where you raised your voice? Did you ever slam the door or slam your fist on the table? In Delaware that can subject you to a charge of domestic violence if your spouse or partner claims that your actions caused them emotional distress. This label can follow people for the rest of their lives and have adverse consequences. People who have the more traditionally accepted view of what constitutes "abuse" and "violence" assume the worst and look on those so labeled as physically violent and abusive. Not the kind of person you'd want to hire, work with or date.

PFAs are rarely denied in Delaware even when there is no physical evidence to support the allegation.

In Kent County women are often encouraged to file not just for a PFA but for an emergency ex-parte order. This is a perversion of the ex-parte emergency purpose. It should be reserved for those in imminent physical danger.

After you allege abuse you can get a free attorney to represent you in subsequent family court matters up to and including divorce, as a "victim of domestic violence". The other party can pay for their own attorney or represent themselves.

PFAs are a tactic now in many divorces as an avenue for free divorce (to the alleged victim; the attorneys are paid) and the presumed sympathy of the court and everyone in the system from DFS to custody evaluators; demonizing the alleged "abuser".

PFAs also are one way orders. Binding on the Respondent the Petitioner can contact them with no consequence. I know people who got PFAs and they contact the Respondent/restrained party even engaging in marital relations with them. They are knowingly putting the Respondent in jepordary for contempt of the PFA and are using it to control and emotionally abuse the other party. They offer the possibility of reconcilliation or visitation with the children to entice the party bound by the PFA and they can drop the hammer on them anytime they choose resulting in potential civil contempt to criminal charges.

PFA abuse has become common. Like with allegations of sexual harassment the pendulum has swung too far. It's time for the legislators to revise the definion of domestic violence, to limit PFAs to 30 days with the opportunity for automatic extension or lapse and to make it binding on both parties, for the courts to be more responsible in granting PFAs and for counselor's, domestic violence advocates, attorneys, people in the Court Pro Se departments and others to discourage anything less than truthful allegations of abuse.

There are legitimate cases of domestic violence, cases where people's lives are in danger where people have been beaten, had bones broken, pushed into walls, been punched choked etc. People who are intimidated and seriously threatened.

The abuse of PFAs trivilizies the suffering of those who really are victims of violence in domestic situations

For more information on relevant topics see:

"Expanding Definitions of Domestic Violence, Vanishing Rule of Law"

"Criminal Law Comes Home", by Jeannie Suk, Yale Law Journal

"Defacto Divorce"

"A Criminal Defense Attorney's View of the Domestic Violence Industry" by Stuckle Esq.

"What Happens When 911 is Dialed" by Charles Corry Phd.

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